When will people stop hoping against hope that Donald Trump will suddenly grow up and start acting like a rational adult? He never has and he’s way too old now to learn how.
So Newsweek is out with a pretty thin attempt at a think piece that wonders aloud if Trump will resign, as Richard Nixon did, if Mueller presents damning evidence of criminal activity and/or the House votes to impeach him.
First, let us remember that Nixon received three prominent Republicans, including Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, perhaps the most famous Republican in the country after Nixon himself, a former presidential candidate who commanded enormous respect within his Party, the day before he announced his resignation. Less than two weeks before, the House Judiciary Committee had voted out an article of impeachment and was ready to vote on more. Goldwater told Nixon that he would likely lose a trial in the Senate, which would vote to remove him from office.
Nixon was crazy. He was a megalomaniac who believed that his agenda was so important for the country as a whole that he was justified in ignoring laws and rules to bring it about. He was also paranoid. He would almost certainly have won the 1972 presidential election easily without cheating, but he felt compelled to cheat anyway. He knew he was cheating. He knew how the U.S. government was supposed to work and how it did work. He had spent eight years as vice president under Dwight Eisenhower.
Trump is clueless from top to bottom. He does not understand the concept of rules or of the rule of law. He does not realize how corrupt and criminal he is. He has no idea how the U.S. government is supposed to work or does work. He has no previous experience in government. But he is also a megalomaniac and paranoid. He has all of Nixon’s worst qualities with none of his redeeming qualities.
It is very hard to imagine why he will go quietly if events make the end of his first, and likely only, term as president come before January 2021. As with the future in general, as with all things Trump, it is impossible to know exactly how events will play out. Everything about him as president is unprecedented. He has caused multiple embarrassments as president already. There is no good reason to doubt that his exit will be anything but deeply embarrassing to the entire country.
The best we can hope for is that his leaving will cause no violence, that no one will die in the process.