In the face of overwhelming evidence, a Trump supporter on the jury for the Paul Manafort trial cast their vote as guilty on all charges. Now, I hope the same can happen en masse among whatever supporters he has that can still be swayed by the truth. Throughout the past week, multiple accounts have detailed just how incompetent the president is. First, we have Bob Woodward and his book “Fear: Trump in the White House.” Woodward is a man with impeccable credentials (as opposed to Trump’s impeachable ones), part of the duo who brought Watergate to light and someone who has meticulously reported on the past three administrations.
Woodward painted Trump as unhinged and incompetent, bringing to light his desire to assassinate Syrian leader Bashar-al Assad and melting down during a practice interview in preparation for a meeting with Robert Mueller. Numerous Cabinet and other high-ranking officials are described calling the president an “idiot,” “fifth- or sixth-grader” and a “fucking liar.”
No sooner had the Trump White House begun to decry the book when they were stabbed in the back by an anonymous senior White House official who wrote a piece for the New York Times that took pretty much the same tone as Woodward. This op-ed might have been worse for Trump and those who still idolize his persona. The anonymous senior official admitted that “many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” They go on to say that “our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic… the root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.”
That is damning, especially when evaluated alongside Woodward’s book and an earlier book by Michael Wolff that painted a similar portrait of the administration. Unless you believe these various people from different backgrounds secretly made a pact to lie together about the current state of the White House (and I’m sure some of the crazies out there do), it is delusional to believe that Trump is a competent, let alone great, leader.
I can’t tell you how many times during his campaign—and presidency—that one Trump supporter or another told me that some moronic thing he did was really playing 11th dimensional chess because he was so much smarter than the rest of us. There was not much that could be done to convince them, as no one was going to listen to someone already predisposed unfavorably towards Trump. But, now that someone inside the White House has corroborated the claims made by the so-called “liberal media” in a number of reports, I have some hope that a few supporters will finally realize that they’ve been conned. To be sure, I’m not hopeful many will. Whether it’s because they can rationalize anything as part of some grand plan by Trump or are too prideful to admit their folly or they simply don’t care about attacks on the president as long as the economy is doing well, they will stick with him. I would hardly call Trump a prophet, but his “Fifth Avenue shooting” comment has certainly held true.
There is no telling what might happen going forward. Now Trump, the president who values blind loyalty above all else, knows there are those in his administration that are actively working against him. He might try and purge his White House and fill it with toadies and lickspittles. He might do something crazy and impulsive like launch a military strike somewhere just because he can. And, it is likely that the officials working against Trump will be less effective now that he is aware of their efforts.
The only way to put Trump in check is to deliver one or both chambers of Congress to the Democrats in the fall. There is only so much that the internal “resistance” can do, and Republicans in Congress have displayed no inclination towards reigning in Trump’s behavior. They are willing to let him do lasting damage to democratic institutions and norms as long as they can have their tax cuts for the rich and conservative judges in the courts. Unless there is some measure of balance in the government, Trump will continue to pursue inhumane policies and destroy our relationships and standing with the rest of the world.
Jacob Kowalski is opinion editor for The Daily Campus opinion section. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.