KEY POINTS

  • Actor and filmmaker Edward Norton took to Twitter today to argue that Trump's efforts to delay the transition to a Biden administration are motivated only by a desire to avoid prosecution
  • Norton compared the situation to a bluff in poker, and reminded readers of the harm Richard Nixon's pardon did to faith in U.S. institutions
  • The argument was received well by other users on social media and held as a counterargument to those who say celebrities shouldn't comment on politics

Actor and filmmaker Edward Norton set Twitter abuzz today by arguing that Donald Trump’s transition delays and voter fraud conspiracies were simply meant to avoid litigation rather than some complex plot.

While the president continues to deny his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, Norton put it in terms of poker: “His ‘turn card’ bluff will be an escalation & his ‘River card’ bluff could be really ugly. But he’s got junk in his hand. So call him.”

Norton tried to assuage worries that Trump has some grand plan, and dismissed rumors that he was setting the stage to start his own political network after leaving office. 

US actor-director Edward Norton opens the Rome Film Festival with "Motherless Brooklyn US actor-director Edward Norton opens the Rome Film Festival with "Motherless Brooklyn" Photo: AFP / Angela Weiss

He also reminded followers of the aftermath of Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, when Gerald Ford pardoned his former boss. Ford did so to help the public move on from the embarrassing episode, but the act was widely seen as having cost him a second term and undermined faith in U.S. political systems. 

Norton argues that Trump is angling for the same thing, betting that if he can cause enough chaos and make Democrats scared for U.S. institutions, they’ll pardon him as well and avoid prosecution

Norton allowed for the possibility that Trump was acting based on emotion, but said that avoiding future punishment was his main objective. 

“I will allow that he’s also a whiny, sulky, petulant, Grinchy, vindictive little 10-ply-super-soft [expletive] who no doubt is just throwing a wicked pout fest & trying to give a tiny-hand middle finger to the whole country for pure spite, without a single thought for the dead & dying,” he said. “But his contemptible, treasonous, seditious assault on the stability of our political compact isn’t about 2024, personal enrichment or anything else other than trying to use chaos & threat to the foundation of the system as leverage to trade for a safe exit.”

Users quickly latched on to the diatribe, shooting it to the top of trending on Twitter and holding it as a counterexample to those who say celebrities should stay out of politics.