Here’s the thing about being President of the United States. People on your side are going to root for you, and people on the other side are going to oppose you. Then there are the people in the middle, the least politically motivated folks, who aren’t necessarily for or against you. They don’t know, or even necessarily care, if you’re doing the job all that well – but they want to see that you’re at least trying to do the job.
It’s why the likes of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton made a point of carrying out business-as-usual activities, such as brokering legislation and making normal-ish speeches, even as Congress was investigating their alleged crimes. It worked for Clinton and it ultimately didn’t work for Nixon, but the point is that you have to give the appearance that you can still function as president while the other side is throwing everything it has at trying to destroy you.
Donald Trump, having been at least partly goaded into it by Nancy Pelosi, announced yesterday that he won’t do any basic aspect of governing because he’s being investigated by Congress. Oops. That wasn’t a wise move. Trump is already barely doing the job. He doesn’t bother to negotiate with Congress or carry out a legislative agenda. He spends weekdays in bed watching Fox News, and he spends weekends golfing in Florida. But the average nonpolitical person hears that and just assumes it’s being exaggerate by the other side, or that both sides are equally guilty of it. This is different.
Donald Trump just flat out admitted, in exact words, in front of the television cameras, that he’s no longer going to do the job. He just informed the people in the middle that he’s done. He announced his surrender. He might as well have announced his resignation, because now the average nonpolitical American is going to reluctantly conclude that they have to do something about this guy. The case for impeachment and ouster just became a lot stronger – primarily because of what came out of Trump’s mouth.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report