Donald Trump is a coward. This much we must agree on before moving on. Everything he does, everything he has done, is based on his soul-draining fears. He fears that he will not be perceived as a success, a tough guy, a charmer, a winner of everything. He lashes out at anyone who foments those fears, those who tell him he’s wrong, or those who want to hinder him. He is driven by his panic that everyone will find out that he is entirely a fake, entirely a fraud. He is running away from the legacy of the still-beloved Barack Obama and the laughter that accompanies any comparison between him and the last president. Just like the buildings and products and businesses, he is merely a body, a vessel that has the word “Trump” stamped on it, and, goddamnit, that name better mean something or it all crumbles. In the business world, this led him to wildly overspend and wrongly invest, which led him to need financing from the skeeviest elements in the banking system, which led him to the presidency, which led us to this pivotal moment, one pivotal moment among far, far too many.
But we know that. We knew that when he started talking and blustering about all the ways he would kick this person’s ass or that country’s balls. A man who uses the phrase “bomb the shit out of them” when talking about a bunch of bedraggled, starving terrorists who live among civilians who don’t want them there hasn’t an ounce of courage in him. We know that we have been led by cowards who talk tough about the enemy because it’s all they can do to cover up for their intense cowardice that hangs like a vulture ready to peck out their eyes. Mostly Republicans, yes, but too often pathetic Democrats join in this mask of bloodlust.
There is another kind of cowardice, the fear of action, the fear that if you say what you mean, reveal what you know, show where the bodies are buried, that you yourself will suffer even if it means stopping the suffering of, oh, hell, let’s say the world.
The specific cowards I’m talking about here are the ones who proclaim anonymously to friends in the media and in the political world that what Trump is doing is wrong, is madness, and is opposed by people around him. This Twitter thread from Reza Marashi with “career U.S. government officials” talking about the breakdown of the entire foreign policy apparatus of the country is a good example, and there was a time where we could forgive people who are twenty years into their careers and just wanted to put food on the table for not wanting the wrath of Trump and his bot army and Fox “news.”
But not anymore. Because, see, we did this fuckin’ dance before. We did the whole “many people knew” but didn’t say on the record jig on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Now we’re doing it again, this time with Iran and every other impending disaster. Democrats will tell us, “I’ve spoken to Republican colleagues who said Trump is wrong.” And then there are the Republicans who speak to each other or to their favorite reporters without attribution that they are queasy about what Trump is shitting out today.
Look at this article from Politico in November. Once you wipe off the oozy glaze of insider jizz that is spewed across every Politico article, you get a glimpse of the depth of the cowardice of the Republican Party. The article is ostensibly about the treatment of Francis Rooney, a second-term Republican from Florida who dared to get bolder about his dislike of Trump.
Just a sample:
“Venting privately about the U.S. president has become a hallowed pastime in Republican-controlled Washington, a sort of ritualistic release for those lawmakers tasked with routinely defending the indefensible.”
“Of course, the yawning delta between what Republicans feel privately and what they say publicly has been a defining theme of the Trump era.”
“There is a sizable number of Republican senators and representatives who believe Trump’s actions are at least theoretically impeachable, who believe a thorough fact-finding mission is necessary, who believe his removal from office is not an altogether radical idea.”
Every single motherfucking one of those Republicans is a goddamned coward, afraid of what Trump will do if they dare say that criminal is a criminal, that a madman is a madman, that an idiot is an idiot. And now we might be sending more soldiers to die and allowing untold thousands of civilians to die in another stupid, useless war based on a gruel of lies that’s so thin that not even Colin Powell could force it down.
Democrats need to out the Republicans who oppose Trump privately. Make them have to deny or defend themselves. Reporters need to burn their sources. That last quote up there is “from dozens of interviews with GOP lawmakers, congressional aides and White House staffers over the past month.” How many people need to die in order for a Politico reporter to scoop those bastards at the Washington Post?
Time and again, the cowards allow their fear to wreck us. And you might say that you’re not a coward, that you actually believe in a war with Iran and everything the president says. Well, then you’re just an accomplice.
And those of us who allow them to get away with it time and again, for, indeed, the crisis we’re in now is a direct result of not punishing those who caused the crisis last time, we also risk becoming accomplices.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on January 7, 2020 on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.