Donald Trump, with his presidency failing, and his political muscle having been reduced to nearly zero, and his ego bruised after being mocked for hiding from peaceful protesters in an underground bunker, is now trying out the strongman routine. Things are about to get very, very, ugly. The trouble for Trump: he’s not within a million miles of having the muscle to pull it off.
When you look past the bluster that Trump displayed in the Rose Garden today and you look strictly at his words, he hasn’t actually done anything. Trump merely urged the governors to employ the National Guard, and he made vague threats to send in the U.S. military if he doesn’t get his way. Yes, Trump reportedly invoked the Insurrection Act, but even that only allows him to send in the military if a governor asks for it. The majority of governors won’t take him up on it.
So no, this isn’t “martial law,” even as that term trends on Twitter. It isn’t anything like martial law. What we’re seeing is a crippled weakling president, who knows he’s just about finished, trying to beat his chest and create the appearance that he’s a strongman.
Make no mistake: things are going to get even worse in America as a result of Donald Trump’s press conference. But this doesn’t mean he’s now somehow magically winning, or in charge. Trump’s fate will continue to be 100% determined by his approval rating and his poll numbers, and they keep getting worse. Trump is on track to lose the election badly and rot in prison. If he wants to try some kind of phony martial law gambit, it’ll only help ensure he loses by an even bigger margin.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report