Note to fretting US liberals: Keep your adult diapers on
Sure, taking away secret papers isn’t Trump’s worst offence. But if that gets him prosecuted, it shouldn’t matter.
President Road Rage is also a hoarder.
Figures. The perpetually petulant man-child has issues.
When he left the White House in an insurrectionist huff, Donald Trump took (stole) boxes of top-secret documents that should have stayed at the White House to Mar-a-Lago, his architectural abomination in Florida.
The career bully with a golfer’s paunch decided – for still mysterious reasons – to store (hide) the United States government’s hush-hush paperwork in various places at his sprawling beachfront lair.
That is, of course, until US Attorney General Merrick Garland emerged finally from the cocoon of circumspection and had the Federal Bureau of Investigation raid – with a brave judge’s blessing – Trump’s gilded home away from home earlier this month.
Happily, “Don” Trump was indeed away. Two days later, he was busy invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 440 times while being questioned in a New York courtroom, under oath. That was in connection with a civil probe into whether, remarkably, “the former president fraudulently inflated the value of his assets to secure loans and other benefits.”
Yes, the same Trump who had once suggested that taking the Fifth meant an admission of guilt. “Trump” should be listed in any Thesaurus as an antonym for logic and consistency.
In any event, what a shining, rule-of-law-affirming spectacle it was. An armed swarm of G-men and women burst into Trump’s garish pied-à-terre to find and retrieve documents – including busting open a safe and dropping fishing lines, if necessary, in toilet bowls. On Wednesday, the Department of Justice released a stunning image of its Top Secret haul spread out on a carpeted floor. Perhaps the pack-rat ex-president wanted the classified records for the appendixes of his picture-book memoir: A Fascist’s Wild Adventures at The White House.
Last Friday, the FBI reluctantly made public a redacted copy of the affidavit that argued before a judge why the “feds” had to invade one of Trump’s homes. The agency did not want to release even the “redacted” affidavit, worried that it might tip off the “target” – the 45th president of the United States – and his advisers to identify the snitches and pressure them to stop cooperating with agents.
My first takeaway from reading what remains to be read of the redacted affidavit: If you recoiled at or dismissed my appellation “Don” Trump as a flippant trope, then, dear reader, you need to review the 36-page affidavit line by line. Any illusions and myopia ought to vanish.
My second takeaway: The name of the FBI’s special agent who authored the affidavit is blacked out. That, I suppose, may be expected given the extraordinary circumstances. Or it may be a recognition of the true, malevolent nature of “Don” Trump and his associates inside and outside Congress. We know that they approached January 6 committee witnesses to encourage them to remain loyal to the “boss” and have amplified calls to shoot “deep-state” FBI agents on sight.
It is, after all, called the Trump “family.”
In the FBI raid’s aftermath, a bunch of fidgety liberals and progressives have oscillated between insisting that they knew, all along, that Garland would not disappoint to ruing that a Machiavellian Trump might leverage the raid into martyrdom and re-election in 2024.
Other fretting liberals and progressives are whining that the raid suggests that Trump will escape being indicted for planning, encouraging and approving an insurrection to prevent his democratic eviction from the Oval Office.
Fretting and fidgeting over, by any objective measure, good news is a congenital trait among some impossible-to-please liberals and progressives who prefer to wallow in their safe place: doom and resignation.
Here is my advice to the moaning malcontents: Keep your adult diapers on.
Can you stop your kvetching, take in the wonderous moment and rejoice in Trump’s blunt, warrant-approved comeuppance? Teflon Don’s Teflon may be dissolving: He and his kin – Don Jr, Eric, Ivanka, Melania and Tiffany – have suffered an indignity and humiliation experienced by felons.
Hallelujah, I say. Hallelujah.
You should take solace, too, in the fact that your crystal ball is as broken as my crystal ball. In March 2019, yours truly succumbed to an impulse I had promised to avoid – I tried to predict the future. I wrote a column with cocky – albeit qualified – certainty that Trump would prevail in 2020 largely because he had been “exonerated” of being a Russian “asset” or stooge.
That is called a “howler” in the journalism trade. Journalists are loath to admit – publicly at least – that they often make howlers. So, any forecast, from any quarter, that Trump will ride into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on the back of a horse named “Martyr” in a little over two years is indulging in the same foolish, cockeyed conjecture.
I can recall when, only a news cycle or two ago, the well-connected commentariat had already performed the last rites on the Democrats’ fast-fading fortunes in mid-term Congressional elections in November. Today, the Democrats are said to have the momentum on their side. That’s in part because the majority right-wing Supreme Court’s “Happy Days” nostalgia has translated into an invitation for Bible-belt states to ban abortions. Young Americans, especially women who want to exercise agency over their bodies, are mobilising. Biden’s recent legislative victories have helped, as well.
Politics, like journalism, is a fickle business.
“Don” Trump has other problems too. He has to contend with a serious rival in the dumbification of America – Florida governor Ron “Senseless” DeSantis.
DeSantis is working as hard as any of the Seven Dwarfs to convince brown-shirt Republicans that he is a slightly more coherent and appealing, book-banning authoritarian than Trump – without the tanker-sized legal baggage. DeSantis could prevail in the battle of the preening, septic braggarts and be crowned the Republican nominee for the presidency.
Meanwhile, Trump is edging towards what seemed inconceivable: An indictment. I’m not picky. Any indictment will do. If and when the charge arrives, it will be cause for VE Day-like celebration among enlightened Americans – save for the moaning malcontents.
In that euphoric event, Trump will wail that, like Jesus, he will be crucified by Democrats and the deep state’s eager and embedded accomplices. Let the colicky Trumpists howl to the moon and warn behind microphones of an impending “civil war”.
Trump is proof that bullies prosper when good men and women hesitate and turn away rather than confront the fight head-on and with the conviction and resolve the urgent circumstances demand. The time for turning away is over.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.