In much the same way that Donald Trump’s limited intellect and malignant narcissism rob him of the ability to demonstrate compassion, empathy or humility, so, too, do they make it impossible for him to process regret. When you’ve convinced yourself that you are the center of the known universe, and that everything you do is the crowning achievement in the history of whatever it is you’ve done, the cognitive dissonance required to accept that you’ve actually done the most moronic thing possible is simply a bridge too far. And, so, instead of admitting — at least to yourself, if to no one else — that you regret the quantifiably stupid thing you’ve done, you double down, like so:
James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH. He is a weak and…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2018
….untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI. His handling of the Crooked Hillary Clinton case, and the events surrounding it, will go down as one of the worst “botch jobs” of history. It was my great honor to fire James Comey!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2018
Those are the tweets of a man who not only is panicking as the walls close in around him, but who also is experiencing such an overwhelming volume of regret for his foolish actions — actions that ultimately will lead to his downfall — that he seeks to erase from history the reality from which that regret stems.
If the vitriolic babble that Trump spewed forth in the above tweets existed in isolation, then perhaps we could swallow his assertions that he thinks James Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails was a “botch job”; that he fired Comey specifically because of it; and that the singular sensation he feels as a result of doing so is “honor.” Of course, as is usually the case, Trump’s statements are contradicted by … well, by Trump’s other statements. Statements such as:
It took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had, where they’re trying to protect [Hillary Clinton] from criminal prosecution.”
There’s little doubt that FBI Director Comey and the great special agents of the FBI will be able to collect more than enough evidence to garner indictments against Hillary Clinton.”
And of course:
It took a lot of guts. I really disagreed with [Comey]. I was not his fan. I tell you what: what he did, he brought back his reputation. He brought it back. He’s got to hang tough. A lot of people want him to do the wrong thing. What he did was the right thing.”
The “right thing” to which Trump was referring, of course, was Comey’s decision to announce just days prior to the 2016 presidential election that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, a move that almost certainly tipped the election in Trump’s favor.
In other words: having routinely praised during the waning days of his presidential campaign the actions Comey took that derailed Clinton’s candidacy — actions for which I do support holding Comey accountable, by the way — Trump now wants us to believe he is deeply offended by the manner in which Comey helped pole-vault him into the Oval Office. Cool story, bro.
Even more regrettable for Trump are his contradictory statements as to why he fired Comey, of which the president so helpfully reminded us this morning:
Slippery James Comey, the worst FBI Director in history, was not fired because of the phony Russia investigation where, by the way, there was NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems)!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2018
Unfortunately for The Donald, his latest pathetic tweet on the matter is wholly undermined by his astonishingly ill-advised and super-obstruction-y admission during his post-Comey-firing interview with NBC’s Lester Holt last year, during which Trump, stable genius that he is, actually said the following thing out loud on national television:
[Deputy Rosenstein] made a recommendation [that I fire Comey because of how he handled the Clinton investigation]. He’s highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy. The Democrats like him, the Republicans like him. He made a recommendation. But, regardless of [the] recommendation, I was going to fire Comey … knowing there was no good time to do it! And, in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, “You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”
If you’re having trouble keeping up and/or are living in a state of perpetual denial (which is to say, “if you’re a Trump supporter”), let me boil it down for you: Trump loved the manner in which James Comey sabotaged Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, and he did not fire Comey because of it. (Also, it’s worth noting that Rosenstein never actually recommended that Trump fire Comey to begin with.) No, Trump fired Comey because Trump foolishly thought that, in so doing, he could cover up his Russia scandal. Instead, what he actually accomplished was to prompt a special-prosecutor’s investigation that, so far, has led to multiple indictments, convictions, guilty pleas and cooperating witnesses, and from which now has stemmed the recently announced criminal investigation of Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen — the one man in Trump’s orbit who, as the saying goes, “knows where all the bodies are buried.”
And that is why, were he a normal human being capable of regret, Donald Trump would admit that the firing of James Comey is not his “great honor,” but, rather, his “biggest regret.”
Wait, scratch that; firing Comey is Trump’s second biggest regret. His biggest regret? That’s easy: winning the American presidency. It’s a regret that, no doubt, is shared by everyone who hitched their wagon to his highly leveraged star during what they assumed would be a losing presidential bid, after which they presumably had planned to ride their new-found fame into high-paying, private-sector jobs. Instead, they now face the prospect of perhaps one day making parole and subsequently riding their unwanted notoriety into low-paying, work-release programs.
It would have behooved them to remember that Trump rose to fame not for being a wise and thoughtful man worthy of the Oval Office, but for being a bombastic, obnoxious, vulgar curiosity whose single greatest accomplishment was inheriting from his racist daddy a pile of money that it seems he may have used to facilitate affairs with porn stars and engage in shady deals with Russians and employ wiseguy-wannabes like Michael Cohen. As a private citizen, he was able to keep those and other nefarious dealings in the shadows. Under the bright lights of the most high-profile job in the world, however — a job for which he now is accountable to the American people — Trump can do little more than rant and rave as a parade of skeletons comes marching out of his tacky, gold-plated closet.
With any luck, they’ll be replaced by a wardrobe of orange jumpsuits.