This has left the relays of performing and talking airheads on the Sunday news-comment shows and in sound bites on the Democratic news networks (all except Fox) with the task of executing a 180-degree turn in a very narrow space. Some have managed it better than others. The incessant mudslinging at the Trump family and entourage seems also to be subsiding, and even Hillary Clinton reproached the African-American self-professed comic who pitifully tried to give a lewd spin to a photograph of Kellyanne Conway sitting with her feet on a sofa in the Oval Office as she sent an e-mail on her cellphone.
The New York Times’ weekly effort to festoon the Never Trump post-trauma effort with recondite historical conjurations has sputtered from David Brooks’s contortion of the Enlightenment last week to Timothy Egan’s comparison of Steve Bannon with Thomas Cromwell this week. Egan likened Bannon to Cromwell, who facilitated Henry VIII’s apostasy from the Roman Catholic Church and martyrization of Thomas More and John Fisher. (Cromwell’s undoing came when he championed the marriage of the unwed king — he had beheaded his wife, Anne Boleyn, on a false charge of adultery — to Anne of Cleves. Cromwell was attainted of treason and decapitated, as Anne Boleyn had been.) What Egan finds in this famous vignette of 16th-century British history of any relevance to the Trump administration is left to challenge the imagination of persevering readers. The best I could come up with was that Egan wants us to believe that Trump is a Henrician personality, a capricious and tempestuous tyrant potentially also of 400 pounds, who beheads his wives (Melania beware).
It seems finally to be penetrating the minds of his more perfervid enemies that Trump will serve his term, and the hope for a quick destruction of his presidency by inciting the country, through their nasty parrots in the media, to believe that it had inadvertently, and through shabby manipulation of the electoral system with the collusion of the Kremlin, had foisted upon it government by Frankenstein, isn’t making it. Given all that has happened, the hysteria over the migrant order, the whole farrago of Russian nonsense, this de-escalation has been another heavy defeat for Trump’s enemies. He has been facing a media that is 90 percent hostile and invents more news than it fairly reports. The ninja vandals at Berkeley, the mobs at airports, the Golden Shower, and the disgraced mythmaker Brian Williams lecturing the president about failing to uphold the integrity of his office, while Mika Brzezinski, also on MSNBC, warbled incoherently about a menace to the security of the world — it has been a baptism by fire and defamation that have failed. The Times signaled the change of tactic when it advised its readers on March 11 to litigate against the administration and Trump personally. This won’t work either, any more than has the “scorched earth” of obstructive questioning and amending that the Democratic minorities in the Congress have thrown at everything and every nominee the administration has brought forward.