I think I’ve figured out what’s going on with Donald Trump. He wants to be king, when instead he is merely president. King is obviously what he deserves to be in his mind. But president was the only available role in this country.
This would really explain the disconnect. Any idiot can understand that a titan of his stature, a man who has accomplished so much, built great buildings, risen to become a ratings superstar on network television, golfed with the best, married a supermodel or three, grabbed pussy where he felt like it and touched the very hearts of regular Americans — someone like this ought to be king, right?
On TV, he used to dismiss celebrities with a summary: “You’re fired.” Compared to that, the powers of the U.S. presidency are limited, what with the two other branches of government, the federal bureaucracy and then the states on top of that. It’s actually pretty ridiculous when you think about it: He has the most powerful job in the world, so why can’t he do what he deems best without any interference?
Trump has already fired lots of people who were insufficiently on board with his world view. Sally Yates. Preet Bhrahara. Diplomats. That’s his privilege.
I think this is why Trump has trouble understanding all the dismay when he got rid of James Comey this week. The FBI director displeased him, and so he was fired. To a man like Trump, this is how it should be. On top of that, the Russia investigation is a bunch of malarkey, a distraction from all the things Trump is trying to get done. Trump is used to getting things done. This is how you get things done.
This would also explain why Trump doesn’t understand the problem in asking Comey to pledge his loyalty, as happened over a private dinner they had, according to multiple reports. And why he simply stated to Lester Holt the reason why he fired Comey: the “Russia thing.”
Others are interpreting that as evidence of obstruction of justice, an admission by the president of inappropriate intimidation or an attempt to shut down an investigation into his campaign being conducted by an independent agency.
But to Trump, asking for loyalty must seem like a totally reasonable request — and punishing someone when it’s not delivered a natural consequence. How else is the president supposed to find out about whether he could be in legal jeopardy if not to ask the man in charge of the investigation? Honestly, isn’t this the way things should work? He did win the election, after all.
The press is another major headache for our new commander in chief. It’s a huge distraction, and except for Fox News it unnecessarily gets in the way of Trump doing what he wants.
This is why it’s utter chaos in Washington. Never have I seen op-ed pages and reported articles explode with the anger and righteous indignation over the actions and statements of our president as you saw this morning.
Jennifer Rubin, the conservative Washington Post columnist, wrote a white-hot manifesto after Trump tweeted this morning a not-very-veiled threat to Comey about leaking information. She is way up on her high horse:
Republican Party identification has begun requiring intellectual vacuity. One has to be free from shame to agree that it’s no big deal when Trump confesses he fired former FBI director James B. Comey because he decided Russian interference in the election was “just a made-up story.” A slew of FBI agents is now investigating the “made-up story,” the entire intelligence community verifies it and members of both parties acknowledge that it occurred. To go along with such utterances means condoning Trump’s inability to accept reality (Russia did, in fact, meddle) and refusing to concede that pressuring and then firing the FBI director must be impeachable, if not criminal, conduct. This mind-set forces Trump defenders to say daft things such as: Trump has the right to fire Comey, so what’s the problem? Democrats didn’t like Comey, anyway. It doesn’t matter that he gave a pretextual answer for the firing.
People are clamoring for a special prosecutor, a special counsel, an independent commission. They’re talking impeachment.
I’ve asked media veterans of the Vietnam and Nixon era, and they said it was never at this level of intensity during Watergate.
To the rest of us, Trump feels like a schoolyard bully who has been invested with the precious powers of our presidency in the democracy we all fiercely cherish.
But Trump must feel he is being unfairly blocked from doing what he wants. The winner should get to do what he wants.
All the way around, it would really be easier for Trump if we just declared him king, and vested with the powers of a monarch. The 17th-century kind. Then the rest of us would be more grateful for his largesse, and would admire a confident and winning leader instead of complaining about things like the Constitution, the First Amendment, the independent judiciary and all that stuff, blah blah blah. Enough already.