Free Donald Trump!
As the old Mills Brothers song from 1944 goes:
You always hurt the one you love
The one you shouldn’t hurt at all
You always take the sweetest rose
And crush it till the petals fall.
To the 30 percent of Americans still supporting our desperately flailing President Trump, like St. Jude and Washington Redskins fans who cling to hopeless causes, let me ask: Hasn’t Trump sacrificed enough for you?
Haven’t you asked and received enough from this poor, wretched man? What more blood, toil, tears, sweat and misspelled tweets do you want?
Why must you keep torturing Trump with your incessant and often inexplicable demands to do things that will hurt you and the rest of us?
Hasn’t this legendary billionaire real estate titan, once the toast of Manhattan’s glitterati and the ultimate Tom Wolfe Master of the Universe suffered enough squalid indignities on your behalf? Who could ask for anything more?
You must know, Trump base, and I hope appreciate, that everything Trump does he does for you.
Especially as America’s faith in Trump dwindles, he clings even harder to you.
When Trump demonizes hapless brown immigrants and demands a wall or else shut down the entire U.S. government, he does it for you.
When Trump promises coal and factory jobs he can’t deliver, he does it for you.
When Trump starts trade wars that close factories, hurt farmers and kill or send jobs overseas, he does it for you.
When Trump happily disrupts the healthcare system and affordable medical coverage for preexisting conditions, and drives up health insurance premiums (mine just hit $800 a month, just for me), he does it for you.
When Trump laughably claims credit for the Obama economy or the big tax cut few can use to buy Christmas gifts for loved ones, he does it for you.
When Trump disrupts the stock market and drives down our retirement savings with sudden, seat-of-pants, gut-sense, spit-balling blurts about tariffs and whatever, he does it for you.
There’s more every day:
When Trump directs his longtime and loyal personal lawyer to pay off his prostitutes and break the law to save his presidential campaign, and then throws his lawyer — along with anyone else loyal to him — under the bus, he does it for you.
When Trump denies any personal financial dealings with the Russians to build a Trump Tower in Moscow or campaign connections to Russians possibly making him a Manchurian Candidate, he does it for you.
When Trump repeatedly declares “no collusion” desperately and defensively like a sweating “Law & Order” perp who’s clearly guilty, and attacks the independent special counsel after 33 people connected to him have been indicted or have pleaded guilty in the probe of his election, he does it for you.
When Trump will never come clean, like other presidents have, about his personal business dealings that may conflict with his public and sworn duties to the Constitution with hand on Bible, he does it for you.
When Trump transforms the White House into a disturbing parody of Pee-wee’s Playhouse, with relentless mayhem that would be funny if not tragic, he does it for you.
When Trump destroys and disgraces the dignity and decorum of the Presidency and treats the Oval Office like a reality TV set, he does it for you.
When Trump insults the Bush family, denigrates surviving war prisoner and longtime public servant John McCain, and disdains the usual respects and even basic grace and decency the U.S. Presidency demands, he does it for you.
When Trump ignores, even scoffs at, the rule of law, thinking the people he appoints and the Senate confirms for attorney general and other cabinet positions are supposed to be loyal to him, not the Constitution, he does it for you.
When Trump bald-face lies every day and then lies about his lies and then accuses the independent non-Fox/Breitbart media and anyone who calls him on his lies of lying, he does it for you.
When Trump says he’ll shut down government to build the wall with $5 billion of U.S. taxpayer dollars to keep out the “poor and dirtier,” as his sock puppet Tucker Carlson says, and not Mexican pesos like Trump promised, he does it for you.
When Trump attacks our best allies and destroys America’s example and leadership in the world, hard-earned by our parents and grandparents who fought and died to make America a beacon of democracy, he does it for you.
When Trump insults people, places and things on Twitter every day, with the New York Times count at 550 insults in 691 days in office, and sends presidential proclamations on Twitter with bad spelling and grammar that our fifth-grade teachers flunked us for, he does it for you, Trump base.
Ask not for whom Trump tweets, he tweets for you.
But as the same John Donne poem I reference advises, no man is an island.
That goes for Trump, too, even though he does things differently than any other man, creating his own personal island with — have you noticed? — few loyal friends or allies.
Manhattan used to be Trump’s island, but now most people anywhere near Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue or elsewhere in New York City won’t associate with him anymore.
Billionaire Wall Street hedge fund partners still bet on Trump just like the jobless in dying factory towns that are destroyed by billionaire hedge funds do. The difference is hedge fund partners don’t attend Trump rallies and scream to lock up Hillary or accost CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Hedge fund partners prefer not to be seen in public with Trump lest they be shunned at Hamptons cocktail fundraisers to combat the climate change that Trump denies and is destroying the Hamptons.
Enablers often enable because they get something from enabling.
Trump fans are happy to enable his worst impulses and destruction of norms — in fact, they cheer Trump’s worst.
Some 90 percent of Republicans also are happy to support Trump. They are using him and his base.
They include old-school WASPs who adored the extremely non-Trumpy Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, other traditional conservatives who abhorred bad manners, and evangelical Christians for whom Jesus Christ is a model for human behavior.
Why do these wonderful Americans still support Trump? I don’t know.
It is classic Republican focus on the stock market and economy? (Good luck with that!)
Is it alt-right media turbocharged hate for liberal elites, Hillary, Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi, Black Lives Matter, the PC police, college professors and students, Planned Parenthood, or nonwhite immigrants who won’t assimilate fast enough like the Irish and Italians also didn’t (look it up)?
Is it anger with Washington and the lobbyist swamp, which I totally get?
Whatever the case, I’ve gone from unhealthy anger with Trump to a healthier place of feeling sorry for him.
I fear Trump is being used by his base to work out their issues.
I get it. I’m ashamed to admit I use old Seinfeld and more recent Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes for the same reason.
But my healthy self sets Seinfeld and Larry David free. They don’t have to do my bidding.
I urge Trump fans and their healthy sides to set him free.
All great shows must come to an end, and we move on. Without destroying the country and millions of lives on the way to personal fulfillment.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer