The emperor’s clothes are peeling off

How this latest controversy — firing the FBI director — created by President Trump resolves itself is anyone’s guess. No one knows for sure, especially with an Administration that doesn’t play by any traditional rules.

This morning, many are saying this won’t be properly resolved unless Republicans on the Hill jump from Trump’s ship and act more like the late Sen. Howard Baker did during Watergate — asking the key question of, “what did the President know and when did he know it.”

I think it will take that — and there are candidates up there for this role including folks like Sen. John McCain, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Richard Burr and others; and, Cong. Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Intelligence Committee who has already said he isn’t running again and may resign before his term is up, so has nothing to lose — and a diminution of Trump’s support among his famous “base.”

Evidence of the latter is beginning to appear. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows 51 percent of Americans “strongly disapproving” of Trump’s performance, and that’s before the Comey firing occurred. Chewing more deeply into the poll’s numbers — info in the “cross tabs” ‘as they’re called — the President’s favorability slipped among some demographics that helped him win the election. And that includes white voters without college degrees, a core base of Trump’s support.

Steps to seriously challenge this President’s behavior and actions were never going to happen before he began to lose support with Republicans on the Hill and his base support began to fall off. Both are beginning to happen now.

We are about 110 days into the Trump presidency and his quirky behavior is mounting up. We can barely remember some of the “atrocities” — as his deputy press secretary called Comey’s shortcoming — since he took the oath:

  • Arguing against clear evidence that he had fewer folks at his inauguration than President Obama (as if it matters)
  • Alleging that Obama wiretapped his New York City headquarters during the campaign, without a shred of evidence
  • Announcing his “historic” tax reduction plans via a one-page list of several things he’d do, with no specifics
  • Promising “health care for all” and delivering a proposal even a Republican-dominated House could not take plausible enough to vote on
  • His “Muslim ban,” as he called it during the campaign, which was greeted by the courts by blocking it because of its constitutionality
  • And his famous “big, beautiful wall” along the Mexican border to control immigration, which has yet to find traction on the Hill

And that’s only a few of the things that have happened.

While Trump’s mostly ill-advised actions thus far as President have been bad, firing the FBI director is the one that truly is the biggest threat to our democracy.

Maybe he deserved to lose his job. There certainly is a good case for that. The honorable way — and more politically advantageous — would have been to meet with Comey and tell him you are going to fire him but wanted to give him a chance to resign.

The President of the United States firing an FBI director because the president is trying to kill an investigation into his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia is a huge threat to our democracy, if he’s allowed to get away with it. And to, the next day, be photographed by the Russian “press” (because Trump wouldn’t allow in the American media) laughing it up with their foreign minister and ambassador in the Oval Office, well — you really can’t make this stuff up.

If it all ever was “funny,” it’s not funny anymore.

Finally, the leaks are just beginning from his Administration. The FBI action will broaden and speed them up. They won’t be leaks, they’ll be gushers. The Washington Post this morning ran a story on Trump in which it said it spoke to 30 sources who didn’t want to be identified. Thirty!

Trump can yell “fake news” all he wants but, as time goes by, more and more people will believe outlets like the Post and The New York Times, as they have in the past, and his support will continue to fall off. Especially when coupled with the realization that he is not delivering on his promises.

We are beginning to see his base fall off, as he fails to deliver on the promises they believed — control immigration, create jobs, not cater to the wealthy, hire Goldman Sachs executives to advise you and never show us your taxes.

His base support may include many people who aren’t educated but they aren’t stupid.


Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog:

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