(RepublicanJournal.org) – Former President Donald Trump never seems to be far from controversy. Yet, the 2024 candidate for president is able to brush off most reports attempting to paint him in a bad light. The most recent eyebrow-raising issue to hit the past commander in chief takes the form of a picture The Philadelphia Inquirer shared of him posing with a former mob boss.
For years, people knew Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino as the head of the Philadelphia mob. The criminal’s downfall started in 2001, when a jury convicted him of racketeering and sent him to federal prison for 10 years. Afterward, he moved to Florida but eventually got tangled up in the law again in 2018, when he pleaded guilty to a charge involving gambling. He left prison again in the summer of 2020.
Now, Merlino is hitting headlines once again as The Philadelphia Inquirer’s photo began circulating on social media. The image depicts the mob boss, President Trump, and another unnamed individual at the Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach.
I know a lot about Philly’s mob history, and I don’t think I’d recognize Skinny Joey if I saw him, he hasn’t been relevant in 2 decades. https://t.co/tR5W34agtD
— David Marcus (@BlueBoxDave) January 23, 2023
The Trump campaign did not provide any context for the photo, but it did tell The Inquirer that the former president “takes countless photos with people.” It added, “That does not mean he knows every single person he comes in contact with.”
Most people would agree a presidential candidate could not foresee everyone who would want a photo opp. However, it is the job of their staff to filter the people who gain access to their boss. Many people on both sides of the aisle are questioning how and why the Trump campaign would allow their candidate to pose with a figure who was so controversial and had such a lengthy criminal record.
If Trump’s staff wants him to gain momentum as America moves towards the primary season and other candidates announce their bids, it will need to limit scandals like this. While this one will likely roll off just like so many others, it could once again create problems for the former president moving forward.
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