Asterisks and emotional fallout for the ages

President* Trump,

My impulse just now was to add a dozen more asterisks after “President” to signify your continued free-fall from anything remotely resembling presidential. You never were president material so there’s never been a time when you didn’t deserve the asterisk treatment, but holy shit do you continue to achieve new depths.

Along these lines, who in the National Weather Service are you going to bully this time, since you clearly need someone to “update” the New Hampshire forecast for you? And could somebody please kick Governor Sununu where it counts for saying he believes the rally, whenever it happens, will be safe for the people of New Hampshire when he’s not going to attend because he doesn’t want to be around thousands of people with covid-19 on the loose. His excuse is that he’s extra special because he’s the Governor and so he has to be extra careful. Nice.

And then there’s the breaking news that you commuted Roger Stone’s sentence. The reasoning behind why you commuted his sentence rather than pardon him will be hashed out over the next several days, but the initial take is that with the commutation, Stone can claim the Fifth in the future whereas if you had pardoned him he couldn’t. If true, this is super convenient for you, isn’t it? Actually, it would have been better if you’d done the commuting before he had a chance to throw you under the bus as he did in the interview Howard Fineman earlier today – oops! Here’s what he said (from Mother Jones):

““[Trump] knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn’t.””

Hmm. But, he didn’t turn on you. When someone chooses not to turn on a co-conspirator it means there is something substantive to reveal so it stands to reason that you are absolutely desperate to keep your buddy Roger happy since a few weeks in prison might have led him to be much less invested in keeping up the DJT-cover deal. Am I getting warm? Hot? Burning up? Yeah. Crispy, very crispy.

Switching gears a little bit, for the last few days I’ve come repeatedly to what so many people have been saying about how we didn’t need to be in this position with covid-19 or the economy and I’ve consequently alternating between incredibly angry and incredibly sad. I prefer the angry swings, but the sad swings are really real and they’ve been coming more frequently even though I’m only checking the Worldometer once a day (we were at 71,787 new cases today).

Related to all this, I know from my work with people with PTSD that when someone is traumatized by someone who intends to hurt them or who hurts them unintentionally but shows no remorse or even tries to blame them for the harm that befell them, the emotional fallout is much, much worse than when harm occurs through an accident or natural disaster. Additionally, when there’s an element of betrayal – like in the situation where the harmer is supposed to be a caretaker, protector, or leader – the emotional fallout is even more pronounced. So guess what, there’s currently, and there will be for the foreseeable future, emotional fallout coming out of our ears from covid-19 because you’re choosing to put us in harm’s way and in the process you’re betraying the trust that normally exists between the POTUS and the American people. I’m not saying we’ll all have PTSD from this, but if your goal is to weed out as many of us as you can and to emotionally harm the rest of us, then well done – you’re well on your way to a smashing success, one that will absolutely make it into the history books, albeit with a plethora of asterisks.

May we be safe from treasonous leaders.
May we be willing to call out the hypocrites among us, Gov. Sununu.
May we know that sadness is a perfectly healthy response to sad situations.
May we also know that anger is a perfectly reasonable response to betrayal.

Tracy Simpson

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