As a very old fart of a retired journalist, a job I really loved I might add, I keep waiting for the two or three words I need to summarize just what the hell is going on with former President Trump and the collection of investigations spiraling around him.
Take this one, for example.
Seems serious, doesn’t it.
God bless the New York Times for being thorough.
But give me two words, or maybe three, that encompass the shortest version of what has happened. “FBI Raids” might be one, but doesn’t tell us anything. “Secret documents found” might be another, but what does that mean and will anyone’s head roll for it? “Trump Kept Docs in Unsecure Place!” That’s another one that seems to be full of potential, but what is it really telling us.
I don’t know and neither do you and I suspect, neither do the teams of investigators pouring over all of this stuff. It has to go beyond, “Trump Kept Secret Papers.”
And here is why.
Unless you have spent the past six years or so hiding under a rock in your back, yard, protected from all the ugly things that happen every day, assuming you are a normal, well balanced person, you already know this about Donald Trump.
He has the organizational skills of a pig.
I’m not calling him a pig.
I’m just saying about the most he could manage is a wallow someplace where he could rest and slop around, just like pigs do. Well, Mar-a-Lago is just such a wallow. He can do whatever he wants there. He can eat food that would kill a wolverine. He can smear orange coloring all over himself and pretend he is handsome. He can spend, what, four hours every morning working on that thing on his head to make it look like a swooping, attractive head of hair.
He can wear definitely the wrong shirts, which make him look like a manatee that stands upright, and go play golf.
(Okay, lets all be honest about the hair of 70-plus year old men. It sucks and there is not a damned thing you can do about it. You can experiment with all the goo you want to smear on there and it will only look awful. It’s not going to grow back, and even if you follow the decent President Biden hair transplant route, you end up looking like a beach near his place at Rehoboth where do gooders have tried to plant plugs of sea grass to green it up and prevent erosion. I bought one of those fancy hair cutters from Hammacher a while back and just whack away at what is left of mine about once a month. It all comes out pretty even, pretty thin, not anything like the spectacular black and grey mane that was my signature hair during most of my journalism life. But I am a realist and an honest person. At 73, who gives a fuck about hair? Only someone with a big ego problem and delusions about what can be done. Buy a wig if it’s that crucial to your image. I’m just letting mine sort of go away.)
That is a significant diversion from the theme of this essay, which is that you need to find very short sentences to describe what is being investigated and if you can’t, you are talking to lawyers, not to regular people. They are paid to wade through all these crappy fine points. We are not.
Here’s what we want:
“Trump planned to sell documents to despots!” That’s a headline.
“Trump Looted Treasury of Charity.” Short and sweet.
“Secret documents tainted by McDonald’s Secret Sauce.”
That’s at least good for a laugh.
But up to this point, all we have been able to assemble in our heads in the wake of the big FBI raid is a pretty confusing set of possibilities.
And that’s a problem.
It doesn’t mean that Trump hasn’t committed a felony that is worthy of an orange suit and an address at a federal pen. It just means that whatever he might have done will not be simple to explain, which brings me to a final set of points.
First, time to stop treating every development in this story as though it were a smoking gun, warm body, bloody glove, whatever. We all know Trump did something. But it’s going to take people smarter than we to figure out what the hell it was.
Second, are you really still in need of convincing about this awful man? Is an indictment with lots of thick language going to push you over the edge and make you leap into the arms of some other politician?
Those of us who have been watching have seen more than enough to banish Donald Trump from politics, from anything but a few paragraphs and some juicy footnotes in history books and most of all, from the public mind.
He has proven already he is a pox we don’t need.
And all this stuff about documents is just supporting something we already knew: He is an egocentric narcissist with the organizational skills of a pig.