Trump Had Three Defenses: Bend Over and Kiss Two of Them Goodbye

 

two stools

Slip Slidin’ Away

At 5:00 AM this morning, Politico put up an article entitled Trump’s impeachment defiance spooks key voting blocs: Many voters critical to Trump are breaking from the president on impeachment, posing a risk to his congressional firewall. The article is actually considerably iffier than the headline writer’s handiwork might suggest, but it does begin this way:

President Donald Trump was in trouble with women voters long before House Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry against him last week. Since then, his standing has grown only worse.

Nearly a half-dozen polls conducted since last Tuesday, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed her colleagues to proceed with pursuing Trump for potentially impeachable offenses, have shown women voters rallying behind her decision, exacerbating concerns among White House allies that white women who helped carry Trump to victory in 2016 can no longer be counted on next November.

President Donald Trump was in trouble with women voters long before House Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry against him last week. Since then, his standing has grown only worse.

Nearly a half-dozen polls conducted since last Tuesday, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed her colleagues to proceed with pursuing Trump for potentially impeachable offenses, have shown women voters rallying behind her decision, exacerbating concerns among White House allies that white women who helped carry Trump to victory in 2016 can no longer be counted on next November.

This, mind you, is Politico, not, say, Daily Kos.

“Yes, I Screwed That Intern, and I’m Going to Keep on Screwing Interns”

I don’t recall that Bill Clinton ever stood on the White House lawn and declared, “Yes, you bet your sweet patootie I screwed that intern. And I’m going to keep screwing on all the interns I can talk into bed, and I’m going to keep on lying about it under oath.”

But Trump is made of different stuff. So, some time around the ten o’clock hour,

President Donald Trump on Thursday openly called for China to launch an investigation into the Bidens, boldly engaging on national television in activity similar to the allegations at the heart of Democrats’ rapidly intensifying impeachment probe.

Speaking to reporters as he departed the White House for Florida, the president once again urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open a corruption investigation into the Bidens, but brought up China unprompted when asked what action he wanted his Ukrainian counterpart to take.

“Well, I would think that if they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens,” the president told reporters about Ukraine. “Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”

The admission provides a new dimension to the ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump, which centers on Democrats’ allegations that he withheld U.S. military aid for Ukraine as he pressured Zelensky for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Trump’s comments about a potential China probe came shortly after he discussed how the two superpowers are locked in intense trade negotiations.

Trump noted — also unprompted — that Chinese negotiators would be in town next week as the high-stakes trade talks resume, with potentially billions of dollars in tariffs on the line.

“I have a lot of options on China,” he said of the trade talks, “but if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power.”

The Logic of the Trump Defense

To review the bidding once again, Trump might argue that he didn’t do it. But that argument was pretty much foreclosed even before he spoke this morning. And after his little speech, he could pretty much bend over and kiss it goodbye.

Or, like Andrew Johnson, his position might be, “Yes, I did it, and it’s not impeachable because what I did was entirely OK.”

Or, lastly, he might argue, like Bill Clinton, that, “Yes, I did it, and maybe  it wasn’t OK, but it’s not bad enough to be impeachable.”

But there’s a problem with argument numero tres:

If it wasn’t OK to ask foreign governments to investigate Biden, then why is he standing on the White House lawn doing it again?

In short, hasta la vista to arguments one and three.

The net effect is to coerce Republican empty suits to embrace the second position—that it’s perfectly fine not only to violate campaign finance law by asking for foreign help, but also that it’s perfectly fine to combine the “ask” with a mob-like threat to harm the interests of those who don’t cooperate.

That’s probably fine with about one quarter of our population. But the other part of the traditional Republican base? Not so much.

And a Final Work to the Cynics Among You

I know what you’re thinking. In this environment, facts don’t matter, outrageous conduct doesn’t matter, and logic surely doesn’t matter. And, yes, that’s true for about 25 percent of our fellow ‘Mericans.

But 2018 was a very bad year for the Republicans because a whole lot of people who normally vote Republican got sick and tired of the horseshit.

So, my fellow Americans, keep reading Politico. And to The Donald I say, “MORE HORSESHIT PLEASE! COME ON! MAKE MY DAY!