The price Donald Trump will pay

When I was 13 I first came to San Diego with my parents and siblings. We were put up by my father’s new company at the then notorious (and blessedly now defunct) Hotel Del Charro in La Jolla. I quickly learned that it was an accommodation favoured by the director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, whenever he came down to play the horses at the Del Mar Racetrack. I wasn’t impressed with the place then and I’m still not in retrospect. It had a discredited seediness despite its pretensions to old world courtesy. There was something wrong with the place. It was redolent of the sleazy world of gambling and the Mob, an ambiance I’ve instinctively found repellant all my life.

The place was one of the perks Hoover enjoyed for denying the existence of the Mafia. He stayed there free of charge. It remains a national disgrace that Washington’s headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation remains named after Hoover, but that’s beside the point. It seemed to me then and still seems to me now that the price Hoover was paid for betraying his country was pitifully small. He was comped when he went to the races, his gambling losses always seemed to magically go away and his wins were always promptly paid. He wasn’t just a turncoat, he was a tawdry and cheap one as well.

I’m coming to suspect that, whatever price Trump has been paid for betraying his country to Vladimir Putin, it’s similarly vulgar. Whatever the case, Trump’s only response so far is to do nothing with the news of the staggeringly casus belli act of Putin placing a bounty on the heads of America’s troops. Trump briefly came out of his adderall-induced stupor long enough to declare it simultaneously “classified” and “fake news.” He has nothing more to say on it and the story is puzzlingly turning into a nine days’ wonder. He certainly hasn’t done anything about it.

Like Hoover, it appears for now that Trump is going to get away with not taking action against Putin. Just as Hoover never renounced the Mob, Trump can’t and won’t renounce Putin, and the American press, apart from a few grumblings and interviews with Nancy Pelosi, appears to be letting it slide. Even Theresa May ejected the Russian embassy from the country when Putin poisoned several of Britain’s citizens. But whenever the child rapist and murderer Trump comes upon a narrative that makes Putin look bad he simply declares it a hoax. In Trumpworld, when there’s a war with reality, Trump decrees that it’s reality that’s got it wrong.

If this act all by itself doesn’t see Trump in prison for the rest of his life then I will be hesitant to ever put my faith in American justice again. Few betrayals compare to allowing to be placed in harm’s way with deliberate and cynical intent the men and women charged with America’s protection. Trump already betrayed his country in Helsinki in 2018 when he announced that he believed Vladimir Putin over all of his security services. What more proof does America require that its president is a traitor?

Trump is a vicious buffoon with an army of vicious buffoons behind him. Like Hoover, Trump has proved that you don’t need the open cooperation of the majority to achieve a sustained outrage, you simply need their indolent tolerance. Generic unwillingness to act against his most recent and flagrant treachery is, in the end, a kind of tacit cooperation.

This is how the republic will die if Trump is not defeated in November. TS Eliot was right, when the Hollow Men are in charge the end always comes with a predictable whimper. That is why we must defeat Trump in November. Failure is not an option. If it’s America’s lot to perish, at least let’s not permit its author and finisher to be this short-fingered vulgarian. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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