Ever notice how some children try to gain the attention and approval of an older bully by bullying or demeaning others in turn? It would appear that this depressing spectacle played out in Donald Trump’s inner circle last week. Who can forget the sight of candidate Trump mocking a disabled reporter during his campaign just to get a laugh?
The day before Robert Mueller’s latest testimony on Capitol Hill, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s TV lawyer, did a similarly unflattering impersonation of Mueller during an interview on “Fox and Friends,” where he also said Mueller “made an idiot of himself.” Given Trump’s reported affinity for the program, it is no stretch to guess at the intended audience.
The next day, during Mueller’s testimony, the Associated Press reported that Giuliani texted comments about Mueller’s frequent stumbles and calls for questions to be repeated, apparently as evidence that his testimony was being shredded.
Here is another theory. Maybe at 75, Mueller’s hearing and reflexes are showing their age, or maybe it was the stress of spending hours in the hot seat recalling the details of his 450-page report before an audience of millions knowing the enormous impact his words would have on a divided country.
Or maybe it was Lt. Mueller’s stint leading a platoon of Marines in the jungles of Vietnam 50 years earlier when he experienced pitched battles and deafening gunfire all around which might affect his hearing today. It should also be noted that Mueller was awarded the Bronze star for his leadership and Purple Heart after he suffered a wound from an AK-47 assault rifle.
During his testimony, Mueller avoided being used as a theater prop, and he did as he said, which was to stay within the four corners of his report. He alerted this country to dual threats — one which I have yet to hear the president publicly acknowledge — and that is the vulnerability of our elections to outside interference.
The other, which is not explicit but which I believe is evident within the report, is the threat to our country from a president who is unconstrained by ethics, norms of presidential comportment, and I believe history will show, unconstrained by the rule of law.
A president who would invite a hostile foreign power to meddle in our elections for his own gain, and who would then try to cover his tracks through threats, ludicrous conspiracy theories, dangled pardons and purges of good honest career civil servants not only lacks the good judgment, ethics, and professional comportment to be president, but is acting more like a mob boss.
Any president who would do these things should be impeached. To fail to stop such an unprecedented abuse would be an abdication of duty. Republicans in Congress who would defend such behavior should be voted out of office.