As the impeachment process moves on to its next phase, Donald Trump is offering a unique method of defense. His plan is to deliver a fireside chat where he will read the transcript of the infamous Ukrainian phone call. His hope is that by reading the transcript, his power of persuasion is so great that he will sway those who want to impeach him.
There are several problems with this strategy, not the least of which is that the transcript is not a verbatim account of the conversation. As a matter of fact, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, a top National Security official, stated in his testimony to House committees that he sought to correct omissions to the transcript where Trump directly asked the Ukrainian president for dirt on the Bidens.
Upon hearing of this request, the White House ordered a lockdown of the information, thereby preventing any further challenges.
Additionally, prior to his testimony, White House council ordered Lt. Colonel Vindman to remain silent in the information he later divulged, which is a potential obstruction of justice.
Despite this, and other testimony, Trump believes his personal charisma will be enough to shut down the impeachment process. His belief that the “Trump brand” will live up to its past success -- despite his multiple business failures and bankruptcies.
And why shouldn’t he believe the hype?
Typical of his staff’s behavior, when the news gets negative, they send him to another rally, where he is surrounded by adoring fans, although there are allegations that some attendees are actually paid actors to provide the illusion that he is universally loved and supported. This illusion came to a crashing halt when he attended a World Series game. He was loudly booed and there were chants of “Lock him up!”.
This dose of reality led to the hastily produced ad in which Trump declared that America needed a man like him. This led to even more boos from Nationals’ fans when the ad was played during game seven of the World Series.
Trump staffers sought a return to the illusion as they arranged another rally to bolster his fragile ego. A confused Trump mistakenly tweeted that he would be in Louisiana, despite being scheduled to appear in Mississippi.
Could this confusion and general chutzpah lead to his demise?
His massive ego will likely prevent him from resigning, but as the facts become clear, it could lead to his removal from office.
It would be the final act of ‘The Death of a Salesman’.