A recurring motif made itself known once again in the runup to Donald Trump’s Tuesday night self-immolation, also laughingly referred to as a speech, specifically that the networks should refuse to carry it, or at least refuse to carry any unredacted, uncorrected version of it. This is not just a mistake, it’s an increasingly common tactical error, though one made with certainly the best and most noble intentions, but wrong all the same.
We should take every chance we can get to hear Donald Trump speak, tweet or rant from now until the day he is unceremoniously defenestrated from the presidency. No one implicates Trump in obstruction of justice, treason, economic crimes, racial slurs, sexual misconduct or moral inadequacies better than Donald J Trump himself. Imagine depriving some future jury of twelve men and women empaneled to adjudicate defendant Donald Trump’s fate of any one of these delectable fruits of his very own boneheaded pronouncements. What a crime that would be!
Recall the grassroots call from early in the Trump “presidency” to force Twitter to delete his account? Think now of the self-inflicted wounds we would have been covfefe-ly denied had that been carried out. Does anyone today not understand that sparing the tender feelings of the American people from Richard Nixon’s 1973 “I am not a crook” speech might have delayed his ouster? It certainly didn’t help him.
Of course, Donald Trump’s voice makes fingernails across a blackboard sound like the late Schubert string quartets by comparison. Nor should anyone be required to countenance his, er, countenance. If you don’t want to listen to him, or read his tweets, or look at his repellent, purse-lipped, combed-over, rage-ravaged, stupid face, no one is saying you should have to. But let’s be done with all this talk of deleting his Twitter account, or denying him TV primetime, or boycotting gaggles and White House press briefings. Those are the stuff by which he will hang himself. No one, positively no one, indicts Donald Trump criminally, morally or incontrovertibly better than Donald Trump himself. So let him.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.