Thursday, June 30, 2022
June 30, 2022

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Collier: Trump has already won political Powerball


Once an unapologetic Trump lapdog, Bill Barr transformed into a howling Rottweiler in his testimony to the Jan. 6 committee, which last week made the former attorney general the star of its second public presentation in a historic series of hearings.

Though Barr’s frothing performance dominated the news cycle for its blistering assessments of Trump’s claims regarding an ostensibly stolen election — “idiotic,” “disturbing,” “nonsense,” “absolute rubbish,” “crazy” — the money quote arose from Barr’s judgment on Trump’s frame of mind in the months after Election Day in 2020.

“I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, ‘boy if he really believes this stuff, he has, you know, lost contact with, with — he’s become detached from reality,’ ” Barr said.

He’s “become” detached from reality?

As we are this summer presented a series of Watergate parallels, even with narratives a half-century apart, here’s the somehow necessary reminder that while the 37th president, Richard M. Nixon, went crazy during his final months in the White House, the 45th president, Donald J. Trump, brought crazy through the front door on his first day. In van loads of designer luggage.

He’d just completed a presidential campaign launched on a series of insane notions (“We’re building a wall and Mexico is paying for it.”) that should have scuttled it before it began. But for most of the next four years, people like Barr and every other subspecies of power-mad Washington hack who could penetrate his atmosphere did not find him even a bit odd.

Funny how that happens.

Did somebody say, “Team Normal,” the other day? Stop it. You were all on Team Nuts.

But look, you’re right, I’m not a trained clinical psychologist.

Mary Trump is a trained clinical psychologist who spent much of her childhood in the big house in Queens where her Uncle Donald grew up. You may have heard that she’s penned some observations tying that house and Trump Tower to the White House.

“The first are essentially controlled environments in which Donald’s material needs have always been taken care of, the second, a series of sinecures in which the work was done by others and Donald never needed to acquire expertise in order to attain or retain power (which partly explains his disdain for the expertise of others),” she wrote in “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” “All of this has protected Donald from his own failures while allowing him to believe himself a success.”

It’s evident the election of 2020 was an attack on Trump’s very belief system, such as it is.

When Joe Biden beat him, Trump’s brain had no muscle memory on how to lose, graciously or otherwise. His only impulse was to savage the expertise of people who were still trying to tether him to reality.

It didn’t matter to Trump that Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt decided to call Arizona for Biden on election night, nor will it matter to him what Stirewalt told the Jan. 6 committee.

“Normally, you’re talking about hundreds of votes, maybe 300 votes that are going to change,” Stirewalt explained to the committee about recounts after saying Trump had no chance to win. “So the idea that through any normal process in any of these states — remember, he had to do it thrice, right? He needed three of these states to change. … You’re better off to play the Powerball than to have that come in.”

The really sickening part is, Trump has played the Powerball and Trump won. He’s got a golden ticket. He and his grifting family have slid comfortably to a place above the law for the past half-century. And it still doesn’t look like anyone’s coming for him.

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