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I’m having a certain amount of difficulty ranking the latest revealed antics of the former president that (Hopalong riding onto the scene to help save the Republic?) Cassidy mentioned at the House committee’s recent January 6 hearing.
Was it when he wanted to remove the metal detectors at the Ellipse because so many people were being turned away for carrying guns, that the then-president thought it made the crowd look smaller?
Or, was it attacking the Secret Service agent — after the president’s speech at the Ellipse when he wanted to go directly to the Capitol and the agent, probably fearing for the president’s safety among the insurrectionists already attacking the Capitol, said he was going to return directly to the White House?
Or, was it the president throwing a plateful of food at a wall in the White House in a fit of pique, breaking it and getting food on the wall? This is important because the dishware belongs not to the president, but to the White House and therefore the American people. One can only hope that at the least the January 6 committee will bill the former president for the plate. We’ll just presume that cleaning up the walls is part of the staff’s duties.
(Trump’s assertion that Mike Pence should be hanged because he insisted on following the Constitution is so egregious and typical of the former president that it doesn’t deserve to be in the ranking.)
The former president certainly fills two definitions of “character”: he acts like a child who is a character but personally lacks character.
Here are a few appropriate quotations by people wiser than former President Trump. They appear chronologically.
“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” (Buddha)
“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers.” (Socrates, for Trump calling it lies and fake news)
“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overwhelm the men who would pervert the Constitution.” (Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president)
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” (Lincoln)
“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official ... It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.” (Theodore Roosevelt, another great Republican president)
“The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.” (Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes)
“The only thing that really matters in public life is character.” (Jennifer Rubin, columnist, The Washington Post)
What a truly pathetic person, and to think he was president for four years. Just look to the Supreme Court to see how he has succeeded in making American citizens less safe, and for women, less free.
Sam Oppenheim taught history at California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock from 1971 to 2005. He now lives in Massachusetts and remains a loyal reader of The Modesto Bee e-edition.