DISCLAIMER: The events described at the end of this post are parody. There is no evidence Donald Trump or others said anything attributed to them. I offer this declaimer because the White House and Trump supporters do not appear to understand the difference between parody and citation.
Cary Grant never said, “Judy, Judy, Judy,” in any of his movies although it became a favorite meme for Grant impersonators. In Only Angels Have Wings, his female co-star’s character was named Judy, and the closest he came to uttering the triple moniker was, “Yes, Judy.” And in Bringing Up Baby, he once agonized over Katherine Hepburn’s interference in his somewhat stable existence, saying, “Susan, Susan, Susan.”
But the Judy of this post is Judge Judy Sheindlin of television fame. One of her favorite admonishments to the parties in her courtroom is, “If it does not make sense, it’s probably not true.” I thought about Judge Judy as I watched clips from Trump’s 50+ minute announcement, press conference or whatever associated with the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The number of inaccuracies and inappropriate comments spewed by a commander-in-chief who thinks his green lighting the assault puts him in the same category as those who risked their lives executing the mission have already been documented by the media, with one exception. Yes, reports from others involved in Syria and in DC suggest there was no way Trump knew Baghdadi’s state of mind immediately prior to his death. So, the question is, if Trump was going to make up a story, why this one and equally important, why one that does not make sense?
My credentials as a psychoanalyst end with my barely passing an Intro to Psychology class at the University of Virginia. But minimum knowledge of the discipline is enough to recognize projection when I see it. Trump accuses everyone of corruption because he is corrupt. Trump wants you to believe Hunter Biden is taking advantage of his father’s name because he knows his own children’s sole qualification for their current careers is the fact they are Trumps.
So when Trump described Baghdadi’s demise, saying “he died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering, crying, and screaming all the way,” was the projecter-in-chief giving us a preview of what to expect when he is forced to leave the White House following Senate conviction of high crimes and misdemeanors or defeat next November? We already know the answer. For three and a half years, we have watched him whimper and scream following each revelation of corruption, abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
Which brings me back to a more logical explanation of what happened last weekend in Syria. I preface the following by saying it is a good thing that Baghdadi is gone. The world is a better place without him. But to believe Baghdadi is the coward Trump made him out to be, you have to ignore the following.
- Baghdadi did not surrender.
- He was wearing a vest filled with explosives.
- He chose to die on his own terms rather than at the hands of the perceived infidels.
- He did not give U.S. forces the opportunity to photograph his in tact body as was the case with Bin Laden.
- Nor did he want Americans to handle his burial, even if it was done in accordance with Islamic law and tradition.
These are not the actions of a sniveling coward. They better represent the characteristics of someone who chooses to die as a martyr for a cause, regardless of how irrational or evil that cause may be. But what about his decision to make his three children die with him? I do not understand why anyone would make such a choice even if Baghdadi misguidedly believed he was acting in his children’s best interests. It is not important what I think. It is more reasonable to assume Baghdadi felt he could not let his children become a possession of his sworn enemy. Compare that to Trump’s narrative and imagine what Judge Judy would say. Right. “If it doesn’t make sense…”
Donald Trump has never been chased down a tunnel by armed adversaries. However, throughout his life, he has found himself trapped at the end of figurative underground passages. He has been pursued by creditors and surrendered through bankruptcy. He has wrongly accused the innocent and never manned up to his errors. And now he is cornered by the evidence and witnesses who are building a ever-growing case about his abuse of power and unfitness as chief executive of the United States.
So, sometime in the not too distant future, imagine the following scene at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Mick Mulvaney: Mr. President, there are several Republican senators demanding to see you.
Trump: Did they knock on the door like normal people and ask, “May we come in?”
Mulvaney: Sorry, sir, but they seem determined enough to blow a hole in the Oval Office to get to you.
Trump: Maybe we should retreat to the situation room. Call Melania, Ivanka and Jared and tell them to meet me there. And get me my vest. You know, the one with built-in paper shredder. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone see what was really going on here.
Mulvaney: Sorry, sir. Ivanka and Jared said they’re busy. But they did wish you luck. Melania just laughed.
Trump: Then, I guess it’s just the two of us.
Mulvaney: What do you mean “us”, kimosabe?
[Trump seeks asylum in the situation room only to be followed by the Senate delegation. They find him sitting on the floor in a far corner, crying and screaming.]
Mitch McConnell: Mr. President. It’s over. You have to leave now.
Trump: Can I at least make one phone call?
McConnell: Of course, sir.
[Trump picks up the phone and punches in a number.]
Trump: Hello? Vladimir?
Hopefully, T. S. Eliot was right. This is how the Trump era ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.
For what it’s worth.