On this day of public impeachment hearings, I wish to remind people of the original Big Trump Lie, the first political whopper from which all others spawned. It was not that he was going to build “the wall”. It was not that he was a “fighter”, nor that he was going to “drain the swamp”, nor that he “told it like it is”. It wasn’t that he was going to get better deals for us with China because he was a businessman. It was, simply, that he was independently wealthy and willing to fund his own campaign.
All those other lies have been dangled out to his faithful repeatedly, as they are either given hope that this time Lucy won’t pull away the football or they are told that somehow he is working toward his goal already and will someday soon show a measure of material progress. The notion that he will fund his own campaign has been lost down the memory hole, on the other hand, never to be restated.
This, despite the fact that his supposed willingness to self-fund was the core of his initial appeal, offered up as proof that he was entering the race only out of a motivation to work for his country. It was on this point that many of the Trump cultists joined; he was going to lose money by running, lose millions, and he was doing it anyway. It was a very successful pitch, distinguishing him from other candidates. It would seem to be a natural promotional line to return, as with many of his other promises. Not so.
The notion of self-funding disappeared the moment he clinched the nomination. Instead, he billed the RNC for all of the money he’d spent on his nomination, both directly and by forcing them to rent out space in Trump Tower Manhattan at rates far, far higher than any other tenant.
Another obvious reason for the promise not returning is because Trump has monetized the Presidency to an extent no others have even attempted. The Clintons and Gore, it may be reasonably argued, pushed themselves into the ranks of the ultra-wealthy through arrangements made during that Presidency and anticipated further rewards should Hillary have won, but that wealth was claimed primarily when they were out of office, not while holding power.
The corresponding scenario on a personal level would be if you were to hire someone for a key role on the recommendation of a beloved family member. Rather than perform the task for which they’ve been hired, they instead use the benefits you have provided – money, perhaps access to your records if a lawyer or your vehicle if a mechanic – to enrich themselves while engaging in unsavory and illegal practices.
No amount of doubletalk or spin, no small gifts or promises of great largess would alter the fact that you were being taken advantage of. You would render the judgement of your beloved family member suspect, and might even investigate to see if perhaps they didn’t deserve the love you’d been providing them.
This is where we are now. The Republicans have demonstrated themselves to either be astonishingly callow or actively working against the principles they claimed to hold, and Trump continues to take advantage of the role given him, going so far as to become threatening when his undeserved place of power is endangered.
We would cut ties with any such professional we had hired, in our personal lives. We must do the same in our political lives. He has demonstrated himself to be fundamentally and irrevocably dishonest, and any Senate Republican who continues to support him is demonstrating they care more about him than their constituents.