The night that Donald Trump was elected American president, I gave an interview claiming he would be impeached within a year. In the following weeks, I started making more cautious bets; then I gave him two years.
I begin my mornings reading The New York Times and The New Yorker, both respected publications that have reached peak performance ever since “The Donald” started raging and tweeting in the White House. I love the precision of the reporting, which obviously wants to prove to the country how good, how important and how essential to the democratic process the press is. Day after day, the message is: We will get you because you are unworthy to lead America, let alone the world.
I am definitely not the only one who needs his daily dose. I have trouble following the madness without losing track, though. My favorite thing to do is to read the weekly summaries and then to realize that I have already forgotten what was vomited on Monday on Twitter and then reported as news on Wednesday on Fox News. I am getting pretty old and accustomed to all sorts of human foibles. I mourned for JFK and survived Ronald Reagan, but Trump is unique, he surpasses everything, he is the counterrevolution.
I am certainly not the only one who is slowly starting to think. Trump has been at it for a while now. It is quite possible that ouster is not going to happen so quickly. Getting rid of a president by impeachment is quite complicated, after all. Richard Nixon's ouster was long overdue, which is why he gave up before the procedure could be initiated. It was ridiculous how Bill Clinton bent the truth ("I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky"), but got away with a reprimand.
What started me thinking was a wonderful piece by New Yorker Editor-in-Chief David Remnick titled "Who in the White House will turn against Donald Trump?" Remnick tells the story of a man called Alexander Butterfield who worked in Nixon's White House. One day, he was told to install bugging devices in the Oval Office so that every conversation could be secretly recorded. Nobody was supposed to know anything about this.
When the investigation of Nixon started in earnest, Butterfield was questioned as well. When the crucial question about the existence of a recording system was asked, Butterfield said, "Yes." That was the beginning of Nixon's downfall.
Of course, Remnick wrote this article on June 16 for one reason only: to encourage a new Butterfield at the White House. You can write history! Free us from this tragedy!
With Trump, a lot of things seem suspicious — but what good is this to us?
I felt uncomfortable reading the article, but this is how much we want this nightmare to end, how much we write, think and bet so that it will end. This is how far we have let ourselves drift. Even a person as smart and circumspect as Remnick is in a constant state of emergency and so am I.
But what do we have that can be used against him? Fraternizing with the Russians sounds fishy, but it won't be “The Donald's” downfall unless something spectacular happens. It is reminiscent of the Republicans’ attempt to destroy Bill Clinton over a real estate deal at home in Arkansas, the now forgotten — and rightly so — Whitewater Affair. Or the Trump family's constant blurring of boundaries between affairs of state and business interests. It is damaging, but cannot be turned into a major scandal. At least not yet. There's also the firing of the FBI director: dangerous, but hardly grounds for impeachment.
America always elects the party which is in opposition to the sitting president. Consequently, Trump is the anti-Obama. And the incumbent's adversaries always behave the same way: As soon as a new president is in office, they struggle to expel whoever is in the White House. That is what happened to Obama and that is what is happening to Trump. And this time, I, too, jumped on the bandwagon of hysteria.
If Only We Could Stop Making a Fuss
We might just want to pause for a moment and let good old skepticism rule. Quite possibly, it is precisely the constant fuss that contributes to the stabilization of the White House. In any case, it would be better if we could just stop making a fuss and pay attention to what is going on in the world.
What really worries me are North Korea and Saudi Arabia. The dictator in Pyongyang, who quickly flew home an American student in a coma and who is constantly testing missiles, is a real threat to the world. And Saudi Arabia, encouraged by Trump, is turning the proxy war in Syria with Iran into a direct confrontation. Where will this lead? The indispensable superpower, U.S.A., does not know what it is doing because its president does not know what he is doing. This is why he shoots down a Syrian fighter jet, which will inevitably lead to conflict with Russia.
I have decided not to make any new bets. What he does or fails to do in the real world will decide Trump's fate. The fact is, if he is finished, it is because he has done himself in.