When Donald Trump was elected to the presidency of the United States there was shock, dismay and genuine concern among a large segment of the American electorate and, in fact, around the world. He had presented himself as a blustery, brash and erratic candidate. He seemed to be a man of little substance who was incapable of getting beyond the surface of any topic. Trump’s clear disdain for the press and the judiciary were troubling. His lack of knowledge combined with his lack of intellectual curiosity and vigor did not bode well for a future president. His behavior and comments reflected anti-intellectual, xenophobic and racist attitudes associated with many of his supporters and some of his campaign staff. His ambivalent relationship to the truth was only surpassed by his narcissism. In short Trump’s behavior was often inappropriate and lacked the gravitas most often associated with a candidate for the American presidency. Yet on January 20, 2017 Donald R. Trump became the 45th President of the United Sates.
Throughout the transition there was much discussion about what a Trump Presidency would be like. There were conflicting signals. Some of those selected to fill cabinet positions seemed to represent the realm of rational and serious thinking. Others, however, were very troubling as they telegraphed by their histories the kind of narrow and dangerous thinking they would bring to their departments. However, throughout this period the strongest undercurrent of concern related to Trump’s conflicts of interest and his campaign’s relationship to Russia. During the transition and into the early weeks of his presidency Trump and his staff worked very hard to downplay both of these issues. Though both the conflict of interest and Russian collusion concerns touched on significant constitutional and existential questions, the loyal Republicans, intoxicated by their unexpected victory, fell into lockstep with their leader. At every opportunity they mouthed the same absurd talking points as the Administration. Despite early missteps with the immigration ban and healthcare repeal and replace, the GOP stood strong. Trump’s clumsy attempts to slow down the congressional investigations and the firing of Flynn still did not shake the loyalty of the starry-eyed GOP. Then Trump played a card from the bottom of the deck that changed everything.
The firing of FBI Director Comey, being called the “Tuesday Night Massacre” harkening to the days of Watergate, began to raise questions, if not fissures within that GOP loyalty wall. In the days since, the Administration’s explanations, accusations and rationalizations have changed at a dizzying speed. White House spokesmen can’t keep up with the changes and often contradict each other. The president has contradicted all of them and himself. This is, no doubt, albeit incredibly clumsy, an attempt to cover-up the real reasons for the Comey firing. Pure and simple the FBI investigation spearheaded by him into Trump’s conflicts of interest and his campaign’s collusion with the Russian was getting too close and too dangerous for the Administration. They viewed Comey and his dogged efforts to lead a thorough investigation as an existential threat. He had to be stopped.
Trump’s actions have placed America at a crossroads. We know who he is. We know that he is not fit to hold the office that he was elected to. Anyone who tells me that we have to honor the fact that he was duly elected is simply sticking their head in the ground. If Trump gets away with this behavior he will move forward, unrestrained, in his effort to dismantle our democracy. This is not a man who understands anything in the world that doesn’t place him in the center. Anyone whom he has perceived as a threat has been fired. WE NEED TO DEMAND THAT AN EXPEDITED FULL AND OPEN INVESTIGATION INTO TRUMP’S FINANCES AND COMMUNICATIONS WITH RUSSIA LEAD BY AN IMPARTIAL AND INDEPENDENT PROSECUTOR BEGIN POSTHASTE It is time for the game playing and posturing to end. This man is an existential threat to America. If we don’t act now we may not ever have another chance.