(Trends Wide) — It adds another piece of evidence to the growing case that a second Donald Trump presidency would be more extreme and dangerous than the first.
In new examples of the threat posed by the former president, an explosive book of the legend of The Washington Post Bob Woodward and his newspaper partner and co-author, Robert Costa, uncovered another vision of the gruesome and runaway weeks within Trump’s inner circle surrounding the Capitol uprising.
The problem that Trump poses now is not an aberrant past presidency, it is the corrosive impact it could have in the future.
It is not just his previous behavior that was shocking. Before California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom survived Tuesday’s recall election, according to a Trends Wide projection, the former president was opening a new front in his “Big Lie” that now effectively claims that every time a Republican loses It is the product of massive fraud. It’s a falsehood that could tarnish America’s democratic elections for years to come, but millions of Trump voters eagerly accept it. And the former president’s behavior over the weekend, using the 9/11 commemorations to hit his successor, President Joe Biden, seemed more like an attempt to throw himself back onto the national stage at a time when the former commander-in-chief , who was kicked off social media for inciting violence, could claim an easy spotlight.
As Trump jokes about another run in the White House, his demeanor and new accounts of his wild final days in office are getting too outlandish to be ignored, given he’s already the prohibitive front-runner for the Republican nomination. Before that, he is the spearhead of the Republican Party’s attempt to retake the House in the midterm elections next year. The price of entry for any party candidate is fidelity to the blatant lie sold to millions that Trump is still the legitimate president. And it is undoubtedly the dominant force in Republican politics, even if its increasingly radical demeanor may make its appeal in a national election more dubious. At least in free and fair elections.
The Woodward and Costa “Danger” disclosures are among the most serious and alarming yet. If confirmed, they would not be just a case of a president tearing apart the structures of US democracy, as he did with the US Capitol uprising on January 6, designed to disrupt Biden’s certification. as the winner of the November elections. But they would also represent a sign that the nation’s highest-ranking military officer believed Trump was a grave danger to the world in the feverish days when he was trying to cling to power.
The duo reported in the book, obtained by Trends Wide’s Jamie Gangel, that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, took steps to disrupt any orders Trump might give for military action because he thought the former president had deteriorated mentally. after January 6. If true, the new details raise serious questions about the former president’s suitability for a second term with the nation’s nuclear football, which contains the codes that could launch Armageddon, alongside him.
And Milley was not alone in his concerns. Then-CIA chief Gina Haspel feared an out-of-control Trump was on the path to a right-wing coup or might lash out at Iran. And in another staggering measure, reporters say Milley also had indirect contact with his Chinese counterpart, who was alarmed that even Beijing was in Trump’s crosshairs.
Milley in the middle of the storm
Milley has not commented publicly on those bombs. But he was at the center of a debate Tuesday night about whether he had acted out of just cause to restrain a president who had gone off the rails.
There were some – Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, for example – who called on Biden to fire Milley, after claiming the general had violated the near-sacred principle of civilian control of the military by deflecting a possible presidential order.
But Woodward and Costa addressed Milley’s actions in the book’s foreword, according to the copy obtained by Trends Wide. “Was he subverting the president?” They wrote. “Some might argue that Milley had exceeded his authority and taken extraordinary power for himself. But his actions, he believed, were a good faith precaution to ensure that there was no historic break in the international order, no accidental warfare. with China or others, and that nuclear weapons were not used. “
At the very least, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will be pressured to explain his version of events to Congress.
The level of documentation in the new book, including a transcript of a call in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Milley agreed on the danger posed by the then-president’s “crazy” behavior, suggests that it may there is more to tell.
Previous reports from earlier this summer indicated that Milley had informally planned different ways to stop Trump, including cascading resignations from top national security leaders, because he was deeply concerned about the then-president’s behavior after the November elections, even going so far as to speak out loud about his fears that Trump would attempt a coup.
On Tuesday night, Trump lashed out at Milley and called for action to be taken against him.
“For the record, I never thought of attacking China, and China knows it,” Trump wrote in a statement. “The people who made the story are sick and insane, and the people who print it are just as bad. In fact, I am the only president in decades who did not get America into a war.”
Why Trump Can’t Be Ignored
The book raises many alarming questions.
The fact that people behind the scenes were even more frightened than outsiders by Trump’s behavior after he incited the looting of the Capitol puts the national trauma of early January into even more serious perspective.
In 2016, the idea that Trump was temperamentally inappropriate for the White House was a central argument of his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, who warned that “a man who can be primed with a tweet is not a man who can be trusted with guns. nuclear “.
While Trump’s rhetoric was often worse than his actions, in his warning that “fire and fury” could rain down on North Korea, for example, there is plenty of evidence that the United States and the world faced additional danger with him. in office. This is confirmed by his two political trials for serious abuses of power and his apparent attempt to obstruct justice by firing then-FBI Director James Comey.
Some Trump opponents, Democrats and journalism consumers wish the media would stop talking about him because he is no longer in power. And there is nothing Trump craves more than attention, even if it is the glare of bad publicity. The next presidential election is three years away, and perhaps the new evidence of Trump’s apparent inability for office will offer some steel to Republican rivals who could face him in the presidential primary. However, that seems like a long shot, as any Republican official who has criticized Trump in recent years has found himself excluded from the party base.
But there can no longer be any doubt about the kind of presidency the United States would face from a vindicated and unbridled Trump in a new four-year term. And Republicans, especially in the House, who have effectively turned their party over to their kind of authoritarian conservatism, must also be held accountable for the kind of figure they are empowering and trying to come to power.
However, a new book involving Woodward is unlikely to do anything to weaken the former president’s base of support. A Trends Wide poll released this week found that 63% of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents said they want Trump as their party leader. Six out of 10 say supporting Trump and believing he won in 2020 are an important part of what being a Republican means to them.
If recent history is any guide, Republicans in positions of power will shrug off the new revelations. The conservative media will call them “fake news.” And the idea that a high-ranking member of the military establishment has tried to subvert Trump’s powers will only embolden those who believe that a “deep state” always thwarted an innocent president.
There is a definite sense – confirmed by five years of scandals, crushing of presidential norms, and evidence of the political damage that a runaway president can do – that what does not kill Trump’s political career strengthens it.