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Revolving door at the White House, so pack your bags

Bikram Vohra
Filed on February 10, 2020 | Last updated on February 10, 2020 at 07.14 pm

The US president will now be impossible to rein in.

Donald Trump is no chump. He is smarter than you think and he loves pulling the rug. That heady fragrance of power is his guiding light. In the aftermath of his release from the shackles of an impeachment process, the US president will now be impossible to rein in. In that light of the rudeness shown to Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the State of the Union address by refusing to shake her hand will be mild infringement in good manners when compared to the 'equaliser' effect that he will now activate to get even with foes, both real and often imagined. It has already begun.

He immediately recalled the Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland and dumped Colonel Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council. And if you think that is bad enough, it was done with poor grace and was visually punitive. If you think there was any doubt about the road to revenge being wide open, Vindman's brother who was a military ranked attorney in the NSC was also escorted out.

It is not going to stop here. Not until in his own words, the lower house of Congress becomes Republican and votes to expunge the impeachment from the official records. And there will be many more career corpses on this not so benign Appalachian trail.

The writing was on the wall the moment the senate acquitted the president. He has made no bones about the axis of evil that has perpetuated this insult upon him and now it is his turn to bat.

The scary part is he owns the bat and can call the innings any which way to Sunday.

One would imagine that as the most powerful individual in the world, Trump would just put the sordid weeks behind him and move on but a man who sees nothing wrong in getting even and places it at the top of his priority list evidently believes this is justified. To an extent the rage has been ironically fed by the Democrats who pushed an agenda they knew had the hope of an ice cube in hell of succeeding and only fuelled the choler that has now been unleashed. But now anyone falling short by even a single digit in Mr Trump's concept of loyalty (be it at the expense of truth, fealty, and allegiance to the constitution) could well be on the way out.

What makes this tawdry scenario even more tacky is that Mr Trump's malice strikes a chord in the American psyche. Not all of them but enough to ensure that he is a live bullet for the second term in the White House. It resonates with the frontiersmen idea of taking your guns into town, and boy interpreting any slight as a gung ho right to a duel to death is further gilded by the same genetic impulse that promoted the slave trade, of being a better man than the rest of the world, the entitlement of being policeman to that world and seeing loathing as a lubricant. All these mental factors probably combine in Mr Trump's mind to signpost a commitment to pulling out the six gun, the fastest man alive.

While there may be dismay in some quarters and the democrats wondering why they gave Trump centerstage for martyrdom. For him, the opportunity to hit back for slights is like Brer Rabbit being thrown into the briar patch. One would even imagine that knowing he wasn't going anywhere Donald Trump allowed this whole impeachment exercise to paintball his adversaries and enjoyed it all.

It is that incredible perversity that marks not just the functioning of the White House for the frenetic search for scapegoats but also the bloodletting from the dismissals and the retributions. A splendid example is that of former NSA advisor John Bolton whose book on the NSA is supposedly being suppressed by the White House on the grounds it contains classified material. This sort of hounding is something we will see more of in the coming days. Sudden departures have marked the Trump administration.

Reince Priebus lasted only five months as Chief of Staff. In the same role John Kelly even less. Then Counsel to the White House, Steve Bannon was shown the door. Anthony Scaramucci was communications director for 11 days. Jason Greenblatt who worked two years on the Middle East peace plan as Special Representative for International Negotiations was out before the Trump announcement of the details.

As many as 65 of the 85 A team frontliners have been turned over and 35 per cent have had multiple changes even as many as four as in the case of Deputy Chief of Staff. Now there is even more reason to gnaw at the comfort zone. In Washington D.C. packing one's bags seems the only game in town.

-bikram@khaleejtimes.com


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