One of the key characteristics that Donald Trump has tried hard to impress on the public is that he is a strong man (a strongman?) who will not bend to pressure. To that end he doubles and triples down on his most ludicrous rhetoric and policies, he refuses to ever concede that he’s wrong, and he hails is own wisdom and superiority over virtually everyone. But that conceit often ends up with Trump drowning in his own flop sweat.
Returning to reality, Trump’s actual record paints a picture of a much weaker man with barely any observable conviction to anything. He reverses himself regularly, sometimes in the space of a single sentence, denying something he just finished saying. And the controversy over his recent decision to line his own pockets by hosting the 2020 G7 summit at his own bedbug infested Doral golf resort is another example of the fallacies embedded in his wholly manufactured persona.
Less than a week ago, Trump sent his Chief of Shill, Mick Mulvaney, out to announce and defend Trump’s intention to violate the Constitution by directing business to his own property and collect payments from foreign governments. It didn’t go well. Mulvaney was grilled by reporters who understood that what he was proposing was illegal. And the pushback from both politicians and the press was immediate and brutal. Consequently, Trump flip-flopped and declared that Doral would not be the site for the next G7 meeting.
Trump made this U-turn on Twitter (of course) in an historic 3-tweet retreat. And what it told us about him is significant and troubling.
First of all, while Trump will gladly take credit for anything he regards as positive, even when he’s had nothing to do with it, he is notably unable to take responsibility for any of his own failures. So he cast this G7/Doral debacle as being the fault of “Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility.” If you take him at his word (never a smart move), there’s a notable confession in that blame-letting. He is ostensibly admitting that he had to back down because the media and the Democrats are stronger than he is. That’s not the image that he generally pretends to put forward.
In reality, Trump caved because his nannies were able to convince him that openly breaching constitutional law isn’t a good idea, especially when you’re being impeached. Trump didn’t bow to the media or the Democrats. He bowed to Fox News, his motley crue of lawyers, and his fellow Republicans, who were in open revolt on this as well as Trump’s disasters in Syria and Ukraine. They all surely told him that he’d lose this battle so he abruptly surrendered. But he impotently threw little pebbles at his perceived enemies as he ran away.
In addition to his about-face on the hosting, Trump’s tweets managed to include a blatantly crass infomercial for his Miami golf club. He described it as “big [and] grand,” and with “tremendous ballrooms.” And he maligned virtually every other American hotel and conference center by bragging that his is “better than other alternatives.” You have to wonder what the rest of the hospitality industry must have been thinking. But leave it to Trump to use his defeat as a wholly inappropriate opportunity to promote his business. And Mulvaney even told Chris Wallace of Fox News that Trump “still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.”
Trump also exploited this affair to promote himself (surprise). He tweeted that he thought he was “doing something very good for our Country” by unlawfully enriching himself. And he praised his selfless sense of charity for offering up his resort “at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA.” Of course, this deal would have brought Doral millions of dollars that would have rescued the failing resort, particularly during the summer months when no one is visiting Florida and his club is mostly vacant. And that isn’t even counting the promotional benefit.
No matter how you slice it, Trump is guilty of improper financial self-dealing. He was guilty before this, and he’s guilty now. Just because this deal didn’t go through doesn’t mean Trump didn’t set out to break the law. If you plot to rob a bank, but when you get there the security guard stops you, you’re still a bank robber. So despite his walk-back, Trump’s actions are still condemnable and impeachable. And he must be held accountable to the full extent of the law for this as well as the multitude of other impeachable crimes he’s committed.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.