Normal times would suggest a Russian dictator calling the President of the United States a “Useful Idiot” would dominate the news. But these aren’t normal times.
In his first interview, Lt. Col Alexander Vindman, a key witness in the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, says Trump goes out of his way to try to please the Russian president – that he is Putin’s “Useful Idiot.”
Yet this astonishing revelation hardly made a dent in the news. It was not even among the top news stories of the day. Why? Because on the same day as the publishing of Vindman’s comments by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic (yes The Atlantic), this happened: (here’s the link to The Atlantic article: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/09/alexander-vindman-trump-putin-useful-idiot/616341/)
- The self-described “law and order” president broke Nevada law by packing (mostly unmasked) people into an indoor venue for a campaign rally in Henderson. (The only people wearing masks were those on camera, behind and closest to Trump);
- Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary of health for public affairs, told a Facebook audience, without evidence, that left-wing hit squads were being trained for insurrection, and he accused C.D.C. scientists of “sedition.”
- RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said, “Think of what would have happened if he’d (Trump) have gone out and said: ‘This is awful. We should all be afraid. We don’t have a plan. The president was calm and steady in a time of unrest and uncertainty. And I think history will look back on him well as how he handled this pandemic.” (Yes, Ronna McDaniel, Mitt Romney’s niece, actually said Trump did not have a plan).
Yesterday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” award winning historian Jon Meacham, in reflecting on the most recent polls, wondered out loud (and I’m paraphrasing here) that the most incredulous thing about the polls was that 40% or so of Americans are still supporting Donald Trump…particularly unbelievable given his inept handling of coronavirus pandemic and after the revelations of the Bob Woodward taped interviews.
I know the answer; I suspect that Meacham knows the answer as well. But for some reason he was reticent to go public with it. So Jon, with all due respect, here’s how you might have responded to your own incredulity:
- For the very wealthy, supporting Trump means more tax cuts resulting in a few more “Benjamins” in their pockets;
- For right-leaning Evangelicals, supporting Trump means an unassailable majority of ultra-right Supreme Court justices, ensuring the overturning of Roe v. Wade;
- For conservative Jews and Christian Zionists, supporting Trump means unencumbered American support of Israel, justified or not;
- For the rest of the 40%, still reeling from eight years of a Black man as president, supporting Trump means they will continue to have a president who encourages their racism and their desire to “Make America Great Again,” an America that resembles the 1950’s not the third decade of the 21st century.
Oh yeah, and for the Trump family, it will give them another four years to develop the plan for a third Donald John Trump term.