With several scandals emerging, is Trump’s presidency in a death spiral from which he cannot recover?
There are three things that are white-anting the legitimacy of Trump and his administration.
First, executive attributes. Trump exudes an overall sense of incompetence and a total inability to listen to perspectives beyond that of Breitbart.com. You get the impression that if sanity were a crime, there isn’t much evidence to convict anyone in the Trump camp. It really does feel like lunatics are running the asylum. While incompetence is not a crime, it is rarely tolerated in the highest office.
Second, Comey’s comet. The firing of James Comey as FBI director probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Republicans resented him for failing to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her hiding emails and Democrats hated him for re-opening the case against Clinton just days out from the election. So firing him would be a bi-partisan winner right? Wrong! It looked like Trump fired Comey to neutralize any investigation into links between his campaign and the Russians. The fact that Comey is alleged to have been asked by Trump to terminate the investigation into Mike Flynn makes matters only worse. If Comey’s memos of his meetings with Trump get subpoenaed by congress, depending on its contents, this will not bode well for Trump. If the allegations are true, if Trump did ask Comey to quash any investigation, it would be an abuse of executive power by deliberately interfering with the separation of powers. Watch this space!
Third, the Russians, the Russians, always with the Russians. At this point, whether it is true or not, the claim that Trump’s campaign team received support from or were in cahoots with the Russian government is undermining his credibility. Now, to be honest, I do not think that Trump’s spilling secrets to the Russians is quite the big deal everyone thinks. Given that Russia and the USA are cooperating to fight ISIS, they will be sharing some intelligence some of the time. This is a dead end. But the point stands, Putin seems to like Trump a little too much, and the Russians did their best to influence the federal election in Trump’s favour. I do think the Trump-Russia connection has probably been blown out of proportion, but as they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Over at the New York Times, Ross Douthat makes the case that the 25th amendment should be used to remove Trump. That is where cabinet removes the president when he’s not considered fit to undertake his duties. For Douthat, it is the plain childishness of Trump that is the problem and warrants his removal. He explains:
It is a child who blurts out classified information in order to impress distinguished visitors. It is a child who asks the head of the F.B.I. why the rules cannot be suspended for his friend and ally. It is a child who does not understand the obvious consequences of his more vindictive actions — like firing the very same man whom you had asked to potentially obstruct justice on your say-so. A child cannot be president. I love my children; they cannot have the nuclear codes.
Of course, removing a president is not easy, it will depend heavily upon an eroding of GOP support for him. But if polls don’t improve for Trump soon, if proof emerges of Trump’s attempt to quash investigations into his Russian links emerges, it is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Trump is erratic, autocratic, and melodramatic. If his incompetence continues, if these irregular uses of executive power continue, then sooner or later the GOP will have to choose between the Republican party and the republic!
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