I imagine it’s just a matter of time before Donald Trump tweets that he’s “the most persecuted man since Jesus.”
Last month, during a Saturday commencement speech at the country’s largest Christian university, Trump told the graduating class that “in America, we don’t worship government, we worship God,” on the way to suggesting that it wasn’t the Kremlin that intervened in the 2016 election and propelled him to victory, but rather God himself.
Well if that’s true, then one has to think Trump now finds himself asking the same question of the Almighty that Christ once posed: “why have you forsaken me?”
As pressure builds on his administration and as reports continue to suggest he’s under investigation for obstruction of justice (his lawyer’s protestations notwithstanding), Trump is struggling to convince his dwindling support base that he’s a victim of a “witch hunt.”
And not just any “witch hunt.” You are, according to Trump, witnessing “the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history.”
He has in fact tweeted about this “witch hunt” no fewer than 10 times this year. Nine of those tweets have come since the inauguration, and four of them have come over the last week:
The ringleaders of this “witch hunt” are of course the mainstream media who Trump has (literally) labeled the enemy of the people.
So far this year, he’s tweeted about “fake news” no fewer than 54 times:
So convinced is Trump of this absurd victim narrative that he even went so far as to tell a group of graduating Coast Guard cadets that he’s an example of someone who life has treated unfairly. Here’s what he said:
Over the course of your life, you will find that things are not always fair. You will find that things happen to you that you do not deserve and that are not always warranted.
Look at the way I’ve been treated lately – especially by the media. No politician in history – and I say this with great surety – has been treated worse or more unfairly.
To quote a Trumpism, “think of it!”
Here’s a man who has lived a life of privilege the likes of which the vast majority of the planet cannot even fathom, explaining how hard he’s had it and how he “doesn’t deserve” the things that have happened to him.
Remember, we’re talking about this guy:
But as absurd as all of that is, Trump doesn’t seem to understand how much of the recent damage is self-inflicted.
Want to make an obstruction case against a sitting President? Well, it sure does help when that President fires the FBI Director who’s investigating possible collusion between the White House and a hostile foreign power.
Want to give the judiciary some extra motivation to block an executive action? Well, try getting on Twitter and lambasting federal judges and if that’s not enough, take it a step further and suggest that any future terrorist attacks that unfold on US soil will be the fault of the courts.
And on, and on, and on.
Simply put: Donald Trump is a “victim” the same way Plaxico Burress was a “victim”.
With all of that in mind, consider the following from Ruth Marcus who touches on everything said above and speculates on what might come next in Trump’s quest to stave off crucifixion.
It’s come to this, on his 146th day in office: The president, under investigation for obstruction of justice, attacked his own deputy attorney general for orchestrating a “witch hunt” against him.
Sometimes my role as a columnist is to advise readers not to overreact, to maintain perspective. Today my advice is to buckle up. Brace yourselves.
I’m not sure for what, exactly. President Trump firing Rod J. Rosenstein or taking moves that would force the deputy attorney general, and perhaps others, to quit? Firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, whose probe has pushed Trump to this frenzied state? Using his pardon power in an effort to shut down the investigation, on the theory that Mueller would then have nothing left to probe? Pardoning himself, a move of contested legality that even Richard Nixon balked at? Facing impeachment proceedings, however unlikely that may be with a Republican-controlled Congress?
As reports about his legal peril multiply, Trump [has become] increasingly worked up about the Mueller probe. He perceives himself as the ultimate victim – first of a double standard under which he is blamed while Hillary Clinton and her allies, such as former attorney general Loretta Lynch, escape responsibility. “Crooked H destroyed phones w/ hammer, ‘bleached’ emails, & had husband meet w/AG days before she was cleared- & they talk about obstruction?” Trump tweeted.
Yes, Mr. President, because you are the president; she isn’t. Because as dumb and self-destructive as some of the Clintons’ conduct was, there was no evidence of obstruction and, as Comey said, “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against her.
The second, perhaps even more deeply felt, aspect of Trump’s victimhood involves his conviction that any investigation of him constitutes an unfair attack by political enemies. “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story,” he tweeted. “You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people!”
Where to start with the distorted thinking exhibited in these tweets? On collusion, Trump is, at best, premature; there is not “zero proof” but a continuing investigation into campaign and transition contactsbetween Trump associates and Russian operatives – contacts that Trump aides have consistently minimized if not lied about directly.
As to obstruction, Trump’s wounds are entirely self-inflicted. He has seemed determined – frantic, really – to see that the case against fired national security adviser Michael Flynn is dropped. If you credit Comey’s sworn account over Trump’s news conference denials, Trump demanded Comey’s loyalty; pressed him to drop the case against Flynn; and eventually fired Comey himself because of his handling of “this Russia thing.” As Comey might say, no reasonable prosecutor would fail to investigate in these circumstances.
What Trump derides as a “phony witch hunt” is the legal system working as it should. Attorney General Jeff Sessions needed to recuse himself. Rosenstein needed to name a special counsel. And Mueller needs to pursue the investigation, impartially and fearlessly, to its logical end.
That Trump now feels the need to attack seasoned prosecutors for simply doing their jobs speaks volumes – and says nothing reassuring about the lengths to which Trump, for whom self-preservation has always been the top priority, might eventually go.