Letters and hot coals

Dear President Trump,

The other day Laura read me a letter that was addressed to you that was credited to Tommy Lee of Motley Crue but that Sarah Silverman revealed was really written by Aldous J. Pennyfarthing (who seems to be a kindred spirit to Julius Goat in the adoption of pseudonyms and generation of pointed commentary) – got all that? Anyway, the letter starts out “Dear Fucking Lunatic” and rapidly gets more graphic and harsh. It’s a pretty great letter and it’s clear that AJP has your number. AJP is also, apparently, not all that worried about getting burned by the hot coals they are holding for those nanoseconds before they pitch them at you – burns be damned in the service of public expression of white hot rage, apparently.

I’m not made of such hearty stuff and don’t have the creative swearing capacity that AJP displays in the letter, but I do admire the effort even as I choose not to emulate it. It’s tough not to go there, though. Your sleazoid (it’s actually in the dictionary, probably added recently to accommodate the uptick in its use since you took office) behavior has only escalated in the past couple of days with the firing of IG Michael Atkinson for doing his job and the sidelining of Glenn Fine before he could start his. You are one brazen lunatic f*ck, aren’t you? It’ll be interesting what the acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, does in response to Adam Schiff’s letter calling out his concerns about your highly questionable personnel decisions (see Greg Sargent’s 4/8/20 WP editorial). Schiff laid out specific conditions that Grenell needs to answer to, in writing, to affirm that he intends to carry out his duties with integrity. Here are the relevant passages from Sargent’s editorial:

“…. Schiff calls on Grenell to confirm in writing whether he ever exercised his “authority” to “prohibit” any other “investigation, inspection, audit, or review” that Atkinson might have undertaken. Schiff’s letter also calls on Grenell to stipulate in writing that he “will not permit retaliation or reprisals against anyone who has made, or in the future makes, protected disclosures of misconduct.””

Part of what Sargent is pointing out is that we have no idea what other investigations you have swept under the rug and that there is a very real risk that whatever is there will stay there since you’re firing anyone who crosses you. Maybe they should be stepping up anyway, but I bet many of them think they can do more good staying in their positions inside the government than completely out in the cold on the outside (plus they no doubt have families to feed and all that imminently practical stuff that keeps people tethered to jobs that cause them moral distress).

This sleazoid behavior is part and parcel of what you have done and are doing to undermine pandemic preparedness, broadcast misinformation and keep the populace confused, dole out ventilators to the governors who grovel the best, tout miracle cures with no scientific backing (that you happen to have stock in), use the covid crisis to justify illegally deporting unaccompanied immigrant children, and quash plans to effect national mail-in voting in November. There are countless other instances of pre-covid sleazoid behavior we could revisit, but enough is enough – the point does not need any further sharpening – to quote AJP you are a “fried dick sandwich” (which is just about as gross an idea as I’ve ever come across, btw) and you truly need to hang it up and leave before you hurt any more innocent people.

May we be safe from you know who – you.
May we be willing to hold some hot coals for the team.
May we, however, not become so identified with our rage that we undermine our health and well-being (you aren’t worth it).
May we accept that we’ve made a mess so we can start the cleanup.

Tracy Simpson

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