June 30, 2020
It may have happened already −we just don’t know about it yet− or it will happen in the next few weeks, certainly before the Republican Convention scheduled for August 24-27. The tide has turned. A confluence of events and utterances, all in June, has woken up the servile Republicans from their stupor and has them now quietly but inexorably looking for the exits. The Nixonian moment is here and someone will whisper in the President’s ear, if not already done, that it is time to go. There are several straws that can legitimately claim to have broken the camel’s back, but I pick the one where our Commander in Mischief responded, in an interview with Sean Hannity to a softball question of what his top priorities for a second term presidency would be, with the following (verbatim):
Well, one of the things that will be really great, you know the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that. But the word experience is a very important word. It’s an — a very important meaning. I never did this before. I never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington, I think, 17 times. All of a sudden, I’m president of the United States. You know the story. I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our First Lady and I say, ‘This is great. But I didn’t know very many people in Washington. It wasn’t my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York. Now I know everybody, and I have great people in the administration. You make some mistakes. Like, you know, an idiot like Bolton. All he wanted to do was drop bombs on everybody. You don’t have to drop bombs on everybody. You don’t have to kill people.
This typical Trumpian utterance (you can read transcripts of numerous prior interviews and find the same disconnectedness and rambling) turned fatal not just because of what it said and not said, but also given the time in which it crossed the President’s lips. Our President offered this incoherent and irrelevant response at the time that COVID-19, the economic crisis and the Black Lives Matter protests dominated everyone else’s agenda. None of it had his attention. Of course, he could not have answered the question truthfully. It would not have come across very well had he said that his top priorities would be to further enrich his family fortune and shield himself from prosecution for crimes committed prior to and during his first term in office. Nor, that his top priority for now would be to guarantee for himself and his family immunity from prosecution from such crimes, in case he would be denied a second term. With Bill Barr as Attorney General, there would never be a better chance to get the slate wiped clean of all crimes and misdemeanors waiting indictment upon his leaving office.
Were Donald J. Trump a true Republican, office worthy, President, he would have thankfully accepted this interview slow pitch and drilled it over the fence with an answer that his top priority would remain to keep the American people safe from any hostile action by America’s adversaries, from COVID-19 or any other virus, from cyber intrusion and from unfair competition. In follow-up, he could have told the viewing public that on his agenda for a second term would be to take effective steps to reverse the trend of increased inequality between American residents, that manifests itself in income, wealth, health, education, housing and incarceration from which ethnic minorities are disproportionate victims of disadvantage.
He could have told the audience that he would use his second term to bring America’s fiscal house back in order, to negotiate new trade deals with any nation that would side with the United States in the fight against unfair Chinese trade practices, to upgrade Obamacare and cover the cost of COVID-protection and treatment for all Americans, and to finally implement a comprehensive immigration policy. It might have required a stretch of imagination, but he could even have committed to some serious steps to address climate change. He could have made a pledge to rule in a second term by legislative action rather than by tweet and executive order.
Predictably, Trump said none of this. He never once showed that he was even aware that his constituents were in the midst of the most serious crisis of their lifetime, affecting health, the economy and their unity and solidarity. As Anne Applebaum wrote in The Atlantic: “The true nature of the ideology that Trump brought to Washington was not ‘America First’, but rather ‘Trump First’.
Thus, is it time for a palace revolution. It is unthinkable that the GOP majority in the Senate is prepared to go down with the ship, wrecked by a President who should never have been. I confidently predict that Moscow Mitch, now with the Russian bounty scandal hanging over his head, will want to get rid of his nickname by getting rid of the man who most stands in the way of his chance to remain majority leader of the Senate. After all, Trump has served his purpose of getting 200 Federal Judges appointed, including two Associate Justices of the Supreme Court. He has become dispensable and more of a liability than an asset to the Republican cause. His fate was sealed when he foolishly cleared Lafayette Square in order to wave the bible at us in front of St. John’s church, made a fool of himself at the WestPoint graduation ceremony and again at the Tulsa campaign rally that misfired in the worst way after initially being planned for Juneteenth, and ordained an end to America’s participation in the World Health Organization at a time of the worst global pandemic since the plague. His dropping the ball in the interview with Hannity was just the icing on the cake.
Mitch McConnell will now make sure that the man he used for his purposes, be it in the most supine way imaginable, will only be a one term President.