President Road Rage.
Beyond being a gangster and, of course, a preening fascist – I mean, is there any other kind? (see Benito Mussolini, et al) – that’s how Donald J Trump will be remembered.
I’m not trying to be pithy or cute. There is nothing pithy or cute about gangster fascists. Nothing at all.
If you needed further proof of the existential threat posed by this gangster fascist – although it should be plain to anyone with even a passing understanding of recent history and a conscience – then the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, a key aid to Trump’s chief of enablers and sycophants, Mark Meadows, before the January 6 congressional committee on Tuesday was must-see TV.
Given America’s congenital necessity to anoint a new “hero” every news cycle, it is not surprising that Ms Hutchinson was vaulted by columnists, CNN and MSNBC into the pantheon of whistleblowers who, by agreeing to tell all, chose courage over caution and country over party.
Slide over Richard Nixon-slaying John Dean, you apparently have heroic, save-the-republic company.
However impressive and arresting Ms Hutchinson was during her two-hour and, at times, gobsmacking appearance before the committee, I’m reserving judgement on the “hero” score.
First, her testimony, albeit delivered in a precise, measured and persuasive manner, has not been tested or challenged publicly apart from the in-all-caps rantings of President Road Rage.
Second, only last week the same writers and television personalities were heaping cliché-ridden garlands of praise on Rusty Bowers, an Arizona Republican, for rejecting the strong-arm tactics of Trump and his consigliere, Rudy Giuliani, to overturn the presidential election.
Bowers’ place in the heroic sun ended a day later after he told the Associated Press that given a choice between Trump and Joe Biden in 2024, he would vote for the seditionist again since, other than orchestrating an insurrection, President Road Rage was a God-fearing, anvil-tough Republican just like him.
Third, it appears that until, by her own admission, the “disgust[ing]” “un-American” crazed cacophony of January 6 that was predicated on a “lie”, Ms Hutchinson was more than willing to be party to every racist, cruel, anti-reason, anti-science, anti-truth act of an abominable administration led by an abominable president.
Her conversion from Trump-adoring loyalist to Trump-exposing accuser, while commendable, came so late that one wonders if Ms Hutchinson is motivated, like the gallery of slick, I’ve-suddenly-seen-the-cleansing-light-types, by the lure of a lucrative book contract and the happy prospect of burnishing her reputation by excusing her longstanding complicity in a best-seller.
In any event, Ms Hutchinson told the committee that Trump – it still astonishes me that I am required to acknowledge that he was ever commander-in-chief – attempted, in a fit of road rage, to take violent command of the big, black limousine that he was squirming in like a tantrum-addicted delinquent on January 6, 2021.
After ginning up a seething swarm, Trump insisted on joining his beloved Proud Boys and Oath Keepers in storming the Capitol and, if need be, to sack it.
That’s what President Road Rage wanted to do.
He wanted to join the mob. He was the leader of the mob. A mob that was primed and ready to do his sinister bidding: render the US Constitution into toilet paper with one aim – remain president courtesy of an insurrection to satiate his septic ego and narcissism.
Remember, the unhinged fellow with flaming yellow hair erupting with rage in the backseat who, Ms Hutchinson said, tried not only to wrest control of the limo, but also to choke a Secret Service agent who rebuffed him, had the “football” (nuclear codes) always nearby for four years.
I have no doubt that if Trump thought it in his interest – politically or financially – to incinerate you and me and the rest of the world, he would have turned the apocalyptic key in an instant and the surviving MAGA minions on or off Fox News would have applauded him for making America great again by annihilating it.
But I digress. Back to the coup d’état.
Trump knew his mob was armed and prepared to hurt American citizens who got in its way on that day, in that place. He didn’t care a whit. He didn’t care because, like any sociopath, Trump was preoccupied with his fate alone.
Rather than call back his shock troops, Trump was eager to lock arms with other fascists and white supremacist hooligans – I’m sorry, poor, misunderstood and disenchanted-with-the-status-quo patriots from America’s heartland – to attack the legislative branch of government to prevent the certification of a legitimate president and, if possible, to execute Pence in a makeshift gallows outside the Capitol.
That, in a blunt, bizarre nutshell, is the surreal essence of Ms Hutchinson’s story.
America’s fate. Democracy’s fate. The presidency’s fate. None of it registered with the tirade-prone, plate-throwing, profanity-spewing rage-aholic. The only thing that mattered to Trump in that moment, like every other moment of his fraudulent life, was Donald J Trump.
On sorry cue, editorial boards and buzz-obsessed political “insiders” have described Ms Hutchinson’s live and taped depositions with the committee as the “tipping point” that will begin to fray Trump’s cult-like hold on his legion of lunatic locusts. (Please, for the love of the English language, can we retire “tipping point” from the political lexicon?)
Bob Woodward, the scion of the insular, Washington-engrossed intelligentsia, told CNN’s mesmerised Wolf Blitzer that Ms Hutchinson had written Trump’s “political obituary”.
Dream on, everyone.
Any suggestion from any quarter that Trump’s evangelical supporters will belatedly come to their senses misses one glaring, well-established point: They have no senses.
Instead, Trump embodies who and what they are. Selfish. Irrational. Racist. And, like their dear leader, coiled tight in resentment, bitterness and fury at anyone or any idea that they can’t tolerate or understand.
Chances are more than good that despite the cascade of damaging revelations that the January 6 committee has produced, Trump will emerge as the Republican nominee for president in 2024.
It pains me to write the next sentence. Chances are also more than good that he will return to the Oval Office. Then, it will be President Road Rage for four hard-even-to-contemplate years of unrestrained madness and vengeance.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has, for 15 months or so, been doing a convincing impersonation of Rip Van Winkle, may have stirred from his stupor to see what most of the rest of us have seen – with or without a law degree.
President Road Rage’s alleged assault on a bodyguard was one of a catalogue of felonies Trump has committed, culminating in the galvanising role he played to discredit and reject the will of millions of enlightened Americans who voted for the other guy.
At the end of this week’s hearing, Representative Liz Cheney shared blatant evidence of witness tampering. Turns out, members of “Don” Trump’s crew had been leaning on witnesses gently before they appeared at the committee to get them to do “the right thing”.
I suspect that Cheney was telegraphing to the television audience and, more particularly, Garland that the US attorney general ditch finally his outrageous hesitancy and strategic calculations and put the “justice” back in the Justice Department.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.