Burned-Out Pot Mocks Kettle

Colin Powell, who served as national security advisor, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and then secretary of state, respectively, under three Republican presidents, has died. I have no special interest in or admiration for Powell, but I see nothing about the man’s death that excites any particular urge to sully a grave.

By contrast, Donald Trump, a very former, absolutely defeated — humiliated, actually — president of the United States, observed the protocols of ex-presidents (of which he is certifiably and indubitably one) on the occasion of the passing of this long-serving Republican official…observed those protocols just about as well as he observed the limits and dignity of the office of the president back when he had that title (which, as you may recall, he had for just one brief but consequentially destructive term). Specifically, he used the occasion of an old four-star general’s death from cancer as an opportunity to talk like Trump always talks about anyone he does not regard (this week) as a loyal ring-kisser, namely like a radical progressive Democrat — think of a crotchety, even less literate version of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with ridiculous orange hair and ugly red ties.

After bemoaning the “beautiful” treatment Powell received in the “fake news media,” in spite of “his big mistakes on Iraq and famously, so-called weapons of mass destruction,” Trump concluded his dignified eulogy with this fabulous description of Powell: “a classic RINO, if even that, always being the first to attack other Republicans.”

“A classic RINO, if even that.” To state the obvious, that describes no one better than Trump himself: protectionist, pro-big-government, anti-public-morality, openly admiring of tyrants, keen to “negotiate” with (i.e., surrender to) thugs and killers, a rabid national debt inflator, disdainful of the separation of powers and eager to raise the profile and privilege of the presidency, anti-free-speech, anti-property-rights, obsessed with mocking and belittling domestic opponents and foreign allies even while dancing like a drunken geisha for every foreign adversary. Has anyone ever sought to squeeze more meaning out of the term RINO — and to encompass all of that meaning in his own person and policy — more energetically than Trump?

And no one in the history of American politics has ever fit the second half of his description of Powell more definitively than Trump himself: “always being the first to attack other Republicans.”

Go ahead, cult members, just try to deny that your god is the single most extreme and glaringly recognizable example of a back-stabbing, disloyal, forsake-your-allies pile of steaming self-protective betrayal that the world of junior high school cafeteria gossip has ever produced. In fact, not to put too fine a point on it, how could he have asserted his own claim to that title more blatantly than by taking a public dump on the grave of a Soldier’s Medal winner and longtime Republican (far longer than Trump) on the day after the man’s death? Well, I suppose you could make the case that his similar defecation on John McCain’s death bed and grave was comparable, but at least McCain was a man with whom Trump had a bit of a public feud, so while Trump’s behavior both during and after McCain’s death from brain cancer was disturbingly childish and petulant, perhaps we could encompass that case under the sad heading of “Trump being Trump” — aka morons will be morons.

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