Trump: Maybe I Won’t Leave
Terry H. Schwadron
June 21, 2019
Clearly, we have to ignore much of what Donald Trump says, because it gets walked back, or disappears, or simply represented some words to guarantee that he is in the day’s spotlight.
Even Trump told a reporter in answer to a question about a statement he made about relations with North Korea, “No, it’s not what I meant. It’s what I said. And that’s — I think it’s different than maybe your interpretation. I think we’re going to do very well with North Korea over a period of time. I’m in no rush.”
So, we’re supposed to know what he is feeling rather than listening to the words. Just how we’re supposed to do so is unclear, but Trump’s argument is clear: You should not believe what the news media reports, even if there are video, recordings and multiple reports that all reflect the same results.
The mind of Trump is supposed to supercede all. And in the best traditions of living under the American legal and political systems, all that should matter is how great Trump is doing.
Still, one Trump verbal upchuck this week, an aside really, stood out from the rest: In a tweet aimed at undercutting reporting in The New York Times and The Washington Post, Trump speculated that “his supporters” might not let him leave office even after two terms that he has yet to achieve.
Indeed, over time, Trump has wifted jealously about China’s Xi Jinping, who recently had a captive political party apparatus declare him President for Life (Trump has remained silent, by comparison, in support of a populist uprising for democratic rights going on in Hong Kong) as well as Russia’s Vladimir Putin, or the strong leaders in Turkey, Poland and Hungary.
It’s a theme that came up even in the 2016 elections, when Trump declined to say in a debate with Hillary Clinton that he would accept a loss, if that’s how the election went.
A few months ago, Trump retweeted a suggestion from Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr. that “Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup.” The White House later responded that the president was joking. But others, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, did not react well, saying, “We have to inoculate against that, we have to be prepared for that.”
Of course, there is a law involved — in fact, the U.S. Constitution, which plainly states in the 22ndAmendment that there is a two-term limit on the presidency. But we are seeing time after time that Trump has no respect for laws if they run counter to his personal interests.
There also is the small issue of the 202 elections looming. It is early in that process, but as Trump was formally opening his reelection campaign this week (has he ever stopped campaigning?), there were reports that he was behind the top tier Democrats in key battleground states and overall.
“President Trump and his propagandists often go to extraordinary lengths to create the almost cult-like illusion that he is winning everywhere, possesses total mastery of events, and wields absolute dominance over his foes. This leads to all manner of absurdities: Trump insists he’s taking fearsome actions against enemies he isn’t actually taking, blames the media for fabricating polls that accurately depict his deep unpopularity, and even pretendslarge protests greeting him abroad simply never happened, We are now learning that Trump’s reelection campaign is cutting ties with several of his pollsters, because word leaked that his internal polling shows his reelection prospects to be far grimmer than the campaign’s spin suggests,” opined Greg Sargent in The Washington Post.
In Salon, Amanda Marcotte envisions a staying-on problem if Trump loses in 2020.”If it happens, the next nightmare will begin. It may be minutes, hours, days or even weeks, but at some point between Election Day in November 2020 and Inauguration Day in January 2021, odds are strong that Trump will declare that the election was “fake news” and refuse to leave the White House.”
Nevertheless, in an opinion piece for The Hill.com, B.J. Rudell, associate director of Duke University’s Center for Political Leadership, Innovation and Service, argues that it actually will be Republicans who want to succeed Trump rather than Democrats who represent the Opposition who will keep Trump in line.
He argues that “if Trump ignores the Constitution and hangs around the White House beyond his term, you better believe some Republican presidential aspirants will be crying foul.” He specifically outlines the political ambitions of Vice President Mike Pence and former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley.
He also insists that the now conservative-leaning Supreme Court would not allow Trump to remain in office beyond the Constitutional time limit, despite the appointment of pro-Trump justices. “Simply put, (Chief Justice John G.) Roberts would not want his legacy to be one of authorizing the destruction of one of the most sacred tenets of this founding document — that elected leaders who do not win must step aside. Nothing in Roberts’ history suggests he would willfully destroy his reputation by setting such a democracy-shattering precedent,” said The Hill column.
My take on the Trump era has been to move from serious disagreement to near-daily worry about the lack of effective, intelligent leadership in the White House to horror at the recognition that we are moving to undercut democracy in the name of Trump.
There seems no better example that his public musing about declaring himself leader for life, the ultimate anti-democratic status, even while professing his patriotic love of country.
I remain amazed at the followers who, in their pursuit to challenge the worthiness of Washington and our institutions and regulations, remain blind and deaf to the blaring trumpet that is Trump.