Trump swings and misses
By Gail Collins
So which do you think gives Donald Trump more pain — being the first doubly impeached president in history or being fired as host of that big golf tournament?
The president has certainly had a bad time since he revved up his supporters right before they stormed the Capitol last week. The fact that now he’s being praised for telling them not to riot again during the inauguration is a pretty good measure of how pathetic his reputation has gotten.
And it’s sort of wonderful to hear reports that the thing that’s crushed him most is the PGA’s decision to move its 2022 championship games to someplace other than the Trump National Golf Club.
Plus he’s been barred from Twitter. If investigators could just figure out some way to impound Trump’s televisions, that’d be the end of him for sure.
We’ve been watching this drama ever since Trump refused to acknowledge he lost the election and went on a completely loony, unprecedented campaign claiming the vote had been fixed by Biden supporters. A multitude of his manic followers thronged to Washington, where Trump advised them, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
Imagine his shock when they rushed to the Capitol in rage.
Even some of the president’s avid supporters in Congress were terrified by the mob smashing toward the rooms where they were cowering. (And, in the case of some right-wing Republicans, breathing heavily without benefit of a mask.)
“He lit the flame,” said the third-ranking Republican in the House, Liz Cheney. On Wednesday, 10 of Trump’s own party members voted with all the Democrats to impeach him again.
The White House responded with a video of Trump saying that “violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country,” which is ... a good thought.
A day earlier, he went to Alamo, Texas, where he figured he could counter the flood of bad publicity by reminding people of his great triumph in building a wall across about 450 miles of the 1,954-mile border with Mexico. Most of which already had barriers. Costing taxpayers billions of dollars, none of it paid by Mexico.
He took approximately one minute of his trip to defend his indefensible actions on Jan. 6.
“People thought what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump told reporters.
Now quoting “people” is very Trumpian, but who do you think he specifically had in mind? Anybody besides his family and Rudy Giuliani? One of the more terrible aspects of Trump’s dwindling presidency is that Rudy is left as the guy with the chief executive’s ear.
Everybody from Lehigh University to Shopify has announced it’s terminating relationships with the president. Really, you get the impression a lot of people are just rooting through their offices, trying to find some minor Trump connection they could announce they’re severing.
Trump isn’t exactly mending broken relationships. Fresh from the violence-packed assault on the Capitol by his crazed supporters, he’s managed to disparage almost everyone who hasn’t broken into a federal office building on his behalf. Even Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence is an excellent example of how hard it is to satisfy the president. His great sin was refusing to pretend that Trump hadn’t lost the election. As a result, Trump happily listened to that crowd of rabid backers yelling “Hang Mike Pence.” And he reportedly told the vice president that he was going to “go down in history as a pussy.”
Possible post-presidential employment: a new reality game show called “Patriot or Pussy.”
He’s got to think of something to do. Trump’s advisers seem to have finally gotten him to accept the fact that after next week, he won’t be president. He will no longer be able to set national policy or carry out the parts of the job he seemed to find genuinely rewarding — like pardoning turkeys.
Retirement, in the sense of living off his savings, is probably not an option. The president has spent all his adult life trying to tie his name to the idea of incredible riches. In truth it was mainly incredible borrowing. Now the rats — OK, be fair, the financiers — are leaving the sinking ship and he’s surrounded by debt disasters. The banks that have lent him tons of money want it back.
Deutsche Bank, which the Trump Organization owes about $330 million, has retreated from the relationship. The loans — personally guaranteed by the president — start coming due in 2023, by which time we presume the Manhattan district attorney will have finished those investigations into insurance, bank and tax-related fraud.
Where does he go from here? Having your reputation in tatters is sort of a problem when your major life success has been selling the rights to use your name. He’s always bragged about his years and years of running the Central Park ice-skating rink — except that the city wants to take that away, too.
Ditto the merry-go-round, which might make Trump the first business mogul who can’t hang onto a carousel deal.
And there probably isn’t a whole lot of demand in the gambling business for a man who can run a casino into bankruptcy.
Maybe he’ll go back to his roots and start searching for a Barack Obama birthplace in Kenya.