By the time you read this, former FBI Director James Comey will have testified under oath in open session at the much-anticipated Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. The number of viewers will have been more like a Super Bowl than CSPAN.
Comey’s dramatic opening statement, which he released on Wednesday, read like a Tom Clancy novel and made Trump sound like Tony Soprano. (Trump should be that likable.) “I expect loyalty,” demands Trump, which is ironic because lately he’s thrown more people under the bus than a runaway Greyhound 8-wheeler.
Trump is taking the statement as “complete vindication” because Comey verified that the president was not the subject of the investigation. Frankly, I’m always surprised when Trump actually tells the truth. Then again, when the Titanic first hit the iceberg it would have been the truth to say, “At the moment we are completely afloat.”
Among Trump’s favorite phrases in his speeches are “Believe me,” and “Trust me.” I find they’re generally followed by a whopper of a lie. The same can be said of Trump’s strange snorts, whatever causes those. The louder the snort the bigger the lie.
Trump’s asking Comey to “Find a way to let the Flynn investigation go” was so disconcerting to Comey he didn’t wait to get back to the office to make contemporaneous notes. He did it in the car! (Trump told Comey he “Wasn’t involved with Russian hookers” but that still leaves open the burning question of what does Flynn know about Trump.)
Not as hyperbole, for the past 15 months I’ve been labeling Trump as unhinged. And he seems to be getting worse. Some insiders describe him as “frustrated, fuming, erratic and impulsive.” I know middle-schoolers who are more mature.
Recently, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Trump literally shoved a stunned Prime Minister Dusko Marcovic of Montenegro out of his way. Then then he cockily adjusted his suit as he planted himself in front of the group for a photo op. Can you say “Ugly American?” Trump’s NATO visit was described by many as the worst by an American president since the organization’s founding in 1949. (Is that all?)
Some are predicting Trump will “live tweet” the Senate hearings which would bound to further lower the prestige of the presidency and the image of the U.S. worldwide. Presidential biographer, Douglas Brinkley, says of Trump’s less than five months, “There is a smell of treason in the air for which there is no presidential precedent.” (But what does he really think?)
I realize the word “sociopath” is harsh but consider the following. Less than 48 hours after among the worst terrorist attacks in London history and right before the 73rd anniversary of D-Day in a war that cost 80,000,000 lives, Trump blatantly “mean tweeted” London’s Muslim Mayor. I’m sorry but that’s not a person fit for the presidency.
Mayor Kahn, after acknowledging the the dead and injured, reassured his citizens, much like Rudy Giuliani did after 9/11. He alerted them that in the coming days the streets would be filled with military personnel and police and not to be “alarmed” as they would be for their protection.
Trump tweeted, “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” Any journalist would be instantly fired for such slander. So why did Trump do it? Then again, why does he do so many hateful things? Simple. His obsession with “getting even.
Apparently, Mayor Kahn criticized the “Muslim ban,” and, pathetic as it sounds, Trump is incredibly vengeful. Invariably, he chooses the ugliest manner to settle the score, no matter how embarrassing it is to the U.S.
Trump’s behavior brings to mind the infamous Senator Joe McCarthy and his 1954 Senate Army Hearings. On June 8, Joseph Welch, chief counsel for the army, pleaded with McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”
In these columns I’ve asked the same of Trump. Coincidentally, Trump’s mentor, who taught him to never admit a mistake, was Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s right-hand thug.
As I write this, only hours from the hearing, the White House is planning on keeping Trump “So busy he won’t have time to tweet.” That sounds like what you might do with a hyperactive child, not the President who, at this stage in his administration, has the lowest poll numbers in history.
Trump’s demand of a “loyalty pledge” from Comey brings to mind something Mark Twain said. “Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.”
Shamefully, Trump has not demonstrated the maturity to deserve it. An example might be John McCain who, as it happens, will be among the questioners. Trump once inexplicably said of McCain “He wasn’t a war hero.”
Hopefully, for the country, the senators will be patriots, not partisans.
Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and firstname.lastname@example.org.