He started tweeting about this last week but I ignored it, figuring that I’d probably just had a stroke and my addled brain had made a hash of reality. Donald J. Trump, president of the United States, intervening publicly in a Swedish criminal case involving American rapper A$AP Rocky?
That sounds like a dream you’d have after a night of consuming spicy food and too much tequila.
But no, to my surprise, this appears to be actual reality:
Just spoke to @KanyeWest about his friend A$AP Rocky’s incarceration. I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky. So many people would like to see this quickly resolved!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2019
Just had a very good call with @SwedishPM Stefan Löfven who assured me that American citizen A$AP Rocky will be treated fairly. Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2019
Watch the videos posted by TMZ on July 3 to see why Rocky’s being held in Sweden. It looks like he and his friends/bodyguards were being hounded by a fan. The fan appears to have gotten violent; Rocky tried to calm things down; but one thing led to another and he and his pals ended up beating the guy. Is Rocky being railroaded for trying to defend himself or were he and his group guilty of a violent assault?
Answering that question is why Sweden has a criminal justice system, you might say. Right! But Rocky is famous and he has mega-famous friends and, well, it turns out that “drain the swamp” really just means having the president do personal favors for his rich, connected celebrity buddies right out in public instead of in secret, the way establishmentarians do.
President Trump is very much aware of A$AP Rocky’s legal sitch in Sweden — and he’s got his team working to get him freed … thanks in part to Kim K and Kanye West.
That’s right … we’ve learned Kim and Kanye lobbied The White House to jump in and get involved in the drama across the pond — where A$AP’s been behind bars for more than two weeks now as prosecutors determine if the rapper should be charged with aggravated assault.
Here’s how it went down. We’re told as soon as Kim and Kanye heard about A$AP’s predicament earlier this month … Kanye urged Kim to get on the horn and talk to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner — with whom Kim is very familiar from her previous White House work.
The Secretary of State of the world’s most powerful country was quickly enlisted to address this pressing matter, dispatching deputies to look into it. Why couldn’t Sweden at least release Rocky on bail while he prepared his defense? Are they holding him to a double standard because he’s an American — and black?
Uh, no. Turns out Sweden doesn’t have bail.
First, unlike the United States, Sweden has no system of bail. As a foreigner, Swedish authorities view A$AP Rocky as a flight risk and will not release him pending trial. This is standard for any visitor arrested in Sweden, Swedish legal experts say.
Second, Sweden’s constitution bans the prime minister from interfering with any pending legal case.
One reason Sweden doesn’t have bail, an expert told Time, is because it would favor criminal defendants who are rich — a highly populist position, ironically. But go figure that Trump, who never could understand why Jeff Sessions wouldn’t “protect” him from Russiagate, also can’t understand why Sweden’s prime minister can’t just pull the plug on a possibly meritorious prosection involving a violent crime to do Trump and the Kardashians a solid. Sweden’s ambassador to the United States tried to explain that it’s a rule-of-law thing:
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven have explained and emphasised the complete independence of the Swedish judicial system, prosecutors and courts. In Sweden everyone is equal before the law. The Government is not allowed, and will not attempt, to influence legal proceedings.
— Karin Olofsdotter (@OlofsdotterK) July 26, 2019
Maybe she’ll end up as persona non grata at the White House like the former British ambassador was. Anyway, Trump is pissed:
Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for being unable to act. Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States. I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers. Treat Americans fairly! #FreeRocky
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2019
Give A$AP Rocky his FREEDOM. We do so much for Sweden but it doesn’t seem to work the other way around. Sweden should focus on its real crime problem! #FreeRocky
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2019
Rocky’s hearing in Sweden will begin on July 30, as scheduled. The best thing you can say about this episode is that, once you strip away the money and starf***ing and attempts to meddle in a criminal process, Trump’s advocating on behalf of an American who’s in trouble abroad and who may well be subject to an injustice. But if you find yourself in the same situation as Rocky without a Kim or a Kanye to stump for you, you shouldn’t expect the same favor. Even if the injustice to which you were subject happens to have been perpetrated by one of the administration’s own arms, right here at home:
I don’t know if Swedish law is being appropriately followed in the case of A$AP Rocky. I am struck that President Trump seems far more concerned about him than Francisco Galicia, also a U.S. citizen, wrongfully detained for a longer time and in worse conditions here in the U.S. https://t.co/jxEfJj2rRG
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) July 25, 2019
Galicia is a U.S. citizen, born in Dallas, who ended up in an ICE detention facility for 23 days on suspicion of being an illegal. He claims he lost 26 pounds and wasn’t allowed to shower. As far as I know, Trump hasn’t commented about him yet.
Vox-er Jane Coaston had a fun memory inspired by the Rocky episode of the “hip hop BBQ,” as Fox Nation dubbed it, that Barack Obama threw at the White House in 2011. Imagine Obama picking a public fight with the prime minister of Sweden on behalf of an American rapper accused of assault, because the prime minister wouldn’t short-circuit his own country’s justice process as a political favor to O and the Kardashian family. We would have had members of righty media immolating themselves in outrage over that. Anyway, I hope this episode pays off in a boost of African-American support for Trump next year, which is doubtless what he’s hoping for in courting Kanye and Mrs. West’s favor so assiduously.