Trump’s Worst Offense

Alan Zendell, December 6, 2019

I started this blog shortly after Donald Trump’s inauguration. I was disturbed by the 2016 election, and by Trump, personally. His behavior during the campaign was despicable, the worst I have ever witnessed in a presidential election campaign, and I’ve lived through nineteen of them. My disgust was not in the least political. I was not a fan of Hillary Clinton, though I voted for her – after all what choice did I have? The issue was Trump himself who has behaved as he has in office throughout his life.

Since I was a New Yorker who grew up where Trump did during the same years, he was always an annoying, offensive presence in my life. His narcissistic hunger for attention, his lack of scruples in business, his disregard for truth and the rules the rest of us live by, and his willingness to hurt countless others in pursuit of wealth and influence mirror his performance as president perfectly.

As you watched the House of Representatives slip and slide toward impeachment, did you shake your head like I did and ask yourself how we got to this point? Nancy Pelosi never wanted to go down this road, but as we look back on three years of Trump’s presidency it seems inevitable. Since the day he took office, Trump has violated every norm and every rule, under the guise of needing to “shake up Washington and drain the swamp.”

To use Trump’s vernacular, that’s complete bulllshit. As his adoring base has said repeatedly, he was just being Trump. It’s how he operates. He always has.

Since he announced his candidacy in 2015, Trump lied shamelessly whenever it suited him and bragged about treating women as objects of his own pleasure. He relentlessly attacked the courts and the media, and demonstrated a complete lack of compassion, much less understanding of the plights of refugees seeking asylum, millions of people hoping to immigrate, and most egregiously, the millions of “Dreamers” who are innocent of any wrongdoing. He viciously attacked everyone who refused to kneel to him in fealty, obstructed legal, constitutional investigations every step of the way, and sought to have hostile foreign governments meddle in our elections for his sole benefit.

Underlying all this has been one constant theme. Like the ignoble Senator Joseph McCarthy, six decades ago, Trump views the presidency as his own personal playpen. He considers himself above the law, as he recklessly attempts to tear down institutions and values that are the basis of our Constitution and our republic. You can almost hear Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s henchman and consigliere to organized crime bosses whispering in Trump’s ear. “Just do whatever the hell you want, Donald. No one will be able to stop you because the system wasn’t designed to handle someone like you.”

To our great misfortune, Cohn was right. Trump’s opponents for the 2016 Republican nomination were like children having their candy stolen. And the last three years have demonstrated that most of our government and the leaders of our traditional allies were no better equipped to deal with him. The only people who seem to have known exactly how to manipulate and influence him were the leaders of our most dangerous adversaries – Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

In my view, Trump’s presidency is a clear and present danger to the future of our country. All the above aside, his most serious offense doesn’t fit anyone’s definition of a high crime or misdemeanor. Trump has reshaped what was once a respectable, principled party by forcing out everyone who placed his or her oath of office ahead of loyalty to the president and seduced the rest as surely as the serpent seduced Eve. The Republican Party now shamelessly plays by the same rules Trump learned from Roy Cohn. Truth is irrelevant, the Constitution has become an obsolete piece of paper, and all Trump’s allies care about is helping create a Trump dynasty with coattails they can ride.

The party Trump hijacked is incapable of compromise because its only agenda is blindly charging ahead with the Trump doctrine. They won’t stop until someone forces them to. Trump’s behavior compelled the Democrats to impeach him. He played them like a fine violin, knowing there was no chance he’d be convicted in the Senate.  A normal person would fear for his legacy, but in Trump’s alternate universe, truth is what he says it is. He will claim total exoneration when the Senate fails to convict him even if a majority of Senators think he’s guilty.

Trump has subverted the role of Congress, effectively negating Article 1 of the Constitution. The legislative branch is literally incapable of functioning unless it rubber stamps what he wants. That is precisely what our founders feared. They never imagined that 534 lawmakers would be trapped in hopeless gridlock, because one side chose to renege on its constitutional responsibility. Whatever your political leanings this has to concern you. Only we the people can collectively change things next November.

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