The shit show that is the Trump presidency came to a head on Monday with the Washington Post revelation that his couldn’t keep his mouth shut in front of two top Russian officials. He actually bragged to these guys, telling them “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day.”
Can you imagine the reaction of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak? Oh, really, we had no idea! How absolutely fascinating, tell us more! Trump actually made headlines all around the world when he refused to take daily intelligence briefings before he took office. Why not? Because he’s “a smart person.” Yet he, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, feels the need to boast about them. Seriously.
And it all gets predictably worse when you put some context around it. Trump fires FBI Director James Comey just as he happened to be investigating possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 election. His communication staff did a bang up job coordinating to justify it and then, boom! Trump can’t keep his mouth shut admits on camera that the “this Russia thing” was part of his rationale for the firing.
The Comey firing went down on Tuesday, May 9th and then there was the stroke of genius in scheduling the Lavrov and Kislyak meeting for the very next day, with only Russian media allowed in. So it already looked bad before we learned about Trump’s intelligence give away via the Washington Post on Monday. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster dutifully defended his president saying “The story that came out tonight, as reported, is false.”
But his president shot that to shit in his first tweets on Tuesday morning: “As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining....to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.” He just can’t shut up.
We all have at least one blustering big mouth in our lives. You might find them just a little sad or outrageously annoying, depending on who they are to you, be it a boss, a family member, an acquaintance or whoever. We don’t take these people all that seriously. In fact, we might laugh behind their backs and definitely edit what we tell them for fear of how it might get repeated. If they are men, we might even assume they are trying to compensate for their little penises.
Big mouth = big something else? Uh, no. But more importantly, will this ever end?
Since Trump took office in January, I’ve become an expert on how impeachment proceedings work because it’s the most frequent question I get from the Spanish media. Much like it’s hard to exaggerate how surreal the Trump presidency has been for many Americans, the view from abroad has been dizzying. While the rest of the world sometimes gripes about it, they do look to us for leadership and expect a level of seriousness from our president. While other governments may bumble around and make rookie mistakes, no one expects that from the Americans. The world expects cold, hard, self-interest from U.S. governments.
While Trump is making a mockery of our government, interests, security, basically everything, the world is beginning to look elsewhere for leadership. If our allies can’t trust us with the most-sensitive intel, then what? Allies matter. And if we cede our position at the head of the world order, it’s not a given that Europe can take up that mantle. In fact, it’s more likely that China will step in. And all this makes Russia happy because they’ve been feeling awfully left out of the world order.
As you know, our impeachment process is much more political than legal. The legality or illegality of Trump’s actions isn’t what decides whether congressional Republicans start the process. What will is when they think his actions are a threat to their jobs and their majority. Politics is about winning. And then, it’s about governing according to your values and your voter’s preferences, so you can win again.
This is where your outrage can help. Public opinion matters. Trump’s approval rating is currently at 38% and no doubt it will sink even more in the coming days. We can’t be outraged all the time, but the events as they’ve unfolded during the past week present a huge opportunity for the resistance movement. It’s the time to make as much noise as possible. There are some big organizations like Indivisible and Women’s March with grassroots groups all over the country. There’s even a webpage called Movement Match where you can take a quiz that will help match you to an organization.
The time is now. Don’t let this opportunity pass.