As with his stance on Russian cyber threats, President Donald Trump vacillates on his ties to his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, as well as his opinion of Manafort's character. On the President's Twitter account, Manafort plays both villain and victim ever since his implication and indictment in the Mueller Russia investigation.
The trial of Paul Manafort began Tuesday, July 31, 2018. In Wednesday's Trump morning tweets, Manafort assumed both roles. First, Manafort was a bad hombre the government failed to warn the President about.
Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. H… https://t.co/9om7OoFhfP— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1533130443.0
But two hours later, Manafort played victim to the same government Trump called out in his prior tweet. In the second daily mention for Manafort, Trump states:
Looking back on history, who was treated worse, Alfonse[sic] Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and “Public Enemy Number One,” or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement - although convicted of nothing? Where is the Russian Collusion?"
Looking back on history, who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and “Public Enemy Number… https://t.co/oJProVNYVj— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1533137747.0
The second tweet had people perplexed. Several questioned why the President would want to associate the name of a man he's known for decades with a notorious criminal, even if it was to show Manafort in a positive light.
Unusual for a president to compare his former campaign manager to Al Capone. https://t.co/tMAvAgwvgR— Bill Kristol (@Bill Kristol) 1533139667.0
and now to argue for the good character and sterling reputation of my indicted former campaign chairman by comparin… https://t.co/XVFKNJAWwN— Dave Itzkoff (@Dave Itzkoff) 1533138403.0
If you’re comparing your Former Campaign Chairman to Al Capone, you’re losing. https://t.co/PuBdJnYKEQ— Millennial Politics (@Millennial Politics) 1533138299.0
"This is worse than what they did to Al Capone!" is a GREAT way not to sound like you're a character on The Sopranos https://t.co/TJWEfNLW4J— James Poniewozik (@James Poniewozik) 1533138232.0
"I don't know, we're kind of on shaky ground comparing Trump people to mafia people" "Sir, he just compared his ca… https://t.co/PmBFpkrvAJ— Oliver Willis (@Oliver Willis) 1533137970.0
"I'm simply comparing the man who ran my presidential campaign to a serial murderer who drenched the country in blood for years on end."— Oliver Willis (@Oliver Willis) 1533138119.0
While others were surprised to find out why Alphonse "Al" Capone was trending on social media.
*sees Al Capone trending, and hopes @GeraldoRivera has found another vault* *is let down*— DMC (@DMC) 1533140092.0
But one Twitter user put forward a pretty solid theory for the unusual comparison.
I bet you $1000 there was an Al Capone documentary on TV this morning. https://t.co/iIOFeghJaa— Jim Hamilton (@Jim Hamilton) 1533139506.0
Still others in the Twittersphere decided to provide some facts on Al Capone for the President's perusal.
Maybe then Trump could discern the differences between Capone and Manafort —or Capone and Trump.
The main difference between Al Capone and Donald Trump is that we've actually seen Al Capone's taxes.— Nick Jack Pap-pass the Gravy (@Nick Jack Pap-pass the Gravy) 1533138775.0
Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion. https://t.co/6EJbGdjfFq— Kyle Griffin (@Kyle Griffin) 1533138316.0
Al Capone was imprisoned at Alcatraz and was stabbed in the prison laundry. https://t.co/jB8kfM6fi2— Renato Mariotti (@Renato Mariotti) 1533138314.0
@realDonaldTrump Capone was sent to Alcatraz lost his mind in solitary and died at 48 from syphilis. You should try reading sometime.— Ross Gerber (@Ross Gerber) 1533138475.0
While some provided visual aids.
Who wore it best? Paul Manafort or Al Capone? https://t.co/nHr0rGagOF— Keith Boykin (@Keith Boykin) 1533139739.0
And one decided to clarify how Manafort, or rather the Russia investigation, compared to other recent investigations in Washington DC.
@realDonaldTrump ✅Trump campaign director—INDICTED ✅Trump NSA—PLEA ✅Trump deputy campaign director—PLEA ✅Trump camp… https://t.co/389yy9hfwH— ♻️🇺🇸 Christopher Zullo (@♻️🇺🇸 Christopher Zullo) 1533140588.0
But others were still baffled or delighted by the President's tweet.
I’m no lawyer, but comparing your former campaign manager to Al Capone and claiming collusion isn’t a crime doesn’t… https://t.co/JgQqjXVRHm— Jason Pinter (@Jason Pinter) 1533138332.0
@realDonaldTrump @duganjames This is great! Now we can start comparing a mob boss, killer & public enemy to someone… https://t.co/XxsssWvAXF— Janice Orx ✨☄️⚜️🔥 (@Janice Orx ✨☄️⚜️🔥) 1533140669.0
Trump and Manafort first became acquainted back in 1980 when Trump hired the Washington DC lobbying firm owned by Manafort, Roger Stone and Charles Black to represent his interests. Trump remained a client until the early 1990s.
After the FBI raid on Manafort's home in July 2017 though, the President began to distance himself, but still vouched for him. Trump stated:
I know Mr. Manafort—I haven’t spoken to him in a long time, but I know him—he was with the campaign, as you know, for a very short period of time—for a relatively short period of time."
But I’ve always known him to be a good man."