“I hope he crashes.”
Those were the words of a news reporter, caught on video at a New York airport days after Donald Trump was elected in 2016, as Trump's plane took off.
Her words reflected the overwhelming revulsion to Trump from most in the news business.
She had plenty of company. Thousands of women gathered in Washington to protest the election results. Mere hours after the inauguration the first headline suggesting impeachment appeared in the Washington Post. Pink hats and a campaign to “Resist” were in the news.
Trump's campaign had already been subjected to wire taps, and there was even the suggestion that a Justice Department official wear a wire to entrap our newly-elected 45th president.
It never let up. After the first failed impeachment trial, there was a second, and MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews rejoiced, “They've got him now.” Liberal actor Rob Reiner said the same thing. But that failed, too.
Leaving office made no difference. We saw the first raid on a former president's home, and the first criminal charges – both state and federal - brought against a former president. And yet he remains the most popular Republican candidate for election in 2024. By far.
Here in Wyoming – where Trump won big in 2020 – Trump remains popular, maybe because we root for the elk fighting off a pack of wolves.
The good news is our new Rep. Harriett Hageman – a true bulldog - didn't mince words last week at a hearing on the John Durham investigation.
“What you have exposed,” Hageman said, “is that we are dealing with something so corrupt and so rotten that no amount of face paint, deflection, or whitewashing can fix this.”
“The accuracy and veracity of the Steele dossier was irrelevant to the FBI,” Hageman charged. “The accuracy and veracity of the reports coming from the Australian embassy were irrelevant to the FBI. The fact that the Russian experts in the CIA, FBI, NSA, and other agencies had no evidence of any kind of relationship between Mr. Trump and Putin or Russia was irrelevant to the FBI.”
Proving Trump colluded with Russia “wasn't the purpose of the entire charade,” Hageman said. “How do I know this is true? Because they told us so. The very people who cooked this up, and the ones who ran this entire operation: Strzok, Lisa Page, Andrew McCabe, Clinesmith, Steele, the DNC, Perkins Coie. It was never their purpose to prove Russian collusion, and in fact, from the very beginning, they knew that no such thing ever existed. They knew that the entire Russian collusion narrative was fabricated by the Clinton campaign to deflect attention from her mishandling of classified materials and destruction of emails.”
“The purpose of Crossfire Hurricane wasn't to prove Russian collusion,” Hageman said. “It was to destroy Donald J. Trump.”
“It has left a smoldering hot volcanic mess where the soul of this country used to be.”
“While these folks set out to destroy a presidential candidate and later a presidency, the fact is that they destroyed so much more – and that will be their ultimate legacy.”
Hageman asked Durham if our nation can survive “this two-tiered justice system that seeks to persecute people based on their political beliefs.”
Durham replied, “I don't think that things can go too much further with the view that law enforcement, particularly the FBI or Department of Justice, runs a two-tiered system of justice. The nation can't stand under those circumstances.”
Interestingly, the great novel and movie “The Caine Mutiny” have a lot to say about
situations like this. And the point isn't the eccentricities of flawed leaders like Captain Queeg, or Donald Trump.
It's about the near-sacred responsibility of those serving our leaders to do their best to assure the success of those leaders – however much they may personally disagree – for the good of our country.
Captain Queeg had a single back-stabbing scoundrel among his officers.
Donald Trump – an imperfect president to be sure, but one who achieved remarkable results - had legions of backstabbing scoundrels in his ranks.
Many of whom, I have no doubt, also thought from the very start, “I hope he crashes.”
Dave Simpson can be reached at: DaveSimpson145@Hotmail.com