Schmitt-show at the border: Missouri AG has lost sight of the person he used to be

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You know who ought to remain in Mexico? Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who just took a campaign season trip to the Mexican border for a poppycock photo op. First his office said the state paid for his trip, then it said no, oops, the campaign had picked up the tab.

But why was he there at all, using the Rio Grande as a backdrop after filing yet another lawsuit that has nothing to do with his duties as Missouri AG?

The suit, filed along with his frequent co-litigant Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, is an effort to force the Biden administration to resume construction of the border wall that experts in history, geopolitics and border security have said will do nothing to improve border security.

Schmitt’s legal action may, however, improve his standing with the Trump followers previously known as Republicans.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office has said that Biden’s pause on border wall construction is perfectly legal.

But just as border security is not the point of promising to build a wall, or even of pretending to build it, and all at Mexico’s expense, winning this lawsuit is not the point of filing it.

Instead, it’s another stunt suit in the service of Schmitt’s increasingly frantic attempt to compete with disgraced former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens for the U.S. Senate seat that Roy Blunt is vacating.

(Even Blunt, on his way out the door, is too afraid to upset the Mad King to mention that Trump lost the 2020 election, and has himself been trying to steal it ever since. Asked on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday whether he agreed with Trump’s recent statement that the real “insurrection” occurred on Election Day, the senior senator from our state said, “The election was what it was.”)

In Schmitt’s eagerness to be seen as the Trumpiest option on the primary ballot, he, too, seems to have lost sight of who he is, or was. That he’s one of many to have become unrecognizable doesn’t make the transformation any less sad.

As a Star reader wrote in a recent letter to the editor: “I don’t know what happened to the Eric Schmitt I used to know, who looked out for kids with special needs. … He was so kind but now it looks like he’s trying to be the meanest politician he can be to make people angry to vote for him. He used to be so different.”

Yes, he did. Schmitt has made a hard turn to the Trumpy — which we will not call a turn to the right, because conservatism and Trumpism are very different belief systems, even if their adherents are the same people.

Unfortunately, that’s seen as the only way a Missouri Republican can win a primary now, even as adherence to the Big Lie and lots of lesser ones continues to threaten our democracy.

Schmitt’s spokesman defended the trip as in the public interest, “because it was a lawsuit filed by the state of Missouri on behalf of the people of Missouri.”

But why, when like the United States as a whole, Missouri needs more immigrants? Trump was more successful in curbing legal immigration than illegal immigration, while Schmitt’s fellow Republicans continue to block immigration reform.

Virtually the only Missouri matter that seems to interest our attorney general at this point is keeping an innocent man in prison.

One of Schmitt’s other just-for-show lawsuits alleged that Chinese authorities deceived the public about COVID-19, withholding lifesaving information, downplaying the threat and permitting millions of people to be exposed to the virus.

Which they certainly did. Just like the Trump administration.

Schmitt sued Jackson County for its emergency public health order reinstating masks, also permitting more people to be exposed to the virus.

And he sued to force the Biden administration to reinstate the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers, even though the provision of immigration law that policy is based on was never meant to apply to asylum seekers.

Schmitt seems to have permanently linked arms with Paxton, who filed the lawsuit that tried to overturn the 2020 election.

Had Schmitt remained at the border, Missouri would never have noticed.

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