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Will he resign?

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There’s a narrative out there that Trump might resign before the election—for instance, here and here.

As some have speculated, Trump “may decide that it’s more dignified to retire undefeated.” According to this analysis, “Trump may conclude that he has more leverage to cut the best possible deal with all players while the bargain includes a widely wished-for resignation, rather than after he loses.” The “deal” he would cut presumably would be some kind of protection against post-presidency lawsuits and Congressional investigations, which Trump rightfully fears could expose long-hidden personal secrets, cost him hundreds of millions of dollars, and possibly threaten his physical freedom and that of his family.

I want to argue in the strongest terms against such a deal. I don’t think one is in the works; Democrats wouldn’t even consider it, to be honest. And Republicans are showing few if any signs of wanting to dump their Dear Leader. But who knows? If discussions are underway, then I say Democrats—of which I am one–should say Hell no. No deal. If you want to resign, Mr. Trump, fine. But you’re in no position to negotiate anything.

When World War II was ending and it was clear that Germany was going down to total defeat, some of Hitler’s top henchmen tried to negotiate deals with the Allies. Himmler, Goering and Admiral Dönitz all put out feelers that would have protected them in exchange for throwing Hitler under the bus. The Allies—Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin—correctly refused a deal. In the end, facing hanging, both Himmler and Goering committed suicide, and Dönitz ended up serving a ten-year sentence in Spandau Prison. Should we expect anything less for the likes of Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Esper, McConnell, McCarthy or to be honest Trump’s children and son-in-law?

Well, I don’t expect any of them to crush cyanide capsules between their teeth. But all of them should be brought before a court of justice that will hear the evidence against them, which amounts to treason, and then their fate should be left to a jury of their peers to decide.

Democrats are in a mood for revenge after what Republicans have done, not only during the Trump years but even earlier; McConnell’s refusal to allow a vote on Garland was the most spectacularly partisan and shocking thing any Senate Majority Leader, of either party, has pulled off in my political memory. To my reading of history, Democrats have tried mightily to work with Republicans to achieve bipartisan consensus on most issues. Barack Obama came under intense criticism from progressives for reaching out to Republicans. So did Bill Clinton before him. But every time a Democratic President reached out to Republicans, they slapped his hand away and spat on it. After a while, even a dog will lash out at a person who constantly beats it.

This situation with Russians paying cash bonuses to Taliban fighters to kill Americans in Afghanistan is only the latest scandal to embroil Trump and call into question, not only his fitness for the office he holds, but even his allegiance to the United States of America and its Constitution. The evidence against him—factual and anecdotal—is enormous. One of these days, we’re going to have to get to the bottom of his infatuation with Russia and, in particular, his indebtedness to Putin. My opinion, unaltered for years, is that Putin has the infamous “pee tape” of Russian prostitutes urinating on, or for, Trump, in that Moscow hotel room. That is sufficient unto itself to explain Trump’s otherwise inexplicable servitude toward Putin. It’s fun to speculate on what might have been said between them during their secret meetings:

Putin: Yes, Donald, the tape is safe. It is locked in a safe in my personal office.

Trump: That’s good to know, Vladimir.

Putin: It does make interesting viewing, I must say. Not my particular cup of tea, but…

Trump: Well, we have a saying: To each his own.

Putin: Now, here are a few more things you might do, in order to reassure me that my decision to keep the tape locked up is correct…

Perhaps one of the “things” Putin requested, or demanded, is that Trump desist on any kind of response to the Afghan Bonusgate situation. Trump knew that a non-response would annoy many Congressional Republicans, who would have to publicly complain about it. But he knew also that his base wouldn’t care (except for a few whiny Gold Star parents, and he doesn’t give a damn about them), and that as long as his base remained solid, those few Republican Senators and representatives would remain loyal, in the end. So yielding to Putin, once again, was easy for him.

Trump: Whatever you want, Vladimir. I’m there for you.

Putin: I’m so glad, Donald. And I’ll do what I can to ensure your re-election.

Back to the resignation question: Will he or won’t he? I can’t see it. His most scathing insult of others is to call them “losers.” Were he to resign before the election, he would be a loser—in fact, the biggest loser in the world. It would be the ultimate humiliation for an egotistical man. So I’m not holding my breath. No, the only way to get rid of him is to trounce him, and all the Republicans, in the upcoming election; and then, to go after each and every one of them in courtrooms and hearing rooms. What we need is a little bit of a Reign of Terror: not a bloody, murderous one, but a legal one. It’s a hard, harsh task, but that’s what it will take to wash out the stain, the infection, the pestilence of what Trump and his party have inflicted upon us.


History: Jan. 21, 2021

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Donald J. Trump’s presidency ended at precisely 12:32 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Jan. 21, when Joseph Robinette Biden was sworn in on the western steps of the Capitol by Chief Justice John Roberts as the 46th President of the United States.

A crowd of some 250,000 people, nearly all of them wearing face masks, heard the new President deliver his Inaugural Address. As Roberts looked on, Biden placed his right hand on his family Bible and formally took the oath of office: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God.”

In his 14-minute address, brief by historical standards, Biden echoed past Presidents. He declared that “Our national nightmare of the last four years is over.” He spoke directly to the American people. “You have endured much that was nearly unendurable. You have been put to the test by disgrace, lies, obstruction and treason coming from the highest office in the land. You have proven, by the results of the last election, that you never lost sight of decency, of American values. You have risen above the divisiveness of the last four years to restore civility and the norms of a moral culture to our country.”

The crowd cheered him on. In its front ranks were the members of the new Congress. Fifty-nine Democrats now fill the Senate; swept from office in the Blue Wave were such Republican stalwarts as Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha McSally of Arizona, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, Joni Ernst of Iowa, and, in the election’s biggest surprise after capturing the presidency itself, the former Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky.

In the House of Representatives, Democrats increased their majority by 36 seats, to 269, an absolute majority compared to the Republican’s 165. (There is one Libertarian congressman.) In State and local elections, Democrats won 38 of the nation’s 50 Governorships, and took back numerous State legislatures. The size of the Blue Wave was described by Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin as “breathtaking and unprecedented.” Referring to the vanishing role of the Republican Party in American politics, Kearns added, “What we’re seeing is the disappearance of the Whigs, in the 21st century.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, following the inauguration, told the Associated Press that Democrats “plan immediately to begin a long-prepared series of investigations into the criminal, illegal and immoral behaviors of the former President, and of many of his associates and enablers.” Beyond Congressional inquiries, former President Trump faces a barrage of civil and criminal lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions, for such alleged crimes as bribery, tax dodging, campaign finance violations, paying hush money to his mistresses, colluding with foreign powers, and lying on his tax forms. Trump was forced to release his taxes last month, after the U.S. Supreme Court mandated it.

The former President, who did not attend Biden’s inauguration due to an undisclosed illness, is said to be despondent at his loss and the size of the GOP debacle. Sources close to the Trump family said he is “resting” at his Mar-a-Lago estate and planning his next moves, which are said to be related to the entertainment business. Speculation has long been that he might start a radio or television talk show, possibly on the Sinclair Network or possibly on a new network of his own.

President Biden immediately got to work, arriving in the Oval Office within two hours after his swearing in and issuing a series of Executive Orders. One of them expands the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, to transgendered Americans. A second censures the Russian federation for “Repeated attempts to interfere with American elections, and to murder American military personnel overseas.” A third order calls for Deutsche Bank to turn over all records of transactions by members of the Trump family: his daughter, Ivanka, his sons Eric and Donald, Jr. and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

A fourth executive order declares Jan. 21 of every year a new national holiday as a celebration of the end of the Trump era.

Many of the overflow crowd witnessing the inauguration wept openly. “I thank God the American people threw out the rubbish,” said Minnie Albertson, who had driven 300 miles with her family from Indianapolis. Arthur Beaufort, who lives in Washington, had tears streaming down his cheeks. “This begins the long, slow process of healing,” he declared, adding, “We won’t ever have to see his [Trump’s] face or hear his voice again.” Many in the audience expressed a desire to see the former President behind bars. “Send him to Gitmo [Guantanamo Bay],” said William Hamilton, who identified himself as a retired Colonel in the Army. “For this rest of his unnatural life.”

Across the country, crowds gathered in public squares to celebrate the nation’s new President and the end of the old President. From New York to Seattle, Boston to Phoenix, Miami to San Francisco, an estimated fifteen million people took to the streets, singing the National Anthem, setting off fireworks and proudly waving American flags. Smaller minorities in primarily Republican districts were notably upset. “Trump will be back,” said Horace “Red” McMahon, a self-described “warrior-patriot” and leader of a militia group in Dearborn, Michigan. He was dressed in camouflage fatigues, open-carrying an AK-47 assault rifle in front of City Hall. In an ominous prediction, McMahon said there are “tens of millions of us, and we’re not going to let the Demon-crats and Muslims steal our precious liberties.” When he spoke those words, an egg flung by someone in the crowd struck McMahon in the face. The Biden presidency had begun.



New Wine Reviews: Steven Kent

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It was with enormous pleasure I found Steven Kent’s four new releases sent to me. I hadn’t asked for them. I always had the greatest respect for proprietor Steven Kent Mirassou’s wines. To my way of thinking, he was, not only the greatest winemaker in Livermore Valley, but one of the best in California, which means: the world. He took a growing region that seldom rose to its full potential and crafted exciting, world-class Cabernet Sauvignons and blends. I suppose the buzz about my reviews will be that I have given two of the four wines 100-point scores. Should I second-guess myself because both were perfect?

Mia NIPOTE 2017 Il Rinnovo (Livermore Valley); $50. Petite Sirah, which comprises half the blend of this youthful wine, is immediately apparent, in the pitch-black color and massive aromas and flavors. Blackberry jam, teriaki, chocolate macaroon, licorice, cherry pie, my goodness, the rich strands intertwine in the mouth and explode into a long, spicy finish. The other half of the blend, Cabernet Sauvignon—which marries beautifully with the “Pet”–contributes black currants and just a hint of dried herbs, as well as the fine tannin structure. There’s oak, too—50% new French—adding sweet vanilla and caramelized toast. That’s a lot of new oak, but the wine easily handles it. What a mouthful of flavor! And yet the wine never loses elegance. It remains supple and balanced, with just enough acidity to balance out the creamy sweetness. Yes, there is some heat from alcohol. But it’s a gently warming heat. I think a lot of people might drink Il Rinnovo (“renewal” in Italian) with summer grill, particularly in Livermore Valley, as restaurants re-open; and that’s fine. But I’d keep it for wintertime, when you’re cold and thirsty for a big, rich, delicious red. And there’s no reason it won’t hold for many years. A great achievement from Steven Kent Winery. Score: 93 points.

Steven Kent 2017 Ghielmetti Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Livermore Valley); $65. The best Ghielmetti from Steven Kent I ever reviewed was the 2007, and this beauty is even better. Right from the get-go, you know it’s a fine, serious wine. One hundred percent varietal Cabernet, it shows impressively alluring aromas of blackcurrants, savory red licorice and toasty oak, with similar flavors that veer into rich, creamy milk chocolate. There’s an elusively herbal touch—Bay leaf? Sweet thyme? Just enough to ground it. And is that floral note violets? It’s very rich—the winery calls it “gigantic”–but the structure is superb. Such nice tannins, firm and sweet, with a fine bite of acidity to balance everything out, and a noble, dry finish. The vineyard sits at between 500 feet and 1,000 feet in altitude in the Livermore Valley’s eastern foothills, the heart of its wine country. It’s a warm area, but benefits from Pacific air that flows in through gaps in the coastal hills from San Francisco Bay. The 2017 vintage was just about perfect: lots of rain during the winter, but then things dried out during the growing season, and except for the usual Labor Day heat spell, things went well. To be honest, Bordeaux wishes they could get grapes this ripe. Score: 95 points.

Steven Kent 2017 The Premier Cabernet Sauvignon (Livermore Valley); $125. Made from 100% Cabernet, this wine is a blend of three vineyards the winery accesses, including their Home Ranch and the esteemed Ghielmetti. The result is, in a word, stunning. I would stand it next to any Cabernet Sauvignon in the world; it’s that good. Let’s break it down. The flavors are awesome and impeccable, luxuriously showing the ripe blackberries, black currants, milk chocolate and olivaceous sweet savoriness associated with Cabernet. There’s a lot of new French oak (75%) that is perfectly integrated, with its smokiness and vanillins. But what really stands out is the wine’s structure. I think of it as a room where tannins are the walls and acidity is the floor. It’s the kind of wine you take one sip of and think, Wow. Then another sip, and another wow. And a third. The critical mind looks for flaws, but there aren’t any. There’s not even the excessive heat from alcohol that can mar many otherwise remarkable California Cabs. There’s also an element that’s hard to put into words: call it elegance, the kind of designer effect you find in a great sports car or the best clothing. The wine feels “jazzy,” a word my mom used to use to describe things she loved. And the finish! Don’t get me started. I was writing years ago that Steven Kent was lifting Livermore Valley Cabernet to unprecedented levels. He still is. It’s expensive, yes, but it’s not an everyday wine, and compared to Napa Valley, which is just next door over the hills, it’s a bargain. What a treat to experience this wine! If I had a case, I’d try to keep my hands off it for six years, and then open one bottle a year. I could give this wine 98, 99 points and hedge my bets, but why bother? It’s perfect. Score: 100 points.

Steven Kent 2017 Lineage (Livermore Valley); $175. This is the winery’s Bordeaux-style blend, although it’s probably time to stop using that derivative phrase. It’s 75% Cabernet Sauvignon (legally enough to call it Cabernet; proprietor Steven Mirrasou prefers to call it “Red Blend”), 20% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc. Like the winery’s other new reds, it’s quite oaky—60% new French, aged for nearly two years—a bit less than The Premier, but it doesn’t need as much wood. The official alcohol reading is 14.9%. Only about 330 standard cases were produced, in addition to some big bottles. It’s also, obviously, Steven Kent’s most expensive release. I mention these particulars only because some people like to know. Now that the details are out of the way, what of the wine? To begin with, it’s enormously complex in aroma and flavor. The Cabernet Sauvignon contributes its telltale black currants and powerful tannins, but the cherry, raspberry and fig notes derive from the Cab Franc and Merlot, leading to a prettier, more feminine feeling compared to the 2017 The Premier or Ghielmetti Cabernet Sauvignons, both 100% varietal. It also feels, for that reason, more accessible now. The fruit and oak create a sweetness in the mouth, deliciously soft and decadent, heightened by a fabulous backbone of acidity. The winery’s tasting notes suggest 5-10 years before drinkability. I disagree. A wine like this is exciting even at the tender age of less than three years. And it’s not just a winter-sipping wine; I can imagine summer barbecue with grilled steak. The precision, tailoring and esthetic impact of Lineage are remarkable. I don’t taste a huge range of wines anymore since I retired, but I have my memory and my notes of the tens of thousands of California Cabs and blends I tasted in my career. And frankly, none have been better. A huge achievement, both for Steven Kent and for the Livermore Valley to which he has been dedicated for so long. Score: 100 points.


Hannity interviews Trump

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SH: Mister President, it’s great to have you.

DT: Great to be here, Sean. Great show last night.

SH: Thank you. Sir, you deleted the “white power” tweet you had previously retweeted. Why did you delete it?

DT: Well, to be honest, I didn’t retweet it. That was an aide of mine.

SH: Who?

DT: Mike Pence. He has access to my twitter feed. Well, “had” access. I’ve since restricted him.

SH: Are you throwing the vice president under the bus?

DT: What bus? I don’t see a bus.

SH: It’s a saying, sir.

DT: And besides, I’m not in favor of white power. I’ve always said “People power.” That’s blue, purple, what have you. And orange. I like orange. As you know, Sean.

SH: Uhh—

DT: That’s the thing. But we’re making America great again, Sean. Greater than it’s ever been, greater than under President Jackson. With the new border wall and all that. And the respect of our friends and foes around the globe. America has never been more respected.

SH: The European Union just required all American travelers to quarantine themselves for 14 days. Does that concern you?

DT: Not really. There are lots of other nice countries besides Europe. My two oldest boys, Don, Jr. and Eric, are leaving next week for Africa to do some hunting. Some very lovely parks there, I’m told.

SH: What about the report that Putin is paying bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers?

DT: That’s not what I hear.

SH: Well, it’s in all the news reports. The New York Times reported that you were briefed on this.

DT: The failing New York Times, or as I call it, the enemy of the people.

SH: But were you briefed?

DT: Look, every morning they shove this massive pile of papers at me and expect me to read the whole damn thing. Most of it is made up. You know, I have liberals on my intelligence team. I’d like to fire them but I can’t. At least, not yet. We’re going to root them out. We’re–

SH: Even my network, Fox, reported that your President’s Daily Brief reported on that.

DT: Nobody watches Fox anymore! Too liberal. What the hell happened to you folks anyhow? You’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid, Sean. To be honest, I watch Sinclair now. That’s real news. And they haven’t said anything about this lie. What I did learn is that Crooked Hillary apparently has connections to Al Qaeda.

SH: Really? Can you tell us more?

DT: Stay tuned. This is big. It’s gonna blow Watergate out of the water. And many people are saying Sleepy Joe Biden has dementia.

SH: I’ve heard that.

DT: You ought to report on it, Sean. I mean, do you really want someone senile to be your president? And that wife of his. People call her “Crazy witch doctor Jill.” You know, they say she’s the power behind the scenes; he’s just a puppet.

SH: Speaking of wives, sir, how’s the First Lady doing?

DT: Oh, she’s great. Great. Working hard on her cause, which is—uh, which is—You know, she’s great, such an icon, setting an example for our great American fashion industry.

SH: She is very beautiful, sir.

DT: The most beautiful First Lady ever, they say. Aren’t you glad we don’t have dogs like Michelle and Laura Bush anymore? That was disgraceful. When we moved into the White House, Melania had the living quarters de-contaminated. You wouldn’t believe the mess those people left behind. Dirt everywhere, scratches, graffiti, lice, chicken bones.

SH: Many of the polls have you behind Vice President Biden, in some cases by double digits. Does that concern you?

DT: Not at all. When Sleepy Joe emerges from his basement and the American people see what a slobbering idiot he is, they’ll vote for me. They want to anyway, it’s just that the Fake Media has been feeding them lies. Like this coronavirus crap. It’s the Chinese virus, Sean. Chinese, as in China. Get it? Kung Fu, communism, dictatorship, the yellow peril. Chinese, Sean. China. They’re backing Biden because they know he’ll sell out America. Frankly when the people of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio voted for me and all the so-called pundits said I’d lose I was telling people the truth about Crooked Hillary’s emails, and we now know that the traitor, Mueller or as I call him “Duller,” was secretly working for the Clintons and he was hoping to be appointed Secretary of State or some other high position. The fix was in, Sean. It was treason and they were and are traitors. But to answer your question, look at who’s doing these polls. Leftwing, liberal, in many cases socialist companies with terrorist ties. You can’t trust them. They’re making it up. And when I finish telling the American people the truth, we’re going to win this election in a landslide.

SH: You’ve been accused of using coronavirus as an excuse to cancel elections or slow them down.

DT: You mean the China virus? Call it what it is, Sean. The China virus is a threat to all Americans but it’s not as serious as the Democrats say because they want to defeat Donald Trump and look, the number of cases is going down—

SH: Actually, sir, it’s going up.

DT: That’s more fake news. Breitbart—a great news organization—reported on this yesterday, or last week. The curve looks like this [he holds his arm down at a 45-degree angle]. We have met this Chinese invasion the greatest since any administration ever before and that includes World War Two and while I am your president I will not allow the Chinese to invade our country with their Chinese virus or what some people call the Kung flu, which by the way why did Michelle Obama go to China last month? What do we really know? Who did she have secret meetings with? That’s something you should report, Sean, get to the bottom of it.

SH: Mister President, sir, you’ve suffered some Supreme Court losses in the past few weeks.

DT: Well, we’ll see, Sean.

SH: I mean, on gay rights, on Dreamers, and other things.

DT: Look, nobody’s been more of a friend to the Blacks than me. Look at their unemployment! They’re so much better off under me and they know it. Everyday, I have Black people come up to me and say, “Thank you, Mister President, for making my life better.” Because they know it. I pray with Black people. I’ve had supper with Black people. Black people serve me supper in the White House! I know these people. They’re good people. Not like these looters and rioters. They want to defund the police! Can you imagine that? You’re getting raped, you manage to get your cell phone and dial 9-1-1, and you get a recording, “Sorry, that is not a working number. The police department doesn’t exist anymore. Call Black Lives Matter, maybe they’ll come to your rescue.” I mean, can you imagine a country with no police? America was founded by police! That’s what these Democrats want, crime everywhere. Look at these cities, Minneapolis, Oakland, Detroit. Shithole cities. Nobody wants to live there. And that’s why they’re going to vote for me. They know I’m tough on crime.

SH: Well, Mister President, we’re just about out of time. Any final thoughts?

DT: Sleepy Joe is a low IQ person! He’s paid by the Chinese. By China. The same China that invaded us with the Kung flu. Nobody votes for low IQ guys except Nancy Pelosi and she’s older than Sleepy Joe! Have you seen her lately? “Blah blah,” she’s practically drooling. I call her “Adult Diaper Nancy.” I will not permit our wonderful heritage monuments and statuary to be vandalized. We had some great people there. This is a wonderful country. I say to young people, do you want your job taken by some illegal immigrant? I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody including George Washington or what have you. Sleepy Joe is corrupt. We have to end Obamacare and replace it with something far better. Are there any donuts in the green room?


Trump gets COVID

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Trump woke up that morning feeling bad.

Granted, he usually awoke grouchy, but this was more than that: his head ached, his muscles hurt, he had chills, his throat was on fire, and the pillowcase on his bed was wet with what he suspected was sweat.

His first impulse was to ring the valet for his usual breakfast: a bucket of KFC Extra Crispy with a side of Mac and Cheese and biscuits, followed by a bowl of vanilla ice cream. But then he realized he wasn’t in the least bit hungry. That was weird: he couldn’t remember the last time he’d woken up not being famished. But not today.

Huh, he thought, trying to remember what he’d eaten last night, and what time he’d gone to bed. Oh, yeah, of course: he’s eaten alone in his bedroom, while watching Fox News. Arthur, his night valet, had brought him two Porterhouse steaks—well-done, the way he liked his beef; a plate of meat loaf; a cold shrimp salad—well, two, actually; three orders of McDonald’s French Fries; and a large chocolate shake. That must have been around 9 p.m., because he recalled Hannity was on (good old Hannity). He must have gone to bed around 10, just as Laura Ingraham was starting. He liked Laura, although sometimes she was a little too liberal, but he’d been really tired, so he called Arthur again and told him he was hitting the sack.

It hadn’t been a particularly large dinner, in other words, so it was puzzling why he shouldn’t be hungry now. Then he realized he was feeling a little hot. He rang the valet buzzer: it was Henry, the morning guy. Trump asked for a thermometer. Henry brought the digital one from the bathroom, and Trump inserted it himself in his mouth. After a few moments, it beeped. Trump removed it and read his temperature: 102.

Henry had been watching. “Everything okay, Mister President?” he asked. “Want me to call the doctor?”

“No!” Trump yelled, a little too loud. “There’s nothing wrong with me. This damn thermometer isn’t working.”

“I get you another,” said Henry.

“No.” Trump realized he’d been a little violent with Henry. “It’s all right, Henry. You can go now. And please, not a word of this to anyone.”

Trump turned on the T.V. It was still tuned to Fox. America’s Newsroom was on. There was a graphic showing how coronavirus was surging throughout most of the country. It was especially spiking in Oklahoma and Arizona, two states he’d just had rallies in. Of course, Trump would never admit in public that he trusted the numbers—one of his tactics was to call such statistics “fake news from Democrats.” But he wasn’t stupid; he realized that the disease was spreading. Could he have been…(it was hard to form the words in his mind)…infected?

He dialed Donald Jr. His elder son was one of the few people in the world he trusted. Junior’s girlfriend, Kimberley, answered. “Hi, Mister President,” she said. Trump wasted no time. “Get me Junior.” “He’s not feeling well,” Kimberley replied. “He woke up sick, with a fever. I’m thinking of calling the doctor.”

That jolted Trump. Don Jr. had been with him at both the Tulsa and Phoenix rallies. Could they both have…?

“Don’t call anyone,” Trump ordered her. She was a nice girl, Kimberley, hot… It was weird that she’d been married to that psycho out in California, Newsom. But Junior liked her.

“Why not, Mister President?”

“Just don’t. Let me figure this out.” And he hung up. If he and Don Jr. both had COVID-19, the public impact would be horrendous. He’d be a laughingstock, even among many Republicans. He’d spent the better part of the Spring telling the country that coronavirus was a Democrat lie, that it would go away soon on its own, that barely anyone would die. Then, when his own CDC issued their orders, with face masks and all, he’d told America that masks were idiotic, that nobody needed to wear them, that it was okay to go out to ballgames and malls and bars. If he, and his son, were now to come down with the disease, he’d be the target of every comedian in the land. He might even lose the election.

So there was only one approach: complete silence. Not a word was to be leaked to anyone. He would simply disappear from public view for a few days. He’d done it before; maybe go to Mar-a-Lago and play a little golf. He’d let the news cameras catch him from a quarter-mile away; the photos would show that he was healthy. As for Don Jr., ditto. No public announcements, no appearances, just lay low and keep your mouth shut.

That afternoon, the coughing began. They wracked his body with explosive blasts. The chills got much, much worse. The fever shot up to 104.5; he was hallucinating. At one point, he saw fiery, erotic devils, fornicating; and he heard hysterical laughter. Henry came in to say Melania was wondering if everything was all right, and could she see him for a few minutes? “No,” Trump wheezed. He took four Adderalls, hoping they would help him sleep. They did not. There was no respite, no relief. Agony was all this sick, desperate man had.


A Trump T.V. talk show, post-presidency?

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Trump is now more unpopular with the American public than he’s been at any point in his presidency since January, 2019. Some 55.4% of the people disapprove of his job performance, while only 41% approve. That’s the average of five respected polls taken in the third week of June, a month that’s been horrendous for Trump: the walk down the ramp, the shaky hands, the disaster in Tulsa, his rank incompetence in handling the pandemic, the firing of the SDNY head, the Bolton book, the ongoing snarling and crazy tweets. No President in the last 75 years has had a lower approval figure at this point in his term of office, with the exceptions of George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, both of whom, of course, were defeated in their bids for re-election.

Americans finally are catching on. They’re exhausted by Trump’s failures and antics, angered by his obvious unfitness for the high office he holds, frightened by his threats, sickened (mentally and physically) by his complete mishandling of the pandemic. It is very, very difficult to imagine him getting re-elected in a mere 4-1/2 months from now. George H.W. couldn’t do it; neither could Jimmy Carter. The first Bush was up against an economic recession, not a horrible one by historic standards, but the public worried that a president who didn’t even know what a grocery store checkout scanner was, wasn’t qualified to lead them. Carter, too, faced a mild recession in 1980, but his doomed campaign foundered more on the failed rescue attempt of the Iranian hostages and a feeling in the country that, while he was a nice enough man, he was in over his head.

No one would call Trump a nice man, or a decent one, or an honest one. No responsible parent would leave her young daughter alone with him. Few would claim that Trump does not place personal interests over the national interest. The screamers and cultists who worship him at his rallies can be under no such illusions. No, they like him for other reasons—because he sticks it to people whom they hate: liberals, gays, minorities, Mexicans, Moslems, college grads, in other words, a majority of Americans.

Why do they hate so promiscuously? I can’t get inside anyone else’s head, but we humans infer things all the time about each other. I look at the faces of Trump lovers at his rallies–ugly countenances, twisted by rage, their gawping mouths chanting their Trump oath—the kind of faces we see in faded newsreels of Hitler rallies. Anger is only human, of course, but the way we handle our anger shows what we’re made of. Decent people recognize that their anger is usually the outgrowth of unresolved issues from childhood, and work on correcting them. Not so, these rightwing, white supremacist Trumpers. Used to being on top, they perceive their authority eroding on a daily business, as people they always thought were inferior to them acquire power. A person who was mentally and ethically balanced would recognize this psychological phenomenon and figure out ways to combat it, but not these Republicans. They give in to every resentment. They don’t have the capacity to see dangerous and unmoored tendencies within themselves—a basic requirement of a functioning democracy. Instead, they yield to their resentments. This is why they’re so dangerous. America is a patchwork quilt of races, religions, ethnicities, sexual practices, family backgrounds. Normal people realize that if America is to go forward, we have to learn to live with each other. That’s what “democracy” means: Let’s work out our differences.

Republicans, on the other hand, don’t want to work anything out. They want everybody to be like them: Christian (and I mean rightwing, theocratic Christian). Straight and homophobic. Anti-choice. White. Not too educated. They want to wall America off from the rest of the world, and systematically get rid of their internal enemies. How does one work with such extremists? You can’t, any more than the democracies could work with Hitler. The free world had a simple choice: defeat Hitler, or let him take over. There was no inbetween. Neither is there an inbetween now: there is no way to work with these radical, extremist Republicans and their leader, Trump, because they’re not interested in compromise. It’s their way or the highway. Americans know that’s wrong; and that’s exactly why Trump’s approval-disapproval numbers are what they are, and aren’t going to get any better.

I’ve worried incessantly about a civil war, stoked by Trump, who believes that if push comes to shove, his side would win. But with Biden’s lead, even in swing states, continuing to widen, I’m starting to think that, if Election 2020 is a Democratic blowout, not even Trump will be in a position to question it. He might just have to go peacefully into that good night. Post-presidency, maybe he’ll start a talk show on Sinclair, where he can have all sorts of fun guests: Tucker Carlson, Franklin Graham, Alex Jones, Jon Voight, Ted Nugent, Alan Dershowitz. He’ll also be contending with a tsunami of well-publicized lawsuits coming at him and his children. One thing’s for sure, the Trump saga as T.V. entertainment is far from over.


Trump at home

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Trump: [to his valet] Antonio, I have to go potty.

Antonio: Yes sir, Mister President. Number one or number two?

Trump: Two.

Antonio: All right, sir. Take my arm. [They hobble to the bathroom.] You’re walking better, Mister President.

Trump: At least it’s not down that damn ramp. I’ll tell you, I was afraid I was gonna fall on my ass.

Antonio: We wouldn’t want that to happen, sir.

[Trump does his business. Antonio wipes him.]

Antonio: That was a nice one, Mister President.

Trump: Six burritos. Don’t flush, let me get up and look at it. [Stands. Antonio pulls his pants up, zips the fly.] OWWW! Watch it! You caught my schwang in the zipper!

Antonio: I’m sorry, Mister President. It won’t happen again.

Trump: [Admires his excrement in the toilet.] No way Sleepy Joe could make that.

Antonio: No, sir. Now, let me replace your adult dipey.

[Trump lies down on the bed while Antonio puts on his Depend.]

Trump: Did I ever tell you about the time in the Moscow hotel room with those Russian strippers?

Antonio: Yes, sir. Many times.

Trump: I want something to drink.

Antonio: What would you like, Mister President? Coke? Chocolate milk? Lemonade?

Trump: wsuiirbf fubr qwepheo.

Antonio: Sir, I’m afraid you’re slurring your words again.

Trump: Ginger ale.

Antonio: Coming right up! [Disappears, comes back.] There you go, sir.

Trump: [Takes the MAGA sippy cup. His hand is trembling.] Antonio, hold it for me.

Antonio: Yes, sir.

Trump: Get Tony Perkins on the line. [Antonio picks up a land line, dials, hands the receiver to Trump.] Hello, is that you, Tony?

Tony Perkins: Mister President! To what do I owe the honor?

Trump: I hear Bezos stopped donating to the Family Research Council.

Perkins: That is correct, sir. He stopped all of Amazon’s contributions to us because we’re supposedly anti-gay.

Trump: He’s a bad person, Tony. A Communist. You know, he owns the Washington Post, which is part of the fake media, like the failing New York Times.

Perkins: Bezos is evil, sir. I believe he made a pact with Satan.

Trump: What can we do to him?

Perkins: Well, sir, you could—is this line secure?

Trump: Antonio, is the line secure?

Antonio: As far as I know, sir.

Trump: Go ahead, Tony.

Perkins: Well, you could arrest Bezos for treason, the same way with Obama. We could put them both on trial.

Trump: Hmm.

Perkins: Or you could have your fake Antifa thugs firebomb Amazon’s headquarters.

Trump: I think Bezos is queer.

Perkins: I’m sure of it, sir. I’ve heard stories.

Trump: Such as…?

Perkins: Well, about him and Soros.

Antonio: Mister President, it’s Kayleigh McEnany. She says she has to see you.

Trump: Okay. Sorry, Tony, gotta go. But keep up the gay bashing!

[Antonio brings Kayleigh into Trump’s room.]

Kayleigh: Mister President, I have to tell you something.

Trump: What?

Kayleigh: I think I’m in love with you.

Trump: Well, I—I—I’m flattered.

Kayleigh: Is that all? Don’t you like young, pretty girls with boobs and long blonde hair?

Trump: Yeah. That’s why I hired you.

Kayleigh: Let’s make love.

Trump: Uh, Kayleigh, I have to be honest with you. I can’t get it up anymore.

Kayleigh: What?!!?

Trump: It’s all the hydroxychloroquine. Apparently, a side effect.

Kayleigh: Mister President, I don’t care! It’s not about the sex anyway. I just want to cuddle with you.

Antonio: [Re-enters] Mister President, Vice President Pence is here to see you.

Trump: Okay, Kayleigh. Fly away. [She leaves]

Pence: [Enters]: Mister President, let’s pray.

Trump: Aw, Mike, do we have to? You know I hate that crap.

Pence: It’s good for your soul, sir.

Trump: I don’t have a soul, Mike.

Pence: Whhaaaaattt????

Trump: I sold it to the Devil for this job.

Pence: [Grabs Trump’s hand.] Let’s get down on our knees, sir. I’ll ask Jesus to reclaim your soul for you.

[The two of them get down on their knees.]

Trump: Mike, I can’t stay down here much longer. My knees hurt.

Pence: “Lord, please heal the President’s knees. And restore his immortal soul back to him. In Jesus’s name, amen.”

[Suddenly a lightning bolt hits them both. They disappear in a flash of light and smoke.]

Antonio: Mister President!! Mister President!! Can you hear me? [Silence] Mister President!! Mister President!!

[A Secret Service man comes rushing in.]

Secret Service Man: What’s all the commotion, Antonio? Where’s the President?

Antonio: [Thinking] I think he’s gone away. For a long time. You better call Nancy Pelosi.

Secret Service Man: Why?

Antonio: She’s the boss now.


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