As bad as Donald Trump’s presidency was, rest assured it could have been way, way worse. And believe me, I get how bad it was. On its best days, it was like a happy-ending massage from Edward Scissorhands. On its worst days, it was like a shiatsu massage from Edward’s younger brother, Larry Used-Heroin-Needle Thumbs.
And yet some people still think he could—and/or should—be president again. Yeah, him. The scamp who attempted to 86 Western democracy. That guy. So, sure—let’s take another go at ending America, shall we?
Of course, during his first term, Trump was surrounded by various babysitters and other marginally competent advisers who steered him away from some of his more godawful ideas, like nuking hurricanes or shooting protesters in the legs. Those minders won’t be around in his second term, assuming he gets one. His cabinet is more likely to resemble the line of people standing outside hoping to get into The Price Is Right than anything we’ve seen from previous administrations. You thought Betsy DeVos was a horrible cabinet pick? Get ready for Education Secretary “Last Person Trump Saw on Tucker Carlson’s Show Gurgling Lies About Public Schools.”
So keep all that in mind when you read this:
Former President Donald J. Trump asked Mark T. Esper, his defense secretary, about the possibility of launching missiles into Mexico to “destroy the drug labs” and wipe out the cartels, maintaining that the United States’ involvement in a strike against its southern neighbor could be kept secret, Mr. Esper recounts in his upcoming memoir.
Kept secret? A U.S. missile launch into Mexico? Sure, I’ll get right on that, boss. And if for some reason Mexico does find out, we can always wire them $130,000 to keep it quiet.
When Mr. Esper raised various objections, Mr. Trump said that “we could just shoot some Patriot missiles and take out the labs, quietly,” adding that “no one would know it was us.” Mr. Trump said he would just say that the United States had not conducted the strike, Mr. Esper recounts, writing that he would have thought it was a joke had he not been staring Mr. Trump in the face.
Okay, I’ve stared Trump in the face numerous times—from a distance, anyway—and not once did I not think it was a joke. Then again, I never joined his administration.
According to Esper’s upcoming book, I Would Have Alerted Y’all to This Sooner, but the White House Commissary Has These Exquisite Linzer Tortes I Can’t Find Anywhere Else, Trump was a walking five-alarm fire draped head-to-toe in oily rags.
Of course, as former Trump advisers who were gobsmacked in real-time tend to do, Esper is excusing his failure to speak out when it would have actually mattered by noting that there had to be an adult in the room lest Trump set fire to the family pet—which in this case was Lindsey Graham, but even he deserves some due consideration. According to Esper, the administration was obsessed with the ocher abomination’s reelection, and all Trump’s decisions were made with that goal in mind—to the exclusion of everything else. Esper also claims he thought about resigning several times but “believed the president was surrounded by so many yes-men and people whispering dangerous ideas to him that a loyalist would have been put in Mr. Esper’s place.”
In fact, one of those yes-men, senior adviser Stephen Miller, had an absolutely novel idea for making our country, erm, “safer.”
In October 2019, after members of the national security team assembled in the Situation Room to watch a feed of the raid that killed the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Mr. Miller proposed securing Mr. al-Baghdadi’s head, dipping it in pig’s blood and parading it around to warn other terrorists, Mr. Esper writes. That would be a “war crime,” Mr. Esper shot back.
Seriously, this guy wants to run for another term. This guy.
Then again, war crimes are tres chic again, aren’t they?
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