Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Trump’s Motley Gang of Dead-Enders Are Circling the Drain

Trump’s Motley Gang of Dead-Enders Are Circling the Drain

It’s been almost a fortnight since Joe Biden secured the necessary number of Electoral College votes to officially append the title “president-elect” to his name. But this reality has not yet been fully accepted by President Donald Trump and his most steadfast enablers, and so talk of coups d’état continues to flourish in the discourse. On these pages, we’ve faced this cloud of seeming uncertainty in straightforward fashion: The likelihood that the election will be overturned is vanishingly remote. But this strange psychodrama has yet to run its course. Trump’s attempt to cling to power has been riveting to watch and, at times, comedically hapless, but it’s still likely to do lasting harm to our democracy. 

That’s a fitting epitaph for his presidency, but that gravestone is not yet carved. As we’ve noted, this is perhaps the most dangerous period of the Trump presidency. And while the president’s hopes of remaining in power have largely played out in a series of legal schemes that have, up to now, failed to deliver the needed fatal blow to Biden’s obvious claim to the presidency, we’re starting to learn more about what sort of person remains willing to stand in Trump’s corner as he wages his last, limp efforts to seed doubts about the election, and what sort of harm they could leave behind. While it may resemble a sideshow at times, as Trump’s ragged gang of loyalists contort their faces for the camera, these dead-enders are doing real damage to the country.

Few have submitted to this latter-day loyalty test with as much fervor for self-debasement as Trump consigliere and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm star Rudy Giuliani, who, having long set his reputation aflame, spent the week in a frenzied effort to further torch the ashes. This week, on the day before a major hearing in Pennsylvania in which Trump had hoped to halt the certification of the state’s election results, three of the president’s lawyers attached to the suit abruptly withdrew, initially leaving Marc Scaringi, a Harrisburg lawyer and conservative radio host, holding the bag. 

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