Perhaps the most frequently asked question by rational viewers of Trumpland, the sleaziest Reality TV show in the genre’s sordid history, is why do they do it.
Why do seemingly normal people demean themselves in defense of an ignorant, bullying braggart? Why do they put their reputations on the line for a shallow conman who has spent his life enriching himself at others’ expense?
Take H.R. McMaster, the latest casualty in a long list of Trump supporters and sycophants who have stepped in front of the camera to take one for the Mango Megalomaniac. A hero of the Gulf War, McMaster, then a captain, lead a tank attack on a numerically superior Republican Guard force destroying the enemy without losing a single tank. He was awarded a Silver Star and rose rapidly through American military ranks, writing a book, Dereliction of Duty, criticizing American military leadership for its role in the Viet Nam War and earning a PhD in American history along the way. In 2014, Time Magazine listed the now Brigadier General as one of the most 100 influential people in the world.
Fast forward to his press appearance in front of the White House after his new boss, while bragging to the Russians in the Oval Office the day after he fired the FBI director investigating him, revealed highly classified information that put the lives of a U.S. ally’s intelligence operatives in jeopardy. Standing before the cameras in a tightly tailored suit unbecoming a man in charge of the nation’s national security, McMaster called the Washington Post story outlining Trump’s gaff categorically false before turning on his heel and marching back into the White House without answering questions.
The next day, no longer able to dispute the veracity of the report, McMaster was back before the cameras ‘walking back’ his previous assertion by saying the story’s intent was wrong. Using weasel words better suited to a political hack than a respected general, McMaster maintained everything Trump said was “wholly appropriate” to the conversation at hand.
We later learned, thanks to a patriotic leaker in the intelligence community, that in addition to giving sensitive intelligence to the Russians, Trump told the enemy his real reason for firing the FBI director. He called James Comey, a respected public servant who eschewed a lucrative private law career to faithfully serve his country for more than three decades, a “nut job” and said his firing would take pressure off the investigation into Russian interference, an investigation in which his Oval Office guests were front and center.
This went down as Trump lapdog Mike Pence and other minions were scurrying about making fools of themselves lying to the American people, insisting Comey was fired on the recommendation of the Deputy Attorney General. Unless Pence was lying, the Russians knew the real reason for the firing before the Vice President of the United States.
Most recently, McMaster was back on television reacting to the Washington Post story that Jared Kushner and McMaster’s disgraced predecessor Michael Flynn had met with Trump’s Oval Office guest, Russian Ambassador and spymaster Sergey Kyslyak, to discuss opening a back channel to the Kremlin that could circumvent American intelligence.
Nothing unusual about this, said McMaster with a straight face, adding that governments routinely try to establish back channels to foreign governments. Trouble is, the secret meeting took place in Trump Tower during the transition, when neither Flynn nor Kushner were part of the American government.
It doesn’t take a PhD to understand that it isn’t business as usual when two subjects of an FBI investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election are meeting with Russia’s top spy to arrange communications that will be known only to them. Think about it: Flynn, who Trump fired but continues to promote as a good guy, lost his job for lying to the Vice President about his communications with the Russians. Kushner only admitted to the meeting after being outed by the press. McMaster would have us believe we’re supposed to trust these guys.
Learned war hero General McMaster, you are sinking into the orange goop dripping from Trump’s sweating face, joining good Catholic Sean Spicer, gurgling in the muck of Trump’s toxic swamp.
But perhaps more troubling for America’s future than power hungry bootlickers doing a morally bankrupt narcissist’s dirty work to the detriment of their country, is the inescapable fact that 37 per cent of Americans still believe Trump is doing a good job.
How can this be, sensible people the world over ask themselves as they watch the hypocrite who famously evaded the draft during the Viet Nam war, not out of concience but to pursue money, lay wreaths and spout clichés during Memorial Day ceremonies? The answer is as uncomplicated as the head space of the hundreds of people who willingly went to their deaths in the service of another megalomaniac in Jonestown. Tens of millions of Trump supporters are drinking the Kool-Aid in great suicidal gulps, which doesn’t auger well for the world’s oldest democracy.