If you’re going to throw down the gauntlet, you’d better make it stick. That’s the lesson that some folks in politics understand quite well, and other folks in politics would do well to learn. Then there’s Donald Trump, who these days keeps demonstrating that he understands less about how politics works than just about anyone in politics.
Donald Trump appears to be the only person in politics who thought he could simply not tell Republican Senators that he knew John Bolton’s book confirmed his guilt, and that Bolton would somehow magically not release the book, and not push to testify, and that it would all work out just fine. Even as this quickly blows up in Trump’s face, he and his impeachment legal team are simply pretending that the Bolton thing isn’t happening. Of course their words give away that they know how ugly this is getting, and how quickly it’s happening.
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said this today as he was closing out Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial defense: “It is time for this to end.” Okay, that’s cute. The thing is, throwing down that kind of gauntlet only works when things are trending in your direction already, or when you think that drawing the line can cause things to start trending in your direction.
Yelling that it’s “time for this to end,” at a time when even your own allies are rapidly acknowledging that this is just getting started, is nothing more than a cry in the dark. It’s blindly throwing down the gauntlet, with no expectation of hitting anything, and missing accordingly. It’s a sign that Trump and his team don’t have any idea how to handle where this is rapidly heading.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report