So if you are still enchanted with President Donald Trump as our leader, it’s time you were asked: What would it take to break the spell? People had a lot of reasons to support Trump, from disgust with politics as usual to despair at the thought of his opponents winning. But is there no revelation about Trump and his cronies that could break that support?
We’re not talking about the admittedly flawed President Barack Obama, so drop that. We are not talking about the frequently grotesque Clinton Corporation, so leave that for another day. Right now, we are focusing on this one politician and his retinue, the various horrifying things that have come out about him or out of his own mouth, and the fact that polls suggest as many as 40 percent of Americans somehow still stand by him.
Tuesday’s extraordinary development is about Donald Trump Jr.’s casual agreement to meet with a Russian official who claimed to have information that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. On its own, it’s pretty juicy, with Trump Jr. writing in an emailed response about the potentially damning info, “I love it.” The casual mention of the offered information being part of a larger effort by the Russian government to help elect Trump, is really just icing on the rotting fish.
But will it be enough to make Trump supporters, en masse, wake up and say, “Wait . . . this is all completely unacceptable, and bat crazy to boot?” You’d think so, but then you also thought some of these gems might have turned people against this reality-television star. Remember when Trump:
- Kicked off his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants here illegally “drug dealers” and “rapists.”
- Made fun of Sen. John McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, with: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
- Mocked Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a Muslim soldier who died fighting in the Iraq War, after they spoke at the Democratic National Convention.
- Paid $25 million to settle a lawsuit over Trump University, the scam school he used to con millions of dollars out of middle-class strivers by promising he and his hand-picked “experts” would teach them how to get rich flipping real estate, then providing no meaningful instruction or guidance.
- Spent years supporting the claim that Obama was not born in America and was not eligible to be president, only admitting the obvious truth when his run for president demanded it, and never apologizing for giving the lie so much publicity.
- Declared bankruptcy six times, leaving often middle-class creditors, tradesmen and small business owners, in dire financial straits.
- Was heard to say on audiotape, of his ability to sexually assault women and get away with it, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything . . . Grab them by” their genitals.
- Said a judge should recuse himself from a case involving Trump because of the Indiana-born judge’s Mexican heritage.
- Refused to release his tax returns, after repeatedly promising he would.
- Fetishized and praised murderous tyrants like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
- Characterized as “fake news” media reports that he or his people later confirmed — like the ones about his son’s emails referencing potential collusion with Russians.
- Failed, once elected, to cancel NAFTA, prosecute Hillary Clinton, propose a plan to build a wall on the Southern border, label China a currency manipulator, or, most important, “drain the swamp.” Instead, he brought in, from Goldman Sachs and the rest of Wall Street and the oil and gas industry and lobbying firms, the greatest collection of governmental swamp creatures ever assembled.
So what would Trump and his gang have to do to lose your support, if they still have it? Would he actually have to “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody”? Or was he right, during the campaign, when he claimed even that wouldn’t cause him to “lose voters”?
Lane Filler is a member of Newsday’s editorial board.