Gage Skidmore / Flickr Donald Trump...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Donald Trump has only one basic tactic when dealing with a disaster: Create another one that’s even worse. Sure, he applies his usual gloss of “fake news” and throws out something about a Democrat, usually including a nickname, but over and over again, Trump has found the best way to escape sustained attention on some obvious mistake, destructive action, or malicious comment is simply to do something objectively terrible. No matter what situation has the nation broiling, there’s some comment that will drop jaws, some insult that makes people gasp, some exquisite drop of 200 proof cruelty that will burn the concerns of yesterday right out of heads and headlines. Little Rocket Man! Pocahontas! Very fine people! It’s hard to remember Trump’s latest peccadillo in destroying the environment, civil rights, or foreign policy when the mind has been concentrated by the possibility of incoming missiles or images of kids in cages.

Only a couple of times has this system momentarily failed Trump, forcing him to … not apologize. Trump does not apologize. But he sometimes appears, says the same thing he said before, and everyone agrees to pretend that things are All Better Now. As with yesterday, where Trump added two letters … two letters … to a 45 minute press event full of insults to America and praise for Russia. Those two letters changed absolutely nothing. “I don’t see why it wouldn’t be Russia” and “I don’t see why it would be Russia” both mean “I’m not saying it was Russia.” They are exactly the same thing.

That hasn’t stopped the media from opening a thousand segments with some variation of “Trump walks back comments in Helsinki.” And it hasn’t stopped Republicans like Newt Gingrich from running forward to proclaim things are All Better Now. But Trump isn’t quite sure. He won’t be happy until he’s found that next thing. That worse thing. That thing that can distract from even the incredibly strong possibility that he’s not just sold the nation out to Putin, but had lines running straight from Russia to his hands, feet and … other parts from before day one.

So, Trump has been tweeting. The last 24 hours has brought a bumper crop of Trump tweets. Thirteen and counting. But … there’s a problem.

Trump has quoted Fox and Friends slamming Democrats over not supporting the billionaire tax cut. He’s declared his disastrous meeting with NATO leaders—a meeting in which he not only questioned the value of NATO, but left other leaders with a clear signal that he was going to leave them hanging—“an acknowledged triumph.” He’s tried dragging out the immigration boogeyman and crowed multiple times about the economy. But … none of it seems to be working. Why would that be?

Maybe it’s that Americans would rather go down fighting, than watch Donald Trump sign the surrender papers on the decks of the Russian Destroyer Pee Tape.

Trump’s token effort at stepping away his surrender session in Helsinki is an insult to the word “token.” It doesn’t even merit the word “gesture.” To say that it was a trivial distinction seems … not nearly trivial enough.

But it’s clear that those two letters are the limits of what Trump intends to deliver. Because on Twitter he’s been all about not just defending his role as Putin’s sidekick, but bragging about it.

So many people. So many. Like … not one that he could name. But so, so many.

Trump has gone as far as he will go. As with the “very fine people” moment—which came during his ‘clarification’ of his thoughts on neo-Nazi actions in Charlottesville—he’s made all the changes to the text that he intends to provide. Republicans will have to go to him. And of course … they will.

What’s that smell? That’s the odor of thoroughly boiled frogs. Having bowed down and accepted every mistake, championed every act of hatred, and defended every lie—because tax cuts!—Republicans walked themselves step by eager stop, to right where they are now. Treasonland. If the population there was just Donald Trump on Monday, don’t worry. There’s room for a lot more.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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