Donald Trump, American Monster

Maureen Dowd in The New York Times:

It never for a moment crossed Donald Trump’s mind that an American president committing sedition would be a debilitating, corrosive thing for the country. It was just another way for the Emperor of Chaos to burnish his title. We listened Thursday night to the frightful catalogue of Trump’s deeds. They are so beyond the pale, so hard to fathom, that in some ways, it’s all still sinking in. The House Jan. 6 committee’s prime-time hearing was not about Trump as a bloviating buffoon who stumbled into the presidency. It was about Trump as a callous monster, and many will come away convinced that he should be criminally charged and put in jail. Lock him up!

The hearing drove home the fact that Trump was deadly serious about overthrowing the government. If his onetime lap dog Mike Pence was strung up on the gallows outside the Capitol for refusing to help Trump hold onto his office illegitimately, Trump said, so be it. “Maybe our supporters have the right idea,” he remarked that day, chillingly, noting that his vice president “deserves it.”

Liz Cheney cleverly used the words of former Trump aides to show that, despite his malevolent bleating, Trump knew there was no fraud on a level that would have changed the election results. “I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president was bullshit,” William Barr, Trump’s attorney general, said. Breaking from her father, Ivanka Trump — in a taped deposition — said she embraced Barr’s version of reality: “I respect Attorney General Barr. So I accepted what he was saying.”

More here.