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Politics

Loose Lips

Susan Estrich on

Donald Trump is on a roll. No, I'm not talking about his victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, although of course he won them both. I say "of course" because he's a president running for his second term, and if you judge him like you would an incumbent -- who you would expect to do better than 80% or more -- the fact is that he underperformed, especially in New Hampshire. He may be on a roll to the nomination, but the roll I'm talking about has to do with showing his true colors, which will end in his defeat.

The man cannot control himself. Start with where he finds himself -- in a courtroom, at the defense table, being chastised by a judge because he can't keep his mouth shut. It's becoming an all-too-familiar position for the former president, sure to be even more so in the months ahead. He can't stop muttering insults, notwithstanding the defense's objections that the jury could hear him. But that's not the only place he's shown his lack of control.

Last week, at 2 a.m., he took to Truth Social to rant about his quest for absolute immunity. This was after his lawyer told a court that even if he ordered a team of Navy Seals to assassinate a political opponent, he could not be arrested or prosecuted until and unless the House impeached him and the Senate convicted him. Trump was even more blunt: The rant was that, as president, he was entitled to "ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY" even if he "crossed the line." So much for the fundamental principle that, in a democracy, no one is above the law.

On Sunday night, he went off the rails in his campaign stump speech on the subject of absolute immunity, adding in references to pedophile priests and rogue cops, seeming to suggest that their existence somehow buttressed the case for him to be absolutely immune. How? Why? Slurring his words, and making no sense, he sounded like a befuddled would-be dictator with no morals at all.

And then came Tuesday night. He took obvious pleasure in humiliating his former rivals, Vivek Ramaswamy and Tim Scott. He gave Ramaswamy exactly one minute to grovel (he actually took an additional 40 seconds) before mocking Scott for having announced his engagement to marry the day before, leading commentators to explain that his feigned surprise was in fact a reference to the rumors that Scott is gay. That was nothing compared to the wrath he displayed for Nikki Haley, who he spent most of his speech attacking on the ground that "I find in life you can't let people get away with bulls---." Scott, who was appointed to the Senate by Haley, clapped uncomfortably while Trump attacked her for everything from her clothes to her determination to stay in the race. To say that he didn't act like a winner, but a bitter old man, is an understatement. His former press secretary, appearing on Fox News, pointed out the obvious: that with 7 out of 10 Haley voters saying they would not vote for Trump, it was time for the former president and presumptive nominee to reach out to unify the party rather than excoriate his opponent. Just before midnight on Truth Social, he reacted by calling them both names: "I don't need any advice from RINO Kayleigh McEnany on Fox. Just had a GIANT VICTORY over a badly failing candidate, 'Birdbrain,' and she's telling me what I can do better."

 

Then he returned to New York, bringing even more attention to the E. Jean Carroll trial, where he had already been found liable for sexual assault and defamation, and the only question was how much it would cost him. The day before, Trump had walked out of the courtroom muttering loudly, "This is not America." The jury had an answer for that: $83.3 million. No one is above the law. Loose lips sink ships.

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To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


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