Nikki Haley Just Defended Donald Trump as a Paragon of Truth and Virtue on National Television

Jack Holmes
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From Esquire

It's a complete avalanche of bullshit now. The president has graciously offered to release the "transcript" of a different call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky—an April call that no one took issue with, and which is unrelated to the impeachment inquiry at hand, but which some adult human political journalists are already treating as a savvy political Move. As usual, folks at The Paper of Record seem to be under the impression that they play no role in whether a ludicrous ploy like this will be successful.

On another front, the president's Republican allies in Congress have staked out a defense strategy for him that is predicated on ignoring all the hard evidence on the record. That's convenient when a parade of witnesses have confirmed that Donald Trump sought to extort the leader of a foreign country into ratfucking his domestic political opponent, thereby turning American foreign policy into a vehicle for his personal political gain—an abuse of power and a betrayal of his oath of office. The first "transcript" he released, which is not a transcript but is also not exculpatory, is old news. So is The Whistleblower. Witnesses are on the record confirming the president's misconduct. The new transcript on the way is even less relevant. So Republicans in Congress will apparently argue the president wasn't in a "culpable state of mind" when it all went down, so it's not impeachable.

It was always safe to bet on this level of shamelessness from this crew. You'll notice this argument—that Trump wasn't in the "mindset" to really know what he was doing when he held up military aid the Ukrainians needed to defend themselves against Russian aggression—is not itself a very strong case that the president should be president. But what do you expect? Here's what we got from Nikki Haley, held up by gullible observers as among The Last Respectable Republicans, on the Today show this morning.

Honest Don! Trump Washington and the Cherry Tree! This is just so embarrassing from someone who quite recently served as our ambassador to the United Nations, a venue where the president was once laughed at mid-speech for his self-aggrandizement. It is a stunning sign of things to come that, even with the president's prospects worse than ever, they're doubling down on their allegiance to him. It tells you that people like Haley believe the future of the party is still his reactionary base, and that there is still opportunity there to win elections in the years to come. Considering what Republicans already have to do to win elections—voter suppression, voter purges, extreme gerrymandering, and these days, courting the intervention of foreign ratfuckers—you have to worry about what's to come.

But Haley wasn't done. She also had the nerve to suggest Donald Trump Is Very Concerned About Corruption.

Haley granted the call wasn't "good practice"—something of an understatement—and then seemed to channel the president's directive to read the transcript!!! But we don't just have the transcript anymore. It's not just about this one call. We have witnesses attesting to what was going on all around this call now, with "the three amigos"—Rudy Giuliani, Gordon Sondland, and Rick Perry—making it clear to the Ukrainians via backchannels what was required of them. We have Sondland himself admitting there was a quid pro quo—that there was extortion. The call does not exist in some magical vacuum of perfection.

But that was just a prelude to what has been among the most offensive suggestions from Trump defenders, in that it insults the intelligence of anyone even vaguely familiar with Donald Trump. This is a guy who spent his entire "business" career screwing contractors and suing his way out of various obligations. He participated in a multi-generational family tax fraud scheme. His administration is The Great American Heist. The guy fucking loves corruption, and yet Haley is going to say he was just trying to root it out in Ukraine? It doesn't pass the laugh test. And besides, we already know that the Ukrainians offered to make an announcement about a renewed anti-corruption push in general terms, but Rudy Giuliani insisted on a mention of Burisma, the company affiliated with the Bidens, specifically. Nobody, including the Republicans pushing it, believes this was about Trump's sincere concern about corruption. It was a ratfuck.

We are continually treated to new exhibitions of just how morally debilitating the will to power can be. Jeff Sessions debased himself before the throne last week in a desperate plea to return to the Senate at 72 years old, presumably for another chance to crack down on weed. The folks already milling around the Capitol are gearing up to turn this week's public impeachment hearings into a circus in order to distract from the established facts of the case: that Trump seized military aid appropriated by Congress in order to extort the Ukrainians into helping him win the 2020 election. And now Haley has jumped back into the fray, suggesting Donald Trump is a paragon of truth and virtue on national television. You'd like to think none of them will still have a career by the end of this, but it's nothing more than wishful thinking.

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