If Donald Trump’s party had won the House of Representatives on Tuesday, he would be enjoying greatly expanded power and latitude right now. He could be doing anything he wants. Instead, with the Democrats having taken the House and made clear that they’re going to take Trump down, he and his underlings appear to be very much aware that they’ve lost – and they’re settling for trying to settle old grudges while they still can.
First Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions yesterday afternoon. There was clearly no strategic plan involved, unless you count installing a guy as Acting Attorney General who has already pre-confessed to obstruction on national television, who will probably end up being forced to recuse himself. But this wasn’t about Trump trying to help himself; it was about Trump taking out his frustrations on a former friend he’s come to personally despise. Trump wasn’t the only one taking this tack.
Last night Sarah Huckabee Sanders took to Twitter and falsely accused her longtime nemesis, CNN’s Jim Acosta, of having physically assaulted the female staffer who tried to yank the microphone away from him yesterday. This incident occurred on live national television, so there’s no question that Sanders is lying. But she nonetheless announced that Acosta’s press credentials have been revoked as a result of the fictional assault. How does this help Sanders or Trump? It doesn’t. They’re just trying to settle a longstanding petty grudge against a reporter they’ve come to hate.
These are not the actions of people who think they’ve won, and who are flexing their newfound muscles in ways that would boost their own position. Instead, these are the kinds of actions you take when you think your world is about to end, there’s nothing you can do to stop it, and you figure you might as well use your increasingly limited remaining time in power to settle some old scores.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report