Former FBI Director James Comey used his testimony yesterday to demonstrate to the American people that Donald Trump is a pathologically lying felonious obstructor of justice who’s overly worried about Russian hookers. It was the kind of witness stand bodyblow rarely seen outside of the movies. And yet Trump summarily declared victory today, which is not a surprise – because it’s what he always does before he ends up quitting.
Here’s what Donald Trump said on Twitter this morning about James Comey’s testimony: “Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication” (link). In the first half of his sentence he claims Comey was lying about everything, then in the second half of his sentence he suggests Comey must have been telling the truth about everything because it vindicated him. You wouldn’t say ‘He’s lying, and his words vindicate me,’ yet Trump just said precisely that. But this psychobabble doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but Trump himself. Because this is what he always does when he has one eye on the exit door.
If you ask Donald Trump, or if you go back and look at his words at the time, you’ll find that he considers every one of his failures to have been successes. He ran his business so poorly that he ended up having to file bankruptcy on it and walk away? He calls that a success. When a downturn in Atlantic City made life harder for all of the casinos there, but the two with his name on them were among the small handful that actually went under? He sees himself as being smart for having failed and left town before things got difficult there.
So when Donald Trump stood up and declared victory this morning by pretending that James Comey’s devastating series of bodyblows somehow vindicated him and got him off the hook for everything, keep in mind that we’ve all heard Trump reach this particular stage before. It’s typically the stage where he realizes that, even if his exit is not imminent, his exit has become inevitable – and he begins trying to convince himself that his loss is somehow a win.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report