Aren’t we still doing the “impeachment will be good for Trump’s 2020 campaign” talking point? For months during the Mueller saga, every whisper of impeachment was met with some scoffing reply that Democrats would run into the same backlash that Republicans encountered after impeaching Bill Clinton 20 years ago. Nancy Pelosi was so convinced of it that she bottled up her caucus’s impeachment fever for more than a year.
If impeachment is destined to backfire and hand him a second term, you would think the president would be much, much more chill about it.
Instead he’s turning more cartoonishly demagogic, not less.
He was so proud of that tweet, he “pinned” it to the top of his account. For a few hours today, it was the first thing you saw when you visited his Twitter page, even above the more recent tweets.
A fun research question for historians: When was the last time a U.S. president publicly described *domestic* political opponents as “scum”? Bush probably said it at some point about Al Qaeda, but that’s not what I mean. I’m talking specifically about fellow citizens, not foreign enemies. I’d be surprised if even Nixon referred — publicly — to his antagonists that way. So when was the last time? Woodrow Wilson describing African-Americans, maybe? Does it go back even further than that?
It’s certainly not something Republicans would have complained about had a Democratic president said it, even if he’d said it about part of his own liberal coalition. Not something that would have showed up in Fox News primetime, say, as proof that the commander-in-chief was an ill-tempered embarrassment to the office.
Anyway, this wasn’t his only thought on the subject of Never Trumpers today:
Is that what’s eating him? That Bill Taylor’s lawyer is a Never Trumper? Or is this a Mitt Romney thing? Or is it a matter of him being annoyed at the diplomats who’ve decided to testify in the impeachment inquiry against his wishes? Either way, there’s a certain demagogic shrewdness in him turning his fire on Never Trumpers. Democrats are a lost cause on impeachment; not only are they going to do it, they’ll be rewarded by their base for it. They may even be rewarded next fall by swing voters in the general election given the polling lately. The key to protecting Trump’s job is Republican unity in the Senate, and the best way to ensure that unity is to start aggressively denigrating righty critics. Within a week, he’ll have moved on from “human scum” and will be tweeting angrily about why Chris Wray hasn’t arrested Romney for treason yet. Romney won’t care, but Susan Collins and Cory Gardner and some of the other ostensible fencesitters on removal will.
By the way, speaking of scummy:
A lawyer for Donald Trump argued in federal court on Wednesday that the president could shoot someone on 5th Avenue in New York City and not be prosecuted.
The lawyer, William Consovoy, was responding to a question by Judge Denny Chin of the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, who asked, “What’s your view on the 5th Avenue example? Local authorities couldn’t investigate? They couldn’t do anything about it?”
“I think once the president is removed from office, any local authority — This is not a permanent immunity,” Consovoy said.
A presidential license to kill, at least as long as he holds office. That’s one way Trump could end the Democratic impeachment inquiry!
Exit question via David French, addressing the recurring incoherence in attacks on Never Trumpers: Are we weak or are we strong? Are we irrelevant nuisances to whom no one pays attention or are we threats to the republic? Trump’s “human scum” tweet is almost a parody of that inconsistency, dismissing NTs as negligible in one breath and as terribly dangerous in the other. Just pick one, for cripes sake.