Last week, the president’s extended vacation from the fetid and dank D.C. swamp led to a renewed interest in Donald Trump’s activities prior to and after he slithered into the political arena. Trump had been busy visiting London and France for the 75th D-Day celebration while spending some time golfing in Ireland. He has, of course, embarrassed himself, the U.S. presidency and his country while on the trip, but certainly at this point that’s not news.
While Trump was away last week, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He reportedly pressed her to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, but Pelosi was cold to the idea; according to Politico’s Heather Caygle, Pelosi said, “I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison.”
Meanwhile Trump as usual has been busy calling people names, bitching about his media coverage, proposing tariffs on Mexico that even members of the GOP called “draconian” and praising those who landed in Normandy in 1944. For good measure, Trump defended his own lack of service in Vietnam because he was “no fan” of the war and hadn’t heard of Vietnam. You can be sure members of the 101st Airborne probably hadn’t heard of Carentan before preparing for D-Day, but they went anyway.
Perhaps Pelosi is biding her time and waiting for the session to end; therefore, no real moves toward impeachment. Maybe, as she said, she is reticent to go forward because people don’t understand that impeachment doesn't equate removal, and she’d rather see him in jail, either after an electoral defeat or the completion of his second term. Maybe she likes to say the word impeachment to torture Donald Trump. Maybe she’s playing a long game. Maybe she’s not playing games. Maybe she’s smart and has Trump’s number. Maybe she’s afraid to move forward. Maybe she’s stupid.
Certainly, the Democrats have given cause for concern to those pushing for impeachment the strongest. Few believe that (as the prevailing wisdom goes) Trump wants to be impeached so he can run as an underdog and further deepen his support with his base. Though he may use the position to his advantage, it isn’t the easiest path for Trump to re-election. Getting the Democrats to refrain from impeachment is certainly a clearer path to victory—not just for Trump, but for any president.
Trump’s activities show the Democrats still haven’t come to grasp with the fact that they are the party in power in the House.
To those ends, Trump, as reported by CBS’s Steve Portnoy, observed the 75th anniversary of D-Day by defending his lack of service during the Vietnam War and saying he was “making up for it” by increasing the DOD's budget. Some would call that demagoguery. Some would call it cowardice. The Trump lovers praise such speeches for whatever reason comes to their mind via the usual social and mainstream media sources. A few sit with their mouths agape as they have since day one.
Whether it’s putting children in cages while decrying human suffering across the globe, or denying climate change while the climate changes, or preaching human rights while denying LGBTQ rights, screaming for equality while demanding conformity or generally deriding human progression while screaming “Make America Great Again,” there is no part of the Trump administration that conforms to known rules of logic, science and/or honest and open communication. The chaos so designed to make sure people argue for four years while Trump figures out how to get re-elected, stay out of prison or avoid impeachment is what passes for politics in the United States. And so it endangers our safety around the world.
Despite Trump’s constant shouting for simple solutions to problems that don’t exist or are far too complex to be fixed with three word slogans, he continues to endear himself to a sizable portion of the voting public who will back him at any cost. The Democrats, meanwhile, are challenging him with former Vice President Joe Biden, who is considered the frontrunner even though he’s done little actual campaigning.
Meanwhile, Democrats like John Delaney, the Maryland congressman who is among the two dozen active aspirants to the White House, has been tirelessly campaigning for the better part of a year and has only found himself resonating among one percent of potential democratic voters. Perhaps every Democrat should be like Biden: Sit still and say little while Trump rants. Trump can wear his golf shoes to church, call someone “nasty,” embarrass himself on international stages, tell his former staffers to ignore subpoenas, flout the rule of law (according to the Mueller report) and try to obstruct justice 10 times (according to the Mueller report), and his supporters are still going to support him. That’s an old story.
Trump’s activities have, according to George Will, exposed the GOP as a “cult” with allegiance to Trump, not the Grand Old Party of Lincoln. Worse, Trump’s activities show the Democrats still haven’t come to grasp with the fact they are the party in power in the House. They’re still acting as if they are in the minority.
Meanwhile, the House continues to pass legislation that gets bottled up in the Senate because the GOP-led Senate and Mitch McConnell fail to move on anything for any and every reason. At the same time, Pelosi’s flawed reasoning for not pursuing impeachment sounds thin and frightened—and reflects the sentiment from some who claim the Democrats have no backbone. The GOP impeached Bill Clinton for lying about getting a blow job. Mueller has outlined 10 instances of potential obstruction of justice by Trump. What more does it take? Are the Democrats waiting for Trump to knock over a bank?
The Donald said he could blow someone away on Fifth Avenue and his fan base would exonerate him. He didn’t go far enough. Apparently, the Democrats wouldn’t indict him either. He’s getting a pass from everyone.
The GOP also threatened to begin impeachment proceedings against Hillary Clinton the moment she was in office, back when they thought she actually knew how to campaign in Michigan. Whatever else you may say about the GOP—they put party over country, they’re part of a cult, whatever—the truth is they aren’t afraid of action. The Democrats appear at this moment to be taking for granted a victory next year which is far from being decided and, looking at the two dozen eggs in the democratic basket, may not hatch at all.
There is, of course, no reason why the Republic cannot pursue impeachment and indictments. While Mueller says Justice Department guidelines preclude a sitting president from being indicted while in office, that can be challenged. Charges can also be investigated and prepared for delivery upon the day the president leaves office. Inaction is the death knell for democracy and there is a reason why a growing majority of people (some 70 percent, according to recent polls) disdain the legislative branch of government so much: inaction. Inability to pass legislation, inability to work together, inability to put the country ahead of your particular party and an inability for rational thought dominates Congress.
Pelosi, McConnell, Trump, Chuck Schumer and a host of the other aging leaders of this country are first generation recipients of the benefits from the sacrifices made on D-Day. How does today’s leadership reward that sacrifice? Trump tears the Constitution asunder while playing golf. Pelosi doesn’t want to impeach him and Schumer still comes off like Mr. Wilson in the Dennis the Menace comic strip: “You kids get off my lawn!"
The juxtaposition of Trump in Europe celebrating 75 years after the Normandy invasion with the ineffective Democrats wallowing in self-pity in Washington, D.C. is both sobering and nauseating. If the veterans who risked it all could see 75 years in the future, you have to wonder how many of them would metaphorically storm D.C. were they alive today.