Amid the shock and horror accompanying yet another mass-shooting of school children in Florida, an anonymous White House official exhibited the sheer moral squalor of Trumpism.
âFor everyone, [the massacre] was a distraction or a reprieve,â the official said. âA lot of people here felt like it was a reprieve from seven or eight days of just getting pummeled.â
Getting pummeled, that is, about White House aide Rob Porterâs keeping his job for almost a year after FBI investigators warned wife-beating made him vulnerable to blackmail, thus a security risk. Not to mention Chief of Staff John Kelly getting caught in yet another barefaced lie.
Seventeen dead students and teachers. A reprieve, the man said. (Although there are certainly women in this White House capable of saying that.)
Anyway, letâs try a little thought exercise. Letâs pretend that Donald J. Trump himself needed to be vetted for a security clearance by the FBI. Any chance heâd pass muster?
Letâs put aside Trumpâs suspect entanglement with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin for a moment. What investigators look for in deciding if somebody can be trusted with Top Secret intelligence is evidence of bad character and/or significant vulnerabilities.
Trumpâs half-dozen bankruptcies alone might disqualify him. Settling a $25 million fraud lawsuit, as the president did in the Trump University case, would also ruin his chances. Not to mention a long list of business partners, contractors and customers whoâd say he refused to pay legitimate debts, violated contracts, or simply walked away. Heâs been sued literally thousands of times.
Three wives could be an issue, and a well-publicized history of multiple adulteries. First wife Ivana filed a divorce petition alleging assault and rape, although it was later withdrawn. The list of women publicly accusing Trump of sexual assault has reached 20. Paying hush-money to porn stars and Playboy playmates demonstrates vulnerability to blackmailâan immediate disqualifier.
Never mind Russia; the tabloid newspaper National Inquirer appears to have Trump in its pocket.
So no, on moral grounds alone Donald J. Trump would never be entrusted with the nationâs secrets.
Furthermore, at the risk of getting ahead of myself, what are the odds that the Russians don’tÂ have compromising video of Trump cavorting with Moscow prostitutes? Heâs made a show of being too worldly-wise to jump into such a trap, but what if a âtop oligarchâ told him the women were a gift from Putin?
Flattery gets you everywhere with Trump. Everybody knows that.
Somethingâs got to explain his obsequious fawning over Putin besides Trumpâs dictator-envy. (Pardon indicted former campaign chairman Paul Manafort? In Moscow, heâd take an accidental fall from a hotel balcony. In America, Manafortâs more apt to cop a plea.)
Anyway, itâs always sex or money.
Alas, the United States has no vetting process for political leaders. None of the above facts about the manâs character is in serious dispute, although listing them is certain to infuriate some of this columnâs more excitable e-mail correspondents. Not to mention âBorisâ and âNatasha,â the Russian trolls I unmasked during the 2016 campaign, provoking scatological insults that might have shocked me if I hadnât grown up in New Jersey.
So anyway, there he is: the President of the United States, a certifiable low-life who couldnât pass muster as a White House security guard. If Trump had any sense heâd resign the presidency in the wake of Robert Muellerâs indictment of 13 Russians for conspiring to disrupt the 2016 electionâpossibly saving the Republican Party and sparing himself and the country the melodramatic confrontation that looms ahead.
Truthfully, the man should never have run in the first place. Indeed, Trump appears to have envisioned the presidency as the ultimate reality-TV show, mistaking the national news media for the celebrity tabloids he so easily manipulated back when heâd brag to radio host Howard Stern about his sexual conquests and telephone gossip columnists raving about the wild immorality of Russian women.
Confronting an independent news media and the limitations of the U.S. Constitution, however, has driven Trump clear around the bend. In a bizarre series of tweets over the weekend, the president claimed heâd never described Russian interference in the 2016 election as a âhoaxââalthough everybody but the most far-gone adepts of the Trump personality cult remembers him doing so countless times. Also as a âwitch hunt.â
But Muellerâs Russian indictments are clearly predicate to more damning evidence to come: hacked Democratic emails, WikiLeaks, and Donald, Jr.âs already-documented dalliance with Russian operatives. Heavy shoes appear sure to drop.
Even Trump himself must know it. Thatâs why heâs in such a panic.
That said, Democrats would be wise to lay off the 9/11 and Pearl Harbor analogies. Let the evidence speak for itself.
Maybe theyâre laughing their asses off in Moscow, but when they start laughing in Keokuk and Moscow, Idaho, youâll know itâs over. Â