Sheila Markin is a former Assistant US Attorney. She helps people to understand in plain English what is going on in US politics today. Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post!
Key People Inside Trump-World are Making a Break for the Real World
Remember “The Truman Show”? That was the movie about a man who lived inside an unreal TV world devised and fabricated by the producers of the show. Truman had grown up there on the TV set and lived there all his life surrounded by actors who came to work on the set and who pretended this fake world was a real world. Unbeknownst to him, his every move could be seen by viewers living in the real world who tuned in to watch the Truman Show on their TV sets. Over time, Truman becomes skeptical. He starts to see certain telling patterns such as the same people on the street outside his window walking in the same pattern every time he sees them go by. Truman first suspects, then comes to the realization, that he is living in a fake world. Near the end of the movie, he makes a break for the real world, evading the forces that try to stop him to keep him from leaving and ruining the show. Eventually he sails off in a boat trying to escape. The sail boat reaches the edge of the production set and bumps into the dome puncturing it. He realizes what he thought was the sky was a sort of silk screen that could be manipulated to look like the sky. He finds an exit door and steps into the real world.
When the story is told about this presidency, I think Helsinki will be seen as the moment people living in the “World According to Trump” began to look for the exit and walk through the fabricated world into reality.
The reality TV show brought to you by Trump and his minions is a nightmarish place. You have to believe that lies are true because Trump says so. You have to be a misogynist, fear people of a different color skin and disregard the danger posed by Russia. You have to be willing to sell out democracy. To live in the world according to Trump is to live in a hellish place filled with hate for the media, fear of the immigrant and scorn for latte drinking elites on the coasts and in the cities. You have to reject the promise of a global, interconnected world and believe you’ll do better in an outmoded, hunkered down, tariff-protected world. This is the worldview that Trump spins and then presides over. To be a member of Trump-world, you need to turn your back on the truth and reality to accept the fantasy worldview of the Trump Show.
You also have to be willing to buy into a re-created, re-stitched reality every time the numerous investigations, Mueller’s and others, come up with nuggets of truth that cannot be pretended or spun away. The meeting in Trump Tower started off as merely a harmless discussion about adoptions. Then, okay, it wasn’t just adoptions. And as of today Trump was like “Yeah, it was to get dirt on Hillary, but so what! That wasn’t against the law and besides I didn’t know about it.” (Spoiler alert- it IS against the law to conspire with a foreign adversary to win the presidency if you had knowledge and got something of value. Many would call it treason.)
Up until that secret meeting Trump had with Putin in Helsinki, some people could at least pretend that the president took his oath of office seriously and was, in his heart, on the side of the American people. They could make credible excuses for him about why he continued to call the Mueller probe a “witch hunt” and a “hoax”. Look, he’s just upset that he might be seen as an illegitimate president, not that he IS illegitimate.
After Helsinki, that was not possible. Trump stood there at Putin’s side. He dissed our intelligence community and was both cowed and obedient to Putin. The truth is that Trump was the knowing beneficiary of Russian active measures and still hopes to get that benefit for Republicans in 2018 and 2020. He is almost certainly an illegitimate president and he knows that on some level in his weirdly convoluted, obtuse mind.
Those of us who live in the real news world know this creeping truth about his illegitimacy. Who else knows it? Our intelligence community knows it by now. Our lawmakers know it. Including Republicans. Will they be good Nazis or not?
Who will walk through the exit to reality?
Millions of people still love the Trump Show. You see them in his campaign rallies. You see people cheering at his mean jokes and assaults on the press, foaming at the mouth about the snowflakes and the elites. Trump and his rally goers share the same vicious aggrieved worldview. Trump’s SS troops are Twitter trolls who attack anyone who won’t buy the Trump-world view.
But millions of people, the majority of Americans, reject it. And many of those reality-based thinkers are members of his cabinet, members of Congress and people in positions of power. Which is resulting in some interesting and prescient developments.
Key players in government and in positions of influence are escaping from the Trump Show.
Wray, Coats, Nakasone, Nielsen and Bolton showed up for what is usually the Sarah Huckabee Sanders lie-a-thon, spin-a-thon press conference. But on Thursday, August 2nd, although Bolton started off with a whopper, claiming that Trump had a grand plan for dealing with the Russian assault on our democracy, Wray, Coats, Nakasone and even Nielsen told us the truth. They said very clearly that we are under attack even now and the Russians are doing it without a shadow of a doubt. The Russian assault did not stop after the election. Our intel chiefs tell us they are working to prevent future harm to our country.
Later that day Trump went to a rally where he reasserted his World According to Trump. He praised Putin and called the Russia investigation a “hoax”, contradicting his intel staff and the entire intelligence community. He viciously assaulted the press for their so-called fake news.
People inside Trump world have a choice. Choose up. Are you leaving Trump-world or are you staying?
The intel team chose reality and the truth over Trump. They contradicted Trump’s worldview. To me it looks like these intel leaders have made the decision that they are going to do their jobs to the best of their abilities -without Trump’s help. They have made the choice because it is their sworn duty to protect the American people. In addition, I think they know history will not be kind to people who have participated in this corrupt, nightmarish administration. This administration will go down in history as a shameful period during which we endured a president who was the worst version of George Wallace, Joe McCarthy and Warren Harding of the Teapot Dome scandal and other corruption. It is good to know that this intel team decided they will not be good Nazis, but it is even better to see that they are not alone.
Who else is finding the exit door and escaping from Trump-world?
Normally Fox News is a safe haven for people living in Trump-world. But Shephard Smith on Fox News is masterfully debunking Hannity and Trump’s claims on numerous fronts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHjFS5f1IT0
Shepard Smith is telling the truth and, hopefully starting to open the eyes of some Fox News viewers.
I talk with a smart, thoughtful Democratic lawmaker from time to time about what is going on in Washington. He is someone I trust to tell me the truth about what is happening there. He reports increasing levels of concern among Republican lawmakers about Trump. For the first time, Republicans behind closed doors and on golf courses are talking about getting on board with impeachment. This was triggered by the latest round of assaults on the Special Counsel and threats to shut down that investigation. Many Republican lawmakers would secretly welcome a blue wave to take the House because that way the impeachment would happen at the hands of the Dems. Not profiles in courage here with these Republicans. They all deserve to lose their elections.
Trump has also laundered money for the Russians. This is the reason he kept his tax returns under wraps. This truth is going to come out. Since that evidence will reveal violations of the law that preceded Trump’s political run, Trump will not be able to blame the Democrats or use politics as a shiny object to distract once that truth gets out into the open.
Trump-world is caving in in more places and in more ways as facts burst fantasy bubbles.
The Manafort trial is going in well for the prosecutors. Manafort is being revealed to be a greedy man without morality who was flat broke and then took a job paying nothing as Trump’s campaign manager. What did he expect to get for that? Even if that answer is beyond the scope of this first trial, we are going to learn the answer and I assure you it has to do with Russian oligarchs, large sums of money, corruption and Trump is involved in it.
As the truth comes out, fantasyland becomes less sustainable.
And speaking of truth, the Mueller probe is moving ever closer and closer to Trump Jr. Trump Jr.’s lies about the Trump Tower meeting are evident. Trump cares about his son. We know Trump is under pressure. When under pressure, Trump tweets out vile, nasty things like a white supremacist grandpa in Appalachia would have shouted from his rocker on the porch in the old days seeing black people walking by on the road. Trump tweeted out insults targeting LeBron James and Don Lemon of CNN as they were taking a tour of a school for inner city kids that looks positively inspirational. The offensive tweet came in advance of his rally in Ohio, probably hoping to rev up his base to support a Republican in what was thought to be a safe district, who is now running neck and neck with a Democratic challenger in a special election to take place this Tuesday. Trump’s tweet got push back from many athletes, but he also got slapped upside the head by Melania who tweeted out support for LeBron James. This is not the first time Melanie has contradicted him, but it is additional evidence that she might possibly be looking for the exit from Trump-world.
When he’s under pressure, Trump lies more. He is up to 4,000 lies. At a recent rally he uttered 15 substantial lies. He is lying at the rapid clip of 7.5 lies a day. And that is only what we hear in public. Behind closed doors he is probably lying more. The man is delusional. He recreates reality to suit himself and then convinces himself that his reality is true and insists that everyone buy into his version. That leads to copious lying.
Some Republican voters are catching on. The same lawmaker I trust, also said that these days when he is speaking at the Chamber of Commerce in his district, which is a “leans red” district, a number of men have taken him aside and said that although they are lifelong Republicans they cannot vote Republican anymore. They are going to commit the high crime of voting for him, a Democrat, instead. This is consistent with what my husband and I are hearing from lifelong Republicans in the high- end suburb we live in at our high-end country club. One of the compelling reasons these men give for committing the crime of voting for a Democrat is that they have daughters. They cannot support the Trump administration because it is not creating a good world for women to grow up in.
We are at the beginning of the end of this phase of the Trump Show. It is just the beginning, unfortunately, and there is a bumpy road ahead. It’s not like millions of Trump supporters have been cured of their fevers. QAnon comes to mind. But over time, intelligent people, like the intel chiefs, forced to try to live inside the Trump-world fantasy bubble, have become not only skeptical, but rebellious. Many of them realize at this point that they must go around Trump, joining with other like-minded people, to sidestep this mess of a president if they want to do the right thing. It is a subtle mutiny. A “slipping away” from Trump.
I hope more and more of these people in Trump-world realize the world in there is fake and find the exit. Come join us in the real world! As more people find their way out, it will become easier for the tide to turn against Trump and for the country to re-assert itself as a democracy. It’s time to ruin this show.
Vote in 2018!! Support the Blue Wave!!