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Gautam Mukunda @gmukunda
, 13 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Trump’s recent tweeting is pretty clearly a sign of precipitous decline in office. Since I (literally) wrote the book on unfiltered outsider Presidents (smile.amazon.com/Indispensable-…) this seems like the time for my first-ever Tweet storm:
Little if any of Trump’s behavior in office has been even slightly surprising. He is who he was before taking power. Corruption? Mismanagement? Erratic hiring and firing? Constant random outbursts of temper? Narcissistic boasting? Barely-coded racism? This is who he always was.
The big change has been the steady erosion of the buffers that have (more than most people appreciate) protected us from his worst traits. McMaster and even Tillerson pushed out, Kelly marginalized, etc. Trump is so awful that he makes even someone like Sessions look kind of good
Worsening the situation is that Trump is (rightly!) terrified of investigations into his business practices. Whatever he did w/ Russia, it’s been clear that the “Trump Organization” is just a front for fairly inept white collar crime, particularly money laundering, for a while
The New Yorker piece by @adamdavidson lays this out clearly, but it’s been obvious to anyone who looked at his business since long before the election, and both Mueller’s team and the SDNY will have no difficulty following the money
Additionally, whether or not Trump has underlying health issues, the Presidency itself is likely changing him by exaggerating his underlying tendencies (power tends to make people worse) and insulating him from any feedback that might tend to moderate his behavior
While Trump’s staff is increasingly a mixture of sycophants willing to tell him what he wants to hear, ambitious Republicans willing to do anything for short-term career advancement, true believers like Miller, and a shrinking handful of patriots trying to mitigate the damage
This plus his increasing age (foreignpolicy.com/2013/02/27/don…) means that Trump’s own tendencies (the narcissism, rage, lack of self-control, reactive responses to any challenge, use of racial political appeals, managerial incoherence, etc.) are going to get even more exaggerated
This is not a hopeful story. So far, like a wealthy family living off its capital, the US government has maintained some level of functionality through institutional memory, the strength of the civil service, luck, and Jim Mattis. But this will get harder w/ each passing day
With Trump feeling Mueller’s hot breath on the back of his neck and the SDNY clearly deep into another, perhaps even-more threatening to him investigation, the increasing pressure will only add to the toxic stew inside the White House
There will be a rupture. If it doesn’t come before the 2018 elections, a major Democratic victory there will scare/shock him so much that one will surely come soon after. The most powerful empire in human history is governed by someone who is erratic at best _and getting worse_
Democrat, Republican, or Independent, the only thing that matters is working to maximize the odds that 1) It can be put off until after the elections, 2) Democratic majorities will then be able to contain him, and 3) No wars or other catastrophes until then
The only people who can make that happen are the swing Republican Senators. @SenatorCollins, @lisamurkowski, and @JeffFlake - history’s eyes are on you like no triumvirate of Senators since Webster/Calhoun/Clay in the 19th century. This is your moment. What will you do?
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