“Cover-up.” That’s apparently the un-safe word for Donald Trump. Reporting on yesterday’s abrupt cut-off of an infrastructure meeting with Democratic leadership—a “meeting” for which Trump kept Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer waiting for 15 minutes, then appeared only long enough to tell them he was holding the country hostage until they agreed to stop investigating him—says that Trump’s rage was apparently triggered by that single term.
Trump popping in to deliver a two-minute hate directly to Pelosi wasn’t exactly spontaneous, because spontaneous explosions rarely come with pre-printed signs and advance announcements for the press. However,The Washington Post and others have indicated that it was Pelosi’s on-camera use of the term “cover-up” that pushed Trump over from his normal level of anger into only slightly less normal rage.
In the midst of explaining how the nation’s business was on hold until his fee-fees were all better, Trump made a proclamation for the ages. “I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump said. “You people know that probably better than anybody.”
Oh … do we? Because it seems like there might be a few cover-ups to talk about there, Individual 1.
After all, it wasn’t just the crimes that were committed along with Michael Cohen—crimes in which Donald Trump is very definitely an unindicted-only-because-of-a-silly-rule co-conspirator—it’s that those crimes were committed during a cover-up. The whole scheme that Trump set up with National Inquirer David Pecker was an all-purpose cover-up designed exactly for the purpose of covering up Trump’s serial philandering. He used it to cover up Storm Daniels. He used it to cover up Karen McDougal. He used it to cover up still unspecified others.
And that’s certainly not the end of Trump’s cover-ups. It’s not even the beginning. Because when someone has made their living as a con man, their life is made of cover-ups.
What about that memo that Trump dictated from Air Force One? The one in which he provided a story that Donald Trump Jr. could tell about the Trump Tower meeting with Russian operatives in an attempt to get the press to stop poking around. That “It was all about adoptions” story was a cover-up right from Trump’s lips. A ridiculous cover-up, but a cover-up. (And, by the way, how did someone who supposedly didn’t know about the meeting until just then come up with that story?)
What about using the Trump Foundation to hide personal purchases? What about scheming with his siblings to cover up the real worth of his dying father’s assets? And, oh yeah, what about the “Moscow Project” and the multiple lies Trump told, or had others tell, in order to cover up the fact that he was active in Russia all through the campaign in a deal that was inextricably linked to Vladimir Putin?
Trump is cover-ups. Cover-ups is Trump. It might as well be the name of his company. “I don’t do cover-ups” is the “I am not a crook” of Trumpisms.
But, going back to that abbreviated moment in which Trump stomped his foot and declared he was taking his ball and going home, there was one moment even more ridiculous than Trump saying there was no cover-up. According to the Post article, Pelosi made it clear in her reply to Trump that she thought he was just looking for a way out, that he had no infrastructure plan, that he was, in other words … just covering up another failure. And Trump went out the door.
As Pelosi gathered her things, Kellyanne Conway asked if she had anything else to say. Pelosi told Conway that she would talk to Trump, “not staff.” Then, as Pelosi left the room, Conway shouted at her, “That’s really pro-woman of you.”
It seems like the Post may have left off one last sentence of this exchange. Something about two words long.