--Bishop Berkeley, 1750
What a sad, repulsive, classless, no character man is Donald Trump. The man-baby in the White House cannot accept that the American people resoundingly rejected him at the polls in a free, fair and honest election marred only by massive Republican voter suppression of minority voters nationwide. Every time one thinks Trump cannot go lower, a new bottom calls out to him like a mythological siren. For Trump there is no bottom.
His final repellant acts as president violate the oath he took as well as common decency, honor and humanity. Having abandoned any pretense of performing his presidential duties, he stages coups d’état at the Defense and Homeland Security Departments, installing unqualified bootlickers in place of the people he fired by tweet. He spouts wild, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and alleges a stolen election rampant with nonexistent voter fraud—laughable given that the alleged wrongdoing only affected him and no other Republicans down-ballot. Some conspiracy! He launches clown car election lawsuits, unsupported by any evidence, that get laughed out of court.
The worst elements of this awful man’s scorched-earth approach to his final days are:
- his disinterest in and lack of any action whatsoever to tackle a pandemic raging out of control in the country he swore to protect. Despite the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths surging, all he cares about is wreaking vengeance and havoc on his government and his people. It falls to the President-elect to behave responsibly while the lame-duck incumbent wallows in self-pity and false accusations. His execrable conduct will be rightly condemned by history, but that is small recompense for the millions of Americans suffering now because of his behavior;
- the threat to national security of Trump’s refusal to allow a transition to the new administration. The 9/11 Commission noted that the 2000 transition delay contributed to the delayed intelligence that might have helped us obtain an early warning of Al Qaeda’s plans to attack us. Trump’s advisers had to talk him down from launching a military attack on Iran. His decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan opens up that country to becoming a terrorist haven once again;
- his wholesale adoption of two Nazi tactics that aroused the German public and paved their way to power and dictatorship: the “stab in the back,” i.e. that corrupt politicians were guilty of sabotaging the army in the field at the end of World War I, turning a sure victory into defeat. Trump has adapted that to his rigged election falsehood; and “the Big Lie,” a Joseph Goebbels invention that in its Trumpian manifestation asserts that the election was rigged and Trump really won. Both, of course, are total twaddle. The problem is that Trump’s followers believe this poppycock to the detriment of our fragile democracy and the rule of law. His contamination of our democracy is not something we will easily correct; and
- his all-out assault on democracy represented by his effort, after all else (lies, conspiracy theories, distortion, disinformation) failed, to overturn the election through subversion, namely attempts to persuade Republican state legislatures to pick their own slate of electors in defiance of the popular will. The incalculable damage this sabotage does to America will long outlast Trump.
Trump has four goals in mind with his indecent conduct: (1) to delegitimize a legitimate election. Sadly and inexplicably, his supporters actually believe this nonsense; (2) to make President-elect Biden’s job more difficult; (3) to desperately cling to office because come January 20, 2021, he loses his protection against the 10 criminal and civil investigations and cases awaiting him; and (4) to bring the country down in flames with him if he doesn’t get his way.
Equally vulgar is the way senior Republicans have once again fallen in line behind this reprehensible man masquerading as a president. Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell, stooges all who have bought into Trump’s con/coup, deserve the condemnation of all Americans and of history for their disgraceful conduct. They dishonor the oath they took to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, and they run roughshod over the rule of law and democratic ideals for which so many Americans have fought and died. Of course these patsies know better, but they cower in fear of being tweeted against by the autocrat they chose to follow and his loyal base. They are beneath contempt.
I supported President Ford’s blanket pardon of Richard Nixon. I believed the country had been through enough and did not need to countenance the prospect of more Nixonian anguish. This time, however, is different. Trump and his enablers need to face justice for their criminal and treasonous conduct. A reckoning must be had. Accountability is as American as apple pie.
November 21, 2020