The Bush Family had to promise Donald Trump that he would not be ridiculed or else he wasn’t going to attend George W. Bush’s funeral.
But the eulogies describing Bush 41’s lifetime of nobility, loyalty, friendship, selfless dedication, public service, acknowledgment of imperfection and mistakes, were inevitable stark contradictions to the pompous, psychotically narcissist, lazy boob sitting in a pew with three ex-presidents and first ladies, all of whom he has demeaned and attacked.
“Tell the Truth. Don’t blame people. Be strong. Do your best. Forgive. Stay the course. These are the most American of creeds,” historian Jon Meacham said in his eulogy of the principles that guided George W. Bush.
Indeed, the enormous attention the nation paid to Bush, who was rejected by voters after one term, is an indication of how hungry Americans are for the kind of decency, civility, dignity Bush 41 brought to the office.
Nostalgia for another era, the commentators were saying.
“The last gentleman,” they called Bush 41.
Yes, it’s hard to remember back two years ago to when you had someone who brought calm, steady, intelligent leadership, dignity and respect for the office, who always dealt with others with civility, kindness and grace.
“Obama made Trump look bad as president just by sitting next to him,” one pundit noted.
But America did not have long to revel in nostalgia or positive nonpartisan vibes, because even as the funeral was underway, Trump’s legal jeopardy was exploding around him.
Special counsel Robert Mueller issued a sentencing recommendation for Michael Flynn, Trump’s short-lived national security advisor. Obama, who had fired Flynn as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, had warned Trump during the transition not to hire him.
It was Flynn’s lying to government officials about his secret talks with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in which Flynn gave assurances the Trump administration would end sanctions, and Trump’s subsequent firing of FBI Director James Comey for refusing to “go easy” on Flynn, that led to Mueller’s appointment as special counsel.
A day after the Dow plummeted on realization that Trump lied when he said there would be a deal ending the trade war with China, the sentencing recommendations for Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime consigliere and fixer, and for Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, revealed not only Trump’s direct participation in felonies (campaign finance breaches) but the many ongoing interconnections with 14 members of the Trump team with Russia, going back earlier than realized and ongoing well into the election.
Mueller used the word “synergy,” a synonym for “collusion.”
And while we were just beginning to digest all of this, an actual Russian agent, Maria Butina, was being indicted for her role weaseling her way through the Republican political army, into the NRA, which apparently was used to funnel millions of dollars into the Trump campaign.
She was the one who out of all people, got to ask Trump his first question at FreedomFest in July 2015, in which Trump declared the US should lift sanctions against Russia and that he expected to have a great relationship with Putin. It was a promissory note and only the first of a series of love letters to the Russian leader.
Trump never expected to win the presidency; he thought being the Republican nominee would enhance the value of his “brand” internationally and lead to lucrative deals.
Even as the campaign was underway, he was still maneuvering to get his Trump Moscow Tower built (and give Putin $50 million penthouse apartment a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, another felony).
But Putin had other plans: he despised Hillary Clinton, knew she would tighten screws against his expansionist, globalist plans. But he saw in Trump a patsy he could manipulate – most importantly, to cancel the Magnitsky Act, lift sanctions, open up the oil business upon which Russia’s economy (and his fortune) depended (which explains the US derided position at the recent UN Climate Conference, in which the U.S. said it would continue to cultivate fossil fuels); have a dolt in place who would fulfill his other fantasies: weaken NATO, the European Union, destroy the US as a global leader, and, added icing on this poisonous cake, undermine Americans’ confidence in elections and democratic process, while also exacerbating tribalistic confrontation, as Putin has done to liberal democracies around the globe. The down payment was getting the Trump team to weaken the Republican platform for Ukraine after Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea (which has now led to Putin stepping up aggression against Ukraine).
There was not one intersection, one moment of collusion, one singular event – like the June meeting in Trump Tower which, if it were Hillary Clinton, would have been enough to warrant impeachment – that would shock Americans into recognizing they had a corrupt, corrupted illegitimate leader.
But a long, long list going back years. Trump was being cultivated as Putin’s Siberian candidate, the knowledge of which is only coming out, drip by drip, week by week, so it seems incomprehensible. But the very fact that Putin knows where bodies are buried, all the lies Trump is telling, means he could hold it over Trump – kompromat – which is the very basis for why Trump must be removed from his office.
Just like 9/11 caused more destruction than Osama bin Ladin ever expected, Putin never imagined his conquest of America to be so complete, so successful and won so cheaply and easily.
How ironic, to weaponize America’s democracy, and for Trump to be shielded, perhaps forever by a Department of Justice policy (not law) against indicting a sitting president, despite having committed felonies to steal it in the first place, so that Trump could do whatever it takes to win a second term (nuke North Korea? Declare martial law?) and skate past the statute of limitations on his crimes. Or just pardon himself.