The night Donald Trump was elected, I said to Barb, “Before the end of his term, he’ll have pissed off everyone he comes in contact with. Every one.” Being prescient isn’t one of my strong suits but three years of evidence seem to make the case.
From individuals to entire nations, he’s angered them all. He seems to have a real knack for it. But, there’s significant evidence of a growing “push back” of sorts taking place.
Here’s one. General James Mattis. Former Defense Secretary, lifelong Republican and someone whose 40 years of military service have been honored by just about everyone. Except you-know-who.
Those who’ve followed his career know Mattis is Marine down to his camo shorts. A professional who knows intimately - and who lives by - the chain-of-command. An order is given and his answer is always “Yes, Sir.” Even when Trump criticized and belittled him both during and after his Secretary of Defense posting, Mattis kept his military bearing.
But. Mattis has written a book about his career and includes some hints of how he feels about Trump. Not out-and-out blatant criticism but you get the idea when he writes “I found him to be of limited cognitive ability.” And several other verbal jabs.
Yet, while Mattis is holding his tongue - for now - it’s likely we’ll be getting a fuller picture soon. “There is a period in which I owe my silence,” Mattis said, referring to his post-Trump days. “It’s not eternal,” he added, “And it’s not going on forever.” Boda Bing! Boda Boom! My guess is about December, 2020.
Another case. Trump criticized Faux Nuews. Told his followers, “They’re not working for us” and suggesting that a new and “more supportive” media network was needed.
Now, many of us figured Faux would knuckle under and “come to heel.” But, no. Fact is, several of the major Faux players got up on their hind legs and told Trump they weren’t “working for him.” They got downright indignant and claimed media “impartiality” and told him they’d report the facts as they happened to be.
Putting Faux Nuews and the word “facts” in the same sentence has been - and likely will continue to be - an oxymoron. But, at least they took a stab at journalistic professionalism for once and bit back.
Still more evidence. The exodus of Republican members of Congress.
Lot’s of ‘em. Many angry at Trump and tired of defending him. The reasons vary but the flight is real. Going into the 2020 election, Democrats needed a net gain of four seats to take the majority in the Senate. That is, keep all they have and add four. Seemed out of reach. Now, not so much. Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Georgia, for example, seem winnable. How ‘bout that?
And more. As Trump has fired former “best people,” many have not just shuffled off to deserved anonymity. Several have written fiery books and others have taken to more respectable media to tell “the inside story” of White House chaos. Some are even making big bucks on the “chicken dinner” circuit telling their tales to other Republicans. Yes, Virginia, Republicans!
And this. One night last week, little Donny Junior went to Kentucky for a well-publicized speech to the GOP faithful on behalf of the one-term, right wing governor who’s in a surprisingly hot re-election fight. Kentucky Republicans in Mitch McConnell’s home state spent heavily to promote Donny. Even rented a 7-thousand seat auditorium. And when Donny went to the mike, he looked out on a throng of 200. Yep, 200! In Kentucky?
And more. National farmer’s organizations are coming unglued over the beating they’re taking from Trump. The same guy they backed so heavily in 2016. The tariffs - real or promised - are killing ‘em. Along with a couple of years of bad weather. You can see the bib overalls on TV, night after night, swearing both at-and-off Trump. Lots of rural vows of “Never again!” Who’d a thunk?
And those examples are all domestic. We haven’t talked about other entire countries. Some who don’t even want him to visit. The President of the United States persona-non-grata. Media - and many politicians overseas - are skewering anything Trump related. And, in those few countries still trying to keep up appearances, heads of state are plotting ways of dealing with Trump. Or going around him.
Yep. Real push back. Not to say ol’ Donald will be a one-termer just yet. With Russian election meddling and worldwide computer hacking, 2020 results could go sideways. And, as we learned to our sorrow in 2016, there’s the Electoral College to deal with. He’s already lost the popular vote once and won. Could it happen again? Who knows?
Trump’s continual back-stabbing of once loyal staff, supporters and entire countries continues unabated. But, we’re seeing more people openly turning on him and biting back. Or staying away. We’re seeing once valued fellow-travelers taking open stands of opposition.
Still, there’s that one last bastion standing with him. Republicans in Congress who’ve every reason to dump him but lack the guts to do it. He’s still got the most dangerous politician in America - Mitch McConnell - riding shotgun. At least for now.
But, as said at the outset, Trump has this one unique quality of turning friends into enemies. So, a guy can always hope!