“Markets Will Crash” Not a Protestation of Innocence, Hurts Trump’s Image
Donald Trump has developed a reputation for standing up for himself, which has earned him tremendous support among a pro-populist, right-wing base. He epitomizes the brash, snarky bravado that has arisen in our reality TV culture, where everyone insists upon being “real” and “not fake.” In 2016, he upset the political establishment by exuding authenticity, making a surprising number of citizens feel more comfortable than poised, practiced Hillary Clinton ever could. Like us common folk, he sometimes said the wrong things and ruffled feathers.
Throughout the countless controversies, Trump has always maintained an air of defiant righteousness. His declaration that critics are peddling “fake news” has been eagerly adopted by his supporters. It is easy to brush off critics of the President as liars if one chooses to believe so.
Most Republicans in Washington have either joined the chorus or remained silent, unwilling to risk Trump’s social media wrath. Whether through luck, skill, or both, Donald Trump has garnered entire control of the political right.
Only the left criticizes Trump, and their condemnations are being ignored as “fake news” by Trump’s supporters. He is Teflon, bulletproof! While it may not be enough to win him a second term in the Oval Office, it is practically serendipitous. His base will remain loyal through any attacks by Democrats and the mainstream media, and he does not have to watch his tongue or change his ways.
But, he cannot stop insisting that he is innocent. Trump’s force field of self-righteous authenticity only works as long as his supporters can believe, or suspend disbelief, that he is [mostly] innocent of the charges against him.
Unfortunately, in the aftermath of the simultaneous findings of guilt against both former Trump advisers Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, the President has not proclaimed his own innocence. Rather, after being pointed by Cohen as complicit, Donald Trump has insisted that his impeachment would hurt the economy.
Donald Trump should be declaring that Cohen is lying to save his own skin and that he, the President, had nothing to do with Cohen’s inappropriate behavior. Instead, he is arguing that being put on trial would cause markets to crash. Does this sound like the protestations of an innocent man? Of course not.
By deviating from his normal tactic of vocal protestations and declarations of innocence, Donald Trump is risking his standing among his base. It will be tough for even his staunchest defenders to spin “but markets will crash if I am impeached” into “I have done nothing wrong.”
Calvin Wolf is a Lead Contributor for theDailyLead.