The case of Captain Brett E. Crozier's dismissal as skipper of the nuclear aircraft carrier Theodore Roosvelt by acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modley adds a new twist to the machinations of the president and the toadies with which he surrounds himself. The acting secretary, under pressure from the White House, overruled the Navy's top admiral, Michael Gilday saying that Captain Crozier had "cracked under pressure." Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said he supported the decision as well. Modley was forced to resign after exacerbation of the situation by foolishly echoing the sentiments of his president and calling Crozier "stupid" and his letter "an act of betrayal." Obviously the "act of betrayal" was not the letter. Just as obviously, the betrayal lies in the actions of the cowardly Modley, his boss, Espers and his boss, Trump and his disloyalty to the sailors aboard the carrier and to the Navy's top admiral as well as to the American people.
The fact that Admiral Gilday stood up to the acting Secretary of the Navy and eventually decided not to punish Captain Crozier represents one of the relatively rare occasions in which an influential government employee has stood up to Boss Trump. Toadies in his cabinet, virtually all Republican Senators (except for Mr. Romney) and Congresspersons, as well as right wing media sycophants continue to back the president who clearly manifests all the signs of being an ignoramus as well as a sociopath and who is clearly responsible for numerous deaths through depraved indifference in advancement of his political career. Given the sordid, however reasonable history of new presidents protecting previous chief executives from criminal prosecutions, it is likely that Mr. Trump will never pay for his crimes against the American people.
Republicans had a golden opportunity, actually, to put Mike Pence, vastly more conservative than the insincere peudoconservative Trump, but far more qualified, into the president's chair, but chose, either through blatant stupidity or abject fear of reprisal by Moscow Mitch McConnell, who threatened to devastate their states, to give an autocrat free reign to literally destroy his country. Sooner or later, Republicans, even those Hillary foolishly referred to as "deplorables," will finally recognize the devastation that their "hero" has already unleashed on this country. Whether caused by war or plague or ideological extremes, it is no coincidence that virtually every economic disaster seems to occur during a Republican administration and ends by being cleaned up by a Democrat led administration as illogical as it may sound. If Hillary's name was met at Trump rallies with shouts of "lock her up" for actions that don't warrant actual arrest, what should opposing voters shout about someone responsible for so many needless deaths through a combination of Trump's corruption and incompetence?
The more interesting question, I believe, is what will Republican administration and Congressional toadies say, "I was only obeying orders?" News item: It didn't work at Nuremberg and it shouldn't work for the toadies who have "free will," but put so many people's lives in danger for the supposed benefit of their own party. Meanwhile individual cabinet members, if they cannot unite with other members and have a clearly lunatic, out of control president escorted out of the White House even for the good of the country, who feel they can only quit, should have the guts to say their piece in front of the public before they resign, not after. They have no enforceable legal exposure. As I have said before, Congresspersons and Senators need to be questioned, eventually, by the appropriate House and Senate committees under oath, to ascertain whether they were threatened by the president or Mitch McConnell before the supposed "jury" had voted during the impeachment trial proceedings. Anyone refusing to testify needs to be arrested by the sergeant of arms and jailed for contempt, not just threatened with incarceration. Chief Justice Roberts needs to be questioned as well for allowing Trump and McConnell to tamper with so called "jury members" before their votes in the kangaroo court in which he presided.
I am not talking about a vendetta here! I don't believe that even the usual alarmists understand the gravity of this situation. MR. TRUMP AND HIS ADMINISTRATION REPRESENT THE GRAVEST THREAT WE HAVE EVER HAD TO THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC ESTABLISHED IN THE CONSTITUTION! WE ARE NOT SIMPLY IN A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS. OUR CONSTITUTION HAS ALREADY FAILED!!!! IT ONLY WORKS IF THE PERSONS IN CHARGE WANT IT TO WORK! So far, they do not. Trump's cabinet members, Republican senators, congresspersons, a few governors and even a group of government health officials apparently do not want it to work. There must be things that are more important, I guess, than human lives, say, humoring a seriously demented psychpath who suggests drinking or injecting bleach or other disinfectants to fight a virus while purposely negotiating politically motivated business deals under the table, knowing full well that they will impede delivery of PPE and testing to pandemic ravaged states. In the end, someone with considerable intestinal fortitude within the CDC (Dr. Redfield), or AIDS Director (Dr. Birx) or Director of Allergy and Infectious Disease at NIH (Dr. Fauci) or less likely the silent Alex Azar will need to rally his or her colleagues and reveal the deep corruption, psychosis, and the resulting ineptitude in the president's handling of the current pandemic.
With the Republican party dying a slow and painful death, eventually representing fewer and fewer groups of American citizens, sadly, the once great party will eventually represent only some poor uneducated white people and a certain number of misguided super rich exploiting them and everyone else they can. Until its demise or, hopefully, its resurrection as the representative party that it was, many of its leaders will continue to inflict as much devastation and destruction of democratic values as they possibly can on our country. In three years, by encouraging bigoted, severely short sighted policies, president Trump and his toadies have managed to ensure that even if there is a world wide recovery, medical and economic, the U.S. will no longer be the world leader that it was before his unfortunate tenure. He has encouraged more nuclear armaments in Iran, Russia, and North Korea by undermining treaties with those countries. He has established a bullying and simple minded "us against the rest of the world" trade policy instead of undertaking the hard work of improving the TPP and working with our allies to establish a realistic economic relationship with China, one which will not harm us in the end or make China into the world's most influential economic force.
Realistically, given the cowardice and desperation of so many Republicans, there seems to be no chance, no matter what the fool in the White House does, that his party will desert him. If no one in the decaying Republican party is left to resurrect it, then it is left to the American voter to literally save our country. Republicans realize full well that, as Mr Trump admitted, they cannot win if too many people vote. It means we cannot have a repeat of the last election in which so many Democrats, in favor of Democratic candidates other than Hillary, stayed at home, refusing to vote. It also means those Democrats who didn't vote can't complain about the "unfairness" of the electoral college. It was and still is a legitimate idea, even though it forces candidates to campaign in places they should and pay attention to those voters, but are too lazy to do so. If Democrats and independents cannot win the House, hopefully the Senate, but especially the White House, do you really think we will fare any better during the next crisis? And, if there is no reckoning, do you really think this whole scenario will not be repeated over and over and over?
Al Finkelstein, 4/26/20