Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Catch Me If You Can

Look carefully at the posted time: July 17, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

The time is critical because it would have been easy for Amanda Marcotte to write "Donald Trump wants you to know he's getting away with it: Helsinki gloating fits a long pattern" after President Trump's hostage tape seen in the afternoon of July 17.

Marcotte could have left it at recounting events of the past few days in which Trump has been seen "defiantly rubbing our noses in his undeniable support for Vladimir Putin's efforts to undermine democratic states and international peacekeeping efforts."   Instead, she reminds us

"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," Trump gloated on the campaign trail.

"My whole life I’ve been greedy, greedy, greedy," Trump exalted at another campaign event. "I’ve grabbed all the money I could get."

During a presidential debate, when Hillary Clinton accused Trump of hiding his history of not paying taxes, he sneered, "That makes me smart."

Marcotte noted there are "hundreds of other examples" in which Trump makes little effort to conceal "unethical and criminal behavior" or, as I've noted, an offensive religious perspective.

There was the time in the summer of 2015 that he told Iowa evangelicals “When I drink my little wine … and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed. I think in terms of ‘Let’s go on and let’s make it right.’ ” In the space of two sentences, he succeeded in ridiculing communion and displaying ignorance about sacrament.

At a church in Council Bluffs, Iowa the following January he "dug several bills out of  his pocket when the communion plate was passed." Everyone loses attention from time to time, even at church, arguably especially at church.  But instead of invoking that inoffensive explanation to which most people could relate, the candidate laughed and claimed "I thought it was for offering."  (That must have been some awfully expensive bread.)

Two weeks earlier, he had been asked about forgiveness and replied "I like to be good. I don't like to have to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don't do a lot of things that are bad. I try to do nothing that is bad."

Ask the next 100 people at your church- Protestant, Roman Catholic, or Orthodox- about forgiveness and it's unlikely any will respond in the same manner. 

But Trump knew that, just as he knew it was ridiculous to refer to the elements as "little," to suggest communion pertains to forgiveness, or to brag to Christians that he is "good" and doesn't need to ask God for forgiveness.

Still, evangelicals stood by him, even becoming enthusiastic, whether because he hates liberals or abortion rights or because they can't take a hint (several hints).

And then there was Tuesday afternoon, hours after Amanda Marcotte's argument, when Donald J. Trump, an Academy Award-caliber actor, chose to stare uncomfortably at a handwritten statement and haltingly say

So I'll begin by stating that I have full faith and support for America's great intelligence agencies. Always have. And I have felt very strongly that, while Russia's actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying that -- and I've said this many times -- I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also; there's a lot of people out there.

Could be other people also; there's a lot of people out there. Hit by criticism for his support the previous day of Putin over intelligence agencies, he did not say he agreed with the intelligence community's conclusion but merely "accept(s)" it- and there "could be other people also; there's a lot of people out there." 

Easily debunked, the President couldn't have been more obvious had he been holding a sign reading "I'm trying to put one over on you."  Donald Trump is similar to the individual who commits one or a string of horrific crimes and taunts police, daring them to put together the evidence he has left them.  In most cases, the offender is eventually caught but until he is, he harbors a sense of invincibility. Marcotte on Trump:

His feeling of invincibility is backed up by a Republican party that will, indeed, reject any real accountability for Trump no matter what he does. Sure, a few Republican politicians have offered mealy-mouthed expressions of disappointment that the president is openly siding with a man accused of subverting American democracy. Is there any doubt that they will turn around and reward his gloating betrayal by supporting his agenda while refusing to take any actions against him? Their party has sold the country out to American billionaires for so long that selling out to Russian oligarchs isn't really much of a leap, it appears.

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