VB The Wise: No Tapes, No Surprise

Doug 'VB' Goudie
June 22, 2017 - 3:58 pm

   So POTUS finally admitted what we all already knew, he did NOT record his personal conversation with James Comey on that fateful evening back in January.  Of course he doesn't have tapes because 1. if he did and they backed up Comey, he would never have mentioned it, and 2. if he had tapes and they did NOT back up Comey, we would have known about them immediately.  How do I know that?  Because Trump's juvenile "he'd better hope there aren't tapes" tweet was designed to sway public opinion in Trump's favor, and if there were factual tapes that could do that, he would have used them, "BELIEVE ME".  But there's an old saying that applies to any one of us, and it goes "sometimes we are our own worst enemy."  In this case, who can argue with that?  Trump's silly tweet bluster DIRECTLY led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel and the alleged obstruction of justice investigation.  Without that tweet, Comey is not compelled to release his memo which forced Rod Rosenstein's hand to appoint Mueller.  Had Trump not tweeted that, maybe Mueller is actually the FBI Director right now!  Who knows.   

   And while it is true that Trump walks to the beat of his own drum, and he has made a wildly successful career out of doing things that others would advise against, that doesn't mean he isn't prone to mistakes, and this was a big one.  Ask yourself this, what was the upside to the original"he'd better hope there aren't tapes" tweet?  Was the hope that such a prospect would shut Comey up?  What exactly would that have done?  That type of stuff may work in the corporate world where there is no one to run counter to the top man, but that is NEVER the case with the Presidency.  There's always somebody watching, somebody lurking...  Look, I'm not one of those people who says that POTUS Trump should stay off Twitter.  I love that he tweets, and I accept the fact that he will occasionally screw up in so doing (the Rod Rosenstein tweet last week for example).  But this tweet was a different level of screw up, as it had significant consequences to which the President himself has complained about - namely Mueller.

   The good news in all of this is that there are no tapes.  Had there been, that would have been a HORRID look for the President.  Why in God's name would he be secretly taping the Director of the FBI?  There could be only two reasons: 1. Because he didn't trust him and wanted to CYA, or 2. Because he tapes everyone.  Both of those reasons have paranoid Nixonian elements to them that would have looked far worse for POTUS than the fact that he sent out a foolish tweet.  So this is the best possible outcome at this point for Trump, even though he had to eat a little humble pie in his lawyerly worded tweet "I did not make, and do not have, any such tapes".  But a better outcome would have been to never have gone down this Comey tape rabbit hole in the first place.  Why, well I'll put it to you this way, at the end of the year we will all be doing our Best and Worst of Trump in 2017, and I can guarantee you that no matter what he does in the second half of the year, this particular tweet will be at or near the top of the Worst list.  And it should be, because while we can never know where any of this would be right now had Trump not tweeted "he'd better hope there aren't tapes", we also cannot envision a scenario where Trump did not tweet that and yet the situation turned out worse than this.  How could it, considering there MIGHT not be a Special Counsel had he not, and there certainly might not be obstruction talk had he not.  Ah well, the tweet is what it is, and we are where we are, so at least there are no tapes.

   More wisdom next week. 

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