There is seldom a time, when referencing Donald Trump, that Maya Angelou’s most famous quote, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time,” isn’t appropriate. When it comes to Trump there are numerous “first times.” The “first time” that is so absurdly, almost comically evil as to outdo any cliche cartoon villain has to be the time that Donald Trump and his pirate ship organization got banned for life from operating a charity in the state of New York. Turns out he and his sons stole money from a fund for children with cancer.
All of which is to say, when Donald Trump went swanning off to Mar-a-Lago after scuppering the $600 relief bill because it wasn’t the $2,000 that he arbitrarily and capriciously arrived at after months of inaction, many theories for this have been mooted. The one theory that seems to be consistently missed is that it was an act of sheer evil. It’s evil of the child-cancer-fund-raiding variety. It’s evil for evil’s sake. It’s evil aimed right at the heart of American families desperate for money at Christmas. Scrooge stomps past them on his way to his rickety old mansion.
Donald Trump’s evil legacy is just that — that he’s a man of pure evil. I’ve said it before — with apologies to weasels — but the common quote that Donald Trump “might” be “one of the” worst presidents “in our lifetime,” is so infuriatingly full of weasel words (as delineated by quotation marks) as to make me want to throw something heavy — at the radio, at the television or at the computer, as the case may be. The fact of the matter is that Donald Trump is a man of such unqualified, such categorical, such quintessential evil as to defy all other rankings. In the league table from best to worst of all American presidents, Donald Trump is number zero — with a bullet.
There is simply nothing to compare Trump with, and all the dry, academic attempts to contrast Trump with other one-term mediocrities must be nothing more than a rush to the bottom by historians to see who can be the most absurdly, laughably, inappropriately evenhanded. James Buchanan’s tacit support of the Dred Scott decision can’t hold a candle to the outrages of the Golfer-in-Chief on a slow morning. So let’s all climb down off our academic high horses just for once and tell it like it is.
The mainstream media’s refusal to call him out on his evil is part of the reason why 74,222,957 Americans voted for him in the first place. Treating Trump like a legitimate candidate and then president “who may be among the worst in our lifetime” is the contrapositive of damning with faint praise. It’s like calling Adolf Hitler “unpleasant.” It needs to stop. This man is going to prison. Think of all the presidents who deserved to go to prison — and there were a few of them — then think of all the ones who actually did. The answer, of course, is none.
Say what you like about justice in America, she is neither blind nor balanced. The fact remains that, up until now, any discussion about sending any president to prison really has been merely academic. We always knew in our hearts that they would never go, not in a million years. Usually the imagined charges, as with Nixon, Clinton, and Bush 43, just to name three, were war crimes. Many of us knew at the time that those presidents really should do some kind of time, but we also knew they never would.
Trump is different. Trump is the first soon-to-be ex-President in my lifetime who I would not want to wager against his going to prison. Besides, if Bill Cosby proved nothing, he proved that very famous, very beloved people really can go to prison in America, and they can stay there for a very long time.
Donald Trump also knows this. Malignant narcissists are well-protected, but they are never perfectly protected. There is always room for occasional flights of self doubt. Those are the times when Trump is at his most savage. Those are the times when the people around him become truly frightened. Word on the inside is that the monster’s rages are becoming more frequent, more hysterical, more savage.
Trump’s fantasy that he’s going to pull this one out of the fire at the last minute and go winging off to victory is fueled by the fact that in the past he has always done just that. But phenomenal luck like that always runs out. Just ask Hitler.
As Trump’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, put it, many very large civil and criminal actions are brewing up for Trump in the city and the state of New York alone, at the state and federal level. Cohen, who is currently under house arrest, should know. He has been questioned dozens of times by different judicial authorities about Trump.
It is Donald Trump’s despicable legacy of evil that will finally bring him down. He has no way out, and no one but himself to blame. We, on the other hand, can affix blame. We can affix it to many elements of the mainstream media and others who looked the other way while this monster committed evil against us for four long years. Those chickens are finally coming home to roost, and in just 23 days he will be stripped of the special protection enjoyed by all presidents and exposed at last to the consequences of his numerous crimes. I, for one, can’t wait. 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.