The Dastardly Things Trump May Yet Try to Do

On this Armistice Day let us consider all the awful things Trump might do to shit on the country that rejected him.

There’s a lot of talk of a coup, in particular since Trump is busy screwing the Pentagon. This article at Politico explains:

The firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper kicked off a rapid-fire series of high-level departures at the Pentagon on Tuesday, setting off alarms on Capitol Hill that the White House was installing loyalists to carry out President Donald Trump’s wishes during an already tense transition.

In quick succession, top officials overseeing policy, intelligence and the defense secretary’s staff all had resigned by the end of the day Tuesday, replaced by political operatives who are fiercely loyal to Trump and have trafficked in “deep state” conspiracy theories.

The question is, can these Trump loyalists in the Pentagon conspire to somehow force the military to back up a Trump coup? I don’t see how. The brass hates Trump, and the military is not supposed to obey unconstitutional orders, even from the President. But that doesn’t mean damage isn’t being done.

Tuesday’s exodus led one top Democrat to accuse the administration of gutting the Pentagon in a way that could be “devastating” for national security.

“It is hard to overstate just how dangerous high-level turnover at the Department of Defense is during a period of presidential transition,” said House Armed Services Chair Adam Smith. “If this is the beginning of a trend — the President either firing or forcing out national security professionals in order to replace them with people perceived as more loyal to him — then the next 70 days will be precarious at best and downright dangerous at worst.”

If Trump is destabilizing the Pentagon to set up something, it would more likely be some kind of sabotage by a foreign power. But chances are there is no plan and Trump is just being a jerk.

At The Guardian, Sam Levine writes Can Trump actually stage a coup and stay in office for a second term? Like me, Levine doesn’t think a military coup is likely. But here’s a scenario I’ve seen in several places:

There is a long-shot legal theory, floated by Republicans before the election, that Republican-friendly legislatures in places such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania could ignore the popular vote in their states and appoint their own electors. Federal law allows legislatures to do this if states have “failed to make a choice” by the day the electoral college meets. But there is no evidence of systemic fraud of wrongdoing in any state and Biden’s commanding margins in these places make it clear that the states have in fact made a choice.

In order to make this work, Trump’s less-than-crack legal team would have to find a way to stop the certification of votes in key states, says Andrew Prokop at Vox. If elections aren’t certified by deadline, which varies by state, it is possible for a Republican legislature to overrule the state’s voters and appoint Trump Electors. So far, Prokop says, there seems to be no serious movement in the states to go along with this, but read Prokop for details.

Trump’s attempts to throw out votes or stop the counting (in states in which he’s behind?) by claiming fraud have come to nothing. See the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press for details. So far, it seems the election and the vote counting have been conducted by the books in every state. It’s actually kind of astonishing that more actual hinkiness hasn’t been found. I suspect election officials everywhere realized they had to be extra careful this election.

The most worrisome thing I’ve heard is that Trump may spill state secrets after he’s been evicted from the White House. Bess Levin at Vanity Fair points out that Trump is, by his own admission, $421 million in debt. And a lot of smart people have speculated he’s in a lot more debt than that. It’s not that much of a leap to think he’d sell out U.S. national security for the right price.

“Of course, that might sound crazy and delusional if not for the fact that Trump has spent nearly his entire term in office making the solid case that he’s a national security risk, a threat that would seemingly become more acute once he leaves office,” Levin writes.

Shane Harris at the Washington Post:

As president, Donald Trump selectively revealed highly classified information to attack his adversaries, gain political advantage and impress or intimidate foreign governments, in some cases jeopardizing U.S. intelligence capabilities. As an ex-president, there’s every reason to worry he will do the same, thus posing a unique national security dilemma for the Biden administration, current and former officials and analysts said.

Trump cares nothing about the United States and would sell us all out in a heartbeat for enough money. So this last one is genuinely worrisome.

Mike Thompson, USA Today