I withdraw my suggestion that the way to deal with Donald Trump is to laugh at him. No sooner than I had pushed send on that feckless insight than the clown turned Stephen-King-scary. He got up in front of the National Rifle Association — the Taliban of the American AR-15 cult — and said the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election was “a coup” and “an attempted overthrow of the United States government”.
That is the language of an autocrat looking for grounds to detain or shoot his enemies. It is how a wouldbe dictator speaks when he wants to suspend his country’s constitution or overturn an election. And it’s the sort of thing that inspires the nut jobs of whom we have a bottomless supply to go out and kill. Remember Cesar Sayoc and the pipe bombs he sent to journalists, Democratic party leaders and donors?
There has been no repudiation of Trump’s coup talk from his lickspittle Republican party. Indeed it seems to have become embedded in the GOP’s talking points, parrotted by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and, of course, by Trump’s propaganda arm, Fox News.
Unnerving too is the religious ultra-right’s Trump idolatry. On National Prayer Day, Paula White-Cain, the abominably wealthy megachurch pastor, spoke at the White House where she declared Trump God’s annointed. “Now lift we up our president,” she said, before addressing herself to the Almighty: “You declared in Jeremiah 1:5 that before he was ever formed in his mother’s womb you had set him apart and ordained him”. God had Jeremiah foretell the coming of a prophet called Trump? What is this? A theocracy?
White-Cain went on: “We are not wrestling against flesh and blood but against principalities, wickedness and darkness, so we declare every demonic network to be scattered right now”. Demonic network is an interesting way of describing the FBI, the intelligence community, the Justice Department and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, all of whom, along with the Democrats, Trump now insists were part of a fiendish plot to oust him.
Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr, president of Liberty University, boot camp for jihadist evangelicals, chimed in on Sunday that “Trump should have 2 yrs added to 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this failed corrupt coup” — which Trump immediately retweeted. Obviously, they were trying to get a rise from the Democrats, and they succeeded. But the joke was sinister, nonetheless.
Creepy too was this from Senator Josh Hawley, freshman Republican from Missouri: “You want to know why the FBI spied on @RealDonaldTrump & launched multi-year investigations? It’s about @RealDonaldTrump VOTERS. Unelected progressive elites in our government have nothing but contempt for them. Total, complete contempt.”
Let’s put it all together. Trump is quite deliberately triggering a constitutional crisis, challenging the Democrats to impeach him, fully confident that the Republican majority in the Senate will save him and reinforce his claim to be the victim of an attempted coup. He and his creatures are stonewalling all attempts by the Democratic majority in the House to follow up on Mueller’s report, whose contents they are flagrantly misrepresenting. Mueller very specifically did not exonerate Trump of obstruction and did — unequivocally — find that the Putin regime worked to get him elected with his knowledge and without his objection.
Backed by his well-lunched Attorney General William Barr and, he hopes, the Supreme Court which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ravaged precedent and decency to help him pack, Trump will assert the presidency gives him well-nigh king-like powers and protections. And all the while he will whip his base into a frenzied crusade against Washington’s “unelected progressive elites” for dissing them and their champion, God’s chosen one
Will he go quietly if not re-elected? I always thought that a needlessly paranoid question. Now I am not entirely sure.