One of the more pathetic trends amongst Trump-enabling media voices and politicos is the urge to treat the President of the United States as if he is some delicate creature whose ego must be nurtured and behaviors explained away rather than what he actually is: an innately cruel benefactor of lifelong privilege and the most crooked leader in American history.
It’s this bizarre predilection that manifests itself every time some MAGA surrogate appears on television to explain that Trump didn’t mean what he said, that he actually meant something far saner. It’s how the truly absurd line that we should take him “seriously” not “literally” entered into our discourse about the man with unilateral control of our nuclear arsenal. To these people, Donald Trump is never responsible for his own horrendous actions, it’s the rest of us who are to blame for not responding properly to his actions in some more lenient fashion.
This idiotic excuse-manufacturing routine even extends to cases of abject criminality on the part of our soon-to-be-ex-president as evinced by a tweet today from Geraldo Rivera, a friend and frequent apologist for Trump.
Over the weekend, a recording of a phone call between Donald Trump and Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger was released in full. It showed the president in no uncertain terms attempting to coerce Raffensberger into overturning his state’s election results, taking it from Biden and handing it to Trump. The president urged him to “find 11,780 votes,” even though the final count has already been certified and “finding” votes at this point really means fabricating them. Raffensberger refused. Even though the gambit was unsuccessful, it was nothing less than a blatant attempt on the part of a sitting president to destroy our democracy and install himself for a second, illegal term.
Rivera, never the type to be mistaken for a paragon of courage, tweeted that the “saddest” part of this “election controversy” is that Trump “really believes he won, and was cheated.” Rivera insisted that the president wasn’t telling Raffensberger to rig the numbers but was actually “begging” him for “the result he believes in his heart really happened.”
“Sadly for him, not state and no court agree,” Rivera concluded.
Is he serious? Does Rivera really think that after all we’ve seen Trump do over the past four years that we’re going to give him the benefit of the doubt? That we will listen to the phone call itself, with its vague threats of criminal actions unless Raffensberger does as told, and come out thinking that Trump doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing? This president is a pathological criminal, a sociopathic monstrosity willing to employ any and all methods in pursuit of his own interests.
And even if we did buy into this babe in the woods claim, what difference does it make? If President Trump has really succumbed fully to the paranoia, lies, and conspiracy theories that he’s peddled for years, why should we be sympathetic? The man is trying to dismantle our Republic and Rivera wants us to look at it from his point of view. Trump doesn’t deserve our pity, he deserves jail time.
Saddest aspect of election controversy is @realDonaldTrump really believes he won, and was cheated. He wasn't asking @GaSecofState to fix the numbers. He was begging Raffensburger for the result he believes in his heart really happened. Sadly for him, no state and no court agree.
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) January 5, 2021
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.