Cold War POTUS Reagan was scary but also funny. Climate Change POTUS Trump is funny but also scary. In forty years US politics has gone from a President that would make you embarrassed to one that would make you ashamed. In the deluge of sleaze and the doom-scroll of America 2020 it’s important not to allow everything to be normalised but to be still alive to the depravity and to acknowledge Trump’s latest escapade is a further descent into naked criminality and gangsterism.
The danger is that an already deeply unhinged man becomes more and more desperate as power and the glow of attention ebbs away. In an hour-long phone call at the weekend, Trump pressed Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory there in the election the president refuses to concede. The scoop was secured by Amy Gardener, reporter at the Washington Post, who then published the entire audio in full.
In the call he threatens that If the Secretary of State doesn’t ‘find’ 11,000 votes, ‘it will be very costly’.
Amid widespread shock/not shock across the US (including calls for a second impeachment), Bob Bauer, a senior Biden adviser, said:
“We now have irrefutable proof of a president pressuring and threatening an official of his own party to get him to rescind a state’s lawful, certified vote count and fabricate another in its place.”
As Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, author of ‘The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It’ said:
“As Trump committed a crime under Georgia law – criminal solicitation of election fraud. As the Supreme Court has held, a sitting president is subject to criminal process. So when he enters Georgia today, he can be arrested and charged. Georgia prosecutors: Do your work.”
The latest revelation follows the unprecedented move by ten former defence secretaries who issued a joint statement based on fears that Trump’s hand-picked Pentagon leaders, including Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, could overstep the law to assist Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.
The move was based on widespread fears that Trump’s rhetoric in the months since he lost the November election to Biden has led to speculation that he might deploy the military in an attempt to hold on to power.
The signatories served under Presidents Gerald R. Ford (Donald Rumsfeld), George H.W. Bush (Cheney), Bill Clinton (William Cohen, William Perry), George W. Bush (Rumsfeld again, Robert Gates), Barack Obama (Gates again, Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel and Ashton Carter) and Trump.
Imagine being too unhinged for Rumsfeld and Cheney?
As the Republican Party implodes like the Death Star watch the departing escape pods try and avoid the carnage of lawsuits as the dark criminality of the regime oozes into the open.
From Kimberly Guilfoyle offering treats in the hot-tub to Blue Collar Steve Bannon suggesting Dr. Fauci have his head chopped off, to Trump attorney Joe diGenova saying Vote Security Chief Chris Krebs should be “shot” for disagreeing with Trump there’s always been an underlying mix of sex and death that’s very Tony Montana.
Endless pardons may cover some of them but the extent of the shameless venality and nepotism is creeping out day by day hour by hour as the succession nears.
But as Trump’s administration and all of its enablers face the trauma of their moral cowardice, wider American society is also having a cathartic experience.
Here’s Hari Kunzru (author of the brilliant Red Pill) with his wonderful parting tirade to the freak show; as a stream-of-consciousness of pure invective I think it’s a marvel:
“Mike Pence you repressed joyless would-be witchfinder, every time you spoke you always looked like you were straining to expel an enormous bolus of your own hypocrisy from your clenched sphincter.
Betsy DeVos you blandly foolish soulless entitled child-stealing witch, rotting like a corpse inside your Chanel suit.
All the generals, you spineless buzz-cut phallus-brained plastic Spartans fawning and wriggling to distract yourself from your moral cowardice.
Kayleigh McEnenay, you evacuated husk of a mean-girl cheerleader, the cavity where your heart once was pumped full of spite and moronic lies.
Bill Barr you vast pompous pus-filled bladder of casuistry, you are an enemy of justice, bloated with resentment and cruelty, wobbling like a jelly at the feet of the oligarchs
Jared Kushner, you vacuous dainty preening overpromoted nub of mediocrity, squeezed like an entitled smear of toothpaste into a silk suit bought with tear-stained dollars wrung out of the suffering tenants of your slum apartments.
Ivanka Trump you monstrous slug of vanity, you infantile ninny so marinaded in self-regard that in your pea brain you believe we ought to love you for your crimes.
Mike Pompeo, you bubble, you booby, you flatulent zero, that roiling in your ample guts that you mistake for world shaking significance is just the acid reflux of irrelevancy.
Don Junior, you scabrous single-nostriled unloved elephant-murdering human wreckage, vibrating with bitterness and impotent rage at all the opportunities you’ve squandered.
Sarah Sanders, you crude hulking beetle-browed bully, working your multiple chins as you masticated another stinking quid of falsity, spitting again and again on the people you were supposed to inform.
Interlude: all you staffers and interns, so eager to crunch your way in your shiny new work shoes over the bodies of the poor and powerless, I smite you and cast you out one by one.
Eric Trump, you pallid clammy suppurating nocturnal semi-human grub, your absence of charisma is your only notable trait and the act of flushing you from memory will so be smooth and painless that in a month people will find it hard to picture your moon face.
Rudy Giuliani, you capering cartoonish skull-faced bag of graft and corruption, too stupid even to ask who’s pulling your strings just so long as you can cake your crusty face in tv make-up and clack your jaw at a camera.
And of course Stephen Miller, you weeping pustule upon the social body, you dreg, you homunculus, you noxious slime felched from the gaping cavity of Jim Crow, one day may you find yourself walking barefoot across hot sand, desperate for water, crying for your missing child.”
Follow Hari here @harikunzru and here: harikunzru.com
Thanks for that Hari.
The next few days of the Trump meltdown may be memorable but they may also be terrifying.