Wednesday, June 15, 2022

A Tale of Two Shitty Trumps

     Monday's January 6th hearing was as effective in presenting its case as the inaugural public hearing last Thursday. The problem was in determining which case they were trying to prove- Trump the deranged lunatic or Trump the canny, calculating heartless grifter.
     After seven years of Trump the candidate, Trump the Accidental president and Trump the aggrieved loser, we know the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
     Often when reviewing evidence of Trump's crimes, I keep going back to that astute observation of a journalist who'd written of him in 1976 that he was incapable of doing anything "unless there was some moral larceny attached to it." 46 years after that assessment, probably the fullest and most explanatory one ever ventured of Trump, it seems to be truer than ever.
     Many of the so-called revelations weren't really revelations at all. We knew that Trump had raked in a cool quarter of a billion dollars between election night 2020 and the riot on January 6th. We knew about the lengths he'd gone to to try to illegitimately cling to power as the baleful specter of Letitia James grew larger and larger with each day.
    The reason why many of these epiphanies seemed like twice-told news is because of the strategic leaks from the Committee going back to last year, the tsunami of "tell-all" books that have come out about Trump, investigative news articles and so forth. Mainly, what the Committee had done Monday was quantify those claims by playing videotapes of depositions of those who'd worked in the administration or the campaign.
     But that's not to say there weren't any revelations. The Committee had learned that the "Election Defense Fund" never existed. That was, from all available evidence, the one thing off of which Trump fundraised more than anything else in the first months after the election. Trump's people sent out as many as 25 emails a day asking, begging, pleading and even demanding money with veiled threats that Trump would not be very pleased with them if he learned you, personally, didn't tithe to his religion of graft and grift.
     We learned that Kimberly Guilfoyle got paid a cool $60,000 to deliver a two and a half minute-long speech introducing the abovementioned grifter, which is 75% of the median income that Americans made working all year in 2021.
     We also learned through Republicans now actively trying to launder and rehabilitate their reputations and future election, business and financial prospects that Trump was told by anyone and everyone in his administration and campaign with any pretense to sanity that he'd lost the election and that he'd continued troweling out the same Big Lie on virtually a daily basis.
     So he lied and lied and lied again, knowing he was raking in huge sums of cash from people with limited incomes and even more limited intelligence as a result of those lies. He was told by his own Attorney General, his Acting AG after him, his daughter, his administration's lawyers, his campaign's lawyers, told by countless people and he tuned them all out to listen to a drunk Rudy Giuliani.
     And, no, self-delusion isn't a legal defense.
     The first hearing on June 9th garnered 20,000,000 viewers, which is comparable to a Super Bowl. The second hearing on Monday pulled in about 10,000,000, which is still two and a half times what Tucker Carlson gets on an average night.
     Ratings aren't the be all, end all, obviously. But the American people want to know the truth about the day our Capitol was nearly sacked and what led up to it and who was behind it.


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