Sunday, June 09, 2019


NBC News has a long story about letters Whitey Bulger wrote from prison shortly before his death:
In the final months of his life, James "Whitey" Bulger wrote letters from prison offering his thoughts on a range of subjects.

His faltering health. His longtime girlfriend. His wish for a peaceful death.

But there was another topic that the notorious Boston crime boss returned to again and again: President Donald Trump.

In several handwritten letters shared with NBC News, Bulger expressed gushing praise for Trump, offering rave reviews of the president's foreign policy and combative relationship with the media.

"Trump is tough and fights back instead of bowing down to pressure — and caving in to press!" Bulger wrote in August 2018. "U.S. agrees with him press attacking and his reaction increases his popularity — He has my vote so far."

"History may show Trump was the man of the hour," Bulger wrote in a different letter earlier that month. "Feel China respects him and hesitant to try to bully him."

... "I get some strange mail at times — a grandmother from Kansas — hates Trump wants him 'impeached,'" Bulger wrote in one letter. "She assumes I hate him? Why Because I'm in prison?"

... "My bet is he's happy with present wife and settled down," Bulger says in [a] letter. "No way would he wind up in Oval Office with a Monica Lewinsky — That was a scandal! Same media that attacks Trump would cover up for Bill Clinton."
Is this surprising? Bulger was a unusually violent career criminal, but he was also a white octogenarian. Demographically, he was the perfect modern Republican.

How did he keep up on the news? In one of his letters, he wrote about his life just prior to his final arrest at the age of 81, when he was living with a girlfriend named Catherine Greig:
"Catherine would decorate the apt for holidays — small tree little thoughtful gifts one year Bose Radio," Bulger said in a letter. "She had to go long distance for + carried it home — surprised me Christmas Eve — great gift had ear phones and put disco on with Gershwin music Rhapsody in Blue would put me to sleep."
Did he also use that Bose radio to listen to right-wing talk? It's possible. Elsewhere in his correspondence, he praised some of the stars of the medium:
"Trump is fortunate to have loyalty of [conservative commentator Bill Cunningham], Rush Limbaugh + Hannity AKA 'Little Rush,'" Bulger said in the same letter.
If Bulger called Sean Hannity "Little Rush," he was thinking of him as a radio host, not a TV talking head. (Radio might have been the only way Bulger was able to keep up with right-wing opinionmongers in prison.)

But it should be noted that Bulger briefly participated in culture-war politics decades earlier, at the height of his criminal career, and in a particularly Bulgeresque way.
In late August or early September 1974, Bulger and an accomplice reportedly set fire to an elementary school in Wellesley, Massachusetts to intimidate the United States District Court Judge Wendell Arthur Garrity Jr. because of his mandated plan to desegregate Boston schools by means of busing.
Wellesley was Garrity's hometown. Busing opponents, in Bulger's South Boston and elsewhere in the city, complained bitterly about the fact that Garrity went home every night to this well-to-do suburb that wasn't affected by the busing plan.

On September 8, 1975, Bulger and an unidentified person tossed a Molotov cocktail into the John F. Kennedy birthplace in Brookline, Massachusetts. This was done to retaliate for Senator Ted Kennedy's vocal support for school desegregation in the city of Boston. Bulger then used black spray paint to scrawl “Bus Teddy” on the sidewalk just outside of the national historic site.
So Bulger's fondness for Trump was inevitable, wasn't it?

No comments: