Friday, July 19, 2019

Confrontation Feared

When in January Chris Christie's "Let Me Finish" was published, we learned

One day in early 2017, Chris Christie was in his kitchen in New Jersey, eating dinner with his wife Mary Pat. The phone rang. It was the president.

According to Christie, Donald Trump tried, not for the first time, to persuade the governor to become his labor secretary. Then talk turned to Christie’s firing as Trump’s transition chairman in November 2016.

“Chris,” Trump said, “you didn’t get fired. You got made part of a larger team.”

Christie gives his side of the conversation in his new book, Let Me Finish, a copy of which was obtained by the Guardian two weeks before publication. He says he bristled at Trump’s claim, then rebuked the president.

“I’m a big boy who understands how the way this business works,” he said. “But please, sir, don’t ever, ever tell me again that I wasn’t fired.”

Christie had been fired, in person, by Steve Bannon, because Donald Trump could not do it himself. As President 

Trump fired his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and chief of staff, Reince Priebus, by tweet, the same medium by which he announced the “retirement” of Jim Mattis, attempting to steal the thunder of the defense secretary’s resignation.

James Comey, director of the FBI, was fired by letter. Jeff Sessions, the man who got the job Christie really wanted, attorney general, was hounded by tweet for months until he gave in and resigned. After very public power struggles with Kushner, Ivanka Trump and others, Bannon reached an exit agreement with the chief of staff, John Kelly, whose own departure turned into a drawn-out soap opera which has not yet ended with the appointment of a permanent replacement.

In her own book, the former reality TV star and presidential aide Omarosa Manigault Newman reported being fired by Kelly. She then released a taped phone call in which Trump said “nobody even told me about it” and added: “You know they run a big operation, but I didn’t know it. I didn’t know that. Goddamn it. I don’t love you leaving at all.”

It's five months later but Donald Trump has changed little, and still is frightened of confrontation. (Even the unusually corrupt Scott Pruitt was not fired by Trump, instead forced to resign by Chief of Staff Kelly; video from 4/18) That is why it is not only morally imperative to confront evil by refusing to open an impeachment inquiry, it is also strategically foolish:

Nancy Pelosi's gamble is that President Trump won't be re-elected.  It's a bet she, her party, and the country can't afford to lose.

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