Donald Trump is the poster child for all manner of despicable human traits and no small number of serious personality disorders, and that does not include his inherent tendency towards criminality and corruption. In fact, it is so universally agreed that Trump epitomizes “bad” that only the most fervent Republican, racist and religious sycophant would argue that there is anything decent about the man.
For well over a year, some ridiculously naïve people continued to express confidence that as time passed, Trump would settle in and possibly stop heaping disgrace on the office he should not be occupying; by now only a fool would argue that Trump is not getting worse by the day. Republicans, for the most part, have behaved as if Trump is normal and are seemingly terrified of condemning Trump for demeaning the nation’s highest office he single-handedly transformed into a cause for national embarrassment.
A couple of days ago Senator John McCain issued a damning statement questioning what kind of “American president” Trump is after he ignored all counsel and congratulated Vladimir Putin’s “sham election” victory. One can read a world of intent into Mr. McCain’s brief, but stinging, comments targeting Trump, but the overall gist is that Trump is no kind of American president, or in McCain’s words; “an American president” would not act like Trump. One imagines that in McCain’s mind, Trump is no kind of American – period.
At least Trump garnered some criticism from a Republican unlike his blatant and extremely public display of Schadenfreude late last week; a display that should disabuse any American of their belief that Trump has any socially redeeming qualities whatsoever. It is the height of absurdity, and a monumental disgrace to America, that he is the head of the Executive Branch of government he is regularly defiling. Trump has inflicted a world of damage on the White House as an institution, and ignoring the criminal component of his administration, it is his words and gross behavior that have defined his “presidency” as patently obscene.
It is probably true that no president has ever publicly celebrated the termination of a long-serving federal officer; Trump accomplished another first by rejoicing over the firing of Andrew McCabe a few days before his retirement. What is not surprising is that Republicans were mute at a crass public display by their standard bearer that any decent person considers morally evil; taking pleasure in another’s misfortune is a malicious act by anyone, much less “America’s leader.” Trump’s action was so despicable, that it is curious his religious right adherents were not railing on the Oval Office sinner for violating a biblical edict as well as common decency.
Taking pleasure in another’s misfortune is universally considered less acceptable than envy, and it is noteworthy that envy is a mortal sin. Philosophers contend that it is “morally more perverse to be pleased with another’s misfortune than to be displeased with another’s good fortune,” and most decent people would agree. The 19th Century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer argued that feeling envy is a human trait, but to enjoy other people’s misfortune is diabolical. The Christian bible mentions over 20 times that reveling in the misfortune of others is a major sin that “certainly will not go unpunished.”
Trump’s major sin, a celebrating Andrew McCabe’s termination two days before he was eligible to receive his full pension, was a “dick move” if there ever was one. And, like the subsequent ‘tweets’ continuing to defame Mr. McCabe along with former FBI Director James Comey, Trump’s Schadenfreude certainly garnered criticism from Democrats. Mr. McCabe’s lawyer took the high road and said “We will not be responding to each childish, defamatory, disgusting, and false tweet by the president.”
The former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, a man regardedas the epitome of “sober” by WaPo’s Gene Robinson, did respond with a “jaw-dropping message” that only lacked some well-placed profanity to be “perfect.” And, because he is aware of Trump’s struggle to read anything containing more than 140 characters at a time, Mr. Brennan took to Twitter to ensure Trump would be capable of reading the message:
“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America . . . America will triumph over you.”
Mr. Brennan made good use of the Twitter character limit by omitting mention of Trump the sexual predator, but he made his point all the same; particularly informing the long campaign to fire Mr. McCabe was “scapegoating.” In some circles Trump’s crusade to fire Mr. McCabe is another case of obstruction of justice. Trump openly questioned why Andrew McCabe was still at his FBI post in December and he has “spent months publicly slandering McCabe and pressuring Sessions to fire him.”
It is true that Trump has wanted Mr. McCabe gone for a long while because of his involvement in the DOJ’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. Trump is still under the impression that government employees exist solely to protect him and his criminal enterprises like loyal lieutenants in a crime syndicate. It is noteworthy that Mr. McCabe said Trump asked him who he voted for in the 2016 election on more than one occasion.
If Trump doesn’t infuriate, terrify, and humiliate any American, then they are either a religious right sycophant, white supremacist bigot, or a corrupt Republican; it is highly likely that even some members of Trump’s immediate family are, at the very least, humiliated at the man’s blatant stupidity and lack of any sense of morality.
It is probably true, as John Brennan said, that Trump will not succeed in destroying America, although no small number of pundits and observers rightly assert that he and his Republican cohorts have severely damaged America’s democracy.
Where Trump has, in fact, inflicted damage beyond repair is the office he has no right occupying. Trump has successfully destroyed whatever level of respect owed to the office of the presidency because of his venality, moral turpitude, gross stupidity, perpetual mendacity and overt loyalty to foreign leaders. He has demeaned the federal judiciary, blatantly attacked America’s Intelligence community, and has openly violated the document he “so help me god” swore to support and protect; and throughout it all his Republican support remains solid.
If the man sitting in the Oval Office is allowed to publicly campaign for a public servant’s termination because he is doing his job, and then publicly gloat and celebrate the public servant’s firing after 21 years of devoted and loyal service to America, that office is as dirty and corrupt as its occupant; because as Senator McCain alluded, an American president does not act like the vulgar un-American Trump.