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Jason Rantz

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Rantz: Local prosecutor’s unhinged posts call Trump supporters ‘racist bullies’

Trump supporters at a New Hampshire rally. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

An elected, controversial area-prosecutor has raised eyebrows over a seemingly endless stream of anti-Trump social media posts, some labeling his supporters KKK members.

Greg Banks is the Island County Prosecuting Attorney and he’s very active on Facebook. So active, apparently, that residents reached out to me, concerned that his animus towards President Donald Trump and Republican voters may shade how his office behaves in litigation.

Banks’ personal, public Facebook page is chock full of offensive memes and over-the-top condemnations that shows a deep disdain for both the President and his millions of supporters. Some are shared from different pages, some are articles with colorful (and unhinged) commentary, all posted with alarming regularity.

In one recent post, he implies Trump supporters are members of the KKK. Another scoffed that Trump “had to change his pants after talking” to the president of the NRA.

Not all posts are mean-spirited and insulting. Take, for example, a link to an op-ed claiming Trump is a Russian asset, along with the commentary that “you can put your head in the sand, and pretend that none of these facts exist, because Fox News won’t report on them.”

He posited that Trump was working directly for Putin in mid-December 2018, stating, “Surely someone has recordings of Trump agreeing to whatever his Vladdy tells him to do. When will it be leaked?”

There are a lot of posts. Seriously. A lot. On August 26 alone, Banks posted ten times — nine of them were anti-Trump.

“It’s very sad that an elected judicial member would post such hateful things on Facebook,” one of Banks’ constituents told The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “I don’t think as a conservative Trump voter I would get a fair [treatment] from our prosecuting attorney. Am I being pre-judged and labeled as a KKK member? Justice is supposed to be blind.”

With the frequency of posts, a seeming obsession, is it possible for Banks to treat Trump supporters fairly? Banks turned down an interview, but sent an email with some of his thoughts.

You can accurately state that I share the opinion of a majority of Americans that President Trump is corrupt and a racist, based on his words and deeds. It boggles me that anyone can support him (including some of my family, friends and professional colleagues) notwithstanding his reprehensible conduct. But those are my personal views, and have no bearing on how we make prosecutorial decisions. We prosecute accused persons based on their conduct, not based on who they are or what they may believe.

We evaluate evidence gathered by professional police officers, and consider it in light of the legal burdens we must overcome to prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. All persons in this country are entitled to due process of law. By the same token, no person is above the law. I take my charge in those regards very seriously.

For what it’s worth, if Mr. Trump committed a crime in Island County, I would recuse myself from his prosecution. But I’m not too concerned about that possibility.

I can certainly appreciate his willingness to provide the above statement, even if he turned down an interview to answer direct questions. Most lawyers know they can make matters worse when they answer direct questions and follow-ups. But his comments leave room for concern.

Banks mentions some of his professional colleagues support Trump. Do these colleagues work under him? It’s reasonable to assume a Trump supporter may be deeply uncomfortable with Banks as their superior. Would Banks treat them fairly in the office? Banks has said that Trump supporters “are racist bullies with second grade intellects and behavior disorders.”

Banks is not a stranger to the controversy his posts have caused. He appears to have a contentious relationship with other area officials. Last year, the South Whidbey Record covered a testy meeting between he and the Island County Board of Commissioners. Commissioners called Banks a bully and a liar.

At one point in the meeting Commissioner Jill Johnson said, “You can stab me in the back when you have the chance, we all know your personality. You’re a snake.” (Update: I incorrectly attributed the quote to Helen Johnson earlier).

Back in January, Banks himself said that he “received some FB messenger messages from strangers who were very offended by some of my posts” and wondered if he “…should reconsider some of my language.” It doesn’t appear that he did.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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