Autumn 2018 has been a rocky season for our president.
In October, facts were unearthed that gave lie to the main narrative he has constructed about his life: That he is a self-made man whose rise to wealth was propelled by aggressive ambition, native intuition and business acumen.
The facts, exhaustively documented by the New York Times, reveal a very different tale. It seems daddy Fred Trump made the money and Donny lost it, over and over, through bone-headed ineptitude and graft.
After examining the Trump real estate business, Daniel Braun, a former assistant U.S. attorney, described “… the basic elements of a long-running and significant scheme to defraud investors.” Then there is evidence of substantial tax fraud, over decades, now under investigation by the state of New York.
In a normal political climate, these revelations alone would launch impeachment measures. But “the swamp” has not been normal for a while now; in fact, it has got more fetid and treacherous lately.
Then there is Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, whose looming menace can be gauged by the intensity of Trump’s attacks on it.
Tuesday he tweeted, “The Fake News Media builds Bob Mueller up as a Saint, when in actuality he is the exact opposite. He is doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System…” This tweet occurred after his former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, admitted to lying to Congress and detailed more ties between the Trump family and Russian oligarchs.
The president is furious Cohen is getting right with the law and, predictably, is denigrating him as “weak. ” In this Trump reveals the mentality of a mob boss whose crimes may be dragged into the light. To him justice and truth mean nothing next to loyalty to him.
The stress is telling. Trump gave an interview to the Washington Post Wednesday that turned incoherent several times. His syntax was disordered and some of his thoughts wandered into dead-end assertions, divorced from the subject he started with. More magical thinking and grandiose claims about his powers filled his talk. The inflated self-image that has sustained him for so long is cracking as December approaches.
He’s realizing the dodging and weaving strategies that served him in the business world are not working now. Since he was the butt of laughter at the U.N. he’s trying to ignore the forming consensus that he’s inept, confused and silly.
It seems the buzzards of a sorted past are circling both the Trump presidency and his business empire. The stalkers of decay and corruption are honing in, haunted by the gaunt and somber visage of a serious man wrapping up a mission. A “Game of Thrones” moment is unfolding and “Winter is Coming” very soon. Maybe in December.