The maddening thing about Donald Trump is that he can do stupid shit faster than most of us can even get annoyed at it.
Consider the last few days. Not only has Trump called for Russia to be reinstated in the G8 for some mysterious reason (it’s absolutely nothing to do with collusion and Vladimir Putin most definitely doesn’t have a recording of hookers pissing on him – I don’t know why you even brought it up) but he has also called for a relaxation on asbestos laws.
Asbestos, for the kids out there, was a totally fireproof, strong, lightweight wonder material from a few decades back that largely fell out of fashion when people realised that for all its benefits, it also tended to give you incurable lung cancer.
Still, Trump wants to see its return, and not just because he grew up drinking lead paint and it never did him any harm, so all this “toxic substances” regulation is just political correctness run amok. No, Trump is in favour of asbestos for other reasons, and none of them are that Russia makes 58% of the world’s asbestos. I don’t know why you even brought it up.
In between these two acts of dotardry, it also emerged that Trump was considering pardonning Muhammed Ali.
Trump had a serious pardon horn at the moment, since Kim Kardashian convinced him to (rightly) pardon Alice Johnson. To be clear, that was absolutely the right thing to do, but only serves as evidence that Trump is, as John Oliver memorably put it, “the stopped clock of arseholes.”
Since his pardon of Alice Johnson generated some legitimately favourable headlines in the lying mainstream media that Trump doesn’t care about at all (and absolutely doesn’t crave the approval of – I don’t know why you brought it up) he’s become notably pardon-happy. If pardonning people earns him plaudits, he’s going to start doing it again and again, responding to the stimulus and desperately trying to get what he wants, like Pavlov’s idiot.
The problems with pardonning Muhammed Ali are manifold. Ignoring, if it’s at all possible, the fact that Trump is the exact sort of blitheley racist rich white man that Ali would have hated, Ali’s conviction (for refusing to serve in Vietnam) was overturned in the early 1970s. So there is no longer a “crime” to pardon.
Added to this, even if you do still believe Ali was a draft dodger instead of a conscientious objector with a number of valid sociopolitical points, Jimmy Carter already issued a blanket pardon to anyone who avoided the draft when he was president.
Finally, and most importantly, Ali gave his faith as a Muslim as the primary reason for his refusal to fight in Vietnam. Trump, you may recall if you’re awake and even slightly paying attention, has a dim view of Muslims. To “pardon” a man who has legally comitted no crime and who was possibly the most famous muslim of the 20th century, whilst still trying to bang the “all muslims are evil” drum, is an act of such dense hypocrisy that it threatens to collapse in on itself like a neutron star.
Some spectators have pointed out that Trump’s new fondness for pardonning people may be an attempt to lay the groundwork for his own inevitable demise. He is trying, the argument goes, to soften the public up with his many pardons so that when he absolves the legal sins of his inner circle, it seems less egregious.
This would be a smart play, but ignores the obvious fact that Trump is literally incapable of smart plays. The man’s an idiot. Bill Gates recently noted that he had to explain to Trump during two separate meetings about HIV that no, it wasn’t the same thing as HPV.
Here lies the fundamental paradox of Trump. He’s so fucking stupid that his incompetence would provide an excellent smokescreen for his crimes, except that he’ll never take advantage of it because he’s too fucking stupid. If a serial killer was involved in a shootout with the police and Donald Trump accidentally ran him over, he would listen to the explanation of what had transpired and then tell the cops “No, I only hit that guy because I was distracted by what my coke dealer was saying. He’s in the back seat, by the way.”
Trump isn’t attempting to create a through-line of pardons in order to make his enentual pardonning of Jared Kushner, Michael Cohen or anyone else seem less egregious. He’s not that smart. He’s a moron (to borrow a phrase from Rex Tillerson) who still thinks he can pardon himself. He can’t, as was established by the Supreme Court during Nixon’s self-immolation.
The trap is closing on Donald, with a thousand times the force of an angry French President’s handshake. Were it not for the apalling actions of the wider Republican party as they sink their avaricious claws deeper into all that made America admirable, watching his flailing descent into ignominy and prison would almost be worth seeing him elected in the first place.