Getting the last laugh on impeachment

From the time he gave his second grade music teacher a black eye to “make his opinion known,” to lying about his academic standing at the University of Pennsylvania, to overall campaign outrage and Oval Office vileness, Donald Trump, has shown himself to be someone without a functioning moral anchor. These days, the man dubbed “the short-fingered vulgarian” in the 1988 inaugural issue of Spy magazine makes us worry over much more than length of his body parts. Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United StatesTrump exhibits mythomania — in the day-to-day operation of his presidency, in his business empire, and even in his family background. The lies about his grandfather’s homeland gain new ugliness in light of his telling members of Congress to go back to their homeland. Some years after 16-year-old Friedrich Trump left Bavaria for the U.S., he returned and married; then he brought his wife and child to the U.S. When his wife became homesick, Friedrich decided to resettle back in his homeland, but Bavarian authorities noted that he had left the country to avoid military service. There was no mention of bone spurs. Despite a desperate letter to the prince regent, begging to be allowed to stay, Bavaria deported Friedrich.

Forty-one years later, Donald Trump was born, and today he berates members of Congress, born in this country, saying they should “go back” to some “totally broken and crime infested places” that he invented as their homelands. Like his father, Donald fabricates people’s origins, including his own, to suit a particular purpose. In “The Art of the Deal,” Donald claimed his grandfather “came here from Sweden as a child,” repeating the myth started by his father in an effort to sell apartments to Jewish tenants. In a 1997 New Yorker profile, Trump told Mark Singer that “It’s always good to do things nice and complicated so that nobody can figure it out.” The Mueller Report figured out plenty about Trump campaign coziness with Russian meddling. But for Russian involvement, we don’t need to get into the ins and outs of a report that could not render a judgment. We have Junior noting that Russians “make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Ivanka bragging about the Azerbaijan hotel deal, and Trump Soho, built on top of a graveyard, offering dodgy Russian money laundering along with a $370 “Ivanka’s Choice” facial. The Donald is no longer involved in the pyramid vitamin scheme, wherein PrivaTest, a urine check, informed customers which of the vitamins emblazoned with Trump crest they needed for good health, and, thanks to the judgment of the Indiana-born judge Trump called biased because of his “Mexican heritage” finalizing the $25 million settlement, the Trump University scam is defunct.

The Trump family, merchandisers all, have kicked dirt on presidential legitimacy since The Donald took office: Melania pitching “really beautiful $200 plastic watches” on Fox Business News, and Eric using Jefferson quotes to hawk consumer buy-in to “the unparalleled Trump lifestyle” with membership in a Trump wine club , as well as branding queen Ivanka going on national TV to promote her diamond bracelet, and the paterfamilias with his Trump Home Collection®: Tables and ottomans deluxe, Trump vodka, Trump ties, Trump bedding, china vases, and lots lots lots more (made in China, Indonesia, Turkey, the Netherlands, Mexico, India, Slovenia, Honduras, Bangladesh Vietnam, and South Korea). According to the Washington Post, bath towels at Trump hotels are made in China.

Although some customers on Amazon give Trump Deodorant Stick rave reviews, the very idea of a presidential deodorant stick boggles the mind. And there’s worse: This guy cheats at golf. You don’t have to give a fig about golf to appreciate Rick Reilly’s Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump. This premier sports writer nails it with a deeply researched, revealing, and very funny exposé of Trump golf misbehavior — as a player, golf club designer, and pitchman for his enterprises. Here’s Reilly:

Just consider what travels with Trump every time he goes to a course: Along with as many as 60 Secret Service agents, six SWAT guys, and 30 carts rolling along as you play, holding: The nuclear football, the assistant chief of staff, a doctor with vials of Trump’s blood, a communications staff member, the secure satellite phone, the one-man portable bomb shelter, an entire supply of gas masks, machine guns, and weapons, a small missile.

This is perhaps more scary than funny, but Reilly points out that Secret Service personnel are also there to routinely move Trump’s balls out of difficult spots into more advantageous positions. Certainly, political profanity should evoke outrage and legislative action, but Rick Reilly helps us see this profanity need not erase humor, and even as we laugh at Trump’s disgusting behavior on the golf course, we recognize the parallels in the Oval Office.

As Adam Davidson explained in The New Yorker, some Trump deals aren’t just sleaze; they are a whole lot more serious, “bearing many of the warning signs of money laundering and other financial crimes. Deals in Toronto, Panama, New York, and Miami involved money from sources in the former Soviet Union who hid their identities through shell companies and exhibited other indications of money laundering.”

Our forefathers wrote an emoluments clause in the Constitution to protect the country from such corruption. The president is barred from receiving payments from foreign states, but consider this: The single largest tenant of Trump Tower is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China; there are projects in Argentina and the nation of Georgia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the United Arab Emerites, and on and on and on. Take a look at rentals and gatherings at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The Kuwaiti embassy didn’t hold their National Day celebration at the hotel because they wanted to try out The Spa by Ivanka. Likewise the Philippine’s Embassy celebrating its 120th independence day. Not surprisingly, Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of thousands at Trump International. Perhaps the $20,000-a-night, 6,300-square-foot “townhouse” suite was the draw.

Trump impeachable behavior extends beyond emoluments. Here are a few examples:

• Violating campaign-finance laws with hush-money to providers of sexual services

serious non-criminal misconduct, accused by 22 women for sexual assault or groping

• Giving aid and comfort to neo-Nazis

• Conducting and/or aiding in wars without Congressional declaration

• Obstructing a Justice Department investigation

• Defying subpoenas from Congressional committees

• Violating presidential oath to execute the law by dismantling the enforcement of health and safety laws

• Incessant and sinister attacks on the Fourth Estate, in violation of the Constitutional First Amendment

• Governing by Twitter isn’t unconstitutional but certainly it both trivializes the office and endangers the public well-being.

Because limericks are usually humorous and often rude, they provide a useful format with which to address Trump outrage. In Trump, Trump, Trump: The March of Folly, limericks with documentation serve this purpose. Here’s a sample.

A few of the limericks with documentation by Susan Ohanian in her book Trump, Trump, Trump: The March of Folly.

We must reject the “anything goes” ethos that dominates all oval office activity.

Read Constitution conditions

And then let’s go for abscission;


The leech.

End Oval Office vendition. Editor’s note: This op-ed was originally published on August 16 at VT Digger. Its editor noted that Susan Ohanian of Charlotte, VT, is a longtime teacher and author of 25 books on education policy and practice.


August 30, 2019 at 11:44 AM

By: john whitfield


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