Most of us have read or heard about the transcript of Trump’s fateful phone call to the Ukraine president.
“Nice country you got there … pitty if anything bad happened to it.”
Trump did it. He asked a foreign president to dig up dirt on his political opponent. That, alone, is illegal. There’s been some talk of a “quid pro quo” but that’s from people who don’t realize it’s not necessary. Trump DID hold up aid to Ukraine a week before he made the phone call — Trump knows how to shake down a mark — but we don’t need that to impeach him.
Trump clearly, obviously, doesn’t realize what illegal thing he’s doing. He doesn’t know what people are yelling about. He doesn’t know what he’s doing wrong. I’m equally certain that a dozen people — including his lawyer — have tried to explain it to him but he simply doesn’t believe them.
The GOP is hysterical, but not enough
Someone once said that everyone who gets near Trump gets ruined. (I think it was David Frum, but don’t hold me to it.) Lots of people were eager to work for him until they realized that to work for him you had to be his accomplice. If you refuse, he will have a tantrum and ruin your life. If you agree, when the police come to the door it will be your name on the warrant, not his.
The problem is, lots of people are for Trump. They don’t see anything wrong with extorting cooperation from a foreign president for his personal gain. Like Trump, they don’t get that “personal gain” is the illegal thing here.
“I’m’ not robbing you. I’m asking you for money and it’s just a coincidence I have a gun.”
Presidents often ask for favors from foreign representatives, especially when they are recipients of foreign aid. Usual requests are “Buy more American wheat” or “Sell us your cadmium.” That’s not extortion that’s a president negotiating on behalf of the American people and therefore doing his job.
Trump can’t tell the difference, and his worshippers don’t mind. “That’s our boy!” they exclaim proudly. They don’t understand that he only works on his own behalf, not ours. Neither his supporters or his opponents have a “behalf.”
We are the little people who don’t count. But then, the president of Ukraine is a little person. So is the president of China.