As humans, we make errors and mistakes. I’ve made plenty. I was taught early, and I have tried hard with both of my own children to impart that part of being an adult is owning up to and owning your mistakes, and errors ... particularly when those bad choices, or errors of omission or commission, harm others. And for the most part, that is the way I live my life.
Now on the back of both of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trials and acquittals, what I think I find most fascinating and what also probably bothers me the most about this President is his almost complete inability to accept responsibility, blame or ownership of any of his own bad choices.
The Mueller investigation centered on his termination of FBI Director James Comey and a phone call with the president of Ukraine. No criminal charges or indictments were recommended by Mr. Mueller. One might think that a chastened president might be a bit more careful in future phone conversations with other world leaders, or at least in reference to what to some might appear to be coercion.
But obviously, listening to the recent phone call between President Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, his deputies, and the White House chief of staff and legal counsel, President Trump clearly took no lesson from the downsides of apparent arm-twisting, veiled threats or thuggery on calls from the Oval Office.
For several months prior to the Nov. 3, 2020 General Election, President Trump set the stage and framed world-view for his supporters, that the only way he could lose the election was if it were rigged. And sure enough, as contest majorities in key battleground states began to shift later in the evening on Nov. 3 in favor of his opponent, the President and his team were already ready to taint those outcomes before they were finalized or certified, and the latest Tweet-storm and Trump bumper-sticker was born, “Stop the Steal.”
Yes, I understand that part of President Trump’s attraction to his followers is that he “speaks his mind” and “tells it like it is.” I would again point out that is part of the image that he has long nurtured, projected and protected, and much less the reality. But without trying to change any minds, I will simply say that all the efforts to change/overturn the election results of Nov. 3 were much more fueled by rhetoric, false accusations and conspiracy theories than by demonstrable evidence of election fraud.
Though I happen to agree with Constitutional arguments that already removed from office by voters, President Donald J. Trump was beyond the reach of a Congressional impeachment trial, his hand to me is clearly seen in guiding the organization of the rally, perhaps soliciting funding from key donors for same, as well as the selection of the date and timing to clearly impact if not outright impede the certification by Congress of the votes of the Electoral College.
Not all of his 74 million votes of Nov. 3 will be endlessly tethered to this President. Mr. Trump may hold the undying loyalty of his base, which includes millions of American voters, but the width and depth of that support going forward remains unproven.
Now acquitted from his second trial of impeachment, Trump is likely to claim vindication and exoneration, versus using this opportunity to take some ownership and express some remorse for choices made by others following his own poor choices. I strongly believe that a few moments of introspection, and perhaps even a more adult acknowledgment of lessons learned by President Trump might allow him to remain a more relevant voice on the American political scene.
President Trump instead may continue to live in an alternate reality within the lovely environs of Mar-a-lago, while plotting his return in exile. Noting the prevalence of potentially multiple local, state and federal investigations underway into these and other matters, I would also take note that the majority of jurors seated in most jurisdictions, just like the majority of voters in now all 50 states are women. While the President and his lawyers take their latest victory lap for winning the battle, the war and score over both public opinion, his legacy and the courts of law are far from settled.
A little genuine remorse has been proven, time and again, to go a long way with many a jury. You heard it here first sir, and unlike that legion of legal counselors, this advice is heartfelt and costs you nothing.