How Bad Does it Get?

Since the founding of our republic, we’ve had 46 chief executives (presidents). Ranking them has been something of a parlor game among historians since our founding. Although “rankings” can fluctuate over the decades as new information is unearthed, most rank the top 4 or so fairly consistently: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson. All of these gentlemen being human, there were flaws aplenty among them: some were slaveholders, for example. On the other hand, we have the failures: James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson. In my humble opinion, however the worst, absolute worst, hands down: #45, Donald J. Trump.

The Donald, as he became known among New York cognescienti in the last two decades of the 20th century, brought several extremely undesirable traits to his new gig: ignorance (and a determination to remain so), carelessness, stupidity, and a near total disregard for the truth. He is a failed businessman. His technique for problem solving can be summed up in a manner I learned in the Navy: When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout. Overlaying all of these: Treason. Let’s call it by its name.

Early in his presidency, Trump took a trip to Helsinki, Finland. There, he basically sided with Vladimir Putin, dissing his entire senior intelligence staff. It lead me to wonder: What does Putin have on him, anyway?

He was impeached twice: Once for intefering with a foreign government (Ukraine), and the second, for inciting an insurrection. Is this treason, or what? In neither instance could the Republican cult (or party?) bring itself to remove him from office, despite the clear and present danger many of them faced at the hands of the mob he sicced on them that day. Not to mention his lap dog vice president!

As I write this, the Justice Department appears to be (finally) nearing indictments on two issues unrelated to each other: the insurrection, and the taking of classified documents to his (bordello) in Florida. As readers of this set of screeds know, the classified documents fiasco is close to my experience back in the day. What in the world is this turkey doing with this stuff? Writing his memoirs? Selling some of them? (just saying…). Although the seriousness of the documents pales in comparison with his antics inciting the January 6, 2021 insurrection, people have been known to die when secrets are revealed.

Was it P.T. Barnum who coined the phraise, “A sucker is born every minute”? If so, judging by Trump’s campaign funds, the fertility rate of these folks has increased astronomically. Here they are putting their money where his mouth is – seems like every time he gets into trouble, campaign contributions from folks who really can’t afford them flow like a torrent into his coffers.

Speaking of financial prowess, has anybody noticed that the national debt soared significantly during his term? Might this have anything to do with his single legislative accomplishment, namely, the grossly ill-advised tax cut for billionaires? I really wonder what some of those people have on him.

Although known mainly as a neer do well man-about-town playboy who put his name on buildings to earn his keep, Trump did do some damage prior to his emergence as a politician. He was instrumental in the prosecution of a group of teenagers, dubbed the Central Park Five, wrongly, as it turned out, convicted of a sexual assault of a jogger in the park in 1989. Putting his money where his mouth was (to the tune of $85K), he turned public opinion against the accused, calling for the death penalty. He never apologized (probably never has, about anything).

Oh, by the way, a girlfriend of Rudy Giuliani (I guess she’s an ex, but who’s counting) filed a lawsuit recently (hard to keep up with this stuff) alleging that the President was offering pardons for $2 million a pop. The arrangement had America’s Mayor splitting the tab 50:50 with POTUS. Makes past grifts like Trump U. and Trump Steaks seem kinda chintzy, when you think of it.

As the wheels of justice grind on and on toward what I hope will eventually be convictions for several criminal acts (such as obstruction of justice and insurrection, to name a couple) I have been surprised to learn that convictions on none of them would preclude his running for office. I just hope the MAGA crowd finally wakes up and smells the coffee. I am not hopeful.

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