Pleading the fifth amendment isn’t inherently an admission of guilt. Even if you do it hundreds of times in a single interview, there is a legal right to protect oneself from self-incrimination.
However, sometimes in the court of public opinion, a person’s own words come back to bite them. For example, suppose a person is being accused of criminal activity, and they rely on the fifth amendment extensively, but just a few years ago, they made repeated public statements insisting that guilt was the only reason to ever invoke the 5th, and that anyone who hid anything from investigators must be guilty. Perhaps they even led crowds in chants calling for such an individual to be locked up.
Enter MeidasTouch and their newest political ad, which reminds Trump, and the rest of us, that he has insisted that pleading the fifth is proof of guilt.
Trump’s view hasn’t stopped multiple people connected to him (including his son Eric Trump) from pleading the fifth amendment in multiple cases, including the investigation into the January 6th attack, and the investigation into Trump Organization financial practices. Nor does he seem to think his “if you’re innocent, what have you got to hide” attitude, displayed towards Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election, applies to him, as he’s insisted he’s the victim of a ‘witch hunt’ while fighting in court to keep records from taxes to White House visitor logs secret.
Trump can plead the fifth — but can he justify the double standard?
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com