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Trump: Our National
Nightmare Is Just Beginning

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Image by Doug Molony.
Regardless Of What Happens From This Point In Time, Donald Trump Has Created A Stain On The Presidency Unlike Any That Have Come Before — Even Richard Nixon


By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine

May 11, 2017 — When I was a young man and first heard Pres. Gerald Ford’s comments to the nation after succeeding Richard Nixon, I couldn’t fathom how people were so concerned.

“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over,” Ford said on Aug. 9, 1974.

But like most followers of Trump, I was naive and oh so young and immature.

And now, more than 40 years later, I know exactly what Ford meant. I realize now how fragile our republic truly is, and how all it takes is a handful of people to potentially throw the whole thing into the gutter.

But, unfortunately, our current national nightmare is not yet over.

It has only just begun.

Sure, many Americans feel the same way I do: ashamed and aghast in horror at what is happening in Washington. To make matters worse, it's likely a foreign government has, so far, gotten away with scuttling a national election.

But it's not just me. It is the countless numbers of Americans who took to the streets this week to protest this action. And, it is those who have dedicated themselves to the laws and fine-tuned policies, traditions and “norms” in our government that are raising some of the more serious questions about Pres. Trump’s firing of James Comey as FBI Director.

The American Constitution Society brought some of these fine minds to a conference call Thursday morning about the Trump and Comey scandal and what may happen moving forward.

Included on the call was Stephen Vladeck, professor of law, University of Texas School of Law; Barbara McQuade, Professor from Practice, University of Michigan Law School, Former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan; and Richard Painter, S. Walter Richey professor of corporate law, University of Minnesota School of Law.

Sure, Trumpkins will complain they are more of the “lamestream” media or “leftists” or whatever supposedly derogatory term they can come up with. But these law scholars, unlike many others who more readily grab the mantle, appear to be true patriots because they are sticking up for their country, not a person.

And while many compare the situation to Nixon and many Trump supporters deny it possible, Painter says what happened here with the Trump campaign and Russia is likely worse.

“No matter how reprehensible President Nixon’s conduct was -- it still was crime, a burglary -- but it did not involve foreign agents, it was an domestic job, an amateur job,” Painter said. “What we have here is a much more dangerous threat to our national security.”

Before Trump supporters call Painter a leftist, he is not a lifelong Democrat, but a former ethics lawyer for George W. Bush.

Sure, to many Trumpettes, that’s nearly as bad as a Democrat, but in the real world, it shows how deep condemnation of Trump has gone.

Vladeck for one, stopped short of saying Comey’s firing was a constitutional crisis — but that it looks like it is leading to one.

“Constitutional crisis? Not yet,” Vladek said. “The crisis has much more to do whether we are allowing the erosion of norms protecting the Justice Department and FBI.”

Yet, he says if Trump nominates a “yes man” to the post, that is when things will start heading down the constitutional crisis lane.

“The identity of the next FBI director will be hugely important,” he says. “If ... the nominee is someone who is generally likely to be close to the president or not stand up to the president, then we will reach a crisis.”

Painter says it is clear to him that a special prosecutor is needed while lamenting the fact that the statute for a special prosecutor expired. That would necessitate negotiations as to how that person or office would be able to do their work.

“It is important when we talk about public leaders telling the truth, that we acknowledge that we expect our leaders to tell the truth. We have had presidents lie: Clinton lied about his sex life and Nixon lied about the burglary. I do not know who lied about contact with the Russians,” Painter said. “I do not know who else is lying, but it is a critically important issue that we get to the bottom of it.”


And while it is easy to get frustrated at the entire ordeal and just want to get the national nightmare over, there can be no easy fix. Our republican democracy is sometimes plodding, and seems to not be working just before someone or something happens to put it right again.

So for all of those worried that our current national nightmare will likely get worse before it gets better, take solace in more of Gerald Ford’s comments from Aug. 9, 1974.

“Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men.”

Eventually even those hardcore Trump supporters will wake up.

Then and only then, will our current national nightmare truly be over.
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