Goodbye…for now | Steve Berman

The curtain is finally closing on the Trump presidency. While I think there will be a collective sigh of relief in Washington, D.C., the rest of us will barely take a breath before the din of Trump’s outsize presence once again looms over the media and the nation.

Donald Trump thrives on attention, and it doesn’t matter if that attention is positive or negative. Seriously, what other president has caused this much stir on his way out, such that his name will be constantly mentioned in Congress, in the media, and among his supporters—and especially his haters?

Let me quote a story told by P. T. Barnum in his autobiography. I am going to share all of it, because I think it illustrates Trump’s approach toward his detractors.

Soon after the wedding of General Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, a lady came to my office and called my attention to a little six-paged pamphlet which she said she had written, entitled “Priests and Pigmies,” and requested me to read it. I glanced at the title, and at once estimating the character of the publication, I promptly declined to devote any portion of my valuable time to its perusaL

“But you had better look at it, Mr. Barnum; it deeply interests you, and you may think it worth your while to buy it.”

“Certainly, I will buy it, if you desire,” said I, tendering her a sixpence, which I supposed to be the price of the little pamphlet.

“Oh! you quite misunderstand me; I mean buy the copyright and the entire edition, with the view of suppressing the work. It says some frightful things, I assure you,” urged the author.

I lay back in my chair and fairly roared at this exceedingly feeble attempt at black-mail.

“But,” persisted the lady, “suppose it says that your Museum and Grace Church are all one, what then?”

“My dear madam,” I replied, “you may say what you please about me or about my Museum; you may print a hundred thousand copies of a pamphlet stating that I stole the communion service, after the wedding, from Grace Church altar, or anything else you choose to write; only have the kindness to say something about me, and then come to me and I will properly estimate the money value of your services to me as an advertising agent. Good morning, madam,”—and she departed.

America has had four years of frightful things. And though right now, it’s killing Trump’s luxury brands, he hasn’t even begun rolling his new brand out—the “45” brand that only an ex-president can wield. While the Obamas quietly amassed a fortune through speaking and books; the Clintons not-so-quietly plied the oceans of cash in the jet set; Trump will say to them “hold my [root] beer.”

We haven’t seen the last of Donald J. Trump. No, not by a long shot. Watch his farewell speech, in which he details every wondrous thing that happened in his time in the White House, and was ruined by the China Virus. He still could not bring himself to speak the name of Joe Biden. The “new administration” is, at least, something Trump acknowledged. 

No, Trump is not going to ride off into the sunset. While Congress debates when is the proper time to convict him on impeachment charges related to the June 6 insurrection, Trump will be further refining his cult-like audience and preparing them for his next thing. That will likely be “Trump media” in a way we have not seen, but I think the establishment in Washington fears greatly. Trump will very likely—and deservedly—be barred from ever holding public office, but like Barnum, he doesn’t care. That’s just one more badge he can wear, and add to Congress’s value to him as an advertising agent.

Trump played on the backlash against his followers in his farewell speech. He knows his years of social media trolling will unleash a draconian and sweeping clamp down on the conspiracies he constantly hucks. The suppression of those dark webs of intrigue will only make them more valuable and repeatable among Trump’s target audience. It will also further draw them into cult-like devotion of the one man who wears them like a crown. 

Even if newly inaugurated President Biden pardons Trump and his family (which Biden should do!), corporate America and Big Tech will pander to the blood lust of leftist demagogues who would love to see the Trump family, and all of his supporters, with their heads on pikes.

Trump supporters will go from being “deplorables” on January 20th, 2017, to a dangerous group of fringe lunatics, QAnoners, and insurrectionists—a fifth column—just four years later. There will be calls to set up official state apparatus to identify and properly suppress these people. 9/11/01 brought us the Department of Homeland Security to deal with foreign threats on U.S. soil. 1/6/21 may bring us a State Security apparatus to deal with domestic threats of a political nature. If left to the corporate and political class of progressives, they’d build something so frightening it would, by comparison, make the STASI look like the junior varsity.

The president all but said these things will happen in his goodbye, and bad luck speech. He believes they will happen, and that he, along with his MAGA troops, will continue the fight. Trump’s call is that only his supporters really love America. That kind of toxic nationalism mixed with hero worship is the stuff of bad fiction.

I never thought we’d have to worry about the FBI having to vet 25,000 U.S. military troops defending Washington, D.C. for possible connections to “right wing” extreme groups. In fact, I don’t think there have been so many troops guarding the Capitol (versus being bivouacked there) since the Civil War. And even then, it wasn’t 25,000. And even then, we weren’t worried about a fifth column.

I never thought that troops would be removed because of private political statements. Though it’s prudent to keep soldiers who may hold deep convictions about Joe Biden’s legality as the incoming president away from the inauguration, it just doesn’t sit well with me. It’s a political test on soldiers that, if expanded, will destroy military unit cohesion very quickly.

As a parting gesture, Trump has left Biden, instead of a note of encouragement on the Resolute Desk and a firm handshake on the Capitol steps, with a terrible mess, a turd on the desk, and an empty live audience to make an empty speech that’s supposed to heal America. This while Trump himself flees to Florida to take up his next role as the disloyal opposition.

No, Donald Trump may have left the building, like Elvis, but he has not departed the stage. Fortunately, though we may have to listen to his troll army rage online, and be subjected to withering persecution by vengeance-seeking Democrats and their media lickspittles, we do not have to worry about Trump further disgracing the office of President. In that, we can breathe the same sigh of relief Washington is about to exhale.

If there is a silver lining to Trump’s noisy departure, it’s that Democrats now get to cringe at Joe Biden in the White House.

Here’s the goodbye speech.

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevengberman.

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