By Maribel Hastings and David Torres
Just as King Midas converts everything he touches into gold, “King” Donald Trump corrupts all that which surrounds and serves him.
Or perhaps he is also shining a light on who these officials really are, people who used to be described as “institutionalists” and honorable men and women who, upon entering Trump’s orbit, become his very own lap dogs and ran roughshod over institutions and even the Constitution, just to please the master, although along the way they have lost their own dignity and soiled their own reputations.
Take the case of the Attorney General William Barr, who had been described as an “institutionalist” with an excellent reputation and everyone gave him the benefit of the doubt, despite the memorandum he wrote before he was designated to the position he now occupies, explaining why a sitting president simply “cannot” commit obstruction of justice.
At the end of the day, Barr exonerated Trump from colluding with Russia and obstruction of justice, despite the fact that the report from special counsel Robert Mueller cites ten instances of potential obstruction. Last Wednesday, during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr was interrogated by Democrats for having hidden the fact that Mueller contacted him on two separate occasions, by phone and by letter, to register his discontent with the way that Barr handled the conclusions of the investigation.
The Attorney General demonstrated that either he was already corrupted or, like so many others before him, he fell into the web of corruption that is the Trump presidency.
The question is, what makes these officials sell their own integrity and diminish their reputations for someone like Trump, who is the antithesis of all that the Republicans have claimed to defend: law and order, and family values.
Little wonder many people in this country–and indeed, across the world–are asking all the time why an administration like that of Donald Trump–so clearly un-American, however this is interpreted–remains intact. That is, how come not one of its signs, investigations, complicities, perverse misogynies, infidelities with porn stars, denigrations of the institutions of law and order–such as referring to FBI agents as “scum”–not to mention anti-immigrant attitudes that have influenced multiple xenophobic attacks across the nation, have moved him from the apex of the White House.
For less than the damage, particularly moral and judicial, that Trump has done to this country, others in his position would face merciless scrutiny under the law or unbearable public mockery, as occurred to former Senator Al Franken, while still others have gone through an impeachment process (Clinton) or the circumstances of their own misguided influences forced them to resign (Nixon).
But worst of all, in the case of Trump, is the fact that the U.S. political class is acting like nothing is wrong, as if approaching the truth and revealing his tricks, both in business and the way he came to power, would destabilize the structure of the system and, therefore, so many other barbaraties would have been discovered, not only of the chief executive himself but also his enablers (such as Lindsey Graham) and his opponents.
Because it is only in this scenario that we can understand that a president who has a policy of separating thousands of migrant families, and has even dared to propose a fee for exercising the fundamental human right of requesting asylum, can remain so cynically unphased in such a turbulent White House.
With regard to this proposal requiring those who solicit asylum to pay a fee, the administration should be called to account in an international court for so flagrantly violating an inalienable human right. And once again, it will seem like the President did nothing wrong.
In the background, if one looks closely, the historical and economic development of a country like the United States has, in turn, produced a political class that is trapped, blathering, even infant-like, and prefers to remain passive in the face of a man who “pulls the strings” among his own people, rather than realizing, courageously, that someone like that should never have come to power.
With this offensive silence they are forcing the U.S. democracy into a terrain of immorality, in a society that, at the same time, seems to collude with its own political class, since the level of demands to change are so precautionary as to sound disinterested.
And that is where the danger lies. Trump is normalizing corruption and illegality, with the complicity of his loyalists and fellow Republicans by their own silence. The danger lies in the fact that society is continuing to become desensitized to the point that nothing is surprising or offensive; this only solidifies the Trump presidency and guarantees its continuation.
Because apparently this untouchable “King” can only be stopped through electoral defeat in 2020… provided he keeps his hands off of the electoral process.