This afternoon, former White House Counsel John Dean – who helped take down his boss Richard Nixon for felony obstruction of justice – publicly testified before Congress about Donald Trump’s obstruction crimes. The parallels drawn between Trump and Nixon were clear and striking, and they appeared to spook Trump when it comes to how Nixon ultimately left the stage.
Shortly after John Dean testified, Donald Trump participated in a White House visit for the winner of the Indianapolis 500. At some point during this ceremony, Trump felt compelled to declare that he’s not going to resign. Here’s the actual Trump quote, as relayed by CBS News: “When you look at past impeachments, whether it was President Clinton, or I guess President Nixon never got there – he left. I don’t leave. Big difference.” Two things stand out here.
First, when you reach the point where you have to declare that you’re not resigning, it means you’re a lot closer to the resignation precipice than you’d care to admit. Second, Trump is doing what he always does in these situations. He’s making the boldest, ugliest threat possible – in this case refusing to resign even if his presidency is sunk, or perhaps even if he’s no longer legally president. Trump routinely does this kind of thing, both to beat his chest, and to try to “negotiate” by threatening to invoke the worst case scenario.
Keep in mind that Donald Trump has declared bankruptcy and walked away from his failed business on six separate occasions. Once he concludes he no longer has any chance of surviving, he always cuts a deal so he can lose on the best possible terms. So yeah, resignation is precisely the kind of thing that “cut and run” Trump would consider doing. But he’d try to negotiate the best resignation plea deal terms possible – and so naturally he’s going to start that process by insisting he’ll never resign and implying that he’ll never leave office. As with everything this lying conman says, it’s a bluff.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report