Alan Zendell, December 14, 2021
Recently, a very smart, insightful cousin chastised me about throwing in the towel too quickly after I began this blog. He was referring to my admittedly reluctant statement, shortly after Donald Trump was inaugurated, about giving him a chance to prove he was a decent, capable leader. Many presidents grew into the job, regardless of how they behaved during heated campaigns. In February of 2017, I wouldn’t have expected to be taken seriously if I simply joined the chorus of Trump haters.
My feelings and beliefs concerning Trump were never political. Party affiliation didn’t influence me where Trump was concerned. My intense dislike of the man was based on his lack of moral character, his greed and self-aggrandizement, his complete lack of respect for truth – I could go on, but it’s easier to sum Trump up in one word. He’s a sociopath who has no business holding any public office. I gave Trump a chance to prove himself, and he quickly did. I didn’t lose my objectivity, I recognized Trump for what he was – a despicable pig of a man, who was willing to undermine everything our country stands for, for his own amusement.
So, yes, the gloves started to come off almost immediately as Trump continued his attacks against immigrants, the judiciary, and people of color, just as he did during the 2016 campaign. It was soon clear that persons of great competence could never be successful in his administration. People like that think independently. They don’t sign loyalty oaths, but they take their oaths to uphold the Constitution very seriously. Thus, highly respected people, who already had risen to the top of their professions like James Mattis, Rex Tillerson, and John Kelly could only deal with the lies and corruption of the Trump administration for a while before they departed, while incompetent hacks like Rick Perry and Betsy Devos managed to serve for a full four years.
Who did Trump place his trust and the welfare of the country in? His daughter, Ivanka, who was a laughing-stock as “senior advisor” from day one, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was given a portfolio as broad as the entire Cabinet’s and accomplished nothing of significance in four years. Competence and job qualifications were never an issue with Trump’s appointments. Consider Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, two men with no credentials, whose only distinguishing characteristics were that they were almost as sociopathic as their boss.
That trend continued when Trump appointed former NC Congressman Mark Meadows as Chief of Staff for the final year of his term. Meadows was no star, academically, and his resume was average – in other words, he had zero chance of ever influencing the president on matters of substance. He was there to provide political cover and kiss Trump’s ass. As it became clear that Trump was likely to lose the 2020 election, Meadows became a key cog in the effort to invalidate it by any means, as long as Trump won.
Meadows was a loyal servant, but blind loyalty is not the same as political acumen or the ability to steer the president toward doing his job properly. While most Chiefs of Staff are former corporate CEOs, proven military leaders, or respected managers, Meadows was a mediocre real estate developer and the former owner of a sandwich shop, until he signed on to the House Freedom Caucus and demonstrated his undying loyalty to Trump. No law degree, no MBA, no professional credentials except an AA degree for Florida State University. (That’s the same degree you ne’er-do-well nephew got when he knew he would flunk out during his junior year of college.) That isn’t turning out well for the former president, as the Special House Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection placed Meadows right at the heart of Trump’s involvement in the attack on the Capitol and his deliberate refusal to intervene to protect the Congress and the Constitution.
Meadows’ behavior during the House investigation has been bizarre. He turned over the weird Powerpoint presentation that laid out for Trump every possible way to subvert the election and relinquished countless texts and emails that place both Trump and himself directly in the line of fire in the investigation of who was responsible for the insurrection. Only after giving up all that incriminating evidence, he ignored the Committee’s subpoena and is about to be referred to the Justice Department for contempt of Congress. If Trump is ultimately indicted, which I believe he will be, he can probably thank Meadows’ inexplicable decisions.
If our future is to be secured as the Framers of the Constitution intended, the best thing that can happen is for Trump and his sycophants to be painstakingly removed from the political scene by due process before they can do any more damage. That will free the cowards in Congress who choose to look away whenever Trump does something outrageous out of fear of being primaried. It’s a sad day when we have to depend on people like that to preserve our heritage.