With the release last evening of the text messages surrounding a proposed meeting between Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, the question must be considered dispositively settled: Yes, Donald Trump demanded that Ukraine meddle in the 2020 election as a condition of a meeting between Trump and Zelensky, and the release of approximately $400-million of aid that Congress had approved for Ukraine.
Settled. There are no grounds for a good-faith alternative reading. Donald Trump made aid, and a meeting, contingent upon assisting his campaign by concocting an opaque, foreign investigation of the Bidens. That is settled … fact. It happened. You can lie about it, you can point at a distraction, you can do some quavery-jowled head-shaking while insisting that you just don’t know — but it happened.
The First Felon’s amoral behavior has a cost:
These Ukrainian soldiers were killed in August 2019, while President Trump was withholding congressionally voted military aid to pressure Ukraine to exonerate Russia and defame his political opponents https://t.co/DF5K1XSF33 pic.twitter.com/n7lJ6Ewg8j
— David Frum (@davidfrum) October 4, 2019
It’s not quite that Jim Jordan and Lindsey Graham have blood on their hands — neither of them, after all, pulled the trigger –but they do have some moral culpability. They have turned a blind-eye, again and again; they have soft-pedaled one indecency after another; they have encouraged Trump to think he is invincible because he has an immovable Senate majority. They have encouraged him to imagine that his grotesque abuses of executive power will go unchallenged or, at least, unpunished. So when you look at those pictures, summon to your mind’s eye Trump’s enablers, too — the supine, cringing, just plain cowardly GOP Congressmembers.
David Brooks has a column today that imagines a conversation between Urban Guy and Flyover Man, and it’s a catalog of grievances from Flyover Man.
The big picture is this: We knew this guy was a snake when we signed up. But he was the only one who saw us. He was the only one who saw that the America we love is being transformed in front of our eyes. Good jobs for hard-working people were gone. Our communities in tatters. Our kids in trouble. I had one shot at change, so I made a deal with the devil, and you’d have made it, too.
Nothing in this impeachment mess makes me rethink this bargain. If people like you are unable to acknowledge my dignity and see my problems, I’ll stay with Trump.
That’s probably a good account of what a lot of the American Gothic crowd is thinking, but it’s bullshit. Most of those transformations they find so disturbing are for the better, a movement toward realization of the ideals that America was founded upon. You can’t own slaves any more. You have to treat others with respect — you pay, as you deserve to pay, if you can’t treat immigrants, minorities, LGBTQ, with common decency. And if you had done the hard work of getting an education, you’d know that Pastor Bubba is nothing but a small-time cult-leader with no more purchase on Eternal Truth than a common garden slug, and you wouldn’t have been bushwhacked by evolving technology.
If you’d seen a little more of the world, instead of retreating into a shoebox where you imagined nothing would ever change, you’d know that Donald Trump and Sean Hannity and all the rest of that crowd are nothing but cheap plaid-suited carnival barkers who are cheating … you, you idiots — and enjoying a good laugh, at your expense, in the bargain.
And you expect the rest of the world to sit still so that your Sunnybrook Republic fantasies aren’t disturbed? Not going to happen. Nope. The most you can hope to accomplish is injuring your country and consigning your children — the ones who haven’t left town, I mean — to sweeping the Chinese-owned factory floor on the midnight shift. You are not going to stop the world from spinning.