In the hierarchy of resentment, Donald Trump’s rebuke of Mitch McConnell for acknowledging what everyone else in the sane part of the solar system already knew, that Joseph Biden is President-elect, was modest. Especially for Trump.
Here’s what Trump tweeted on Wednesday: “Trump’s allies slam Mitch McConnell for congratulating Biden … Mitch, 75,000,000 VOTES, a record for a sitting President (by a lot). Too soon to give up. Republican Party must finally learn to fight. People are angry!”
Give it time. I expect Trump will become more hectoring and vicious toward McConnell as he (slowly) realizes the extent to which the Majority Leader understands that Donald Trump has become irrelevant, a political has-been. But all this is beside my point. I have come neither to praise McConnell nor to bury him.
What I am wondering is, why the almost bashful bash on Mitch, but not a word about Vladimir Putin? After all, Putin acknowledged Biden within 24 hours of McConnell. Is Donald Trump really going to finish the final hour of this one-term piffle of a presidency without ever once rebuking arguably the biggest monster of the 21st century?
Stanford professor Michael McFaul put it this way when he tweeted: “Even after latest news of Russian cyber attacks on us and [Russian politician Alexei] Navalny [novichok] poisoning, it looks likely that Trump will complete his term without ever once criticizing Putin. Incredible.”
We have no solid evidence why Donald Trump remains loyal to Vladimir Putin. There’s much speculation about it, but so far we simply don’t know the reason. As Mr. Hitchens put it, “that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”
But I’m inclined to lean toward Michael Cohen’s explanation, without actually asserting it. In his book, “Disloyal,” Cohen suggests that Trump’s deference to Putin is owing to Trump’s belief that Vladimir Putin is the richest and most powerful man on earth. Putin has in abundance what Trump has in much smaller quantities — particularly these days. To put it in Freudian terms, Trump’s is a simple case of Putin Envy.
Very few mysteries remain from the failed presidency of Richard M. Nixon, and I expect the same will be true of the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Truth, like murder, will out, and much of what we don’t know will become known, including the full extent of the mysterious hold Putin has on Trump. (This is different from the loud and insistent impotent little people in social media who insist they know the “actual” answer, and anybody who doesn’t agree with them are “sheeple.”)
Whatever the reason, Trump’s refusal to excoriate the monster Putin, a man who has ordered the murder of hundreds — or even thousands — of people, is disgraceful. But it is just another element of his disgraceful and disgusting failed presidency.
There are a million reasons why Donald Trump is unfit to be president of the United States, this has been another one. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.