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Trump pours gasoline on his own fire


Trump pours gasoline on his own fire

Former President Donald Trump’s reaction to the possibility that he might be indicted in New York illustrates perfectly why he keeps getting into trouble.

He doesn’t understand the nature of the problem that confronts him.

In this case, Trump responded to news that he likely would be charged with election fraud for paying porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about a dalliance she says the two had.

The case is a tricky one.

The affair with Daniels—whose real name is Stephanie Clifford—isn’t illegal, if it in fact occurred. Nor would any payment to her to stay silent about their involvement be a violation of the law.

No, Trump’s legal exposure stems from the fact that he apparently didn’t declare the payoff, which was made by his longtime and now estranged lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen, as a campaign contribution in 2016.

If the former president had done that—and if he hadn’t continued trying to cover it up—there would be no case whatsoever.

But Donald Trump never thinks more than one move ahead.

He didn’t do so in 2016 and he isn’t doing so now.

That’s why he, not the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, announced that he was about to be arrested, the first former president in U.S. history to have that experience. And he called on his followers to rise in protest when the indictment comes down.

That is the standard Trump playbook when he does something dumb or something doesn’t go his way.

His response is to try to make every challenge he faces, regardless of whether that challenge is legal or economic, into a political one. He summons his base to attack those who dare to criticize or even just scrutinize him.

In short, when does something dumb, he reacts by doing something even dumber.

Inevitably, in so doing, he compounds rather than alleviates his troubles.

That’s what Trump did when he refused to acknowledge the results of the 2020 presidential election and, in quick succession, attempted to alter the vote totals in Georgia and urged on a mob that ended up storming and ransacking the U.S. Capitol.

As a result of those ill-advised actions, Trump is being investigated by both Georgia legal authorities and the U.S. Justice Department and likely will face charges that are much more serious than the ones confronting him in New York. And the cases there appear much stronger.

In other words, Trump’s response to unwelcome news was to search for a way to make it even worse.

Which is what he accomplished.

What makes this pattern of his so foolish is its sheer self-destructiveness.

No competent prosecutor with whom I’ve talked says the case Manhattan D.A. Bragg has against Trump is a slam dunk. The lead witness against the former president—Trump’s onetime fixer Cohen—has an oft-declared and pronounced animus against his former patron, a bias that a competent defense attorney can use to impeach Cohen’s testimony.

The chances that Trump will walk, even if he is charged and tried, are pretty good.

And if he were found not guilty, he could use that verdict to publicly discredit every other investigation into his conduct.

But that is not Trump’s way.

Wherever he sees a small, sputtering fire, his instinct always is to try to put the meager flames out by dousing them with gasoline.

Then he acts shocked when a conflagration occurs.

By responding in the way he has to the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into the Stormy Daniels matter, Trump may expose himself to still more charges. Interfering with or attempting to impede a criminal investigation can itself be a criminal act.

Once again, the former president has found a way to make a bad situation worse.

Donald Trump has made clear that he always sees himself as a beleaguered figure, a man constantly surrounded by enemies. Everyone, he thinks, is out to get him.

That’s not the case, but it is true that there is one powerful figure who seems to work tirelessly to make Donald Trump’s life miserable.

It’s the guy he sees staring back at him when he looks in the mirror.

FOOTNOTE:  John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. The views expressed are those of the author only and should not be attributed to Franklin College.

The City-County Observer posted this article without bias or editing.


  1. .
    I know there are readers here at the City-County-Observer who like Donald Trump.
    About 33% of the readers, actually.

    This guy has been manipulating these poor souls for years now.
    Trump got beat by Joe Biden.
    Trump lost the House of Representatives to the Democrats.
    Trump lost the Senate to the Democrats.
    Trump lost, not one, but TWO Senate seats in Georgia, one of the most heavy GOP States in the US, by holding rallies in the Georgia and failing time and time again.

    The guy is a LOSER.

    These 33%’rs send their paychecks to Trump, and he puts that in his pocket.
    Trump? He thinks:
    “Why would I EVER give up this gig? I am already rich, and they want to give me more $$? Hell! I am gonna run for President the rest of my life!! What a cash cow!!”

    Poor souls, the Trump supporters.
    Poor souls, too ignorant to realize they are being USED.

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