Monday, September 23, 2019


In Politico Magazine, Michael Kruse tells us something we already know: When Donald Trump thinks a fight is over, he just starts another one.
On July 24, as special counsel Robert Mueller’s uneven testimony came to a close, Donald Trump clearly was feeling triumphant. He gloated and goaded on Twitter. He stood outside the White House and crowed. Mueller had done “horrible” and “very poorly,” the president said on the South Lawn. He called it “a great day for me.” He was, after all, rid, it seemed, of perhaps his first term’s preeminent enemy.

It took him less than 24 hours to flip to the next big fight.

Because on July 25, according to reports, Trump pressured repeatedly the leader of Ukraine to help rustle up potential political ammunition on Joe Biden....

... those who know him best say this is merely the latest episode in a lifelong pattern of behavior for the congenitally combative Trump. He’s always been this way. He doesn’t stop to reflect. If he wins, he barely basks. If he loses, he doesn’t take the time to lie low or lick wounds ... when one tussle is done, Trump reflexively starts to scan the horizon in search of a new skirmish.

“If he’s not in a fight, he looks for one,” former Trump publicist Alan Marcus told me this weekend. “He can’t stop.”
Kruse's story has its share of macho quotes:
“Trump is a predator,” Republican strategist Alex Castellanos asserted last spring. “When something enters his world, he either eats it, kills it or mates with it.”
But although Kruse doesn't emphasize this point, a pattern emerges: Trump fights until he loses. Then he moves on to another arena and resumes fighting, until he loses again.

The problem for Trump is that now he can't move to a more important arena. He's in the championship match. If he loses now -- if he has a compulsion to fight until he loses -- then he has nowhere to go but down.

Here's the pattern, as Kruse describes it. As I say, Kruse doesn't take note of the pattern, so I'll emphasize the passages he doesn't emphasize.
... as the owner of the USFL’s Generals, he fought … everybody. Arrogant, impulsive and ill-informed, Trump wasted no time starting to fight with his fellow team owners in the second-tier outfit. He then set his sights on the larger, richer, much more powerful National Football League.... He sued the NFL—and he lost. “Everyone let Donald Trump take over,” one of the owners said. “It was our death.”

Trump, though, hadn’t even waited for the verdict to shift his focus. Two months before the upshot in court, he kickstarted his next fight....

Mayor Ed Koch. His No. 1 antagonist all decade long.

For several years, Trump had been looking down from his Trump Tower perches,... watching broken Wollman Rink sitting dormant in Central Park. The city had been fumbling in its efforts to fix it....

He made his pitch. He wanted to take over the rink and make it work....

And he did. The rink opened later in the year to great fanfare in the city and around the country. Beyond the specific accomplishment, though, the entire endeavor let Trump fan his feud with Koch. It was a milepost in their sour, never-ending back-and-forth, Trump calling Koch a “moron” and a “disaster,” Koch calling Trump a greedy bully, all of which only intensified later in the decade when Koch spurned Trump’s demands for more tax breaks for his plot on the Upper West Side....

The ‘90s were no different.... He fought his lenders and creditors in a desperate attempt to stay solvent.... He picked a fight with casino analyst Marvin Roffman (and lost). He picked a fight with Atlantic City resident Vera Coking (and lost).
And on and on. Sure, Trump always failed upward -- eventually he became a TV star, then a commentator for America's most politically influential media outlet. And then he became president.

He always emerges from failure in reasonably good shape, so his instincts are to fight until he fails. That's why I think he wants a fight right now. He's a danger junkie who wishes congressional Democrats weren't so easy to beat. Maybe now they won't be. Maybe they'll impeach him. I think he'll like that.

But Trump can't fail upward now. He's the president of the United States -- he can only fall.

Instinctively, he may want to. If so, we should impeach him, then beat him at the polls. That's what he wants, isn't it?

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