One thing that’s become extremely clear over the past year or so is that all the GOP politicians looking to knock Trump off by being Trump knock offs have failed miserably, including but not limited to Ron Media Darling for a Hot Minute DeSantis.
Now the question is, why?
Consider this story from Jeff Goldberg’s terrifying Atlantic piece, on how America learned to stop worrying and gave DONALD TRUMP several thousand nuclear weapons:
At his welcome ceremony at Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall, across the Potomac River from the capital, Milley gained an early, and disturbing, insight into Trump’s attitude toward soldiers. Milley had chosen a severely wounded Army captain, Luis Avila, to sing “God Bless America.” Avila, who had completed five combat tours, had lost a leg in an IED attack in Afghanistan, and had suffered two heart attacks, two strokes, and brain damage as a result of his injuries. To Milley, and to four-star generals across the Army, Avila and his wife, Claudia, represented the heroism, sacrifice, and dignity of wounded soldiers.
It had rained that day, and the ground was soft; at one point Avila’s wheelchair threatened to topple over. Milley’s wife, Hollyanne, ran to help Avila, as did Vice President Mike Pence. After Avila’s performance, Trump walked over to congratulate him, but then said to Milley, within earshot of several witnesses, “Why do you bring people like that here? No one wants to see that, the wounded.” Never let Avila appear in public again, Trump told Milley. (Recently, Milley invited Avila to sing at his retirement ceremony.)
While IOKIYAAR is very much a real thing, I have little doubt that this well-attested vignette, which is totally in character for Trump, who has said similar things on other occasions, would destroy the political careers of all those aspiring Little Trumps, and indeed that of any American politician other than Trump.
Again, the question is, why is Trump completely immune to the normal rules of politics? The answer can’t be because his supporters are awful people — although obviously many of them are — because these same people would not tolerate this kind of thing from anybody else, or at least not anybody else who is currently a major American political figure. I don’t know, maybe they would tolerate it from Ted Nugent or Vince McMahon, but they certainly wouldn’t tolerate it from an identifiable politician.
So is that it? Is the answer that Trump “isn’t a politician,” so no normal political rules, or normal rules of minimal human decency for that matter, apply to him? But if so that just pushes us one turtle further down: What does it mean that he “isn’t a politician” in this sense, even now, after having held a rather important political office for several years?
I feel like Marge at the end of Fargo:
And here you are, and it’s a beautiful day. . .
I just don’t understand.