The simulated bumper car administration of Donald Trump seems to lurch from fiasco to faux pas with practiced ease. Whether he is leaking confidential files to the Russians or shoving the Prime Minister of Montenegro out of the way in a heads of state group photo like a fevered Black Friday shopper, President Trump has shown himself to be a master of shameless error. But it is worthwhile to imagine what it would be like if other names could be substituted for the players in the Drama Called Trump.
Consider Donald Trump’s campaign and the moment of disgrace occasioned by the release of the Access Hollywood tapes where he confessed to sexually assaulting women on numerous occasions. Without comment I am asking you to estimate the lifespan of the presidential candidacy of Senator Barack Obama if he were starring in those Access Hollywood Tapes.
Consider that Donald Trump admitted to providing the Russian Prime Minister and the Russian Ambassador the United States with classified information obtained from the Israeli government, claiming that as President of the United States he has the right to disclose classified information to whomever he wants (which, in keeping with the best traditions of Donald Tinyhands, is not quite true). Again, without comment, I am asking you to consider the number of minutes it would take the Republican Congress to begin impeachment proceedings if President Hillary Clinton were to take such action.
To continue this Name Game, imagine that President Obama had hung up the phone with the Prime Minister of Australia, had the President of Mexico hang up the phone on him and that he had also shoved the Prime Minister of Montenegro out of the way for a photo op. It is fair to believe that if President Obama had mimicked actual behavior by President Trump the media in general and the right wing mouth breathers like Rush Limbaugh would be bellowing about President Obama being unfit for the office.
And in this last round of the Name Game, if President Hillary Clinton had fired FBI Director James Comey after being rebuffed in his request for a pledge of personal loyalty – acts taken by Donald Trump – it is fair to say that the Teapublicans would be baying at the moon and waiting for their leashes to be slipped so that they could hunt Hillary Clinton to the ends of the earth if need be.
The point of this Name Game is that Donald Tinyhands is the beneficiary of a bizarre double standard. Whether it is traditional white privilege or the revenge of the Angry White Men, there doesn’t appear to be any bottom to the pit of ignorance, misogyny, bigotry and bad behavior into which Donald Trump has cast the public discourse. And yet, he is seriously defended- and excused – for his bad behavior, his inappropriate language and his possible illegal actions.
There is no doubt that as a black American President Obama was held to an almost impossibly high standard and the fact that he mostly succeeded in adhering to those standards will forever irk the Obama haters. Similarly, as the first woman to be that presidential candidate of a national party, Hillary Clinton was held to an impossible standard of needing to be super competent while being an engaging and non-threatening female. And in the end, that impossibility was one of the main reasons for her defeat in 2016.
It remains to be seen how long Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and Mike Pence can continue to excuse and defend the inexcusable and indefensible outrageous and shameful conduct of the Trump Who Would Be President.