A Full and Complete Presidential Collapse

Donald Trump’s decision to put his tail between his legs and run in the face of a Turkish onslaught in Syria while abandoning Syrian Kurds who are the chief reason the Islamic State had been decapitated is horrifying and dangerous, but it is hardly a surprise for a sheepish coward genuflecting before the world’s tinpot dictators. Kurds have proven a formidable adversary not only to terrorists in ISIS but also to the Syrian and Turkish regimes, and it should come as no surprise that no sooner had Turkey embarked on the genocide of these American allies that Putin helpfully offered to mediate and fill the giant vacuum left by American retreat.

Donald Trump’s Syrian retreat received no more thought than his 4th-grade letter to Turkey’s Erdogan, it seems. Trump has been coming unhinged for some time now, but the abject failure of his administration to hold witnesses back from the House’s impeachment inquiry and last week’s Republican onslaught against their own president’s Syrian capitulation has really gotten to him. Two notions he had created around him - the fantastical notion that professionals who work in the executive branch work for his personal benefit rather than for the country, as well as that the fiction that Republican members of Congress owe him absolute and unquestioning loyalty in deed and in words no matter what - are coming apart at the seams, and the wannabe mob boss in the Oval Office has no idea how to deal with it.

It got so bad that he was stuck at ‘I’m rubber, you’re glue’ after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called him out for his meltdown at the White House during a briefing on Syria, and he gifted the Speaker with a photo that he thought made her look bad. The actual photo told the opposite story, so much so that the Speaker promptly made it her Twitter cover photo.

Trump’s tirade, of course, came on the heels of a House resolution torching Trump’s Syria disaster passing with more than two-thirds of the Republicans voting in favor with a total tally of 354-60. Think about what that feels like for a mob boss. Trump rules the Republicans by fear, and that, he thought, meant that no Republican is allowed to seriously speak against anything he does, much less stand against him in a consequential, if symbolic, vote. He believes that it’s not enough for the Republicans to simply look the other way while he commits crimes and abuses his power to hold back Congressionally approved funds to make foreign governments launch fake investigations against his chief political opponent. Trump believes that no Republican ought to let a single nonflattering word about him escape their lips (or keyboards).

In the House vote, and with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate alike excoriating Trump’s betrayal of American allies, Trump has decidedly lost his aura of absolute Republican sheepish loyalty. That is not to say that Republicans will not - or are not - still side with his criminal behavior. But Trump has lost the status of absolute control of what Republicans say. And who’s to say if Republican members of Congress - who, you always hear underground, don’t like him much anyway - find out that they can torch Trump on one thing without their careers being set on fire, that some of them won’t try it on some other thing next time?

But Republican defections on Syria came at the tail end of a hellish fortnight for Trump. It came long after the White House’s attempt to stop administration officials from testifying in the House’s impeachment probe has proven little more than a paper tiger as administration and state department officials have defied White House and department directive not to testify and instead complied with duly issued Congressional subpoenas. Testimony has been offered to the House impeachment investigation showing that Trump and Guiliani operated an illegal shadow foreign policy apparatus to influence Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 US elections, that the scheme involved the removal of career officials with integrity, and that the State department had been used for “domestic political objectives.”

To make matters worse, the guy who got his ambassador spot by donating $1 million to the Trump inaugural committee, the dude who’s supposed to be the administration’s best friend - so much so that Trump himself quoted him as evidence that he did nothing wrong - is set to testify today that the quote Trump is touting was originally received from Trump. Gordon Sondlond will testify that he told a colleague there was no “quid pro quo” in Trump’s dealings with Ukraine because Trump told him to say it and that he has no idea if that’s true.

That’s just the things we know. What we don’t know must be even more damning for Trump. How do we know that? There is not a single leak from the Republican side of the lead committees, and Devin Nunes of Intel is known to be the White House’s errand boy.

“His” administration officials won’t obey his orders not to testify to Congress. “His” Republicans are torching him on Syria. His personal lawyer is under federal investigation. For a mob boss, there is nothing worse than the loss of absolute control. The reason mobsters seek to rule by fear is that they are themselves afraid of everybody. They are paranoid freaks.

That’s what Trump is right now. A paranoid, afraid, out-of-control mobster.

With the nuclear codes.

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