Trump kept his word: He could cause death and escape punishment

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John Funiciello

Donald Trump said to the American people, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” That was to inform Americans that he was invulnerable. The ensuing four years he showed that the power of immunity has provided invulnerability for Trump.

He never shot anyone on the street in New York City, but his incompetence and malfeasance in office managed to kill many people as collateral damage to his rampant presidency. The general damage he did to the nation and the rest of the world will take some time to assess and repair.

Just a day out of office, he continues to play the victim, whining about being blamed for the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Ever the pathological liar, he denied causing his supporters (more cult followers than anything) to walk from his rally platform to the Capitol. They tried to show the lawmakers what strength is and how it should be used. Was he not going to walk with them? That is what he told them, at least. But, ever the coward, he set them onto the Capitol and its denizen; elected officials doing the work of the people by certifying the Electoral College votes in favor of Joe Biden; then he went back to the White House to watch it on television. He could not even take the time to march with them to try to overthrow an election that he lost by about 7 million votes.

The lame duck president, when he appeared in public for the first time after the Capitol debacle, repeated that “people said” that his remarks were “appropriate” and that he took no responsibility for the carnage at the Capitol. The mob caused the deaths of at least five persons. As usual, Trump takes no responsibility for the destruction or the deaths. He does not take responsibility for anything that might be perceived as negative. He does take credit for everything else, no matter who achieved it, as long as he perceives it as positive.

The rioters took Trump seriously, as so many millions have and wanted to believe that the president was cheated out of a second term. It was what he said a thousand times, despite many courts and state-level election officials finding no problems. Nor were there any systemic problems with the entire presidential election. His millions of followers were behaving as if blind and deaf to anything but what the leader said was true. In believing a pathological liar, they were acting on a lie and would not have known the truth on their best day.

Those involved in the mayhem, when interviewed by Max Blumenthal of the Grayzone, did not quite know how to answer one question: What do you want? Often, their answer was a nebulous, “Freedom.” Of course, the follow-up question would be, “Freedom to do what?” or “Freedom from what?” There is usually no answer. From his first day in office, Trump started an attack on the “other,” casting immigrants and those seeking asylum as rapists, thieves or carriers of disease. These things he made up out of whole cloth, as he believes what he says is the truth, no matter how ridiculous or crazy. His followers believe him. The riot at the Capitol was the culmination of years of lies that had become the reality.

If the mob were there on that fateful Wednesday to “take back” their country, their flags and their words told the world that they were doing it for one person: Trump.

Yes, there were American flags present, but it seemed that there were more Trump, Confederate battles and other flags waving in the air during the assault on the building. The building where the nation’s legislators purportedly do the work of the USA For whom was the mob trying to take control of the country? It seemed to be just one man, Donald Trump, not the American people. Luckily, their rag-tag effort lasted only a few hours, before reinforcements arrived to assist the Capitol Police, who were outnumbered and overwhelmed. Some said it was bad planning, while others said it was partly an inside job. Whatever it was, it seemed to come directly out of the playbook of historic proto-fascistic events, some of which ended badly, such as in Germany in the 1920s.

Alarmingly, working class men and women took the man at his word when he promised them jobs and the return of manufacturing that would make America prosperous once again. They swallowed his lies: hook, line and sinker. Even union members, who usually are better informed than non-union workers, fell for the big Trump lies. They voted in percentages similar to the “Reagan Democrats” back in the 1980s. Even though union leaders told their members exactly what Reagan and his supply-side, trickle-down economics would do to them, most polling at the time showed as much as 46% of union members voted for Reagan. He responded by ignoring their issues and facilitated the flat-lining of wages and income over the past 40 years for the working class. Although union members showed slightly less enthusiasm for Trump than they did Reagan, they believed Trump more than they did their own economists and union leaders. Mainly, it is because the Democrats have abandoned the working class over the past three or four decades. They had their just grievances. Yet, they could not see the danger ahead with Reagan and Trump, who both lied big enough to be believed.

Now, they can only hope that President Biden can pull their irons out of the fire. But, that depends greatly on whether or not the Democratic Party is willing to return to its roots with the working class as its base. They could also continue to depend on the same big money that the Republican Party has depended on for most of its adult life. Whatever the case, the Democratic leadership will have to pay attention to the black vote and minority votes of all kinds. Those votes provided the edge in the presidential election and allowed Biden to soundly beat the most destructive president in U.S. history.

Regardless if it is called an insurrection or a murderous riot, the center of it all was Donald Trump. The Capitol’s Jan. 6 was the culmination of years of the big lie and the big con and to all appearances, Trump knew all along exactly what he was doing. He was crafty enough to have planned enough ahead through his words and deeds. He left himself volumes of “plausible deniability.” Unfortunately for him, his plausible deniability has been shot full of holes, because it is all on the video record. He is the perpetrator. Whatever it is determined to be through the legal and political process of impeachment, which, we expect, will identify the person or persons who are culpable.

Although he refused to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, on Tuesday afternoon, he gave a video rendition of a farewell speech and never mentioned Biden’s name. He ticked off a list of his accomplishments in office that sounded as if he were describing the administration of someone else. It was full of exaggeration and dissembling, with his usual sprinkling of lies throughout. In other words, it was a narrative of his perception of reality, which often has been described as “unhinged.”

“Now, as I prepare to hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wednesday,” he said in his farewell, “I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning. There has never been anything like it.” If the nation is lucky, there will never be another one like it.