President Donald Trump on Tuesday was directly implicated in a criminal conspiracy by his former personal attorney Michael Cohen and—almost simultaneously—a federal jury found his former campaign manager guilty on eight counts of financial crimes, but you wouldn't know it by watching Trump's inane campaign-style rally in West Virginia Tuesday night, where his frenzied supporters belted out chants of "lock her up" and "drain the swamp" while the president bragged about his luxury apartments and deadly new coal rules.
"Surreal on a day when two of Trump's top aides were handed 16 felony convictions between them, and both will, in fact, be locked up."
—Christina Wilkie, CNBC
"It's like a parallel universe," historian Kevin Kruse noted on Twitter as the Charleston rally kicked off late Tuesday.
While Tuesday's event featured plenty of ranting and raving about the "Russia witch hunt," the president didn't once mention the fact that his former fixer admitted under oath that he was directed by then-candidate Trump to violate campaign finance laws by paying hush money to a former model and an adult film actress.
The fact that Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort was just found guilty of a slew of crimes—including tax and bank fraud—also didn't come up during the hour-long rally.
Trump supporters in attendance Tuesday night—wielding signs that ranged from "Trump Digs Coal" to "Keep America Great"—didn't seem to mind these glaring omissions, nor did they seem to appreciate the irony of chanting "lock her up" after the first mention of Hillary Clinton while two men previously very close to the president are likely headed to jail.
Trump's campaign manager and personal lawyer BOTH became felons today.
And Trump supporters still thought it made sense to chant "Lock Her Up."pic.twitter.com/XjMRR5oVSq
— jordan (@JordanUhl) August 22, 2018
"Surreal on a day when two of Trump's top aides were handed 16 felony convictions between them, and both will, in fact, be locked up," CNBC reporter Christina Wilkie noted on Twitter after the chants, which were preceeded by "Drain the swamp!"
Crowd at Trump #MAGA rally chants "Drain the Swamp! Drain the Swamp!" then pivots to "Lock Her Up! Lock Her Up!"
Surreal on a day when two of Trump's top aides were handed 16 felony convictions between them, and both will, in fact, be locked up. pic.twitter.com/DCP4dKYAfp
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) August 21, 2018
“Lock her up” and “drain the swamp” chants during Patrick Morrissey’s speech at the Trump WV rally. Just like nothing’s happened.
— David S. Bernstein (@dbernstein) August 21, 2018
Both Manafort—who the president praised as a "good man" ahead of Tuesday's rally—and Cohen face prison time, and "Donald Trump himself would almost certainly be facing charges" if he wasn't president, noted the New Yorker's Adam Davidson.
"The question can no longer be whether the president and those closest to him broke the law. That is settled. Three of the people closest to Trump as he ran for and won the presidency have now pleaded guilty or have been convicted of significant federal crimes," Davidson concluded. "Tuesday's news also helps build an increasingly compelling case for impeachment and removal from office. It is now clear that the president engaged in at least one conspiracy to hide the truth from the public in an election he won with a tiny margin in three states."