Donald Trump’s puppet Attorney General Bill Barr has announced today that he’s criminally indicting Nicolás Maduro, who still considers himself to be the President of Venezuela. The United States now recognizes his rival Juan Guaidó as the President of Venezuela, but still, it’s a huge deal that the U.S. is indicting a self-identified leader of a foreign nation. Except it isn’t.
The timing seems a little strange here. Why would Trump and Barr wait until the midst of a pandemic to indict the guy, now that they can’t realistically send the military busting into Venezuela to try to scoop him up? But that’s the entire point.
At no point during his presidency has Trump been within a million miles of having the political muscle to get away with invading Venezuela. Indicting Maduro would have made Trump look weak. But by indicting Maduro now, at a time when everyone knows he can’t go get him, it means he doesn’t have to follow through on it.
Trump is trying to show the appearance of strength in order to impress his gullible base. Trump also knows that there are plenty of Resistance members who still fall for it when he vaguely threatens to do impossible things, so now they’re afraid he might actually invade Venezuela during a worldwide pandemic, and it’ll serve to distract them from the terrible things Trump is actually quietly doing.
But this likely is all just one big head fake. Donald Trump loves nothing more than creating the appearance of action when he isn’t taking any, and distracting everyone from what’s really going on. Don’t lose the plot. The real story continues to be that Trump is criminally botching the coronavirus response.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report