In the waning days of his presidency, Trump is resembling evil genius Sideshow Bob, stepping on rakes. Or, Wile E. Coyote running into walls painted to look like tunnel entrances.
Betsy DeVos resigned as secretary of education because Trump’s handling of the Capitol Hill riot has set a bad example for America’s children. But she had no problem with the Access Hollywood tape?
She followed many other administration officials who resigned the day before, including Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary and wife of Sen. Mitch McConnell.
To be sure, Donald Trump is not the absolute biggest loser in history.
Julius Caesar: “Beware the Ides of March? What kind of fiddle-twaddle is that? Hey! Ouch! Ouch! Stop that! Et tu Brute? Oof — gurgle.”
Richard III: “Come on, guys, cut me some slack here. All I’m asking for is a horse. Show some respect.”
King Charles I of England: “What bad subjects you all are, taking a divine king’s head off. Shame.”
First, Trump completely blows the Republicans’ opportunity to win at least one of Georgia’s senatorial races by calling officials in that state to make up votes for him, essentially trying to effect a fraudulent election — exactly what he has been protesting all this time. It’s OK if the fraud is initiated by him. I’m convinced Jon Ossoff would have lost had the people of Georgia not been so insulted by the president, by his meddling in their affairs.
For two months, Trump had put out messages saying, in effect, only Republican votes are legitimate. He hammered that message home Jan. 3 — two days before the Georgia runoff — and the state’s Democratic voters answered him.
Speaking of meddling in the affairs of The People: We’ve seen weeks of Trump working the senate up to the point where he was assured there would be objections to various state certifications of the November vote. All his ducks were in a row. All he had to do was let that play out in order to look good and, if not prevail, at least gain credentials for his role as a leader of the Republican Party. Instead, he incites a mob of insurrectionists to invade the Capitol building and disrupt the very proceedings that would have demonstrated how faithful the Republican senators could be to him.
So, once the insurrectionists were cleared from the building, most of the senators Trump expected to show their support somewhat turned away from him.
If Trump hadn’t talked the mob into interfering, there might have been 10 hours’ live TV worth of legislators wrangling over electoral college votes on behalf of Trump. The votes probably would have stayed the same at the end of it all, but Trump would have cemented his role as leader of the party and strengthened his chance for an uncontested run in 2024.
Now Mike Pence’s chances are looking good, while Trump could very likely be handcuffed and led to jail the afternoon of the 20th.
Even Lindsey Graham emerged as a bit of a hero. I haven’t seen him turn against a president so fast since the Watergate hearings.
I so want Trump to pardon himself. I can’t think of a more fitting end to his streak of self-destructive behavior.
Joe Biden has said that he would not wish to see Trump prosecuted for federal crimes. But if Trump grants himself a pardon, Biden would be faced with overwhelming pressure to challenge the validity of the pardon.
Even while Trump is still president, the Department of Justice is considering whether he can be charged with sedition. If they decide he can, the new attorney general taking over next week can order Trump’s arrest, pardon or not, and Trump’s lawyers can then try to argue in the Supreme Court that a president can pardon himself. It would be sweet if Merrick Garland could argue for the opposing view.
Multiple choice question aimed at further understanding:
Your employer has hired someone to replace you. You’ve been told to clear out your desk and leave in two weeks. What is your best course of action?
A) Call the CEO; tell him he’s a jerk; then beg him to keep you on.
B) Contact all the board of directors and talk them into reconsidering your termination.
C) Just before the BoD is set to meet, send a couple hundred “friends” of yours to “visit” them.
D) See if saying “I’m sorry” helps.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Read more in the Jan. 13-19, 2021 issue.