Starting about a year ago or so, a lot of political analysts were saying that Democrats pushing for impeachment were playing right into Trump's hands. That Trump was this Master Strategist who actually wanted to be impeached because he could use that against Democrats to show how bitterly divisive they were. He was taking all these actions that drove Democrats crazy, they said in order to maneuver Democrats to impeach him. Trump wanting to be impeached was all part of his plan.
I spent a lot of time arguing this with friends. Trump was not a Master Strategist, I insisted -- in fact, he didn't strategize almost anything. He acted impulsively, he spoke impulsively, and he seemed to have little concept of a Big Picture for pretty much any of his actions, focused almost exclusively on what was right before him at any given moment. It was well-accepted that the last person in the room was the one who had Trump's ear. That is not how Master Strategists operate. That is not how first-time strategists think. That's how young children think, and how self-absorbed egomaniacs think.
But still they and the political analysts would go on and insist that Trump was a Master Strategist who was maneuvering Democrats to impeach him because Trump wanted to be impeached.
I believe we can now clearly put aside that concept and accept that they were wrong.
Even before the Ukraine phone call became public, Trump would periodically sent out tweets and make occasional public statements that showed a certain angst about being impeached. These weren't clever deceptive manipulations, but rather quick bursts of very obvious concern, immediately changing the subject to something else.
But since the Ukraine call as discussion of impeachment became very real -- and then when the House began holding hearings that dealt with impeachment issues -- and then after the House passed impeachment rules... Trump's meltdown has been pretty apparent, incredibly hard to miss unless you were trying to avoid it. Especially on the weekends, he's go on regular, lengthy TweetRants against Adam Schiff and "illegal impeachment" (whatever that exactly is) and his "perfect" phone call. And they continued through the week, every day.
And once the witness testimony took place, things got ratcheted higher, ranting against the whistleblower, trying to discover (contrary to the law) who the whisteblower was, demeaning people who'd given decades of their careers to the military or public service, recipients of the Purple Heart, questioning their patriotism. He'd repeatedly make demands that had no basis in law or reality, like how there was no "due process" in the trial taking place (when, in fact, what was going on was just hearings, and there wouldn't be a trial until matters eventually got to the Senate) or how Republicans weren't being allowed to participate in the process, which was of course totally untrue.
On and on and on, this frantic Trump meltdown has played its angst-ridden mania out in full public view for months now, getting worse as the public hearings begin -- public hearings which Trump had been calling for when testimony was being given in private, but now he wants to be private.
This is not part of a Master Plan. It is not part of a Grand Strategy. There is no clever maneuvering. It is driving him crazy -- or at least crazier. Unraveling him. And it is all because of one thing: Trump does not want to be impeached. He has never wanted to be impeached. He hates the concept of being impeached. And the reality of being impeached is showing itself to him to be even worse.
Is it because of his fragile, insecure ego at the humiliation? Is it because he knows he's done things very illegal and they'll be found out? Is it because he believes it will discredit his presidency? Is it because that's how a bully acts when others push back? Is it because as a lifelong con man he's afraid he'll be found out? Is it because he's scared his late father will be angry and let down that he failed and somehow will punish him? Who knows? Trying to unravel Trump's warped psyche is out of most people's pay grade -- include many psychiatrist's. But it seem reasonable that it could be a little bit of all the above, and maybe more. There's only one thing we know for sure.
Trump does not want to be impeach and is terrified of it.
As well he should be.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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