In the political mud in which Donald Trump swims so happily, the presidential outrages come with such speed and ferocity that each brand new shame threatens to distract us from the old ones.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies, and we almost –- almost –- forget the crime committed against Judge Merrick Garland by Trump and that smug hypocrite, Sen. Mitch McConnell, who now prepares to do one more injustice to the American notion of a fair political fight.
As Trump tells us he didn’t want to “panic” the nation, and thus lied for weeks about the true dangers of the coronavirus, we almost — almost — forget about his dark campaign ads, precisely designed to “panic” everyone with their message of anarchy, riots in the streets, and invasions of American suburbs.
Trump declares that the 200,000 toll of deaths from coronavirus wouldn’t be as bad “if you take the blue states out.” As residents of a blue state, this almost –- almost –- makes us forget Trump’s painful remarks about the late Rep. Elijah Cummings and the scurrilous, bullying remarks made by Trump about Cummings’ troubled city of Baltimore.
Trump’s son-in-law and alternative brain, Jared Kushner, tells Bob Woodward, “The Democrats are getting so crazy, they’re basically defending Baltimore.” And we almost –- almost –- forget that Kushner, who owns hundreds of Baltimore area apartments, has repeatedly been accused of slumlord violations.
Wildfires consume millions of acres of the American West, and we almost –- almost –- forget how Trump repeatedly calls climate change “a hoax” after walking away from international climate accords.
Trump tells us a health care plan is on the way, a claim he’s been making for months and months. And we almost -– almost –- forget his strenuous efforts to kill the Affordable Care Act, which makes millions of people more vulnerable than ever in this time of plague and the new Supreme Court imbalance.
A woman named Amy Dorris steps forward to claim Trump sexually groped her and we almost –- almost -– forget more than two dozen other women who previously charged Trump with attacking them sexually.
Trump boasts about the “fabulous” job he’s done to control the coronavirus. We almost –- almost -– forget that the United States has about five percent of the world’s population but more than 20 percent of its COVID-19 cases, and that nearly 7 million Americans have survived the virus but may still suffer serious, long-term debilitating health effects.
In his book “Disloyal: A Memoir,” former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen calls the president “a monster, plain and simple … a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man.” And we almost -– almost — forget the little matter of $280,000 in hush money Trump laundered through Cohen to help fix the 2016 presidential election.
In his book, “The Room Where It Happened,” former national security advisor John Bolton says Trump begged the Chinese to buy more U.S. farm goods because it might help his re-election chances. And it almost -– almost — makes us forget how both the Chinese and the Russians have spent the past four years making a sucker out of Trump’s foreign policies.
Trump’s luxury properties have charged the U.S. government a fortune since he took office, including room rentals at his Bedminster, N.J., club while it was shut down for the coronavirus, according to the Washington Post. And it almost –- almost -– makes us forget about the various other ways the Trump family has cashed in on his presidency in ways no other president ever even imagined.
Trump’s own sister, retired Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, decries his “phoniness and cruelty” and says he has “no principles.” And we almost –- almost -– forget that Trump’s niece, Mary L. Trump, calls him a “bully and a fraud,” and adds, “I grieve for our country” because he was elected president.
Trump refuses to visit a French cemetery honoring the fallen from World War I because the rain might muss up his hair, writes Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic magazine. And we almost -– almost -– forget the alleged bone spurs that saved Trump from military service during the Vietnam War era.
Trump calls America’s war dead “losers” and “suckers.” And we almost –- almost -– forget his cruelty toward the late Sen. John McCain, a true war hero.
But there’s something we shouldn’t forget.
We learned each one of these revelations, each new outrage threatening to distract us from some previous one, in just the past several weeks.
So imagine another four years of such madness.
A former Baltimore Sun columnist and WJZ-TV commentator, Michael Olesker is the author of six books, including “Front Stoops in the Fifties: Baltimore Legends Come of Age” (Johns Hopkins University Press).