The Destruction of the Presidency

The office is being degraded before our eyes. How much longer will Republicans tolerate it?

The Destruction of the Presidency

(Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

By Peter Fenn | Opinion Contributor

July 28, 2017, at 2:15 p.m.

One of the most repeated lines to describe the 2016 presidential election was that Hillary Clinton’s voters took now-President Donald Trump literally but not seriously, while the Trump supporters took him seriously but not literally. Sadly, for the Trump supporters, it is now clear that he should have been taken very literally, and for the Clinton supporters and the country, this is way beyond serious.

What is happening at the White House is nothing less than a full-frontal assault on the presidency and our system of government. Those who believed that Trump would grow into the presidency and that things would stabilize over time were sadly mistaken. Instead, this has gone from bad to worse. What started on Jan. 20 as a silly and stupid effort to prove the unprovable – that Trump’s inaugural crowd was larger than Barack Obama’s – has morphed into complete and total dysfunction, pathetic infighting and an almost pathological inability to tell the truth about almost anything.

The hiring of Anthony “scarethepantsoffme” Scaramucci, and his interview with Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker, were the latest in a long list of inept and incompetent patterns of behavior that debases the presidency. If he is Trump’s Mini-me then we are in danger of a total White House and governmental meltdown.

What we saw during the Trump campaign is what we are getting in spades with this government. More petty than we could have imagined, more incoherent than we could have imagined, more destructive than we thought possible. Why obsess on Russia and fire former FBI Director James Comey? Why attack your most loyal operative, Attorney General Jeff Sessions? Why even entertain the notion of firing special counsel Robert Mueller and launch research attack dogs on his staff? Why insult Republicans you need in Congress on an almost daily basis? Why launch political barbs and tell a host of falsehoods at a Boy Scout jamboree? Why reverse yourself on LGBT rights? Or health care? Or infrastructure efforts?


The White House Stinks at This

Anthony Scaramucci’s weird CNN call-in revealed a lot, little of it good.

Does Trump have no guiding principles? Does he have absolutely no moral compass? Does he have no sense of how to pick staff other than watching them on TV? He is one of the most vapid, clueless, ignorant decision makers to serve in government at any level, let alone the presidency. He can’t hire and fire like a normal president; he doesn’t grasp the issues at hand or try and understand the basics; he doesn’t have people around him whom he trusts or who trust him, other than his immediate family.

How will this end? It can’t go on this way for three and a half more years. I sense that Trump and his incompetent operatives such as Scaramucci will make outrageous decisions that the Republicans simply cannot abide. I sense that many congressional Republicans now know that Trump isn’t the “auto-pen” who would sign what they put before him. Instead, he is incapable of being president of the United States.

And, of course, this Republican congress is showing the same dysfunction in its inability to accomplish much of anything. For them, a President Mike Pence is their only option. The Republicans are waiting for the poll numbers to further erode, a serious Trump mistake with Mueller or foreign policy disaster with his national security team hitting the exit doors. Then they will pounce. It will be time to stop the destruction of the American presidency.