What tipped off the National Archives was what wasn’t there. The missing documents might have gone entirely unnoticed had it not been for one thing: somebody remembered Donald Trump bragging about letters he exchanged with Kim Jung Un. You know the ones, the ones where he said he and Kim “Fell in love.” Somebody in the archives got curious and wanted to get a look at those letters. That’s when they noticed the problem. The letters weren’t there.
The creepiness of Trump’s declaration of love to Kim aside, it’s a revealing thing to say. In his book “Disloyal: A Memoir,” Michael Cohen notes that Trump’s obsession with Vladimir Putin is easy to understand once you get to know the ex-president. Trump loves the idea of practically unlimited wealth and practically unlimited power. It probably explains his fascination with Kim. But I think there’s a third element that Cohen may be forgetting. Trump loves the idea of unlimited evil as well.
It might even be evil that fascinates him the most. After all, there were dictators in history that had total wealth and total power that Trump never mentions. Napoleon Bonaparte comes to mind. He didn’t have a reputation for evil, and in my opinion, having read four or five biographies of the man, it’s because he wasn’t evil. Ignorant as he is about nearly everything I would be surprised if Trump never heard of Napoleon.
No, the dictators that fascinate him the most are the evil ones: Putin, Kim, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Jair Bolsonaro, Mohammed bin Salman, etc.. And let us not forget the most evil one of all, Adolf Hitler. Those are the Trump dictators, the ones he loves, the ones he admires.
Kim routinely has people he doesn’t like murdered. And, of course, Vladimir Putin’s penchant for having journalists and politicians meet with an “accidental” fall from a window, or poisoned with polonium or novichok, is well documented and continues to this day on a regular basis. MBS almost certainly was behind the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. And of course Kim, though he lies and denies it, had American college student Otto Frederick Warmbier murdered for stepping out of line. Those are the kinds of things that make Donald Trump smack his lips.
When Trump suggested that Mitch McConnell has a death wish, I don’t think he was speaking rhetorically. I think it was his private fantasy slipping out. I think what he was really saying (and Freud would back me up here) was that he wished he could threaten McConnell with death, or make an example of him by having him killed. When Trump suggested his Vice President Mike Pence deserved to hang for not decertifying the 2020 election I think he meant just that: he thought Pence deserved to hang. And I don’t think Trump wasn’t being the least rhetorical when he threatened journalists who refused to give up their sources with prison rape.
And, of course, the blackest sin that you can commit against any dictator is substandard zeal. That’s what Trump is really referring to when he calls someone a “RINO.” Trump can’t bear to be criticised or contradicted. And a RINO is someone who doesn’t agree one hundred percent with everything Trump says, one hundred percent of the time.
Once again, Trump might have gotten away with walking off with all those top secret documents and squirreling them away at Mar-a-Lago if he hadn’t taken the Kim Jung Un letters as well. It’s a measure of our national naïveté that we didn’t suspect him immediately and count, as it were, the White House silver after he left. And of course it also proves once again that when it comes to enemies of Donald Trump, Donald Trump is his own worst enemy. 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.