MEMBERS ONLY: The 24 Hour Trump Test Case

A while back, I coined my very own rule about the corruption and despotism of Donald Trump. If you’re at all familiar with my work, you likely recognize this: “Trump always makes things worse for Trump.” Ninety-nine percent of the time, it absolutely applies to every Trump decision. In fact, I’ve struggled to come up with exceptions, and, all told, there really aren’t any.

Even the fact that he managed to successfully dupe 62 million voters into ignoring his 40 years of corruption, failure and ignominy in New York and elsewhere has turned out to be a disaster for Trump and his family. His choice to play-to-win on the presidential stage was, counter-intuitively, a major blunder knowing his history and knowing the means by which he achieved this illegitimate victory. Had he continued to host The Apprentice while feuding with other celebrities on Twitter, he wouldn’t be facing the very real possibility of federal indictments, impeachment and maybe even imprisonment. He wouldn’t be facing such extreme and justifiable scrutiny for both his private and very public behavior, as well as the accompanying reality that history will recall his presidency with shame and regret.

Trump ultimately lost by winning.

The last 24 hours alone are a perfect test case for my theory.

Trump’s Trade War

Contrary to best practices in the context of international trade, Trump chose to randomly, and without much provocation, engage in an escalating trade war against China. He wants his disciples to believe he’s protecting their jobs and reinvigorating industrial production inside the U.S. by sticking it to Chinese imports. Now, there’s a very slim chance China will blink, but they won’t blink in the face of our doofus chief executive. No one on the world stage wants to be outflanked by someone as dumb and corrupt as Trump, least of all the Chinese.

And then on Wednesday Trump telegraphed exactly why his plan will fail when he tweeted this: “When you’re already $500 Billion DOWN, you can’t lose!”

First of all, sure you can. You can lose another $500 billion and the American economy could very easily slip into an inescapable recession, but this time featuring wallet-crushing inflation and declining wages, say nothing of China selling off its T-bills and U.S. investments. And if that happens, Trump’s luxurious 40 percent approval will be halved, followed by terrified congressional Republicans disconnecting from Trump’s ample teats and scrambling over each other to be the first to demand impeachment proceedings.

Secondly, and to quote Trump’s crooked goombah attorney, “Says who?” Who told him it’s impossible to lose a trade war? My guess is Steve Doocy suggested it on Fox & Friends, creating a meta-blunder: setting policy by Doocy and therefore being crushed by a trade war with China.

Thirdly, China retaliated by targeting industries based in districts that Trump won in 2016. What could possibly go wrong?

Duh. I wonder if the “forgotten men and women” will still love their guy when everything at Walmart costs twice as much. One way or another, this is going to be really, really bad for a lot of people — especially Trump.

Securities Fraud 

What we’ve learned since his kneejerk jihad against Amazon began is that Trump lost as much as $400 million in personal net worth due to declining real estate values as a consequence of Amazon’s putative triumph over brick-and-mortar retailers. Trump’s rage-gasms about Amazon are also due to the reality that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post.

Interesting, isn’t it? The same week in which The Post‘s Carol Leonnig and Robert Costa reported that Trump is under investigation by the Special Counsel’s office for conspiracy/corruption/obstruction, and that Bob Mueller will be issuing a report this Summer, a few months before the midterm elections, mind you, detailing Trump’s obstruction of justice — during the same week, Trump decided he’d strike back at the paper.

It turns out, the law has something to say about using public statements to deliberately sabotage a stock. It’s called securities fraud, and it seems likely that Trump will have to face a growing drumbeat to see justice served in this case. We’re talking tens of billions of dollars lost due to Trump’s blurts. We can assume there are many angry shareholders and board members who might choose to seek reimbursement or, at the very least, justice for Trump’s attack.

It’s a trap!

Regarding that bombshell exclusive by Leonnig and Costa, legal experts are suggesting that by revealing to Trump that he’s not necessarily a target (yet) and, instead, merely a subject of an investigation, Mueller’s attempting to cajole Trump into testifying. In other words, if Trump thinks he’s in the clear (he’s not even close), he’ll be more willing to enthusiastically appear for questioning during which he’ll absolutely perjure himself.

And, sure enough, we also learned in The Post‘s reporting that Trump is privately and inexplicably relieved about his status. We also learned that he’s desperate to testify, going so far as to fire attorney (and certified Pig Man) John Dowd, who argued that Trump should never testify. Put another way: Mueller wins. Trump is falling face-first into the trap. And almost everyone, minus Trump, understands that at the very least he’ll lie under questioning, if not stupidly revealing details that’d graduate him from being a subject to being a target, thus deepening his legal jeopardy.

Trump always makes things worse for Trump.

At times, I think we’ve all carefully gazed over the ledge, staring into the abyss, absorbing the extent of the treachery overtaking so much of our national institutions and threatening every last bit of progress we’ve made since World War II. Yes, Trump is terraforming — he’s plowing over America’s post-war progress and replacing it with a zombified, twisted, bastardization of a 1950s utopia. Unless you’re a white upper-middle-class male, a Pet Sematary-resurrected version of the ’50s, especially knowing that it’s funneled through Trump’s sociopathic gray matter, will only turn out to be a horror show of neo-segregation, air and water pollution, economic instability, international strife, rampant misogyny, abuse of power, and repression of all varieties.

And his people will cheer for every nightmare.

Nevertheless, Trump’s not the only one who will be self-impaled, that’s for sure. But as we shudder at the hourly derangement of the Mad King, we can rest assured knowing that he’s not immune from his own incompetence, greed and malfeasance. Trump thinks he’s making America greater when he’s only screwing himself dry.

Bob Cesca is the host of the Bob Cesca Show podcast, a twice weekly political talk show. He’s also a contributor to Salon.com. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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