Jacob Heilbrunn

Trump’s presidency has imploded – in less than two years

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This is the beginning of the end of the Donald Trump presidency. The double whammy of Michael Cohen, his former fixer, pleading guilty on eight counts, including illegal hush money payments, or, to put it more precisely, campaign contributions, to two women at Trump’s personal direction for ‘the purpose of influencing the election,’ coupled with the conviction of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort on eight counts, constitute a mortal blow to his already tottering presidency. It is also likely to administer the coup de grace to Republican hopes for the November midterm elections and to complicate the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. The calculations of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who staked Republican rule on Trump, may prove to be a colossal blunder.

The amazing thing is how quickly it has all unravelled. It took six years for Richard Nixon’s presidency to reach its unlovely terminus. Trump, who has none of the intelligence of Nixon and all of his flaws magnified by a factor of 10, is taking less than two years to see his presidency implode. The extent of malversation in Trump’s circle almost defies credulity. The Cohen plea means that Trump is essentially an unindicted co-conspirator.

Trump refused to address the Michael Cohen case to reporters. He called the conviction of Manafort ‘sad’ and praised his record of working for Bob Dole and Ronald Reagan. He also called it a ‘witch hunt.’ Always attentive to his own needs, he said the case ‘doesn’t involve me.’ Trump is on autopilot.

To add insult to injury, Omarosa vowed to unveil the first of her videotapes on the cable television show Hardball. She has pledged to campaign against the GOP this fall and may be saving her juiciest material for the final weeks before the midterms. Trump’s finest creation is now running amok against him.

Last night, Trump appeared at a rally in West Virginia where he blustered and roared about everything from the deep state to Robert Mueller. Good luck with that. Aerosmith played ‘Livin’ On The Edge’ as part of the warmup to his appearance. Truer words were never said.

As Trump himself has been fretting, he is increasingly the victim, not the impresario, of events. He needs to prepare for a President Pence to pardon El Jefe and his family. The only person who will emerge from this presidency, equal parts farce and fiasco, with their reputation intact is Melania.