Thank You For Proving My Point, Mr. President

Alan Zendell, December 12, 2017

Thank you, Mr. President for moving so expeditiously to prove my point. Referring to the president, I concluded yesterday’s article, Teflon Trump, with the words: “I think he’s insane and his functionality is hanging by a thread, more illusion than fact.” I said he moved expeditiously, but of course, that’s not true. On virtually any morning he’d have tweeted or said something equally damning.

Let’s review. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has been on a long campaign to root out sexual misconduct in the government wherever she finds it, regardless of party. It was Gillibrand who spoke out first, insisting that her democratic colleague Al Franken should resign and who said several weeks earlier that Bill Clinton should have resigned the presidency after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. And yesterday, she said the same thing about Donald Trump. “President Trump should resign. These [sexual misconduct] allegations are credible, they are numerous.”

If you haven’t yet seen or heard the president’s response, whether you support him or not, ask yourself what you’d have wanted your president’s reaction to be. Would it have included essentially calling a United States Senator a flunky and a prostitute? What do you think he was implying when he said she’d once begged him for political contributions and would have done anything to get them? Are we supposed to wonder how she convinced him to contribute $6,900 to her campaigns?

Maybe it’s not fair to assume what he meant. After all, the president isn’t exactly a brilliant wordsmith. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders frequently has to walk back his comments so she can present an acceptable interpretation. Jim Acosta of CNN attempted to give Mr. Trump an opportunity to clarify what he meant at a White House press briefing this morning. He later reported that prior to the briefing he was approached by Ms. Sanders and warned that if he asked that question on the air he might be excluded from future press events. Do you think she did that on her own?

So once again I say “Thank you, Mr. President, for proving my point.” His actions today are a model for how a sane, responsible leader should never behave. It’s not only bad for the country, it’s the one thing likely to being him down in the end. Even U. N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who has been one of Trump’s most loyal surrogates broke with him on the matter of sexual harassment. In the face of Trump repeatedly denying all accusations and calling all the women who accused him liars, Haley said in a televised interview on Sunday that those women should be heard and dealt with, and that any woman who felt abused had a right to speak up. Unverified leaks suggest that Trump had one of his famous tantrums when he heard that.

And now there are a growing number of members of Congress who are demanding an ethics investigation of the president’s past and more than a hundred who are on record urging him to resign. Yes, they’re all Democrats, and we’re not likely to see many Republicans jump on that particular train until it’s clear that the station is on fire, but if our president had any control over his impulses he would stop feeding the Democrats fodder for the 2018 election. If the Republicans lose control of the House, it might well be to newly-elected female Democrats.

Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington and current chair of the Democratic Governors’ Association thinks Trump’s divisiveness is so toxic, his behavior alone might be enough to swing the majority in the House to Democrats next year. With many Republicans expressing the same sentiment, it’s impossible that Trump hasn’t gotten that message. Yet his personal attacks and rants continue unabated.

All through 2017 average people and pundits have tended to discount that saying things like “That’s just Trump being Trump,” which also happens to be the title of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewindowski’s new book. But even Trump loyalist Lewindoswki, in giving readers an inside look at what he perceives as the real Trump, is unintentionally not doing Trump any favors politically. A discerning reader can easily see through the hype and politics to a man whose behavior is often unhinged and violently erratic.

This is really serious. We cannot afford to have an irrational president who thrives on disruption and chaos. He may think it’s fun and I’m sure much his base finds it extremely entertaining, but for the rest of us his behavior is a warning we can’t afford to ignore.

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