While the drama that is the impeachment inquiry continues its course, the scenarios to come don’t offer much comfort. It turns out that the more besieged Donald Trump feels, the more venom he spews with total impunity and support from the cowardly Republican leadership in Congress. What’s more, he uses it against vulnerable sectors, like immigrants, his favorite escape valve in order to maintain the support of his base.
It is no mere coincidence that in the middle of the various political crises of this presidency there are two constants: first, that Trump overcomes them; and second, that to keep his base happy he quadruples his efforts toward attacking his favorite scapegoats, immigrants, his best hand in 2016, all throughout his chaotic presidency, and his re-election strategy in 2020.
Just review all of the crises and you will see that, apart from surviving them, Trump does it by intensifying the cruelty of his immigration policies: from the separation of families and the detention of children in cages and refugees in inhumane conditions, to trampling on the laws of asylum; putting obstacles in the way of immigrants with documents, as well as considering the possibility of shooting migrants in the legs or putting spikes on top of his wall that can puncture skin, with the goal of dissuading them from crossing the border.
I do not know what will happen with the investigation around Trump’s potential impeachment. Even if the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives approves articles of impeachment over the president’s illegal conduct soliciting support from a foreign country, Ukraine, to stain a potential Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, in the 2020 election, it seems unlikely that the Republican-controlled Senate, would have the guts to convict Trump.
The leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, speaks out of both sides of his mouth. On the one hand, he says that if the House of Representatives approves articles of impeachment, the Senate will fulfill its constitutional duty to prosecute Trump. But in a campaign video on Facebook, McConnell declares “the way that impeachment stops is with a Senate majority with me as majority leader.”
And the sad spectacle of Republicans trying to justify the unjustifiable, defending illicit conduct that they would never tolerate from any Democrat, also does not offer much hope that Trump will be unseated. For example, the interview with the Republican Senator from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, on Meet the Press last Sunday, was shameful. Although the week before Johnson seemed to be concerned about the possibility that Trump had conditioned foreign aid to Ukraine on that nation’s investigation of Biden and his son Hunter, on Sunday he defended Trump, saying that the president had emphatically denied this happened. As if Trump’s word means anything. As if he would not lie at the least provocation.
But no Republican wants to be attacked by Trump. The Republican Senator from Utah and former presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, criticized Trump and the President continues to say that he should be “impeached.”
Trump intimidates the entire Republican Party, which in one fell swoop puts political expediency ahead of decency, values, the Constitution, democracy. They are not victims, they are accomplices.
Just imagine what can happen when one of the political parties in the legislative branch, the Republican one, conspires with the President to normalize the illegitimate. Worse still, if the judicial branch, headed up by Bill Barr, also acts like Trump’s puppet. Just think what can happen if the impeachment process progresses. And in a situation where Trump is not impeached, imagine what could happen in 2020 if he loses the election. Rest assured he will declare that there was fraud involved and the victimizer is the victim. Will he incite violence?
Soon we will know how far a cornered Trump will go.