The Trump Presidency

In a classic sports photo from the 1960s, Cassius Clay (soon to change his name to Muhammad Ali) stands over his defeated opponent, Sonny Liston. Clay still has his fist cocked menacingly, and his eyes glare down with contempt. The referee had to shove Clay to his corner in order to be able to begin to count Liston out.

I see this as a metaphor for the contest between Donald Trump and the deep state, with Mr. Trump the one who is prostrate on the canvas. Maybe you think that Trump deserved this fate (some boxing aficionados felt that way about Sonny Liston). I am sad for him.

If Mr. Trump was less than honorable in refusing to acknowledge defeat, his opponents are less than satisfied with mere electoral victory. The current impeachment is reminiscent of the beheading of Oliver Cromwell, which took place two years after his death.

The social media bans remind me of the lobotomy Nurse Ratched orders for Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

If you are having a hard time figuring out whether I am pro-Trump or anti-Trump, that is not deliberate obfuscation on my part. I am on of one of the few people in the world who feels ambivalently about him. I am inclined to be more up on him when is down, and vice-versa.

You may recall that I wrote in Paul Ryan’s name on my 2016 ballot. I prefer the Paul Ryan or Ben Sasse types, even though they lack charisma.

While Mr. Trump’s temperament in office was a constant source of irritation for many people, I only was deeply disturbed twice, and in both instances Mr. Trump had a hard time recognizing that a supporter of his could be obnoxious.

Once was during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. A statesman would have attended a Black church near Charlottesville in order to clearly distance himself from the white racists.

The second time was the aftermath of the 2020 election. My first words were “Biden won. Get over it, people.” A statesman would have conceded and then called for a bipartisan commission to recommend procedures to ensure in the future that we have orderly elections with prompt, reliable results.

When I look at the foreign policy establishment, the public health establishment, and the economic policy establishment, I wish that Mr. Trump could have done more to overcome them. As I have said before, I fault Mr. Trump for being unable to find and keep the sort of personnel who might have helped him do that. I would have preferred to see the deep state with its back on the canvas.

Mr. Trump’s legacy includes upwards of 20 million voters who believe that the 2020 election was stolen. That belief is a dangerous tumor in the body politic. It reminds me of the belief of Germans that they did not really lose the first World War. It reminds me of the belief that Michael Brown and George Floyd died because of their race. Bad things happen when leaders use cancerous lies as springboards.