America’s PTSD: Pretty Tired of Seeing Donald

By

Leonard Zwelling

This week has been devoted to blogs about the impending impeachment inquiry that may turn into an investigation that may turn into articles of impeachment and a committee vote that may turn into a vote on the House floor to impeach the President of The United States for only the third time in history.

Much attention has been rightly focused on the House Intelligence Committee led by Adam Schiff (D-CA) and how fast that committee will be able to hear from the famous whistleblower whose identity is known by few, but who presumably is a member of the intelligence community who has access to many people who have been present in the room during Donald Trump’s calls to foreign leaders. It was the discomfort of those staffers that eventually led them to complain to the whistleblower who, as a clearly consummate professional, did the right thing and reported these troubling developments out to Congress. The Executive Branch in the White House and in the Department of Justice did everything in their power to prevent the complaint from reaching Congress including a cover-up (burying the information in a super secure server) and a cover-up of what they covered-up. But it made it into the light, even if it made it late. And now Trump is basically confirming the charges by appealing to the Ukraine and to China to investigate Joe Biden and his son.

What is the great unknown here is what the American people think of this latest adventure in Trump’s through the looking glass presidency.

My guess is that the country is divided into three camps.

The first camp is the Trump defenders. They will walk through fire for their president and they will dismiss the latest brouhaha as much ado about nothing. The president wasn’t seeking a quid pro quo with his Ukrainian counterpart so no harm, no foul. Not exactly. It was pretty clear from the notes that Trump was seeking a favor from the Ukrainians—an investigation of Joe Biden and his son. Such dirt, much like the dirt offered to the Trump team in June 2016 in the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians, is of high political value and so cannot be accepted by any candidate for high office from foreign agents. Trump has said he would take such dirt if he could get it. Now, he sought it. That’s against the law. He’s guilty. He’s admitted as much. Next case. The Trump supporters don’t see it that way and they won’t.

The second camp is the Trump haters. This bloc consists of Democrats, especially on the left, who hate Trump’s policies and also despise his personal comportment. His personal comportment, while reprehensible, is not an issue in the case before us beyond what he did asking for a favor from the Ukrainians. This camp is right to call Trump on this error. It is not right to dredge up all past perceived wrongs as part of this impeachment inquiry.

The third group is the most important one and the one to which I refer in the title of this blog. These are the people who may have voted for Trump or maybe did not. Nonetheless they respect the process by which a president is chosen and accepted the result that Mr. Trump won. They want to support their president and their country. They were more than willing to overlook Trump’s boorish style and Tweets, his womanizing and his racism, his anti-immigrant rhetoric and the mediocrity of his appointments. Will they be willing to overlook the fact that the President of the United States was willing to hold up military aid to an ally until he could get political dirt on his rival for the White House in 2020? Or have they had enough? Are they pretty tired of seeing the Donald all over TV, lying through his teeth and being an embarrassment to the country?

On that one question the entire impeachment effort turns because even if the House indicts him (impeaches him) it will take two thirds of the Senate, the Republican Senate, to convict him. That will only happen when, as in Watergate after the revelation of the smoking gun tape, it became obvious to Mr. Nixon’s fellow Republicans in the Senate that he could not survive impeachment and a Senate trial. Nixon was pushed to quit.

I doubt that Trump will ever quit, but if the American people begin to accept the fact that he broke the law, that the Mueller Report did not exonerate him (even though this should not be part of the articles of impeachment), that he would sell his soul to be re-elected and sell the American people, too to the likes of Kim Jun-Un or Vladimir Putin, then the emails from constituents of the GOP Senators will light up and then 67 Senate votes to convict would be possible. At that point Lindsey Graham will go to his golfing buddy and tell him what the GOP Senators told Nixon in 1974. It’s over.

But only when America’s PTSD exceeds a certain threshold will Mr. Trump be on the runway back to New York and Trump Tower and Mike Pence will become the 46th President of the United States.

That’s what it will take. Watch. But surely, we are no where near there yet.

Leonard Zwelling