Andrew Sullivan continues to impart a careful study of where the United States of America currently finds itself in with Donald Trump as President. This week he calls the current climate “appeasement.”
We are appeasing an angry king. And the usual result of appeasement is that the angry king banks every concession and, empowered and emboldened by his success, gets more aggressive and more power hungry. Far from restraining him, appeasement gives him time to amass strength, until there’s no restraining him at all. By the time it’s absolutely clear that he is a tyrant, it’s too late. That’s the core narrative of every Shakespeare play that charts a historical bid for absolute power. And every one of those plays is a tragedy.
This week, in the face of Democratic appeasement and Republican complicity, Trump has upped the ante once again. He is lying about the devastating proof of obstruction of justice in the Mueller report, as is his attorney general, the person supposed to defend the rule of law. He is again attempting to intimidate a witness to his abuses of power, this time Don McGahn. He is refusing to let anyone in his administration testify before the Congress, in an unprecedented act of contempt for the legislative branch. He is constantly hinting in his tweets that the DOJ should investigate what he has deemed “spying” on his campaign in 2016; he’s tried multiple times to get the Justice Department to go after his political opponent, Hillary Clinton; and he has retweeted a list of those who should be targeted — including Obama and Clinton — for investigation. And now that he has a toady in the Justice Department, he may well get what he wants. (Can you believe we actually miss Jeff Sessions?) For good measure, his spokesman has said, revealingly, that the president is “not inclined” to release his tax returns at this moment, despite what appears to be a constitutional obligation. In the immortal words of Mel Brooks, it’s good to be the king!
I don’t think he’s off base here.