Memo to Trump: Don't Forget to Turn Off the Lights On Your Way Out

There is a hugely scathing (and in my view, pretty accurate) op-ed in today's New York Times by Frank Bruni, The Week When ... Trump Resigned.

Bruni opines that Trump voluntarily abdicated the Oval Office on Tuesday: [More...]

[h]is presidency ended in the lobby of Trump Tower on Tuesday afternoon, when he chose — yes, chose — to litigate rather than lead, to attend to his wounded pride instead of his wounded nation and to debate the supposed fine points of white supremacy.

He abdicated his responsibilities so thoroughly and recklessly that it amounted to a letter of resignation. Then he whored for his Virginia winery on the way out the door.

Trump knew full well what he should have done, because he’d done it — grudgingly and badly — only a day earlier.

Bruni steps on his gas pedal:

. ...[H]e put id before country and lashed out, in a manner so patently wrong and transcendently ruinous that TV news shows had to go begging for Republican lawmakers to defend or even try to explain what he’d said.

Those lawmakers wanted no part of him. The same went for the corporate chieftains he considers his peers. And for the generals he genuinely reveres. The heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines all went out of their way to issue statements condemning the hatred that Trump wouldn’t take on. A soft coup against a cuckoo: It confirmed how impotent Trump had become.

On dismissing Bannon:

On Friday Trump finally dismissed his polarizing chief strategist, Steve Bannon. That’s excellent. And irrelevant. A president’s team doesn’t matter when he himself is this lost.

He cites another NY Times article:

In The Times, Michael Shear, Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush reported that several of his top advisers couldn’t see how his presidency would recover. “Others expressed doubts about his capacity to do the job,” they added.

He quotes an article in Axxios, "Trump's 7 Months of Destruction."

Bruni argues that Trump never wanted to be President, not even on the day he went down an escalator to announce his bid.

He revealed that repeatedly as he rejected the traditional rules and usual etiquette, refusing to release his tax returns, bragging about his penis size, feuding with the Muslim father of a fallen American soldier and electing puerility over poetry at nearly every meaningful moment.

Because of his victories in the Republican primary and then the general election, his campaign was hailed for its tactical genius. But it was driven by, and tailored to, his emotional cravings. All that time on Twitter wasn’t principally about a direct connection to voters. It was a way to stare at an odometer of approval and monitor, in real time, how broadly his sentiments were being liked and shared.

Bruni talks about Trump's laziness before the election and defiance after. On the health care bill debacle:

... members of Congress who met with Trump about the repeal-and-replace of Obamacare were aghast at his ignorance of the legislation and of the legislative process itself.

On all the groups he alienated:

A president is supposed to safeguard the most sacred American institutions, repairing them if need be. Trump doesn’t respect them. He has sought to discredit and disempower the judiciary, the free press, the F.B.I., the Congressional Budget Office. He even managed to inject politics into, and pollute, the Boy Scouts. This is the course of a tyrant.

Bruni says Trump didn't fail to lead, he didn't want to lead.

He consciously decided that he didn’t care about comforting or inspiring those Americans — a majority of them — who weren’t quick and generous enough with their clapping. He was more interested in justifying himself.

So he picked division over unity, war over peace. And make no mistake: He didn’t merely shortchange the presidency. He left it vacant.

I think Trump is incapable of leading. I think he garnered support from rich Republicans in the business community who believed he would undo Obama's policies, and that his campaign stumbled upon the rural pockets of angry, marginalized white Americans that were motivated by their bizarre hatred of all things Clinton and Trump pandered to them like he pandered to his rich business supporters, telling them: "I'm not interested in ideology, I'm interested in creating economic opportunity." And both groups were so blinded by what they thought he was going to do, they failed to see that their new emperor had no clothes.

But, as Bob Dylan once sang, "sometimes even the President of the United States must stand naked." If Bruni and the other media seers are right, it's only a matter of time. Since Trump's body isn't any prettier than the rest of him, let's just hope he turns off the lights as he exposes himself for the last time and walks out the door.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Empathy (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Repack Rider on Fri Aug 18, 2017 at 07:49:39 PM EST
    If you have never had it, you are incapable of comforting anyone else.

    Absence of empathy is the driving force of conservatives, and Trump is the ultimate distillation of that failing.

    Thanks Frank but (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by smott on Sat Aug 19, 2017 at 10:20:06 AM EST
    The NYT is fully complicit in the Trump Catastrophe. (Harvard published a comprehensive media study of the 2016 election coverage this week. It was unkind to our famously free press. Actually, it was brutal. And well deserved.)

    All these op-ends expressing shock and horror at Trump's recent behavior can just STFU.
    Many of us were jumping up and down w our hair on fire, warning you of this very kind of thing for most of the last 2 years. You mocked or at best ignored.

    This belated bleating is faux concern, and if it isn't, then writers like Bruni weren't paying attention, and that's worse.

    you are correct (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Aug 19, 2017 at 01:41:32 PM EST
    I pointed the complicit media out in my last post on this and will add it to this one as soon as I have time.

    Thanks Jeralyn (none / 0) (#5)
    by smott on Sun Aug 20, 2017 at 08:00:18 AM EST
    If you can add the link to the Harvard study, it's quite the read

    If wishes were horses (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Lora on Sun Aug 20, 2017 at 07:53:56 AM EST

    A Deal Breaker For Trump's Supporters? Nope, Not This Time Either

    Yascha Mounk, a political scientist at Harvard University who writes about democracy, said partisanship in the United States today is dangerously deep.

    "It's now at a stage where a lot of Americans have such a loyalty to their political tribe that they are willing to go along with deeply undemocratic behavior," he said. "If their guy says, `I think we should push back the election for a few years because of a possible terrorist attack,' I fear that a significant part of the population would go along with it."

    The Religous Right (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Lora on Mon Aug 21, 2017 at 08:14:43 AM EST
    Trump must have garnered huge support from them as well, I should think. We'll help you get elected, then you get "religious freedom" laws, i.e. license to discriminate, on the books.