The scary part is that it’s always impossible to guess what schemes a crazy person will dream up next. No rationally competent observer, regardless of how imaginative and insightful, can ever keep up. So there’s simply no telling what wild spectacles the nation will be forced to endure before Joe Biden gets sworn in as president come Jan. 20.
The malignant narcissist in the White House can no more prevent that than he can command the tides. When even as rapt a soothsayer as televangelist Pat Robertson says it’s time for Donald Trump to give up, you know it’s over.
Given to pondering scripture the way others do horoscopes, Robertson once told “700 Club” viewers that God assured him that Trump would win reelection. Now he describes the man in the Oval Office as “very erratic ... he’s fired people and he’s fought people and he’s insulted people and he keeps going down the line.”
Trouble is, Robertson continued, “with all his talent and the ability to be able to raise money and grow large crowds, the president still lives in an alternate reality. He really does. People say, ‘Well, he lies about this, that and the other.’ But no, he isn’t lying; to him, that’s the truth.”
At least some of the time, that’s doubtless true. If Trump were your grandfather, you’d have him committed to a psychiatric hospital. Alas, the legal standard in the District of Columbia appears to require that proceedings be initiated by a family member or legal guardian, so that’s out. Nobody named Trump would risk being thrown out of his will.
This is a frequent problem in wealthy families. The gravitational force of the money holds people in thrall who might otherwise flee to opposite ends of the earth, even as it paralyzes their individual consciences. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that anybody named Trump has one.
“If the U.S. was a Navy ship,” observes a friend with military experience, “the executive officer would have already headed topside with a squad of burly bosun’s mates.”
But it’s not, and Trump has holed up in the White House with a menagerie of crackpots and loons as irrational as he is. Even so pliable a courtier as Attorney General William Barr has tiptoed away, making a show of refusing to order the seizure of voting machines or to appoint a special counsel for a pointless election probe. After he’s gone, Trump will doubtless seek a less principled replacement.
So how does Acting Attorney General Rudy Giuliani sound to you?
Trump has also flirted with having Gen. Michael Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell put in charge of investigating election fraud. Until quite recently, she was pushing a preposterous conspiracy theory involving Dominion voting machines and the long-deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
But Dominion threatened a lawsuit, causing even Newsmax and OAN to retract their “reporting” on that topic. So Powell can’t talk about it anymore. Anyway, so what if this peerless team has gone zero to 60 pushing evidence-free lawsuits in the nation’s courtrooms?
They tell Trump what Trump wants to hear.
During a recent contentious Oval Office meeting, Flynn reportedly pressed Trump to declare martial law and have the Pentagon rerun the election in “swing states” he lost. That very day, the U.S. Army chief of staff felt compelled to issue a reassuring statement: “There is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election.”
There’s another joker called Patrick Byrne who claims to prove by statistical legerdemain that Joe Biden couldn’t possibly have won the election — except that, oops!, every hand recount has shown that he did. By a lot.
Most Americans just want Donald Trump to go away.
Otherwise, Byrne’s chief claim to fame consists of his close personal relationship with gun-totin’ Russian spy Maria Butina, since released from prison and repatriated to Moscow.
So what’s next for the embattled Trump? Well, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone evidently resisted the martial law talk. So he’s got to go.
After that, it’s anybody’s guess. Here’s mine: When the TV evangelists and the shrinks are on the same side, trouble’s coming. “We continue to wait for (Trump) to accept reality, for him to concede, and that is something he is not capable of doing,” Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee told Politico.
“Being a loser” for Trump is tantamount to “psychic death. ... His pathology has continued to grow,” Lee added, “continued to cause him to decompensate (i.e fall apart), and so we’re at a stage now where his detachment from reality is pretty much complete.”
That leaves only violence. Already gun-toting Proud Boys and self-proclaimed patriots have besieged state legislatures in Oregon and Michigan. Trump, meanwhile, has made noises about summoning a MAGA-mob to Washington come Jan. 6 to intimidate Congress into voting his way.
There’s been no shooting so far.
But this is America, so you know it’s coming.