The vultures are circling over Donald Trump’s White House: Daily Bullshit, August 3-5, 2017

I should hasten to qualify my headline. Yes, I think Donald Trump’s days as president number far fewer than the full number in the length remaining in his term, and probably now less than a year’s worth. I am no longer seeing his presidency as viable—there’s simply much too much shit coming down and Trump’s style is simply too radical a departure from the norm to be defensible. But when I say the vultures are circling, that does not necessarily mean they will feed; it merely means they see something dying, in this case, the Trump presidency. It could be that the much-anticipated but increasingly unlikely ‘pivot’ actually happens and Trump starts behaving sensibly. And I suppose it still might be possible that Robert Mueller’s investigation will come to nothing. And it might be, in those cases, that he survives and the vultures fly off in search of other carrion. I just don’t think so.

And I should also hasten to add that I still have no clear idea of how the end comes. The 25th amendment remains a personal favorite,[1] now to be orchestrated by John Kelly, Trump’s new chief of staff. Which of course means that Trump’s removal takes on a distinct flavor of a military coup. I don’t think I see an impeachment emerging from this Congress unless Republican congresspeople reach a consensus that they are unable to pursue their agenda with Trump in office and that their ends would be better served with a President Pence. It’s also hard for me to see Donald Trump resigning. But in any of these scenarios, much depends on the limits of Trump’s self-delusions: Does he appeal a 25th amendment ouster to Congress? I think he would likely prevail but in this scenario he no longer has any credibility. Does he resign when confronted with impeachment or out of sheer frustration? I’m not sure his ego would allow it. Will, as a therapist suggested to me, his self-delusion enable him to spin a resignation as vindication or some sort of success? Or does the dissonance between his own grandiose or malignant narcissistic self-image[2] lead to suicide?

I just don’t see how this can go on. And the one lesson of my life is that if it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense, and it cannot last. I think Trump’s presidency is no longer tenable.


Updates

  1. August 3, 10:39 pm:
    • Robert Mueller is following the money.[3]
    • The Republican-controlled Senate is restraining the Republican President Donald Trump from making recess appointments.[4] (Congress)
  2. August 5, 11:48 am:
    • David Lauter takes on the matter of Donald Trump’s relationship with Congress.[5] (Congress)

Robert Mueller

Evan Perez, Pamela Brown, and Shimon Prokupecz, “One year into the FBI’s Russia investigation, Mueller is on the Trump money trail,” CNN, August 3, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/03/politics/mueller-investigation-russia-trump-one-year-financial-ties/index.html

Jeff Stein, “There’s now a bipartisan bill to protect Mueller’s investigation from Trump,” Vox, August 3, 2017, https://www.vox.com/2017/8/3/16090436/mueller-trump-bill-senate

Murray Waas, “Top FBI officials could testify against Trump,” Vox, August 3, 2017, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/3/16084246/mueller-obstruction-case-stronger-trump-surrogates

Del Quentin Wilber and Byron Tau, “Special Counsel Robert Mueller Impanels Washington Grand Jury in Russia Probe,” Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/special-counsel-mueller-impanels-washington-grand-jury-in-russia-probe-1501788287


Unauthorized Migrants

Greg Miller, “Trump urged Mexican president to end his public defiance on border wall, transcript reveals,” Washington Post, August 3, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/you-cannot-say-that-to-the-press-trump-urged-mexican-president-to-end-his-public-defiance-on-border-wall-transcript-reveals/2017/08/03/0c2c0a4e-7610-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html


Uber

Douglas MacMillan and Newley Purnell, “Smoke, Then Fire: Uber Knowingly Leased Unsafe Cars to Drivers,” Wall Street Journal, August 3 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/smoke-then-fire-uber-knowingly-leased-unsafe-cars-to-drivers-1501786430


Congress

David Lauter’s newsletter[6] is absolutely worth reading in full but a lot of this really is that conservatives are not an ideological monolith, a point I beat into the ground with my dissertation,[7] but which folks across the political spectrum continue to refuse to heed.

Jordain Carney, “Senate blocks Trump from making recess appointments over break,” Hill, August 3, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/345261-senate-blocks-trump-from-making-recess-appointments-over-break

David Lauter, “GOP Congress and Trump: Can this marriage be saved?” Los Angeles Times, August 3, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-essential-politics-20170804-story.html


  1. [1]David Benfell, “A scholar tries to reprise Sokal’s hoax. And mostly fails,” (Supposedly) Daily Bullshit, May 21, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/reading/2017/05/21/a-scholar-tries-to-reprise-sokals-hoax-and-mostly-fails-daily-bullshit-may-20-21-2017/; David Benfell, “Donald Trump is an ass, London edition,” (Supposedly Daily Bullshit, June 9, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/reading/2017/06/09/donald-trump-is-an-ass-london-edition-june-5-2017/
  2. [2]Evan Osnos, “How Trump Could Get Fired,” New Yorker, May 8, 2017, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/08/how-trump-could-get-fired; George Simon, “Understanding and Dealing with Narcissistic Rage,” Counseling Resource, July 24, 2017, http://counsellingresource.com/features/2017/07/24/understanding-narcissistic-rage/
  3. [3]Evan Perez, Pamela Brown, and Shimon Prokupecz, “One year into the FBI’s Russia investigation, Mueller is on the Trump money trail,” CNN, August 3, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/03/politics/mueller-investigation-russia-trump-one-year-financial-ties/index.html
  4. [4]Jordain Carney, “Senate blocks Trump from making recess appointments over break,” Hill, August 3, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/345261-senate-blocks-trump-from-making-recess-appointments-over-break
  5. [5]David Lauter, “GOP Congress and Trump: Can this marriage be saved?” Los Angeles Times, August 3, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-essential-politics-20170804-story.html
  6. [6]David Lauter, “GOP Congress and Trump: Can this marriage be saved?” Los Angeles Times, August 3, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-essential-politics-20170804-story.html
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).

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