Those of you who are familiar with me know that I’ve been following Donald Trump (in a journalistic sense) for a long time. I wrote that he was the Great White Hope of the uninformed voter, that he threatens the death of the GOP, that’s he’s Biff Tannen (he is!), that–for Christians–he is a scorpion asking for a ride across the river, and that he’s King Blather.
And all of that before Christmas, 2015!
I stand by every word.
My main thrust of those articles is that Trump should have been taken seriously the moment he descended like Zeus down the escalator at Trump Tower. He wasn’t taken seriously enough by the GOP, and he was shamelessly helped by a complicit media and the Clinton campaign to win the Republican nomination. That was because they believed Trump was the most beatable candidate Hillary could face. They were probably right about that, but she was simply that bad–and far too smug.
Everything about candidate Trump is true of President Trump. But what won candidate Trump the office won’t help President Trump govern. So he’s not really governing. He’s preening, punching, and posing. We have here the most ineffective president to govern since Jimmy Carter. (If you’re under 40, that’s a bad thing.)
Netflix has a show called “Stranger Things,” which if you enjoy being scared out of your wits, you should binge-watch, alone, in the dark. In that show, there’s an anti-universe or parallel dimension called “the upside down.” Politically, and governance-wise, we’re in it.
Trump is endangering his own presidency through his words, tweets, and actions. He probably hasn’t done anything illegal, or close to impeachable. Probably. Yet.
Advice 4 POTUS: You have not been vindicated. U won't be unless Bob Mueller says so. Stop talking. You're heading into a giant perjury trap.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) June 11, 2017
As my friend Erick Erickson wrote, “…I do not believe he obstructed justice,” followed by, “If Robert Mueller finds that the President did obstruct justice based on his review of the situation, I will have to reconsider my position.”
That’s the sum of this game. Trump forced the issue by having Mueller appointed. He went further by accusing the head of the FBI, whom he fired, of lying–essentially perjury. His personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, allegedly (according to the New York Times) advised White House staff to hold off getting their own attorneys (advice that any attorney would tell you is both prejudicial and poor).
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) June 11, 2017
This is like taking the advice of your lawyered-up, soon to be -ex, spouse that the divorce will be amicable and you don't need counsel.
— Dan Murphy (@bungdan) June 11, 2017
So what do we have? As usual, Trump has constructed a thriller, which he believes will result in his complete vindication, the vanquishing of his enemies, and his ultimate triumph. He did this with the primary election. He did this with the general election.
But to do it with the presidency serves what ends? I’d say, in the upside down, it serves Trump’s ends. In the real world, it does not serve America’s ends.