Since August 18th, when I began to keep score, I have compiled a list of one hundred headlines (and/or titles of opinion pieces and editorials) in which a journalist has declared, in so many words, that Trump has at last — at last! — done the thing that must bring him down. This works out to — over those seven months — roughly one such headline every other day.
The vast majority have specifically decried breaches of protocol or civility, rather than high crimes or even vaguely actionable behavior. Many have been flat-out nit-picky, huffing and puffing about his chronic boasting or his catachrestic tweets. This is on the order of calling out Hitler for failing to master is own salute: “The Führer executed a feeble, girly, backward-tilting gesture that in no way resembled the crowd’s thrusting, ramrod Zieg Heils.”
Today’s milestone was achieved by CNN, whose Errol Louis advises that Trump’s “punishing the media will backfire” on him. In measured language and with scrupulous logic, Louis then presents his unassailable case, most of it ballasted by a litany of previous shocking violations of decorum that, likewise, had been proclaimed to the world — each in its turn — the final misstep from which the Führer, I mean President, could not recover.
(Not that the argument isn’t a sound argument. Unfortunately it’s also — as Trump himself would say — a fake one.)
The upshot is that, of these one hundred announcements of Trump’s imminent collapse, every single one has been wrong. That’s a … how can I say this without putting too fine a point on it? — that’s a 100% error-rate.
Mr Louis’s linchpin is that his fellow investigative journalists “are building an impressive, devastating body of work, thanks to a President who routinely invents facts and utters or tweets outright falsehoods almost daily.” And he’s right. This stuff will indeed end his presidency and possibly his life, almost certainly in some subterranean bunker, as it did the life of the aforementioned crackpot who last attempted what Trump is attempting. Albeit in the case of that alt-haired despot — shall we do the math? — seventy-million lives later.