Chants calling to “lock her up” were ubiquitous along the campaign trail at Trump rallies across the country. All Trump needed to do was remind his supporters of the horrors that his opponent, “Crooked Hillary,” would perform from within the Oval Office to incite a fervent cacophony of chants calling for Hillary’s imprisonment. Even at the Republican National Convention, Trump’s now-designated National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn started a “lock her up” chant that excited the entire audience at one of the nation’s most heavily viewed political events. The calls from supporters to imprison Hillary transcended their riotous nature when Trump declared at a presidential debate in October that, "if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,” referring to Clinton’s activities within the State Department.
Trump campaigned on a no-nonsense premise. What he said was what he meant – right? It should then come as a surprise that Trump has decided not to prosecute Hillary Clinton.
“It’s just not something that I feel very strongly about," Trump said in a meeting with journalists from The New York Times. “I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t. She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways."
Trump furthered that the issues surrounding Hillary Clinton’s term at the State Department have been investigated thoroughly and thus do not warrant any further resources from his administration. He went on to note that the Clinton Foundation has done tremendous work. Both of these statements are sharp reversals from Trump’s rhetoric along the campaign trail, which will undoubtedly disappoint many of his most ardent supports – especially those that supported him on his anti-Hillary platform rather than on his actual policy proposals.
Addressing the potential backlash from supporters, Trump said that this decision will allow him to “explain that we in many ways will save our country” by extending an olive branch to Clinton backers at the expense of some support from his original constituents.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s former campaign manager, said that this decision should push Republicans in Congress from pursuing prosecution against Hillary. "I think when the President-elect, who's also the head of your party, tells you before he's even inaugurated that he doesn't wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone and content."
Members of Congress, however, have taken issue with the very fact that Trump thinks he should make decisions regarding Justice Department issues unilaterally. "That's not how this works. In our democracy, the President doesn't decide who gets prosecuted and who doesn't," said Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy.
What do you think about this major reversal in Trump’s position?