Amanda Knox to Trump: Thanks for your support, but don't expect loyalty
LOS ANGELES - Amanda Knox is now openly thanking President Trump for his support - both vocal and financial - when she was jailed in Italy fighting against a murder charge. But she says that doesn't mean she owes him her loyalty.
Knox, of Seattle, made her comments in an op-ed piece printed Thursday in the Los Angeles Times.
In her commentary, Knox wrote, "Donald Trump supported me during the worst crisis and most vulnerable moment in my life, defending my innocence when I was on trial in Italy for murder. He is now the president of the United States and reportedly 'very upset' with me because I didn’t vote for him. Do I owe him my loyalty?"
She then goes on to write that her support of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election generated "negative backlash" from Trump's supporters.
'They felt that I owed Trump my allegiance and were outraged at columns I wrote in which I criticized his policies and explained my reasons for endorsing Hillary Clinton," Knox wrote in the L.A. Times piece. "The message was clear: Trump defended me in the past; how dare I not defend him now? Never mind that Trump doesn’t share my values."
But she wrote that idea is "both undemocratic and dangerous."
"Loyalty can bind people together under a common cause, but it can also blind people as to whether or not their cause is just, Knox wrote. "I discovered just how blinding loyalty could be when, in December 2009, an Italian court convicted me of a murder I didn’t commit. ... This is loyalty taken too far."
The Italian justice system eventually exonerated Knox, ruling that she did not kill Meredith Kercher of Great Britain while the two were roommates and foreign exchange students in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007.
Knox goes on to write: "There is a kind of loyalty I wholeheartedly support: loyalty to our ideals of due process, equal protection under the law, the freedom to speak one’s mind and to vote according to one’s principles. Only in banana republics do political leaders dole out favors to citizens in exchange for their silence and their vote."
But Knox says she is not ungrateful for Trump's support during the darkest period of her life.
"What do I owe Trump? A thank you for his well-intentioned, if undiplomatic, support. So for the record: Thank you, Mr. President," she wrote. "But the more important question is, what do I owe my country? Civic engagement, careful consideration of issues that affect my fellow citizens, and support for policies that deserve support, even if it makes the president 'very upset.'"