Portrait of a Desperado
Terry H. Schwadron
June 29, 2022
Donald Trump was so petulant and maniacal about remaining president that he was willing to attack his own Secret Service detail in an attempt to join those marching on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to the testimony of an adviser to his chief of staff.
Yesterday’s quiet and even somewhat hesitant, but deadly testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, chief advisor to Mike Meadows, depicted Trump as so out-of-control and fixated on keeping his job that he forgot to do the actual job of protecting Americans and government.
What we heard yesterday was a stunningly desperate portrait of Trump who knowingly ordered his security to skip weapons checks of his supporters even after being told they were armed, who reportedly tried to grab the steering wheel of his presidential SUV to go to the Capitol himself, lunging at a Secret Service agent, who threw dishes at White House walls in anger and who refused to do anything to stop the attempted coup that he had engineered.
What came across, of course, was that Trump knew about all of what we saw emerge at the Capitol, but that he was acted throughout in a manical manner that repelled all advice about the limits of law or rationality.
It was testimony that had Trump endorsing the shouted threats to hang Mike Pence as a traitor and that is continuing to condone attempts to influence and intimidate witnesses Mob-style before the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6. Apparently, Trump only issued a wishy-washy statement on Jan. 7 about the violence to avoid having his Cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment for his removal from office. Another statement written for him calling the riot illegal was never made.
Hutchinson described Meadows himself as so deferential and abetting to Trump’s increasingly dangerous and illegal schemes to undercut certification of the 2020 elections to leave Meadows all but ineffective at ending the rioting. Meadows and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani sought presidential pardons for themselves.
The testimony from inside the White House ripped away any continuing pretense by Trump or his inner circle that Jan. 6 was anything but planned and organized.
Again, quite apart from Justice Department concerns about the likely numerous illegalities apparent to his fellow plotters or for those who only see political partisanship in these proceedings, how does anyone want this kind of character with his finger on the nuclear button?