Mark Meadows And Delusional Former President Hold Very Serious Make-Believe 'Cabinet Meetings'
we learned that Donald Trump pressured the Department of Justice to falsely declare the 2020 presidential election “corrupt" as part of his increasingly desperate and unhinged coup attempt. The DOJ, now under new management, also announced that the House of Representatives has a legitimate legislative reason to poke around in Trump's taxes. It wasn't a great few days for President Klan Robe.
Nonetheless, Trump still imagines a future where he enjoys a big Norma Desmond comeback, instead of being escorted to some kind of prison. Trump's last surviving chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was a guest Friday on Newsmax's "Cortes & Pellegrino," and he hinted broadly at plans for Trump's triumphant run to the White House he desecrated. Maggie Haberman called the interview “bizarre," which greatly undersells what we witnessed. This was far worse than that time an interviewer confused Samuel L. Jackson with Laurence Fishburne.
I can’t stop thinking about this interview. The former chief of staff is talking as if there’s a shadow presidency… https://t.co/qVvoNcvDXd— Maggie Haberman (@Maggie Haberman) 1627746802.0
Meadows described Trump as "a president that is fully engaged, highly focused, and remaining on task." This wasn't true of Trump when he was actually president. Furthering the delusion, host Steve Cortes called Meadows "chief," as though he still has a paying job with the government:
CORTES: Chief, do you want to break any news from your meetings with President Trump?
MEADOWS: Well, we met with some of our Cabinet members tonight.
No, he did not, because Donald Trump is not president and no longer has a collection of grifters and sleazebags we're obliged to call a “cabinet."
MEADOWS: We actually had a follow-up [...] meeting with some of our Cabinet members, and as we were looking at that, we were looking at what does come next. I'm not authorized to speak on behalf of the president, but I can tell you this, Steve. We wouldn't be meeting tonight if we weren't making plans to move forward in a real way, with President Trump at the head of that ticket.
This is so fucking pathetic. As Haberman observed, Meadows is coyly promoting the notion that there's a “shadow presidency" operating out of Mar-a-Lago or Trump's Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, or wherever he is currently hiding from any subpoenas that may come. This is dangerous rhetoric because Trump's batshit supporters seriously believe the conspiracy-theorist-in-chief will somehow magically become president again. This fantasy “reinstatement" is supposedly scheduled for August, at least if we listen to the MyPillow guy's fever dreams.
Trump idiots are quick to point out that Hillary Clinton called Trump an “illegitimate president" and implied he'd stolen the election. Many of her supporters considered her the “people's president" because she'd won the popular vote, something Trump never managed. However, the 2017 Women's March was a peaceful protest, not a violent coup attempt. Advocating for the end of the Electoral College isn't the same as storming the Capitol to overturn the results of a free and fair election.
When the MAGA mob claims Joe Biden isn't a legitimate president, there is an implicit threat of more violence. Polls have shown that a disturbing number of Republicans believe political violence is "sometimes necessary."
Meadows reveals what most people already know: Trump will run again in 2024. (Or at least wants his followers to think he is, for grifting purposes.) He's playing coy, but he basically said it during an interview a few weeks ago with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo:
"I do know my answer, but I can't reveal it yet because that has to do with campaign financing." He added, "We're going to do very well," and said CNN and MSNBC "are gonna come out and endorse me" because, he claimed, his candidacy will increase viewership.
The Federal Election Commission has a “testing the waters" exemption that allows potential candidates to raise money while considering whether they'll actually run. They can do this without filing reports, and we all know how much Trump loves transparency.
The exemption isn't a “free pass" and is intended to cover genuine uncertainty. Trump has obviously made up his mind, but he seems to think he can take advantage of the exemption for as long as he delays officially saying he's running. But his fake chief of staff just declared that they are “making plans to move forward in a real way." These bozos fundamentally misunderstand the law, which should come as no surprise to anyone who lived through Trump's trainwreck presidency.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."