The ABCs of Trump’s path to impeachment

This is the greatest travesty committed by the Party of Lincoln to whom the Constitution was nothing but a sacred document. Now the Republicans are unabashedly willing to toss it down the river. They put party and personal interest first, and allow a lawless President to act like a monarch—a so-called president who has never been able to rise above the fray to the determined of the national security and wellbeing of the country. Judgment day is fast approaching.

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By Dr. Alon Ben-Meir

Finally, Trump was impeached on December 18. It is a sad day for America because for the House of Representative to resort to such a historically rare punitive act suggests that Trump’s transgressions have been so severe that the House was compelled to take such a drastic measure. However, the two articles of impeachment—abuse of power and obstruction of Congress—hardly describe Trump’s repeated blunders, lies, habitual abuse of the power of his office, and obstruction of justice. Indeed, the two articles of impeachment barely scratch the surface of his untamed behavior, which is devoid of any civility and moral responsibility.

In less than three years, the absurd became the norm, ignorance became a virtue, and lying has sadly become the order of the day. He brought shame and dishonor to the most prestigious office in the world—the US Presidency. His moral lapses, notoriety, vulgarity, and self-deceit are beyond the pale of human disorder.

As much as Trump must pay for his debased behavior which led to his impeachment, it is the corrupt Republican establishment that enabled him throughout the past three years to violate both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. It is the Republicans – not the Democrats – that eventually precipitated his impeachment. Whether or not he escapes conviction in the Senate, the Republican party, as much as Trump himself, will be held responsible for the damage they have inflicted on America’s democratic institutions, the rule of law, and its global leadership and moral standing.

To be sure, impeaching Trump is more than warranted because even a cursory review of his alarming misconduct suggests that there is more than one word for every letter of the alphabet – from A to Z – that describes one aspect of Trump’s character, as he has brought nothing but shame and disgrace to his office.

Arrogant: To say that Trump is Arrogant understates his propensity to show off his presumed skills as a negotiator, alleged business acumen, and supposed grasp of complex issues. He constantly claims that he is smarter than everyone around him, even insulting the US military by stating “There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am”, and “I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.” He feels empowered when he wakes up to ‘enlighten the world’ with his early morning stream of twisted tweets, which only puts his arrogance and shallowness on full display.

Bigot: Many people refer to Trump as a bigot, a characterization which he owns and certainly makes no efforts to hide. No one has forgotten his outrageous attack on Mexican immigrants, stating: “When Mexico sends its people… They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” His bigotry was even more pronounced when he belittled two Gold Star parents of a Muslim-American soldier who died in 2014 while serving in Iraq. By now, Trump has earned the distinction of making bigotry synonymous with his name.

Crude: One does not need to know Trump well to quickly discern that he is a crude man with no scruples, and with a love of name calling and swearing. He referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas, going so far as to do so at an event honoring Navajo veterans. He regularly calls people “losers”, “fools”, and “lame”, especially on Twitter. Speaking about his former Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, Trump decried him as a “nut job” that he “barely knew.” This is the real Trump—behaving like a wild caveman who has long since forgotten the meaning of civility.

Demagogue: Being a demagogue is second nature to Trump; he will say anything, however contradictory and absurd, only to arouse his base. He made a campaign and inauguration pledge to eradicate Islamic terrorism from the face of the earth, knowing that this will never happen. In his inauguration speech, he stated: “Every decision… will be made to benefit American workers and American families”—a phony claim, as the tax bill shows. He craves pomp and circumstance, claiming “That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military.” Demagoguery, to be sure, became Trump’s staple diet on which he feeds.

Egomaniac: For Trump, being an egomaniac fits not only his persona but his perpetually revolting self-praise. Perhaps he still doesn’t believe, for good reason, that he is the president and needs constant reinforcement. To show the enormity of his ego can best be expressed by his tweeting that “Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named “Man (Person) of the Year,” like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass…” To this day, Trump continues to boast about the size of his inaugural crowd, insisting that he had a much larger turnout than Obama in 2009. He still can’t digest that a smaller crowd attended his inauguration than that of a black president, which irks him more than anything else.

Fraud: Trump is the only president who has committed fraud on such an unparalleled scale. Starting with Trump University, he violated NY laws by calling it a university and operating without an educational license. He charged students $35k a year, promising they would “learn from Donald Trump’s handpicked instructors, and that participants would have access to Trump’s real estate ‘secrets.’” No jobs were offered, and no secret information was shared or revealed because there was none. He filed for bankruptcy four times (1991, 1992, 2004, and 2009) and was repeatedly fined for breaking rules related to his casinos. He was found this year to have used his “charity”, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, as an extension of his business and campaign; the foundation was shut down and ordered to pay $2 million in damages to eight legitimate charities. The dictionary might as well define the word ‘fraud’ by citing some of Trump’s fraudulent business dealings.

Garbled: If nothing else, Trump is a master of garbled words. Despite his bragging about his own language skills, his garbled words and unscripted utterances are incoherent, such as his description of visiting Napoleon’s tomb, saying: “He did so many things even beyond. And his one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death.” He rambled on about foreign policy, stating “You know, he [Obama] can talk tough all he wants, in the meantime he talked tough to North Korea. And he didn’t actually. You look at the red line in the sand in Syria. He didn’t do the shot. I did the shot…” Yes, Trump did attack a Syrian airbase, but only after ‘receiving permission’ from Putin.

Heartless: Putting his travel ban into immediate effect, stranding hundreds at airports, blocking off access to the US arbitrarily and more than anything else, putting children as young as two years old in cages is as Heartless and cruel as can be imagined. He endorsed a proposed repeal of Obamacare without plans to provide aid to disadvantaged communities. He has made no effort to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program, ending care for 9 million low-income children, while giving billions in tax cuts to the richest of the rich. He callously ended DACA, which will affect almost 800,000 young adults who came to the US when they were children and don’t have a home to return to if deported. Not to speak of the fact that terminating DACA would also lead to splitting up families – those who illegally immigrated but have children that were born in the US. If Trump needed a heart transplant, his body would reject any heart which has not already been infused with cruelty and malice.

Ignorant: Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that being Ignorant is a virtue, especially when he pretends to know everything. He suggested that Frederick Douglass is still alive, offering “Frederick Douglass as an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.” He took pride in the fact that he was tutored by Chinese President Xi Jinping about Korean-Chinese relations at a dinner. That’s how a quick learner he is. When discussing healthcare, he stated “Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated.” Of course not. Trump thought that repeating “repeal and replace” is all it takes to resolve America’s healthcare problem.

Juvenile: Trump talks, walks, and brags like a Juvenile. He continuously tweets memes that no self-respecting adult would dream of doing – his head photoshopped onto the character Rocky Balboa’s body; himself awarding a fake medal to the dog injured in the raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; and his team imagining him as the genocidal villain Thanos from the Avengers films, wiping out his Democratic rivals. Offline, he left this month’s NATO conference early after video circulated of other leaders venting about his erratic actions. So, if you walk, talk, and brag like a juvenile, you are qualified to replace Trump.

Knavish: Being Knavish is just another characteristic that defines Trump as he has now become known—with no scruples and no principles. He insisted that his tax bill would benefit all Americans, when every study shows that the tax bill benefited the rich the most, and will in fact harm middle class and low income families. Since the bill was passed, Trump’s biggest claims have been disproven by economists. He commonly mistreats his workers (many of whom were undocumented immigrants). There are still many lawsuits against him for not paying his laborers. Unfortunately for them, they will have to wait to sue him once he is out of office. Having been impeached is one frog leap toward the White House’s exit.

Liar: If nothing else, Trump is known as a compulsive liar, and his political ascendance was built on lies. He really believes that if one repeats a lie time and again, it becomes the accepted truth, and that is good enough for his base. The Washington Post, which tallies Trump’s lies, reports that Trump lied or made misleading statements over 15,000 times since he became president (as of December 10). He lied about voter fraud, protesters paid to oppose him, Obama wiretapping his phones, how many times he was on the cover of Time—the list goes on and on. His file in Politifact says he has outright lied over 50% of the time. At a rally in Pensacola, FL, he said “Black homeownership just hit the highest level it has ever been in the history of our country”, but it’s actually fallen almost yearly since 2004. Trump is in his element when he is living in a world of colorful lies.

Manipulator: As a master manipulator, Trump uses language to galvanize voters; for instance, by using the marketable slogan “Make America Great Again,” he made his politics an easy sale. He has licensed and sold his name to give the appearance of success and stability. He used terrorist attacks in London and Egypt to push his travel ban. He condemns actions that others have done, to cover his own despicable delinquency (like his tweet in response to Al Franken’s sexual misconduct, when in fact he is the sexual predator-in-chief). For Trump, manipulation is a sort of twisted art form, and he should probably have his picture on the cover of Time magazine with caption, ‘The Manipulator of the Year.’

Narcissist: When it comes to be a Narcissist, Trump trumps them all—Putin, Erdogan, Netanyahu, and even Kim Jong Un. Everything Trump does is designed to make it solely about him. When campaigning for failed Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange, he said “I’m taking a big risk because if Luther does not make it, they are going to go after me.” Even in tragedy he pulls attention back around to himself: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism…” On his desk, instead of having a Truman-esque plaque that reads “The Buck Stops Here,” Trump’s should read “It is me, me, me, all about me.”

Obsessive: Trump’s obsessive behavior spills out like waste from a corroded pipeline. He is obsessed with his looks, especially his thinning hair, and obsessed with people he hates, calling them by derogatory names. He refers to former VP Biden, who is likely to be his rival in 2020, “sleepy Joe.” His obsession with image is tied up with his decades-long lust for being named Time’s Person of the Year. He lashed out at this year’s honoree, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, decrying on Twitter “So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old-fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!” He never let go of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and wallows in conspiracy theories, such as the one claiming Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election on Clinton’s behalf, not Russia on his own. In a competition for the title of the most obsessed person in the world, Trump would win it handedly.

Polarizing: When it comes to Polarizing, you’ve got to give Trump an A+. His policies and behaviors polarize the public: such as the wall, the travel ban, his reactions towards the press, his treatment of immigrants… Trump’s name itself is polarizing. He sees everything in black and white, no middle ground, which has become increasingly painful for him in dealing with seriously complex issues. Since he came to office, the political and social divisiveness in the country grew ever wider, and ‘Us vs. Them’ became the refrain of the day. The country has never been as divided politically as it currently is since he came to office. To keep his base, Trump plays one group against another while enjoying the tension he creates.

Querulous: One other trait that distinguishes Trump is his Querulous nature. He constantly picks fights on Twitter, makes wild statements like threatening to attack North Korea, and engages in disparaging statements to pick fights with senators, judges, football players, and many others, only to score a point. After Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called for Trump to resign due to increasing sexual harassment, he showered her with insults and went as far as clearly implying that she traded sexual favors for campaign contributions. His quarrel with the Democrats has become his staple of the day. He craves mean fights, which seem to energize him and give him that psychopathic satisfaction.

Racist: Trump is a Racist man to the bone. Only a person who is disposed to white supremacy could draw a moral equivalence between white nationalists in the Charlottesville rallies and law- abiding counter-protestors, some of whom turned violent. His opposition to immigration is based totally on race. He made it clear that he wants to shut the border to immigrants from Central and South America precisely because they are Hispanic, while welcoming any white Europeans to immigrate. He claimed that one of the federal judges acting in the class action case against Trump University couldn’t do his job because “he’s a Mexican”. And no one can deny the fact that there was a notable difference in his response to Hurricane Maria (which devastated Puerto Rico) versus his prompt and immediate generous aid to victims of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, which affected Florida and Texas. From Trump’s perspective, white supremacy is only natural, as is the ‘inferiority’ of minorities.

Showman: Being a Showman is to a great extent the means by which Trump covers his shortcomings and lack of self-confidence. Everything, starting from his candidacy announcement riding on a golden escalator, has been a performance. He has a predilection for props, from comparisons of Obamacare vs. its replacement, scores of folders purportedly containing plans to disentangle himself from his businesses, to giant stacks of paper adorned with red tape (to be cut with gold scissors) to symbolize his efforts to cut regulations. To top it all, Trump lives and breathes for his rallies, which he continued from day one after his inauguration. He craves showing off his oratory skills, albeit his messages are convoluted and often make no sense. In short, Trump lives on showmanship, and without a stage he feels empty—because he is.

Toxic: There has been a rise in hate crimes and antisemitism since Trump took office. Trump’s selfishness poisons the civilian and political atmosphere, infecting Congress and splitting the GOP. The list of current and past government officials, conservative media editors and columnists, and intelligence officials in opposition to Trump is incomparable to any of his predecessors. Trump’s hatred toward anyone he views as opposed to him has long since become toxic. At his recent rally in Michigan, he viciously attacked Rep. Debbie Dingell, saying that her late husband, widely respected former Rep. John Dingell, may be “looking up” from hell, after her vote to impeach Trump. Such a toxic and hateful statement was widely condemned from both sides of the aisle. Trump wanted to “drain the swamp” in Washington, but all he has done make the swamp larger while leaving toxic waste in his wake.

Unstable: Many people are concerned about Trump’s Unstable behavior, and even more are deeply troubled about its implications on his mental acuity. Time and again, Trump has demonstrated how unhinged he is. He is compulsive and reacts to matters unrelated to governance, getting into Twitter fights with people for no logical reason. Trump is dangerously losing touch with reality. His erratic behavior, abrupt change of position about people and policy all point out a chronic mental disorder. Thousands of psychiatrists and psychologists from around the country who have been following his conduct and utterances strongly suggest that given his erratic behavior, he has a mental illness. Only an unstable person such as Trump would have penned the 6-page letter he sent to Nancy Pelosi on the eve of his impeachment, full of lines such as “…you know from the [Ukraine] transcript…that the paragraph in question was perfect”; “you have found NOTHING!”, in reference to the pre-impeachment hearings (which did in fact uncover a great deal of information); and referring to the last presidential election as “the great Election of 2016”; among many other unhinged statements.

Vulgar: The record on Trump’s Vulgarity is astounding. He seems to relish his vulgarity and the meanness that goes with it. It has been on full display since announcing his campaign, and has only continued three years into his presidency. He has continuously referred to Rep. Adam Schiff, head of the House Intelligence Committee and Trump’s latest obsessive target, as Adam “Schitt”, and in his attacks against former FBI attorney and agent Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, he imitated the sounds of an orgasm at a rally in reference to their (irrelevant) affair. For Trump, vulgarity is his drug of choice, on which he regularly overdoses.

Whiny: Trump himself openly and repeatedly admitted that he is Whiny. In a statement to CNN’s Chris Cuomo, he admitted: “I do whine because I want to win and I’m not happy about not winning and I am a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win.” His excessive whining, however, did not help him to avert his impeachment in the House of Representatives. In fact, the more he kept whining that his conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky was “perfect,” thinking that he would eventually convince the public of the innocence of his call, he finally realized that his recipe to win through whining is just not working. In a typical show that everything must be about him, Trump even whined that he wasn’t given enough credit for late Sen. John McCain’s funeral, throwing a few lies in for good measure. “I didn’t get a thank you”, he said about his false claim that he had to approve McCain’s state funeral. Trump will soon realize that no matter how much he whines, in the future he will end up the loser because he has nothing to offer, except for whining.

Xenophobic: Trump was born Xenophobic, a chauvinistic fool with no sense of what is right or wrong. He led an assault on immigrants—whether they be Muslim, Arab, or Hispanic—which he reinforced through his refugee and travel ban and “America First” campaign. He has attempted to cut off funding for sanctuary cities, which house thousands of immigrants, through Executive Order 13768. And through AG Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department, he has been sending letters that attempt to harass jurisdictions that he feels have weak immigration policies into working with ICE. Simply put, Trump’s xenophobia is a consuming obsession based on illusions which he often entertain regardless of how far they might be removed from reality.

Yellow-Bellied: Trump is simply a Yellow-bellied coward, which has been plain to see for decades. He dodged the draft in Vietnam, and reacted to being gifted a veteran’s Purple Heart by saying “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.” His fear and trepidation about the Russia probe prompted him to fire FBI Director Comey. He was terrified of what Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation would eventually reveal, knowing that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the potential collusion to help him win the presidency would be of focus. Deep inside Trump knows he did not earn the Presidency, and has been horrified that he will be impeached. Well, his nightmare has finally come true, because the writing was on the wall from the day he took office.

Zealot: Trump is an unbending zealot – not as much about his religious or ideological convictions, because he is neither a religious man nor prescribes to any ideology, but far more so about his possessions and the image he wants to project. To show his “conservative credentials” (albeit he would trade them for any self-serving interest), he nominated two extreme right-wing federal court judges to lifetime positions. One helped craft voter suppression laws in North Carolina, and the other professed that the promotion of transgender rights is “Satan’s plan”. Trump delivered a speech in Warsaw in July 2017 that was highly reminiscent of alt-right rhetoric, leaving the unmistakable impression how zealotry will guard his conservative white base.

There is a touch of humor here and there to lighten up this alphabetic review of Trump’s three years in office, but the subject matter is fateful to America’s future. Trump is dangerous; his shortsightedness, mental instability, and ominous off-the-cuff statements could spark unintended horrifying consequences for America and the world.

The Republican party, which is deeply engrossed in partisan politics, has become the enabler of Trump, ignoring that they were elected not to protect the president but America’s global and national security interests, and the wellbeing of the American people. Every member of the Republican party establishment will be held responsible for not rising and stopping Trump from causing irreparable damage to the country’s global leadership role, moral standing, and the social and political injury that he has inflicted on the nation.

Any individual, let alone the president, who praises Putin’s Russia—America’s foremost enemy—and in the same breath severely criticizes and disparages our most esteemed institutions, especially the intelligence agencies and the judiciary, is tantamount to treason. How could any Republican official who claims to put the country’s security and safety first remain silent in the face of this unfolding perilous development? And worse yet, how could they continue to support a president who is unstable, unpredictable, and unfit to occupy the chair of the president? But then here we are, Trump will soon face trial in the Senate following his impeachment in the House, but there is hardly a single Republican member of Congress who has called for a fair trial and agreed to call witnesses and present documents that could potentially incriminate him.

This is the greatest travesty committed by the Party of Lincoln to whom the Constitution was nothing but a sacred document. Now the Republicans are unabashedly willing to toss it down the river. They put party and personal interest first, and allow a lawless President to act like a monarch—a so-called president who has never been able to rise above the fray to the determined of the national security and wellbeing of the country. Judgment day is fast approaching.

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of TransConflict.




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