Donald Trump, Twitter, and his smartphone is a toxic combination. We’ve known this for years. But now Trump has, once again, broken new ground in his endless quest to turn America into his personal fiefdom.
He wants his political opponents arrested.
After having his virus-riddled ass driven back to the White House from Walter Reed, he unleashed a barrage of nonsensical word porridge via Twitter that included farcically illegal calls for Attorney General William Barr to immediately arrest and indict Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton for…something.
After firing off a series of increasingly deranged tweets on the subject, he then bellowed:
Where are all of the arrests? Can you imagine if the roles were reversed? Long term sentences would have started two years ago. Shameful!
Where are all of the arrests? Can you imagine if the roles were reversed? Long term sentences would have started two years ago. Shameful! https://t.co/w2s8LdiRu0
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2020
Later, after being good and worked up, he screamed in response to someone else’s QAnon-filled rantings about Biden, Clinton and Obama:
Wow!!! NOW DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS, THE BIGGEST OF ALL POLITICAL SCANDALS (IN HISTORY)!!! BIDEN, OBAMA AND CROOKED HILLARY LED THIS TREASONOUS PLOT!!! BIDEN SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO RUN – GOT CAUGHT!!!
Wow!!! NOW DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS, THE BIGGEST OF ALL POLITICAL SCANDALS (IN HISTORY)!!! BIDEN, OBAMA AND CROOKED HILLARY LED THIS TREASONOUS PLOT!!! BIDEN SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO RUN – GOT CAUGHT!!! https://t.co/hf7zjqZYQ4
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2020
As we are wont to do, some of us are asking, “What the hell is he howling and slobbering about this time?” Well, it isn’t anything new. Trump is channeling a crazed conspiracy — fed by everyone from Barr and Congressional Republicans to Fox News and OANN — that Biden, with the assistance of Clinton, Obama, and every Democrat in existence up to and including your great-grandfather who has voted blue since the Roosevelt administration, is launching a coup against his administration. They’ve been doing so since before he took office, he thinks.
If we dig through the insane allegations and maniacal gibberish pouring from his mouth and his fingers, Trump believes that the election itself is an illegal coup attempt. If he wins, he will punish those who dared run against him, and if he loses — well, we’ll see how far he goes before he pops a blood vessel or is taken down by the virus.
Sometimes he runs out of steam after these Twitter rants. Not today. This morning, he spent an hour screaming and gibbering on Fox Business to one of his most reliable sycophants, Maria Bartiromo, where he doubled down on his demands.
As Slate staffer Elliott Hannon writes:
…Trump called into Fox Business Network on Thursday morning to do what he does best: rant and rave and howl at the moon.
He called Trump’s performance “feral.” I think that’s entirely accurate.
To his credit, or more likely the credit of the barrage of experimental and high-powered drugs he’s on to battle the hellbug, Trump didn’t spend the interview coughing and hacking. Good for him. He did, however, claim that he was entirely cured, and that China put a “curse” on the United States.
Yes, really, a curse.
"We shouldn't be hurting our workers because China put the curse on" — Trump is now accusing China of putting a "curse" on the US pic.twitter.com/UYnvOPL0j4
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 8, 2020
The interview, according to Washington Post reporter Philip Bump, was a success from Trump’s viewpoint, as Bartiromo
served as little more than a hype woman, setting Trump up with softball questions and encouraging his responses. It wasn’t the first time she has played such a role, but it was nonetheless remarkable to see the scope of her disinterest in posing any challenge to the president.
Trump spent the usual time shouting and barking about Clinton’s mythical email server (which he threatened, again, to become “personally involved in”), whatever imaginary crimes Obama committed, and the rest of his usual touchstones. But he continued to revisit his idea that the election itself is a criminal activity, and his intention of stopping it cold.
He ramped up his tirade about absentee voting, though he cast a mail-in ballot himself and his campaign has encouraged voters to send their ballots in by USPS. But he also knows two things: Democrats are using mail-in balloting more than Republicans, and the large number of absentee ballots that will be received will likely make it impossible to declare a winner on the night of November 3.
Like his predecessor George W. Bush, whose campaign pole-vaulted a premature Fox News claim of winning the Electoral College into a fraudulent presidency,
Trump insists that if he has the lead by, say, two seconds after the last polls close, then he should be declared the winner and all the absentee ballots should be thrown into an incinerator. Bump writes:
Trump wants vote totals as of election night to stand because votes counted after that point will almost certainly shift results toward Biden. This isn’t a conspiracy; it’s a function both of Democrats generally being more likely to cast ballots that are counted more slowly and, this year, being far more likely to do so in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But if Trump can get you to think that these votes are probably riddled with fraud, you’ll be more likely to support his near-inevitable cries that they should be ignored. And Bartiromo did her best to give Trump the chance to convince you of this inaccurate view.
Trump told his do-girl Bartiromo:
There’s thousands of ballots right now! You pick up any paper in the country practically, and they’re cheating all over the place on the ballot. So how is that not a problem? That’s a much bigger problem than China or Russia. If you look at it, it’s a much bigger problem.
What Russian interference? The “interference” that should be immediately negated, he argues, is the fact that people are voting against him, and a lot of them are doing it by mail.
He cited some minor instances where ballots were misplaced, made some things up out of thin air and the dexamethasone rampaging through his system — people throwing ballots into rivers! postal workers being indicted! — and, presto! Case made. Trump has already won and anyone who says otherwise should be arrested. And Bartiromo cheered right along with him, saying at one point:
Ballots are being thrown in the trash. Ballots are being sent to dead people. I have another story every day on this situation. What are you going to do about it, Mr. President? If they cheated in 2016, they’re gonna cheat again. How are you going to stop this and ensure you have the wherewithal to fight back if it’s all ballot lies?
No, you’re not getting these stories every day, you lying liar. “If they cheated in 2016?” Where’s the proof of that, Fox zombie lady?
Doesn’t matter. As Bump writes, when he begins shrieking about ballot fraud and election cheating on November 4 — which he will — “you’ll remember somewhere deep in your brain that you had heard that there were questions about absentee voting.”
But let’s get back to Trump’s calls for the jailing of his political opponents.
He told Bartiromo that Biden and Obama “spited’ his campaign (what does that mean again?) and Barr to indict them because “[and] I say, Bill, we got plenty, you don’t need any more.” Without an indictment, Trump said, “we’ll get little satisfaction,” and he “won’t forget it.”
Unless Bill Barr indicts these people for crimes, the greatest political crime in the history of our country, then we’re going to get little satisfaction unless I win and we’ll just have to go, because I won’t forget it.
In non-mob boss speak, he’s saying that he declares there’s enough evidence now to indict Biden, Obama and Clinton because he says so, and if that doesn’t happen, he’s going to seek retribution. Is he threatening Barr? FBI Director Christopher Wray? Democrats themselves? All of the above and the guy who makes his morning run to McDonald’s?
Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill calls the charges “baseless bullshit.” Of course he’s right. Doesn’t matter to Trump, any more than it matters to Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong Un, or it mattered to Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, or Idi Amin. Trump wants them arrested. Therefore they should be arrested.
People who I deeply respect say that Trump is full of shit, and once he gets his ass handed to him in November, he will crawl back up his intestinal tract and disappear. (Or run to Moscow, or Dubai, or some other pedophile’s private island. Wherever.) That’s entirely possible. It’s also possible that he will decide to become America’s Nero, and try to burn the entire society down on his way out the door — or his way into a perpetual presidency where he and his children, one after another, “win” the presidency with staggeringly high majorities, just like his pal Vlad.
I don’t know what’s going to happen, and neither do you. I’m very sure Trump doesn’t know. Whatever breaks on November 3 and beyond, it’s up to us to ensure that it isn’t our democracy that breaks.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.