by Charles M. Blow · July 13, 2017
Protesters outside the White House on Tuesday. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
What befalls a country rived by a dynasty of deception and disrepute? What comes of a country being forced by its puerile “president” to retreat from its world leadership, set to a soundtrack of world mockery? What to make of an enterprise of corruption that Trump calls a family when they abandon any semblance of propriety and all things we once found appropriate?
The America that I know and love is hanging by a thread, and Trump’s scandalous camarilla is playing with the shears.
The latest shoe to drop is that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort (campaign chairman at the time) met last summer in Trump Tower with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer because, according to emails released by Trump Jr., he was told that he would receive dirt on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support” for his father.
Trump Jr.’s response: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
This is clear evidence of collusion and pushing disturbingly close to the possibility of other crimes including treason, although not quite there yet, from what is publicly known at this point.
This may well be the clearest link so far between the Trump campaign and the Russians, but it is far from the first act of misconduct. The entire Trump political era has been an extended exercise in misconduct.
Trump is president by a combination of the most despicable factors: a Russian cyberattack, voter suppression, racial anxiety and rampant sexism. People will struggle to explain it in other terms, and some will do so with dazzling language that apes the tone and tenor of intellectualism, but at its base an explanation that ignores those factors is a lie. It is a lie that covers a cyst. It is a lie that shields a sickness. It is a lie that excuses the inexcusable.
Donald Trump is president because a multiethnic, forward-thinking coalition twice elected a black man president and in so doing sent pulsing waves of fear down the spine of the traditional power structure in America. Barack Obama represented a fast-approaching future in which whiteness is not synonymous with power, in which power is more widely shared.
Therein lies an inherent insecurity, if you held a legacy claim to security simply by accident of birth and a systematic oppression of people who would compete with you for that security.
Donald Trump is president because American sexism, misogyny and patriarchy know no bounds. All politicians have flaws; Clinton had flaws. I could fill this column enumerating them. But as Bernie Sanders was fond of saying during the campaign, “On her worst day, Hillary Clinton will be an infinitely better candidate and president than the Republican candidate on his best day.”
On Trump’s best day, he was worse than the other Republican candidates. And yet, he won the nomination, and that man — the worst of the worst — beat a woman who had more qualifications on the first page of her résumé than he could ever have achieved in his whole pathetic life.
And now that man and his spawn — born into nefariousness and groomed by nepotism — are waging an all-out war on the country he is supposed to lead.
Trump has attacked every traditional institution in this country, from the judiciary to the press. But possibly the most dangerous and destructive has been his assault on the truth itself.
After Trump Jr. hid the meeting with the Russian lawyer, then acknowledged it, then had a rolling list of lies about the purpose of it, then was forced to release emails about the meeting that proved not only him but the entire Trump camp to be liars, he gave an interview to the Trumps’ favorite state propaganda machine, Fox News. His father chimed in on Twitter:
“My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!”
Everything in that tweet is not only a lie, but it is in diametrical opposition to the truth. But that is Trump’s tactic: Don’t shade the truth with a little lie; destroy the truth with an enormous lie. Consider the truth and then say the exact opposite is true. It is so disconcerting that it must be entertained and investigated because it is so foreign to honest people.
Trump Jr. wasn’t “open, transparent and innocent.” He is devious, knavish and guilty as sin.
I say that we must learn to discard as dishonest everything emanating from this White House. If it’s not a lie (and it often is), it’s a diversion.
Yes, listen to his speeches and read his tweets. Being an informed, engaged citizen demands that you remain aware of what the country’s so-called leader is thinking and doing.
But then shunt it aside. It’s all garbage and a waste of mental bandwidth. You only have to remember this: These people are not to be trusted. Their greatest interest is in their own enrichment. They believe that they exist in a space above the law and outside the rules.
Run everything that you hear from the White House through this filter: The “presidency” is a blasphemy and Trump is not only a disgrace but also an assault on the culture and the country.
And take comfort in this eternal truth: For all things, there comes an end.