As usual, former President Donald Trump had it right on principle. At the same time, however — for reasons he probably would acknowledge — his correct assertion might not have the consequences we would otherwise assume.
In comments during a break in his civil fraud trial Thursday in New York City, Trump warned that his ongoing persecution at the hands of New York state Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron and Attorney General Letitia James could have a chilling effect on other businesses in the state.
“Businesses are watching this case. No business will go back into New York. No business will, frankly, stay in New York. A lot of businesses are talking about leaving New York because of this action. This is a very serious action,” the former president said.
Ron Filipkowski, editor-in-chief of the extremely anti-Trump MeidasTouch.com, shared the clip online Thursday night.
“Trump says all businesses in NY will leave the state if he loses his case,” Filipkowski said in the X post.
Trump says all businesses in NY will leave the state if he loses his case. pic.twitter.com/vKrwHQsMsq
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) December 8, 2023
In sum, James has argued that the GOP’s leading 2024 presidential candidate and his Trump Organization fraudulently inflated the values of their properties in order to secure financial advantages from banks and insurance companies.
In September — in perhaps the most stupendously absurd judicial ruling of our lifetime — Engoron valued the Trump Organization’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, at a hilariously low $18 million.
The attorney general has sought $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in New York.
Many observers — including former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy — have noted that the James-Engoron case has no alleged victims. No one complained. Thus, Trump and the Trump Organization defrauded no one.
In a larger sense, however, the case’s details have little relevance.
Describing those details, in fact, feels a bit like evaluating a “case” that came before Roland Freisler, president of the Third Reich’s ironically named “People’s Court” from 1942 to 1945.
Everyone knew that Freisler would do what his fellow Nazis wanted. So they knew the trial’s outcome in advance, but they pretended otherwise.
We are in the same position here. After all, James and Engoron have made no effort to hide the fact that they suffer from Stage 4 Trump Derangement Syndrome. In their deluded minds, serving justice means harming Trump. The regime demands it, and everyone knows it.
Thus, we return to the former president’s claim that the James-Engoron farce will compel New York businesses to consider leaving the state.
On one hand, of course, Trump had it right. In principle, no business could operate with confidence under the looming threat of deranged actors like James and Engoron.
Furthermore, Trump had every reason to sound the alarm for other business owners. “This could happen to you, too” constitutes an age-old appeal from current to future victims of tyranny.
On the other hand, his correct assertion might not matter — for two reasons.
First — and sadly — that desperate appeal nearly always falls on deaf ears. History shows that businesses conform to regimes, not the other way round.
In fact, we could multiply examples of well-placed businessmen who profited from totalitarianism. Only in rare cases — Nazi Germany had few Oskar Schindlers — did they sacrifice their interests for the sake of justice.
Of course, one could argue that Trump appealed not to abstract justice but to those very interests.
In that case, the prospect of businesses fleeing New York appears even less likely, for it leads to the second reason Trump’s assertion might not matter.
The former president has emerged as a figure of world-historical significance. He has exposed U.S. and global elites as authoritarian lunatics, and they loathe him for it. No one in all of American history can claim that kind of legacy.
Thus, the James-Engoron case might not affect other New York businesses because those businesses’ leaders lack Trump’s transcendent significance.
The former president has shown the courage to challenge evildoers. Others have not, so the regime will leave them to tend to their pecuniary interests. They do not see Trump’s fate as their own.
In principle, menacing regimes should terrify businesses.
In practice, however, it has not always worked that way.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.