Does Dirty Donald Deserve Respect?

Does the Trick Really Have All the Fun?
Respect for Devious Donnie, and the Presidency, is an Oxymoron

On the face of it Donald Trump is a compulsive liar, a brazen braggart, a foulmouthed bully, a racist, a serial sexual predator, a swindler and a megalomaniac.   He is the kind of man you don’t want your son to emulate and your daughters to avoid.  And these flaws are just the ones that easily meet the eye.  For those who care to take a deeper look a real horror show awaits their gaze.  But, if your standard for presidential leadership is honor, integrity, respect for women and non-white peoples, a public servant rather than an autocratic ruler, respect for democratic process and the institutions that make this possible, we need look no further to answer the question posed by this essay.

Donald Trump clearly does not meet this standard.  Hence those who argue that we ought to respect Trump because he was elected President, and we should respect the office, are standing on intellectual and moral quicksand.  I would remind them, yet again, that Adolph Hitler was elected too!  And I use the example of Hitler purposely, because as much as it enrages his supporters, Devious Donald and Adolph have much in common.  But since I have explored this question in five previous essays I shan’t relitigated it here. *  Yet to the astute and careful observer those similarities will be all too obvious. In fact, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who has just published a book titled “Fascism” has warned us about Trump’s fascistic tendencies.

However, it is enough to point out Trump’s myriad transgressions against the prestige and dignity of the American presidency through his odious personal behavior, embarrassing ignorance of the critical issues facing the nation and assaults on the constitutional norms he has vowed to uphold.  After covering Trump’s presidential campaign, Matt Taibbi, the crack investigative reporter with Rolling Stone magazine, wrote a book summing up his view of Trump entitled “The Insane Clown President.” Alas, those who though he was being hyperbolic will have to think again.  Now that we have gotten a good look at Trump in the Oval Office, the objective observer must confess that Taibbi nailed him.

From the outset his un-presidential posture was a source of embarrassment to the Republican Establishment and an odious offense to the party’s intelligentsia.  At first his candidacy was dismissed as a joke. But when he began to prevail over the crowded field in the Republican primaries and they began to take the possibility that Dirty Donald could actually win the Party’s nomination, it suddenly became no laughing matter. The longtime Republican stalwarts who were vying with Trump – a Johnny Come Lately –  to represent the party in the presidential election began to say what they really thought of him in an effort to warn their members not to vote for Devious Donald.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio declared in no uncertain terms that “Donald Trump is a con-man!”  This charge was echoed over and again by other candidates.  Mitt Romney, the past Republican presidential candidate, trashed Trump’s business acumen:” A business genius he is not!”  An able businessman with a Harvard MBA, Romney knows whereof he speaks.  No matter what you think of the Equities business, and there is much to criticize on moral grounds, there is no question that one must be astute in business matters in order to survive – let alone thrive as Romney has done. Trump on the other hand, had been the defendant in 3500 civil suits growing out of incompetent or unethical business practices, and was recently ordered to pay 25 million dollars to students who were swindled in the Trump University scam.

Jeb Bush, a Former Florida Governor – who had been all but anointed by the press and party leaders, being the son and brother of US presidents and possessing the traditional qualifications for President –  warned early on: “Donald Trump is a chaos candidate, and if he wins he will be a chaos President!”  The prescience of this warning qualifies Jeb for the honorific “Prophet Jeb.” As Trump’s presidency has been distinguished by unrelenting chaos!

As harsh as the criticisms of his political competitors were, they did not rise to the level of the vitriolic critiques coming from the Republican intelligentsia, who banded together to form a “Never Tump!” movement. Led by the likes of George Will and Bill Kristol – the intellectual heirs of those formidable conservative polemicists William F. Buckley, Norman Podoretz, Irving Kristol, et al – banded together and launched the “Never Trump” movement.  They saw that the election of Donald Trump would be the end of the Grand Old Party that they had committed their lives and careers to.

Tim Miller, who had been Jeb Bush’s Communications Director before he dropped out of the race, had this to say about a possible Trump victory:” “It is disturbing seeing him even in the ballpark of being president…I think it’s a bad sign of our republic that we are this close to electing a complete buffoon and fraud, because he encapsulates the worst qualities of a human.” John Podhoretz, a right-wing commentator and the son of Neo-con icon Norman Podhoretz, spoke for many long time Republicans who detest Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump in equal measure, when he wrote in his New York Post column: “Since I want everybody to lose…I’m going to be pleased and horrified in equal measure no matter what happens.” 

Long time columnist, author and a leading theoretician of the Republican party George Will, would declare Trump a dunce “who doesn’t know what it means to know something.” Will magnified his point by sarcastically observing that Trump has the advantage over him in Twitter exchanges “because he can say everything he knows in 145 characters and I can’t.”  He then quit the Republican Party rather than be led by Trump.

I believe that future historians studying this period will consider these dissenters heroes.  While the party apparatchiks are making a deal with the devil, because they feel they have a clueless dupe who will sign any legislation they put in front of him so long as it is opposed by Democrats – the ideal president in the view of anti-tax radical Grover Norquist – some of the party’s leading intellectuals are taking principle stands because all the observable facts suggest that although Trump may be good for the agenda of their party, he will be bad for the health of our republic.  And they have chosen to place country over party.

During the year since Trump was elected, he has realized all our worst fears.  He has never evolved into the “presidential” leader we were promised by his handlers. Alas, Dirty Donald has remained the same crude, ignorant, potty-mouthed, lying charlatan that he was during the campaign.  He has routinely called everybody who criticizes him dirty names – hence my tagging him “Dirty Donald” – and called the free press an “enemy of the People.”

He has hidden his tax returns from public scrutiny like a dope dealer, and repeatedly violated the “Emoluments Clause” in the constitution forbidding a sitting President from accepting money from foreign governments. A case against Trump for this violation has been filed by Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe, an authority on Constitutional Law, and his co-attorneys.  Trump has trashed the authority of the courts, threatened nuclear war against North Korea on Twitter, and is the subject of multiple investigations, federal and state.  As I write he is involved in a messy scandal with a porn star, and his former Campaign Manager and personal lawyer had their offices and homes raided by the FBI with no-knock search warrants.

As I write former FBI Director James Comey, whose abrupt dismissal by Trump – who admitted that he did it to stop the investigation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian agents on national television – prompted the appointment of a Special Prosecutor, is about to publish a book telling his side of the story after months of vilification by Trump.  On Sunday April 15, Comey appeared in a special interview on the ABC television network to discuss his new book, and he rendered a devastating critique of Trump’s leadership of the Nation, and expressed the view that Trump is definitely unworthy of due to his moral failings alone.

Although Trump is having a Twitter tantrum calling Comey a liar, when it comes to a test of credibility Trump’s chances of prevailing are about equal to those of a butterfly from a hatchet blow.  After all, fact checkers at the Washington Post have identified over 2000 lies told by the president of the USA during his first year in office, the all-time record!        

Despite his desperate thrashing about in protests against his accusers, it is hard to see how Trump will survive to the end of his first term.  From the look of things based on rumors, leaks and publicly announced indictments the blow that lays him low can come from anywhere –  laundering dirty Russian money; obstruction of Justice; Perjury; campaign finance laws; converting the White House into a profit center for the Trump Organization; collusion with Russian military intelligence to steal the presidential election, or tax evasion.  All seem plausible.

Added to his legal problems, is the potential for blackmail due to Trump’s moral laxity.  For instance, the fact that he has his “fixer” posing as a lawyer, Michael Cohen, paying off women with whom he had adulterous sexual liaisons, exposes the President to Blackmail. According to intelligence experts, the Russians probably know all about Trump’s sexual peccadillos.  Some believe the Russians have film of Trump’s misadventures on his visit to Russia to promote a beauty pageant.

If so, that would explain why Trump trashes everybody but Vladimir Putin. His refusal to implement sanctions imposed on Russia by Congress, sanctioning them for interfering in the last US presidential borders on Treason!  Some will argue that “Treason” as defined in the Constitution can only occur if the nation is at war.

Well, considering that “Cyber Warfare” has been recently added to the list of offences warranting a nuclear response, one could argue that technically we are in a state of war!  In any case, Trump’s behavior has so befouled the White House debased the presidency, it is impossible to respect that high office and respect Dirty Donald too!

 

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Playthell G. Benjamin,
Harlem, New York
April 19, 2018

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