Like a pro wrestler pounding the mat in feigned pain, Donald Trump flailed, wailed and showcased his victimhood in his own Rose Garden, Wednesday at high noon.
"This is very sad," said President Trump, performing with all the WrestleMania flamboyance he once displayed as a World Wrestling Entertainment guest star (really!) while honing his talent for his present gig. An hour earlier, Trump had walked into a White House meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – just so he could turn around and walk out!
This was supposed to be Infrastructure Week and that meeting was about finally funding fixes for America's rusting, crumbling infrastructure. But reporters were herded into the Rose Garden to watch Trump perform his pro-wrestling act, big-time.
"This is very sad ... All of a sudden, I hear last night, they're going to have a meeting right before this meeting to talk about the I-word. The I-word. Can you imagine?
The "I-word" Trump fixated upon wasn't about our infrastructure crisis – it was all about zealous Democrats' determination to impeach him. Sad.
Pelosi and Schumer knew his act well – they had ringside seats when he performed the same routine in January. Then Trump walked out because they wouldn't fund his Mexico wall – and he retaliated by shutting down your government. Sadder.
Trump's WrestleMania-styled performances are the politics of diversion. I'm convinced Trump's Wednesday routine was designed to deke the Democrats into abandoning their efforts to fix Americans' real problems – and goad Democrats into an impeachment push that cannot succeed in this Republican-dominated Senate.
Trump, Pelosi and all of us know that almost 60% of Americans are telling pollsters they don't want Trump impeached, even though everyone knows he lies and is unfit for his job. People want Congress to start solving our real problems.
Trump knows that when President Bill Clinton was impeached in the House, but not convicted in the Senate, his polls soared. Why? People accepted he always lied about sex; but they saw him working with Congress to solve problems – that's the part Trump doesn't get.
I'm convinced Trump fears his deepest money secrets may soon be revealed – the ones he has long concealed by refusing to release his income taxes (unlike every other modern era president and nominee).
New court rulings have made it more likely American may soon see at least some of his long-concealed tax records. Maybe that will reveal a clue about why Trump is so embarrassingly beholden to Russia's Vladimir Putin, who is trying to sabotage our democracy's elections.
All that may explain why Trump dramatically walked out of Wednesday's Pelosi-Schumer meeting – and then told reporters in the Rose Garden that he'd told the Democratic leaders: "I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it.... But you know what? You can't do it under these circumstances. So, get these phony investigations over with."
Here's the backstory behind the big story: When Trump long ago promised to tell Democrats how he'll pay for massive infrastructure fixes, his chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly erupted – because they had no such solution. Now Trump hopes you'll think he's for fixing the infrastructure, but he can't fund the job.
But Wednesday Pelosi gave him the gift he desperately needed: an infrastructure exit ramp. After meeting with all House Democrats early Wednesday morning, hoping to slow liberals' impeachment zeal, Pelosi paused on the way to the White House and told reporters (almost in passing) that Trump committed a "cover-up."
Eureka! Faster than a Brexit, Trump sprinted into his Trexit: He used Pelosi's words as his excuse for walking out, declaring: "I don't do cover-ups. ...I'm the most transparent president, probably in the history of this country."
And dramatizing his victimhood, Trump wailed: "This whole thing was a takedown attempt at the president of the United States."
EPILOGUE: Trump's just-resigned Small Business Administrator, Linda McMahon, must have guffawed at the irony. She had watched Trump perfect the talent he's now showcasing in his current gig – by guest-starring at WWE's WrestleMania XXIII, in 2007. She was a WWE executive when her husband, WWE's CEO Vince McMahon, and Trump pulled off a crowd-pleasing flimflam called the "Battle of the Billionaires." In it, Trump played the good guy – he fake body-slammed and pretend-pummeled Vince McMahon. Then the man who would become our 45th president inflicted his own worst nightmare to Vince. Brandishing a buzzing electric razor, Trump shaved McMahon's skull, while Vince flailed and wailed – until he was bare-skin bald! The arena rocked with whoops and hoots. Trump's act was ready for greater glories.
(You can YouTube it at your own risk.)
About The Writer
Martin Schram, an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service, is a veteran Washington journalist, author and TV documentary executive. Readers may send him email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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