“I think we could work out a way it could be dignified,” he says. Spoiler: There is no way it could be dignified.
Trump said Friday that he was “100 percent” willing to testify under oath but Schumer knows how much that promise is worth. The precedent, he correctly notes, is Trump’s promises about his tax returns: At first he was going to release them, then they were supposedly held up in an audit, then he decided he wouldn’t release them after all. He gives the answer he needs to give at a given moment, and on Friday, with political junkies in the throes of Comeymania, the answer he needed to give was a variation of “I have nothing to hide.” The only thing that makes his “100 percent willing” empty promise to testify sort of interesting is that you never can tell what the president might decide to do against his own interest in a spasm of rage. He’s been warned ad nauseam not to tweet, especially about Comey, and yet the tweeting goes on. Only through a coordinated effort among his lawyers and staff on Thursday did he manage to restrain himself. That’s why Schumer is nudging him here, I think — he knows that the more he taunts Trump about this, the more Trump’s pride will convince him that he really could outsmart a bunch of Senate Democrats in an open hearing. They couldn’t trip him up during the campaign. Why would they be able to now? Roll the dice.
You’ll know Schumer’s really serious about baiting Trump when he starts talking about the TV ratings Trump’s testimony before the Senate would deliver. Convince him that it would be the biggest political show of all time and you’ve got an outside shot at persuading him to do it for that reason alone.
That’s the first clip. The second, relatedly, is new RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel defending Trump from Comey by rolling out one of the worst analogies ever. Even if it’s true that Trump said “I hope you can let this go” about Mike Flynn, notes McDaniel, there’s a difference between that and a direct order — just as there’s a difference between a parent saying “Do your homework” and “I hope you do your homework.” Er, is there a difference in that example? However mom phrases her “request,” you know there’ll be consequences if you don’t comply. She’s the boss, you’re the subordinate. Do it or else. Which is precisely Comey’s point about Trump’s “request” about Flynn.