A rattled president, a stoic first lady, an adult film actress, a disgruntled former employ and a nation in crisis, sound like the idea for a political thriller- House of Cards. If only it were so simple. Every day it seems, brings a new drama into the trump soap opera. Befitting for a president whose roots lie in reality television.
He has weathered many storms, the birther movement, the Access Hollywood tape, firing of James Comey, the Charlottesville debacle, and the Helsinki summit. But this time it’s different, the endgame is near. A lifetime of sins are coming to a head and the more he wants to brazen it out the more he seems to be bogged down by the events around him. One by one all his close associates are giving in to pressure from the authorities and readying themselves to bring out the skeletons from the closet.
He was seen initially as a court jester, orange-faced and coiffed haired, providing laughter in a long and intense campaign to secure Republican Party nomination. And he made sure to use his celebrity to occupy most media space by describing Megyn Kelly, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Mexican, Muslims and several others in disparaging terms. Across the world, people gasped when they heard this kind of rhetoric coming from an American presidential candidate. No one thought he would get his parties nomination.
Hillary Clinton’s rise was imminent. She was “the candidate”, the promised one who will break the glass ceiling. She came with a formidable record and rich legacy which she has earned early on, as a first lady, then as a senator, and finally as the secretary of state. But in the end, the white working class voter didn’t like the spectacle. Perhaps it was too big of a change and voted for the demagogue, who didn’t hide behind the veneer of political correctness to hide his true feelings, who promised to bring jobs back to them, deport immigrants back to “shitholes” where they came from, and end this “American carnage”.
Right from the very beginning, he was different. Tweeting incessantly, ridiculing the media, bragging about his electoral win and crowd size, and picking up fights big and small. But, the most stunning gesture was firing of James Comey which laid rest to any doubts that he will grow into the role. Though he was always surrounded by people who many thoughts influenced his thinking like John Kelley, Steve Bannon or Steven Miller, it was clear to anyone who was watching that he was on his own, acting instinctively.
He was the mob boss asking for absolute loyalty to him, not to the rule of law or constitution. It is this loyalty that he demanded and so valued has been shattered last week. Three of his close associates Michael Cohen, David Pecker and Allen Weisselberg are speaking to the authorities, which might bring down his presidency. Echoes of Watergate are being heard all across Washington.
Are there any heroes in this saga? The obvious choice is Robert Mueller who is doing his job with clinical precision without any leaks despite intense media scrutiny. Another candidate is deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein who appointed Mueller and has withstood pressure from the president and Senate judiciary committee. The media, especially, The post and The Times for their coverage of the presidency despite being called names by trump himself.
How is this going to end?
Will he survive this storm as well, and be a one-term president?
Will he be impeached?
Will he resign like Nixon?
How will it affect the American presidency and the world, which has looked upon this once mighty office as sign of strength?
We are watching with bated breath for the finale and hoping that there is no second season to this soap opera.