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A View from Alabama

January 12, 2021: If There Was Ever Any Doubt

If there was ever any doubt about Donald Trump’s escalating descent into madness following his 2020 election loss, there shouldn’t be any now!

If there was ever any doubt about the true nature and mental condition of the man, his post-election behavior culminating in a request for his supporters to come to Washington where, during a two-hour harangue, he worked the large crowd he had summoned into a mob before sending them to the Capitol with clear instructions to stop the theft of his self-proclaimed big election win, there shouldn’t be any now!

If there was ever any doubt that Donald J. Trump is a remarkably ignorant man who buys into every conspiracy theory that fits his warped sense of reality; that he is a malignant narcissistic who views everything through the lens of his own self-interest, that he is thinned skinned and vindictive, that he is obsessed with the appearance of strength, that our Democracy for him is not a bedrock principle of American polity, but merely a tool to be used to acquire personal power, there shouldn’t be any now!

If there was ever any doubt……. Trump began his incoherent post-election behavior on election night by claiming on television that he had won. This was while millions of votes remained to be counted and before the winners of any of the battleground states had been called. Several days later, when Joe Biden was declared the winner, Trump asserted that there was rampant election fraud and that his legal team would challenge the results. As Trump’s mental health deteriorated, his staff reported him pacing around the White House muttering like mad King George, “I won – I won – I won”. ……. There shouldn’t be any now!

If there was ever any doubt…… Trump’s legal team, severely handicapped because they had no evidence of fraud, nevertheless began pursuing their cases. Court after court dismissed them with several judges rebuking Trump’s lawyers for bringing frivolous cases before them. Several of his lawyers withdrew because their firms feared pursuing these meritless cases would damage their reputations. Trump, believing his lawyers were losing because they weren’t strong enough, decided to bring in his ace, Rudy Giuliani. A video of Rudy before a media crowd with black hair dye running down his face aptly summarized Rudy’s contribution. Trump meanwhile didn’t understand the problem his lawyers were having, asserting, “I won easily”. …… There shouldn’t be any now!

If there was ever any doubt…… Trump had an aha moment when he heard about a lawyer, Sidney Powell, who claimed she had proof that deceased Venezuelan strong man, Hugo Chavez, had used communist money to fund manipulation of Dominion voting machines so they would register false totals. (On Jan. 8th, Dominion filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Powell). That made perfect sense to Trump, so he immediately hired Powell to join Rudy. He now had his legal dream team. Unfortunately, his dream team kept having their cases thrown out. Trump’s team kept claiming they had the evidence, but for some reason they could never produce it. Trump finally got his wish that a case would make it to the conservative Supreme Court, which was bolstered with his appointees. He was nonplussed when his judges, along with the other members of the court, tossed it too. Trump’s final case record tally was a perfect 0 wins, 60 losses. ……… There shouldn’t be any now!

If there was ever any doubt……  After every state certified their vote tabulations confirming Donald Trump’s loss he nevertheless declared, “I won every state”. Trump, attempting to fraudulently overturn voters’ choices in Georgia, made three calls to officials there, the third to Georgia Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, where in a rambling (What other kind does Trump make?) sixty-two-minute call, wisely recorded by an ally of Raffensperger, Trump told him, “I only need 11,780 votes. It’s easy to do, just say you’ve recalculated”. Mr. Raffensperger, tethered to the real world, told Trump the problem was the certified vote totals had been counted three times and were accurate. Meanwhile, poor Susan Collins, who declining to vote to impeach Trump after his blackmail call to the Ukrainian President, had naively said, “I think he’s learned his lesson”, herself learned a lesson when she had to be rushed out of the Senate chamber to a secret hiding place to escape Trump’s horde of invaders. ……. There shouldn’t be any now!

If there was ever any doubt…….  Trump pushed Mike Pence into a corner from which he had no escape. Pence had the Constitutional requirement to accept and record each state’s electoral college votes before a joint session of Congress. Trump told Pence to deny these votes. Pence, who will never be able to remove the brown from his nose after four years of telling Trump how wonderful he was, either had to obey Trump or the Constitution. When Pence chose the Constitution, Trump, notwithstanding four years of fawning loyalty from Pence, sent the mob after him. ………There shouldn’t be any now!

If there was ever any doubt……. Trump’s mob, several carrying zip ties to bind their quarry, breeched the Capitol Police defenses, broke into the Capitol, and searched for the Vice-President, Senators, and Congressmen and women who were guilty of stealing the election from Donald Trump. They looted and desecrated that sacred place as they went. They killed one officer and injured several in their fury; one officer later committed suicide. One terrorist carried a Confederate flag into the Capitol; something Robert E. Lee’s army had never been able to accomplish. Several hours after it began, Trump issued a statement, telling the terrorists, “I know your pain, I know your hurt, I love you, but you have to go home now”. …… There shouldn’t be any now! 

If there was ever any doubt about Donald Trump’s escalating descent into madness following his 2020 election loss, there shouldn’t be any now!

Philip A. Watts

See Phil’s past columns.

Philip A. Watts

Phil Watts learned some early life lessons as a paperboy on the Southside of Birmingham, where he grew up. His education continued at Auburn University, where he earned a mechanical engineering degree and made lifelong friends in his Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Later he earned an MBA from Samford University and served in the U.S. Army.

Licensed as a professional engineer, he co-founded Control and Power, Inc., an industrial distribution business in 1959. He retired from that business in 2011. His interests over the years have included handball, bicycling, canoeing, snow skiing, and reading. He is a longtime member and Sunday School teacher at Southside Baptist, an all-inclusive church in Birmingham, where he still lives. He is married and has three children and two grandchildren.

Phil wrote for business purposes throughout his career, along with occasional personal pieces. He became more serious about his writing after the infamous escalator ride at Trump Tower in 2015. His essays on life and politics circulated to his circle of friends for several years. Beginning in September 2019, they began to appear as regular features on The Op-Ed Page at www.newsouthbooks.com.