Aftermath: Where’s Trump?

(As I was writing this, Nancy Pelosi let it be known that another impeachment is on the table. Keep reading for details.)

Today, Trump is holed up in the White House, largely cut off from the world. His social media accounts have all been suspended, at least for a while. There have been no official White House press releases for a couple of days. All we’ve heard from Trump in several hours is this:

Dan Scavino is White House deputy chief of staff.

At Slate, Ben Mathis-Lilley writes We’ve Lost Contact With the President.

The assumption underneath all of this, seemingly confirmed by a leaked Wednesday email in which Jared Kushner’s father told a friend that Trump’s actions are “beyond our control,” is that the president has gotten untethered; there is no longer anyone at all to mediate, even in a craven or enabling way, between his impulses and those of his most delusional, violent supporters. And with his social media accounts shut down, we lack even the usual level of awful access to the pattern of his thoughts. The man who is nothing but performance has been cut off from the audience that gives him shape and meaning.

What is the president doing? Is there a president right now, really? The safety line has gone slack in the cave, and we are all waiting to see what kind of thing will come back out.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins reported that Trump’s enthusiasm about the attack on Congress disturbed even his own staff. Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman writes that staffers were actually warned to stay away from Trump.

“What do I do? Resign?” one nervous White House staffer asked a friend on Wednesday afternoon, shortly after news broke that a woman had been shot and killed inside the Capitol. The West Wing staffer told the friend that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone was urging White House officials not to speak to Trump or enable his coup attempt in any way, so they could reduce the chance they could be prosecuted for treason under the Sedition Act. “They’re being told to stay away from Trump,” the friend said. The White House declined to comment.

Cipollone’s purported concern that Trump was committing treason—a federal crime—illustrates the chaos and fear of Wednesday’s unprecedented events. At least one staffer isn’t waiting to flee the ship. On Wednesday night, CNN reported that Stephanie Grisham, the former White House communications director and Melania Trump’s current chief of staff, resigned over the Trump-inspired riot. As staff quit or steer clear, Trump is increasingly isolated and alone. According to a person close to the White House, Trump refused to take calls on Wednesday from business leaders who wanted him to call off the insurrectionists. A former West Wing staffer said Republicans were texting and calling Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to lobby him to intervene, but Meadows wasn’t answering.

Gabriel also says Trump wanted David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler (our guys won! hurray!) to lose the Georgia runoff elections. Trump wanted to hurt Mitch McConnell for not supporting his attempt to overturn the election, and he believes that he will be the most dominant force in the Republican Party if McConnell loses party leadership. However, if anything, the events of yesterday supported McConnell’s continued leadership, even if it’s as Minority Leader. Trump is political kryptonite now.

Today there are resignations. The most significant of these, so far, is Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. I take it the break between Trump and Chao’s husband Mitch McConnell is irrevocable.

Today Chuck Schumer called for Trump to be removed from office immediately. I emailed my senators to let them know I support Schumer in this. And since one of my senators is Josh Hawley, I also told Hawley he was a disgrace and should resign. The Kansas City Star and St. Louis Post-Dispatch have not been kind to Hawley today, either.

And now I see Nancy Pelosi is calling for Trump to be removed from office immediately, too. I’ll come back to this in a bit.

The person who might do the job is Mike Pence, who has sole power to initiate removal procedures under the 25th Amendment. And Pence would be justified. I almost feel sorry for him now. See CNN’s Jim Acosta, Trump pressured Pence to engineer a coup, then put the VP in danger, source says.

On Tuesday, Pence came under intense pressure from Trump to toss out the election results during a meeting that lasted hours in the Oval Office. The vice president’s chief of staff, Marc Short, was banned by Trump from entering the West Wing, the source said, as the President repeatedly warned with “thinly veiled threats” to Pence that he would suffer major political consequences if he refused to cooperate.

And then Trump sic’d the mob on Pence.

Pence was joined by his wife Karen Pence, daughter Charlotte and brother, Rep. Greg Pence, R-Indiana, for the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes in Congress Wednesday. Several of the violent Trump supporters who were rampaging the US Capitol were heard screaming “where’s Mike Pence,” the source said, frightening the vice president and his family.

Yet, the President and his top aides barely lifted a finger to check in on Pence to make sure he and his family were unharmed, the source added.

If Pence refuses to act, another impeachment isn’t out of the question. Greg Sargent reports that Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are circulating new articles of impeachment. And this is what Nancy Pelosi said about it:

I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the Vice President to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th amendment. If the vice president and the cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment.

And there’s still time; as I recall, Andrew Johnson’s impeachment from start to acquittal in the Senate only took about a week. Sargeant says the position to just leave Trump alone until January 20 is becoming increasingly untenable.

Elsewhere: Anger that the Capitol was so easily broken into is growing. Chuck Schumer has promised to fire the Senate Sargeant-at-Arms as soon as he becomes Majority Leader. The House Sargeant-at Arms is under pressure to resign. There are multiple calls to thoroughly investigate the Capitol Police. The whole topic of how Capitol security failed, and how it almost certainly was compromised, requires a whole ‘nother post.

23 thoughts on “Aftermath: Where’s Trump?

  1. At least Josh Hawley has big balls.  He and Rafael Cruz were doing fund-raising appeals while the Capital Building was occupied by the insurrectionists.  Maybe we can get Joni Ernst to use her castration skills on that pair.  

    My Seditious Senator (Mike Braun) from the Mississippi of the Midwest (aka Indiana) was on the list of the Dirty Dozen but he chickened out.  

  2. Recent reports say Pence is not taking any calls from Schumer or Pelosi, so the idea of him initiating the 25th is unlikely.

    Watched an interesting video with Joe Scarborough who, if truly was live tv as caption suggested, scolded the capitol police saying they “opened the f***ing doors” for the mob.

    There’s a resolution being worked on calling for expulsion of republican members who supported trump and his attempts to overturn the election.

    All exciting bits of news, and hopefully impeachment and expulsion truly happen, otherwise this just becomes the norm.

  3. I'm glad Pence and his family overheard the mob looking for him. Between his potted-plant act and the third rate cabinet members who have to approve it, I wouldn't count on any 25th Amendment action. Yet one more flaw in this political system, where the sane course of action depends on the President's side-kick.

    Was listening to MSNBC's FBI expert, he posited that the lax security was somewhat intentional. There was no shortage of intel showing people what was coming. Somebody decided to ignore it. Read that the Capitol Police chief, Sund, resigned.

    Thrilled about all the on-line tips (4000 and counting) the public is sending in to identify the rioters.

    Cathartic video from Stephen Colbert

    I am really glad social media shut off Trump. I don’t want to hear anything more from him. Of course he’s going out of his mind.

  4. Where's Trump?  Sitting up in his bed, sucking his thumb, watching TV, hoping Ivanka will come soon to change his poopy pants.  Melania is avoiding him wondering what she ever saw in the Trumpster.  My guess is money but I'm sure she has a pre-nup so she can't leave. 

    Thirteen days is too long.  He is like a cornered rat so he is very desperate.  He knows the jig is up and he will go down as the worst president in history.  I would not be surprised if the white coats come after him soon.  If God loves us, he will do something soon before Trump does something

  5. I hope Pelosi is committed to following through with her statement about impeaching Trump. It might seem like a relatively meaningless endeavor considering the remaining time that Trump has in office, but some of the benefits in taking such an action would be.. It's the right thing to do in light of Trump's attack on our democracy and his failure to uphold his oath of office. It would also deprive Trump of issuing a pardon to himself or any other co-conspirators who assisted in the act of fomenting the insurrection.

    Another powerful consideration would be that it would either destroy completely or severely hamper his self constructed image of being a victim of a deep state conspiracy, at least as far his legacy is concerned.. He claims he's not concerned with his legacy because he'll be dead, but in his heart of hearts he truly is. Nobody can be as vain and narcissistic as Trump and honestly say that they aren't concerned how history records them. Aside from that, the shame of his legacy will be borne by his children, his grandchildren, and future generations of descendants.

    Neal Katyal, former Deputy Solicitor General, has said that once the articles of impeachment have been voted on successfully, the process of impeachment has to be completed even if Trump is no longer in office. Although there doesn't seem to be much penalty that can be doled out at that point, one viable penalty could be to deny Trump the right to ever hold a public office in the United States. That in itself would put a big damper on his ability market himself as a political entity in any capacity.

     He'd just be a disgraced bag of shit with 7 bankruptcies,2 impeachments, 3 failed marriages and a dysfunctional family to his credit.. Not to mention a certified racist by Congressional resolution.

  6. I thought I'd share this funny line I heard today on MSNBC: The woman said that the US Capitol Building was stormed and overtaken by Vanilla ISIS terrorists. 

    I wish I'd thought of that – I think it's perfect.


  7. It's up to everyone now to hold the toes of our Senators and House member to the fire to make sure tRUMP's Reichstag Fire doesn't lead to still more anarchic, nihilistic, seditious, and violent actions.

    Since Pence doesn't have the cojones to use the 25th Amendment, we've got to press our pol's to impeach tRUMP ASAP!!!!!

    • Since Pence doesn't have the cojones to use the 25th Amendment

       It seems to me that if Pence has presidential aspirations the 25th amendment would be the perfect and only chance to bring that desire into being. Although he wouldn't get much of a stint in that position with the time factor being the way it is, but he'd still be able to adorn his legacy with the title of President and increase his life long perks and prestige by pulling the plug on Trump. I would assume he's smart enough to realize that politically he's going down with the good ship Trump.  It's time to abandon ship!

  8. I just read that after tRUMP's goons' successful Reichstag Fire, and Capitol Building occupation, there's a schism starting in the faithful after they saw their lord and master(bater), Orange-Julius Caesar, on video today, basically try to distance himself from his precious, precious deplorable brownshirted thugs!

    He's now trying to do and/or say anything he can to save his fat, orange, extra-lumpy cottage cheese, zip code sized, greasy, treasonous, ass any way he can!

    Silly deplorables! 

    Any person – and especially a narcissistic sociopathic one – who demands total unquestioned loyalty, never, not ever, returns any loyalty to his/her loyal followers.

    Mull that over in your jail cells, deporables!!!


    • And 4000 tips to the FBI potentially identifying people involved in the insurrection. ALL of them should be arrested, extradited to Washington, held at least one night, have to put up substantial bail, or chill in a cell until the case comes before a jury.

    • I hear that a police officer who was injured during the insurrection has died. Just off the top of my head that would mean somebody is looking at a potential death penalty. Whoever the perp is, they would be wise to turn themselves in right away because they only have 12 more days to secure a Trump pardon.

  9. The ones behind this are ultimately those who manipulated gullible people into believing lies.  As a pathological liar, Trump literally embodies this. Like all Republican presidents he brings his own personal skills to this, to sucker the rubes.

    I’ve been thinking Hawley and Cruz. Both of them know better, but Republicans have been lying and conning the rubes for decades. They’re hardly unique, just more brazen about it, like Trump. Bigger deceptions require bigger effort.

    I am hopeful that the days of the well-crafted Republican lie may soon be over. Ted Cruz' self-serving sophistry is Exhibit A.

    What’s encouraging is to see some breaking free of the delusion. It takes a personal betrayal to wake up from the authoritarian dream. Others have been posting right wing twitter feeds – not a few feel betrayed by Trump because he promised to walk with him, but of course he did not. It was another lie.

    Burn this into your memory – it’s in the Stephen Colbert video, upstream: The scene of Trump at a rally in DC, exhorting his followers to march on the Capitol, promising to be with them and walk with them. This betrayal is how they fall away. They have to feel it themselves, otherwise it’s ignored.

    Sarah Robinson wrote about this years ago, in the context of pastor and flocks. It’s only when the pastor starts abusing the flock’s kids that they wake up to the dream they’ve been living in. The betrayal must be personal.

  10. Hawley of Josh has lost more than a book deal.  NPR reported he lost a 2  million dollar donor who was unnamed as far as I could tell,  It sounded like this well healed puppeteer sees Josh as damaged goods, and may even see problems with Populism, where truth distortion artists have led us to the development of a ragtag army of feral fanatics run amok.  These hand picked troop with expertise in gullibility and flag waving seem a specialty of the Josh.  With the failure of the coup, the lush power brokers of the Republican party apparently now see Hawley as expendable.  Oh well, easy come, easy go.  Do you think he has any fallback skills?

    Betsey DeVos, who achieved lasting recognition as a slam dunk for the top ten list of historical figures who were the most damaging to public education in the United States has resigned.  I think she may have created more wreckage than even Madeleine Will, George Will's ex did in her day.  Oh what a glorious day for American education this is!


  11. Here's a little something to enjoy with your morning coffee.

    WASHINGTON – Before leaving office, President Barack Obama awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor – the Presidential Medal of Freedom – to his vice president.

    In President Donald Trump’s final days, he has presented similar honors to California Rep. Devin Nunes, one of his most vocal supporters during impeachment, and to three professional golfers.

    To his vice president, Trump bestowed the label of coward.

  12. I support 25th Amendment action more than Impeachment.  Trump is obviously unstable & deranged, and 25th requires only a subjective judgement call on the part of a dozen people.  Impeachment would require legal documents & arguments.  After the Impeachment fiasco a year ago, I don't have any confidence that Democrats can do a better job now, in just a week or two.  The core charge would presumably be related to encouraging his mob to storm the Capitol; but Trump's incoherence will make it hard to prove that he's responsible for "ordering" it.


    Also, and more important in the longer run, I want to see Trump's mob destroy the GOP, not the USA.  The GOP is still trying to thread the needle – to keep the crazy mob on their side, while still pretending to be a party of responsible grown-ups.  Impeachment now would redirect the wrath of Trump & his mob from the GOP (who didn't support him enough) to the Democrats. 

  13. Awhiles back, Trump made a “joke” about being made "president-for-life". All right, then, if that was a joke, then I know an even funnier joke. How about:

    Men in white coats should catch Trump in a net, wrap him in a straitjacket, and toss him into a rubber room!

    Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh. Now that's amusing!

    What, don't you think that's funny? That's because my joke is ten times funnier than his, but ten times nothing is still nothing.

    Other jokes are ten times funnier still, but even that's still nothing, and I'm not into practical jokes. But others are. This country is full of comedians.


  14. Awhile back, Trump made a “joke” about being made "president-for-life". All right, then, if that was a joke, then I know an even funnier joke. How about:

    Men in white coats should catch Trump in a net, wrap him in a straitjacket, and toss him into a rubber room!

    Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh. Now that's amusing!

    What, don't you think that's funny? That's because my joke is ten times funnier than his, but ten times nothing is still nothing.

    Other jokes are ten time funnier still, but that's still nothing, and I'm not into practical jokes. But others are. This country is full of comedians.


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