This has been clear for some time. In the hierarchy of things Donald Trump cares about, No. 1 is Donald Trump. Way, way down the list somewhere at No. 2 is Chicken McNuggets. Light-years beyond that, somewhere in the far reaches of inky-black space, is Ivanka Trump. After that, it’s just a yawning abyss of nihilism and baleful glances.
So this article, from The New Yorker, isn’t all that surprising. And yet it’s still somewhat jarring to hear a high-ranking member of Congress speak this way about the pr*sident of the United States — no matter how perfect his summation.
Speaking with The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser about the recent impeachment hearings, Schiff cited David Holmes’ testimony as the closest thing these hearings had to a John Dean moment:
The other conversation that Schiff cited was Sondland’s memorable encounter with David Holmes, a diplomat in the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. Holmes overheard Sondland talking on the phone with Trump, who asked if Zelensky would pursue the investigations he wanted. After the call, Holmes asked Sondland, “Does the President give a shit about Ukraine?” As Holmes testified, the answer was no, he only cares about “the big stuff.” Well, Holmes pointed out, there is big stuff happening in Ukraine, like a war with Russia, but Sondland said no, that was not what he meant. Trump only cared about matters that concerned him, like the investigations. “That says it all,” Schiff told me. “The President doesn’t give a shit about what’s good for our country, what’s good for Ukraine. It’s all about what’s in it for him personally and for his reëlection campaign.” In that small moment in an obscure diplomat’s testimony, Schiff reflected, was the impeachment case in all its brazen simplicity. “That is a perfect summary,” he said, “of this whole scheme.”
The most striking thing about that excerpt — other than the fact that The New Yorker still insists on using umlauts for some reason — is how blunt Schiff is. Would anyone have said that about George W. Bush, or even Richard Nixon?
Yes, they had egos, and their decisions were largely bad for the country. But did anyone ever believe they didn’t care about the United States, like, at all?
On the other hand, can anyone reasonably argue that Trump does? If you can find any evidence that he cares about our country — or even understands what has historically made it great — I’ll happily label that exhibit 1 in his defense.
This is a weird and uncomfortable place to be — knowing that our pr*sident would (and, frankly, has) — sell out our nation and its security for his own aggrandizement.
Thank you, Congressman Schiff. Clearly you care. At least someone does these days.
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In contrast to Donald Trump’s shambolic bearing, appearance, and comportment, Aldous J. Pennyfarthing is a natty hail-fellow-well-met and a gentleman.