April 23rd is the anniversary of both the birth and death of William Shakespeare, so it seems fitting at this time to reference him, particularly as he wrote with such penetrating insight into human shortcomings. Since no person I ever heard of outside a play by Shakespeare has more faults and foibles than Donald Trump, I begin with this from the Bard’s own Pericles: “Few love to hear the sins they love to act.” And Donald Trump is certainly no exception.
Indeed, no one hates to have his crimes held up to the light more than Donald Trump, and Donald Trump is angry (as ever), this time because he’s going to be impeached precisely for those sins he loves to act. Just when he was beginning to enjoy the denouement of the Mueller investigation, he has discovered, to his astonished displeasure, that momentum in a gathering tempest in the House of Representatives will, in all likelihood, end in the drafting of articles of his impeachment.
It is both tragedy and comedy of Shakespearean proportions, a “president” who is at once an Iago and a Falstaff. Welcome to act IV of the Trump presidency. It is an end of his own doing and, try to blame others though he will, Trump has no one to blame but himself, never forgetting that it’s “an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star.”
As Trump disingenuously put it in a Monday morning tweet, “Only high crimes and misdemeanors can lead to impeachment. There were no crimes by me (No Collusion, No Obstruction), so you can’t impeach.” Ah, but there was collusion and there was obstruction. Had he bothered to read it, Trump would find no “comfortable words” in the Mueller Report.
Like Richard III, Trump employs counterfeit virtue to draw some people to him. Others look to this pale, latter day Richard as a means to their own rise. Still others are simply cowards, afraid to speak their own truth to Trump’s stolen power. Whatever their rationale, Trump, like Richard, remains a tyrant, and “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”
In the final analysis the Trump presidency and the American nightmare it has spawned will end, either in impeachment and removal, or Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election. We who have vigilantly borne the indignity of this loathsome, odious King Lear have, at least, earned the right to anticipate that blessed day when this “most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality” and his pirate ship of hooligans each have “melted into air, into thin air.” We are, after all, the stuff that dreams are made on.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.