We have 58 days to go until Wednesday, January 20, when Joe Biden will become president.
That’s 58 more days for Donald Trump to find new ways, beyond the few hundred he’s already exhausted, to wreck the country.
There’s no question that that’s what he’s going to do. He can’t accept that he lost fair and square. He hates Joe Biden, hates the media (now including Fox News), hates 80 million voters, hates the states of Arizona and Georgia, hates every other state that voted against him, hates the government, hates the parts of his job that require thought, hates Republicans like the Georgia secretary of state and governor who followed the law, hates the law, and most of all hates democracy, because it’s democracy that is sending him back to Palm Beach.
Plus, as we’ve known for a long time now, he’s basically 5 years old emotionally. So as we try to figure out what he might do in these next 58 days, that’s how we have to think. What would a bitter 5-year-old do, with the powers of the presidency at his disposal?
Let’s start with the one thing we know for sure he won’t do, which is behave with any grace or dignity. He won’t concede. He won’t invite the Bidens to the White House. He won’t give any speeches about the majesty of the peaceful transfer of power. It’s sickening. Every time I start to write the sentence “I just don’t understand how anyone could support this behavior,” I stop and delete it, because it’s beyond understanding. But this time, I’ll leave it in and add that anyone who isn’t appalled by this behavior is a fascist or an idiot or both.
On the “do” front, the Times reported over the weekend on some of the steps already underway. He’s expanding oil drilling leases in Alaska. He’s filling vacancies on scientific panels that he never cared about at all but now just wants to stuff with people who’ll oppose whatever it is Biden wants to do. He’s apparently considering a strike on an Iranian nuclear facility. He’s rushing to fill more judgeships. And in the biggest F-you to the libs, his Justice Department ordered three executions of federal prisoners. It’s hard to say when they’ll be executed, given likely appeals, but assuming this Supreme Court doesn’t grant stays, they’ll all probably happen fairly soon. Three, by the way, equals the total number of federal prisoners who’ve been executed in the last 50 years (executions are typically carried out by states).
Then, of course, there’s the virus. Trump is obviously just enraged that Pfizer announced its vaccine after the election. Last Friday, he accused “Pfizer and others” of holding back the announcement until after the election out of spite over his initiatives to lower drug prices. That actually sounds like something Big Pharma might do, but of course, Trump offered no evidence for the charge, and despite his claims that his efforts are the biggest thing anybody’s ever seen and so great that nobody can even believe it and Pharma hates him, most independent analysts say the orders won’t really have that big an effect. That takes legislation, which the House passed but Mitch McConnell buried and Trump never pushed for.
Anyway, Trump’s whining was pathetic: “So they waited and waited and waited. And they thought they’d come out with it a few days after the election. And it would’ve probably had an impact. Who knows? Maybe it wouldn’t have. I’m sure they would’ve found the ballots someplace—the Democrats and the group.”
The virus, as we know, is raging. And every day that Trump refuses to have his HHS people working with Biden’s transition people adds to the death count because it slows the recovery down by one more day, at a time when the daily death count is typically topping 1,000. It’s criminal.
And how can he have not said a word about the epidemic since the election? Does he even think about the dead? Is anyone reading him letters from Americans who’ve lost their spouses or children to COVID? Or did he simply quit thinking about it once the election was over and he no longer had to think about it? You know—it is what it is.
On the economy: How can he screw it up between now and Inauguration Day? The most obvious way is by not passing a relief-stimulus bill. There’s no sign that he has any interest in doing so. At Treasury, Steve Mnuchin ended the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending authority that was initiated after the virus hit. After he made the announcement, the markets plummeted, and JP Morgan Chase revised its outlook for the first quarter of next year downward to say it expects GDP growth to be negative. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown said, “There can be no doubt, the Trump administration and their congressional toadies are actively trying to tank the U.S. economy.”
And finally of course there’s democracy itself, which with Trump in office is always perched at the cliff’s edge. His options are running low here, but we have no idea what’s up his sleeve. This is probably a good time to re-read that Times op-ed from earlier this year that told us that all presidents have secret emergency powers that we citizens aren’t even allowed to know about.
He’s just sitting around watching, I guess, Newsmax now, thinking about how he can still steal this election or plotting his 2024 run, which The Washington Post reported Sunday he may announce soon. As I read that article, I thought for about 2.7 seconds that maybe it would carry the silver lining that he’d actually try not to destroy the country on his way out. But of course there are no silver linings with Trump. He’ll destroy everything he can.