On Wednesday, 48 U.S. Senators officially affirmed that Donald Trump has abused his power so profoundly that he deserves to be the first president ever removed from office by congressional order. Among those who took this extraordinary stance was one member of the president’s own party. Never before in U.S. history had a senator voted to remove a co-partisan from the White House. Meanwhile, several Republican senators who voted against Trump’s removal publicly declared his conduct worthy of condemnation. Nevertheless, he was not convicted.
On Thursday, the president celebrated his newly confirmed immunity from both legal and constitutional accountability. “This is really not a news conference, it’s not a speech,” the president informed a room full of gray-haired, white-skinned men who dutifully complied with his every tacit request for laughter or applause. “It’s not anything, it’s just — we are sort of — it’s a celebration.”
The most powerful government official on planet Earth went on to say that the the investigation into his alleged obstruction of justice had been “bullshit” — and, also, that if he hadn’t fired the FBI director who was overseeing an investigation into his campaign, he might no longer be in power. “Had I not fired James Comey,” he said, “it’s possible I wouldn’t even be standing here right now.”
At points, the man with unilateral authority over America’s 4,000-plus nuclear weapons became too disgusted by the very thought of congressional oversight to keep his expressions of contempt confined to proper syntax. “It was evil,” he said. “It was corrupt. It was dirty cops. It was leakers and liars.” He praised a congresswoman for being “downright nasty” and “mean” in his defense. He described the world-historic persecution he had endured at the hands of his ever-scheming enemies in cryptic terms and at improbable length. He sounded like nothing so much as a bus-stop crank making unrequited conversation with a crowd of increasingly unnerved and impatient commuters.
But he was actually the president of the United States speaking before a room full of federal lawmakers who responded to his paranoid ravings with an admixture of feigned and genuine delight.
Republics don’t keep forever. Someone flip over that Constitution and double-check the expiration date. Something tells me it’s already passed.