Trump “A Clear and Present Danger”

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

– Aldous Huxley

It doesn’t take much for Trump to lie, nearly a spontaneous reaction even in response to nationally televised truth from a House committee seeking to get to the bottom of an attempted coup led by a dangerous president.

There’s no shame, no responsibility, no sense of the extent of the unmitigated damage Trump’s remorseless Biggest Lie that he won reelection in 2020 has created by spreading it to tens of millions of faithful believers, wreaking untold confusion with the electoral process and democracy itself.

Yet there are at least 149 Republicans running for statewide offices, according to The Washington Post, who endorse Trump’s whims and even campaign on his “fake news.” Then there are the right-wing Republicans who don’t seem to care about Trump’s malfeasance so long as their ideology is carried out, as in packing the courts with conservatives, warring against gays and trans or cutting taxes for the wealthy.

Or staging an insurrection by following a president obsessed with not losing an election, justifying their violence by falsely labeling themselves as patriots.

No doubt many are laughing or shaking their heads at Trump for his outright lying, but he is no joke. He could be responsible with his Republican office seekers for manipulating the 2024 election in his favor, even if he loses the popular or the electoral vote. That is, if he or one of his trusted acolytes runs.

“Almost two years after that fateful day [Jan. 6] . . . Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy,” testified J. Michael Luttig, a conservative retired appeals court federal judge. President George H.W. Bush nominated him in 1991 and he was an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence. Trump has said Pence “deserved” to hang at the Jan. 6 riot.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chair of the committee, asked Luttig what he meant by Trump being a clear and present danger.

“That’s not because of what happened on Jan. 6,” Luttig replied. “It is because to this very day the former president and his allies and supporters pledge that in the presidential election of 2024, if the former president or his anointed successor as the Republican Party presidential candidate were to lose that election, they would attempt to overturn that 2024 election in the same way that they attempted to overturn the 2020 election, but succeed in 2024 where they failed in 2020.”

That’s precisely what the Democrats, Independents and other Never Trumpers fear. Why? Because Republicans are preparing for that possibility by restricting voters who would cast ballots for Democrats and putting people in positions to control which slate of electors could certify the outcome of an election.

New Mexico’s Otero County three Republican commissioners recently tried to accomplish that same thing but backed down when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat in an increasingly blue state, threatened to challenge their vote in the state supreme court.

“I don’t speak those words lightly,” the retired judge said if the Republicans try to switch electors in 2024. “I would never have spoken those words ever in my life. Except that’s what the former president and his allies are telling us . . . the former president and his allies are executing that blueprint for 2024 in the open, in plain view of the American public.”

We don’t have enough to worry about like inflation, coronavirus variants, a volatile stock market and a proxy war between the West and Russia with Trump and his minions running loose.

“A stake was driven through the heart of American democracy on Jan. 6, 2021, and our democracy today is on a knife’s edge,” Luttig said before the third televised hearing Thursday. “America was at war that fateful day, but not against a foreign power. We Americans were at war with each other — over our democracy.”

In a speech in Nashville, Tenn., Friday to a Faith & Freedom Coalition crowd that roared “USA! USA!,” Trump charged that the select House Jan. 6 committee’s hearings into the mob siege of the Capitol the panel is trying to prove he inspired are an “insurrection hoax” and another “one-sided witch hunt.”

Everything with this guy is a hoax or fake or the biggest hunt for a witch since Cortton Mather and his Puritans put so-called witches on trial in Salem, Mass., in the 17th century. He twists reality into fantasies an adult surely cannot believe. The panel is trying to show he knew all along he lied about Joe Biden stealing the election.

Tell that to the seven million more people who voted for the legitimate president instead of Trump.

“There’s no cleaner example of the menacing spirit that has devoured the American left than the disgraceful performance being staged by the ‘unselect’ committee,” Trump said, reported by the Guardian’s David Smith in Nashville.

“They’re con people,” he said. “They’re con artists.” (Look who’s talking.) “Every one of them is a radical left hater, hates all of you, hates me even more than you, but I’m just trying to help you out.” Sure he is.

“The ‘unselects’ have shredded every standard of decency, fairness, precedent, tradition, separation of powers, executive privilege. Nobody’s ever done this before. They are knowingly spinning a fake and phony narrative and in a chilling attempt to weaponize the justice system against their political opponents.”

“Nobody’s ever done this before” except Trump. He must be talking about himself again because he’s committed all of those heinous acts since he began campaigning for the presidency in 2015. He has a habit of projecting his own controversial behavior to others, deserved or not.

He also denied the accusation that he called Pence a wimp, if you believe him.

“I never called Mike Pence a wimp,” Trump said. “Mike Pence had a chance to be great, he had a chance, frankly, to be historic. Mike – and I say it sadly because I like him – but Mike did not have the courage to act” to decertify Biden as the winner.

What Pence did have was the chance not to lie like his boss and create a constitutional crisis. So, despite what Trump said, Pence did commit an historic act, albeit of the opposite of what his president wanted.

That Trump could consider Pence or anyone else “great” and “historic” for throwing a legitimate election clearly illustrates the character of this twice-impeached copy of the fictional Svengali, an evil character who manipulates others in the 1894 novel by George du Maurier, a Franco-British writer and cartoonist.

The November midterm elections will give us a clue whether we and the world must deal with Trump as president a second time.

Richard C. Gross, who covered war and peace in the Middle East and was foreign editor of United Press International, served as the opinion page editor of The Baltimore Sun.