February 08, 2017

Pennsylvania senator to Trump: Come after me, you 's***-gibbon'

A Pennsylvania lawmaker had strong words for Donald Trump after the president reportedly joked he would "destroy" a Texas lawmaker's career.

In a Facebook post, state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, linked to a Politico story about Trump's meeting with several county sheriffs, including Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh. According to the website, Harold Eavenson, sheriff of Rockwall County, Texas, brought up the issue of civil asset forfeiture.

Law enforcement can use civil asset forfeiture to take cash and property from individuals suspected of committing a crime without charging the individual or a guilty verdict.

Eavenson brought up to Trump an unnamed senator who was discussing introducing legislation that would require a conviction before law enforcement could seize forfeiture money, joking that "the cartel would build a monument" to the senator in Mexico for passing said legislation.

“Who is the state senator? Do you want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career,” Trump replied, according to Politico.

Leach, who has pushed for civil asset forfeiture reform in Pennsylvania, invited Trump to come after him as well.

"Hey! I oppose civil asset forfeiture too," Leach wrote on Facebook and Twitter. "Why don't you come after me you fascist, loofa-faced s***-gibbon!!"

Leach's spokesperson, Steve Hoenstine, said in a statement the senator's post was inspired by justified anger:

"President Trump blithely talked about destroying the career of a man who disagreed with Trump on a policy issue. Then Trump laughed about it, which is just what you’d expect from someone who gets his kicks firing people on national television. Trump just continues to undermine democratic norms, America’s system of checks and balances, and the general principle of human decency. Senator Leach is mad as hell about it, as you can see from his tweet."

Leach was co-sponsor to a bill introduced during the previous legislative session that sought to reform the practice in Pennsylvania, specifically requiring a criminal conviction before assets are seized, much like the unidentified Texas lawmaker's proposed legislation.

But that bill was stripped down, Leach and other supporters told City & State in October, and the conviction requirement was gutted. 

Proponents of civil asset forfeiture argue that while sometimes a conviction of an individual isn't attained, the money or property seized was still used in criminal activity. Opponents argue the procedure has been used without strict regulation to take and keep property from innocent individuals.

The bill was last referred to committee.