Donald Trump is someone who is quite adept at evading final judgment. He can file for bankruptcy, yet still advance himself as a brilliant and effective businessman. His appointed judge to the Supreme Court can write the decision conservative Christian religious freedom advocates feared the most, and Trump will still claim Christians need him to protect them. He distances himself from that which he is most directly responsible (Dobbs, his own Cabinet and staff appointments), and he evades accountability for his own false promises (Mexico will build the wall). He can lose an election by more than seven million votes and seventy-four votes in the Electoral College, and still claim he won.
I’ve been mulling over this message ever since you posted it, and it strikes me as very wise. Like your other most convicting messages, it focuses not on the “what” of politics but on the heart of your readers. And it cuts to the core — a common thread throughout the Trump era, from threats to release his tax returns, to the Mueller investigation to discussion of the 25th Amendment to the hopes pinned on the January 6th committee to these various legal challenges has been the way they served exactly the role you describe.
I do think that impeachment is immune to this criticism, though. It’s THE constitutional remedy for rogue presidents, and had Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and eight more Republican Senators voted to convict and bar Trump from future office in the second impeachment — a reasonable ask from the least Republican-friendly caucus at the moment of Trump’s clearest culpability furthest from any election — then we would be in a very different place politically today.
Wise words, Michael.
I just wish that the government had acted more quickly and aggressively to take action in response to the coup attempt, rather than simply allowing him to continue to practice politics and rally supporters, and have these cases come out against him one by one. It just feels like our government is not defending itself as strongly as many others would.