A Man For All Treasons

Illustration by Max Burbank


Well, here’s a novel situation! It’s been more than a week since Trump met with Putin in Helsinki for their behind closed doors, super-secret, Best Friends Club summit, and it’s still in the national consciousness! I don’t think that’s happened since our Orange Emperor referred to a bunch of tiki-swingin’, chino-sportin’ neo-Nazis as “fine people.”

Turns out all you really have to do to truly focus national attention is commit full-out treason on live television while standing just feet away from a man you knew (since before the inauguration) personally directed the worst attack on our nation since 9/11. The failing New York Times, the Amazon-Washington Post, and all the other liberal media call it “meddling.” I was pushing for “shenanigans,” but my clout in pundit circles is still developing.


Give Trump an “A” for effort in attempting to change the conversation. He came as close as he gets to admitting error. That’s something, but not very much. It’s like me saying a recent jaunt I made to see “America’s Stonehenge” in Salem, New Hampshire is as close as I get to the Arctic Circle.

See, Donald just “misspoke.” He got one tiny word wrong, said “would” when he meant “Wouldn’t” — kind of like when I say “press conference,” but I mean “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”

“The sentence,” said Trump, and please imagine his voice here, it’s so much better that way, “should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’ ” Sort of a double negative. So you can put that in, and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.” Italics added to indicate how DUMB THAT SOUNDS! All caps added to indicate yelling.

Weak as that was, it was more than enough of a retraction for Republicans who’d been ever so slightly critical to hide behind, just as if Trump hadn’t walked it back in practically the next sentence, stating, “Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.” 

Trump’s attempt to put a bow on the story did not clear things up and make them go away. Amazingly, people still seemed interested by the spectacle of an American president rolling on his back like a terrified puppy desperate to gain the approval of a despot who murders rivals and journalists, imprisons dissidents, and alters established international borders through violent force. Distraction was for once proving more difficult than what the president had come to expect. So, to the trusty Twitter machine!

In the days since the explanation that should have clarified things, “pretty good by itself” (italics added to indicate it just gets funnier every time you read it), Trump has tweeted subjects not limited to but including: Democrats are like MS-13 because they want to abolish ICE; the Fake News Media going Crazy and being the real enemy of the people by trying to provoke war with Russia, presumably because it would be fun to cover; bad (terrible) trade deals with other countries; how NFL players should be fired for not standing at attention, hand on heart, during the National Anthem; using the word “Inconceivable!” TWICE in one tweet in EXACTLY the same way Wallace Shawn used it as Vizzini, the smartest man in the world, in “The Princess Bride.”

The crowd would be disappointed if Trump didn’t play his greatest hits, so he tweeted: Rigged Witch Hunt; No Collusion, No Obstruction; 13 Angry Democrats; Crooked Hillary; Crazy Bernie; the Dirty Dossier; and the big hoax. All fireworks displays need a grand finale, so he closed with an all-caps, howling rant directed at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, ending with “WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”

Boom! Ba-booh, boom, boom.

For maybe the first time, it just didn’t work. Why?

I mean, okay, so the president trusts the word of Vladimir Putin over every single one of our intelligence agencies and most of his closest advisors. Is that really such a big deal that we have to harp on it for so long? It’s not as if our INTEL has always been on the money. Remember the weapons of mass destruction in Gulf War II that turned out to not exist? Right?

Well, slow your roll, there, Mr. hypothetical devil’s advocate voice in my head. The Bush administration got WMD wrong because Dick Cheney deliberately cherry-picked the available intelligence, selecting only information that supported a decision he’d already made, i.e. Iraq’s guilt. Trump is totally ignoring America’s intelligence bowl, cherries and all, while gobbling shards of glass from the Tupperware Russia brought to the picnic, and unintelligibly babbling about “Mighty Tasty Cherries!” through a mouthful of blood-flecked foam.

Returning to the White House Sunday night from yet another golf weekend, Trump was greeted by protesters chanting, “Lock him up!” It was the seventh straight night they’d been there. The Russia story finally has legs. Hillary Clinton warned us about it in fairly explicit detail during the debates. Seems a shame the oh-so-liberal fake news media didn’t take her more seriously, what with her having been a Secretary of State and all. But be fair, she was also kind of unlikable, she used email in the same slightly questionable way every one in government used it before and is still using it now, and she was, you know, a woman. That was a lot of seriously negative stuff that had to be covered lots of times. Not much column space left for a credible argument about the other candidate maybe being a Russian stooge.

So now, maybe finally we’re at a tipping point. Now maybe even a handful of Republicans can look at this sinking ship and do what rats do. I’m just concerned it might be too little too late.

Trump invited Putin to the White House sometime in early November, though he hasn’t accepted the invitation yet. If he does come, it would likely be before November 6, the day of the midterm elections. On November 10, Trump is throwing himself a lavish, Russian-style military parade.

Let’s hope this doesn’t mean Trump and Putin already know the outcome — of the midterms, that is. We all know there’s going to be a parade.

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