Monday, October 07, 2019


Axios reports on the president's state of mind:
President Trump has told friends and allies he worries about the stain impeachment will leave on his legacy.

... In a phone call with House Republicans on Friday, Trump articulated why he really doesn't want this. Impeachment, Trump said, is a "bad thing to have on your resume," according to a source on the call. Two other sources on the call confirmed the substance of the comment, but one said they recalled Trump phrasing it as "you don't want it [impeachment] on your resume."

... sources who have discussed impeachment candidly with the president say these comments perfectly encapsulate how Trump feels about it: He believes it could help him get re-elected and win back the House. But he doesn't want the history books recording Donald Trump as an impeached president.
This story gets at a core aspect of Trump's psyche: He's motivated by shame. One of his favorite words is "disgrace," and disgrace is something he spends a great deal of his life trying to avoid (even though his work and personal habits inevitably lead him to it). He thought he was entitled to the love and adoration of an entire nation when he was elected president, so he couldn't bear the thought that the crowd at his inaugural was smaller than the one for Barack Obama in 2009. He wanted a voter fraud commission to determine that Hillary Clinton didn't legitimately beat him in the popular vote. And now -- when he could be collecting a lot more emoluments than he's currently earning, or putting greater effort into getting Russia into the G7, or, y'know, actually doing his job and trying to put together a healthcare plan or an infrastructure plan that could be the sort of accomplishment a president is supposed to have -- he's obsessing over an nonexistent Ukrainian-Italian-British-Australian-Deep State plot that allegedly led to the Russia investigation, which, he believes, was intended to shame and disgrace him.

I often wonder why Democrats don't take advantage of this Trump vulnerability. It could be done in simple ways. What are the all-purpose words he uses for people he doesn't like? He says they're weak. He calls them losers. Why doesn't any Democrat say publicly that Trump is weak, or that he's a loser? If you said it at a vulnerable moment for Trump, it would really sting.

Back in 2018, Philippe Reines, a longtime Hillary Clinton adviser, wrote a Washington Post op-ed in which he argued that Democrats should try to beat Trump in 2020 by attacking him the way he attacks them. I questioned that approach, and I still believe that it's the wrong one for serious 2020 candidates -- but I wish there were someone in the Democratic field who was willing to be the bad guy. I wouldn't want this person on the ticket, but I'd like him or her to be making Trump squirm. Call him soft and weak and sleepy and low-energy. Say that everyone hates him and he's going down in history as a failure and a loser.

Even Trump's most outspoken critics in Congress -- Maxine Waters, Mazie Hirono -- target him in a much more high-minded way, accusing him or criminality and bad political ideas. He can take that. He can't take being called a failure.

I don't want this to be the Democrats' main message by any means, but I wish someone would hit him where it hurts.

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