“My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again. The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He’s demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening.” Thus spake Lisa Page. Page, a former FBI lawyer, who has become another innocent victim of the unprincipled wrath of Donald Trump, is occasionally excoriated via tweet or in public by Trump because of a handful of text messages she exchanged with former Mueller Report investigator and FBI agent Peter Strzok. The text messages were critical of Trump when he was a candidate for president.
FBI agents and other Bureau workers are permitted to have personal political opinions so long as those opinions are kept private and do not unduly interfere with their work. Except under Trump. Under Trump, political opinions are permissible, indeed mandatory, so long as they are slavishly and idolatrously pro-Trump. Otherwise you are a “Never Trumper” and you have committed the blackest sin imaginable. A handful of unflattering Trump messages between Strzok and Page, who were having an affair at the time, were unlawfully leaked by former acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Thus was born a conspiracy theory, advanced by Fox News and endlessly repeated by Donald Trump, that Strzok and Page were part of a vast FBI connivance network bent on destroying Donald Trump. And in the land of the wretched thought processes of the conspiracy theorists – people who frequently confuse plausibility with probability – if anything could happen then it did happen.
The personal costs to people like Lisa Page can be devastating. Even though only fools and Republicans are taken in by Trump, who will casually destroy anyone in order to cravenly create fictional cover for his crimes, there are millions of such idiots out there, and they can be dangerous. Lisa Page isn’t a human being to Trump, she’s just a good cover story to hide his criminal enterprises, and he is blithely indifferent to the destruction and pain he has caused and goes on causing her as a person. As Page explained it to The Daily Beast: “But it’s also very intimidating because he’s still the president of the United States. And when the president accuses you of treason by name, despite the fact that I know there’s no fathomable way that I have committed any crime at all, let alone treason, he’s still somebody in a position to actually do something about that. To try to further destroy my life. It never goes away or stops, even when he’s not publicly attacking me.”
Page is a constitutionally private person, one of those people, not as uncommon as you may think in this age of instant recognition, who sought neither fame nor fortune but simply wanted to make an honest living serving her country. But because she represents a cheap and easy way for the despicable insect in the Oval Office to cover his cowardly ass, her life is forfeit and ruined. Trump has already made his point and he can quit making it, but he likes to go on making it, because it provides him with blind cover and he is indifferent to the human cost. That’s the real problem for Page, she knows it’s not going away, not for a long time. Even so, she remained quiet, hoping no one would notice her, hoping that recent political events would move the narrative well beyond her.
But it was a comment made in October by the president at one of his Nuremberg-style rallies that finally made Lisa Page decide to grant an interview to the Daily Beast. “Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back,” explained Page, who called it a “truly reprehensible, degrading stunt … in which he used my name to simulate an orgasm.” (A thing Donald Trump no doubt learned how to do from constant examples given by his many wives and hookers.)
It is the hallmark of both the conspiracy theorist and the low-information low-life Trump supporter to never listen to any narrative that does not support their confirmation bias, and Lisa Page must endure the voluntary ignorance of both kinds. Her life remains on hold as long as Donald Trump remains president. Because Trump chooses to use her and others like her as a human shield, like the truly despicable coward that he is, her life is in actual danger. She exhibits understandable paranoia when a stranger’s eye catches her own, fearing that she may have been recognized. An approaching person wearing a MAGA hat sends premonitory chills of danger down her spine and she often turns around and walks in the opposite direction. The presidency of Donald Trump will leave scars behind on us all, but for Lisa Page those scars are very personal and sadly permanent.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.