We all knew last Friday afternoon that Trump had no qualms spitting in the face of law, precedent, and appearances, when retaliating against Lt. Col. Vidnman – and his brother – so quickly. Clearly Trump intended to send a message. The message was unlike any in U.S. history.
But we are learning now that all other White House officials fought against just such an action, believing it to be far too dangerous to openly flout Trump’s embrace of authoritarian tactics and utter cruelty.
The New York Times  is out with a story today about the inner-war within the White House and acceptable means to terminate Vindman.
The original plan was to use an NSC downsizing as cover to remove Vindman as well without looking like a reprisal. But in the end, the president did not want cover. He wanted to send a message — a message that Washington has received. https://t.co/Lx7KG75Vc5 
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) February 12, 2020 
Obviously there was never any no doubt whose plan would be implemented. Trump never listens to aides. The argument itself does shed light on the fact that there are some very nervous people inside the White House advising Trump. Some might be sickened with what is happening, perhaps even willing to eventually rebel against the newly unrestrained president. Some staff may see a president pushing hard toward the newly-minted dictatorship and come out anonymously with earthshaking evidence.
In the aftermath, the framing coming from the White House is that firing Vindman – and his brother – was yet another step in ridding the administration of all who are considered “Deep state” left overs.
The Deep state label is a self-serving faux categorization for those judged to not possess unqualified loyalty in all actions undertaken by Trump. In other words, the deep state are those career civil servants like Vindman who serve their country under any president without regard to party, and act upon the best interests of the United States in all interests.
Trump has a white-hot unending hatred toward such people, the type who do their jobs with expertise, perhaps without worshiping Trump sufficiently. These people have critical specialized knowledge needed keep the country safe, but might be opposed to Trump’s ascension as Supreme Leader rather than president.
To be sure, Trump would have loved to have downsized – again – the NSC personnel. He will surely do so in the next week or two. One of the VERY few principles upon which Trump rules is that he must continue to shockingly shrink the number of civil servants in government. Doing so allows him to consolidate increasing power tightly within his tiny group, fewer cabinet secretaries, fewer White House personnel, fewer aides. Trump already has a frighteningly tiny skeleton staff that is woefully underqualified and undermanned, but can be easily controlled, and easily confirmed as indisputable loyalists. There are fewer places to hide.
It is nothing more than a ferocious power-grab of the likes never seen in this country. The “deep state” is nothing but a cover term.
But all that got set aside out of the need to put Vindman’s head on a figurative pike, humiliate Vindman, punish Vindman, make Vindman even more vulnerable to physical attack by some deranged MAGA head, all out of deep personal hatred for Vindman, and a message to anyone else considering leaking or testifying. “You will be destroyed!”
Remember the message from Richard Branson? Trump “loves being screwed, because he lives to screw people back fifteen times harder” – that is what Trump lives for. He only has rage, it’s his only animating force, he has no love, no empathy, no humor, without rage he is not alive. He gets to unleash rage.
That is Trump, American president. Ruthless dictator, one that likely would kill if the options available to Saddam or MBS were available here. The only thing that likely holds Trump back is the risk that killing his “enemies” would hurt Trump in the long run.
Do you think Trump would shed a tear if a MAGA head attacked one of Trump’s “enemies” and perhaps killed someone like Vindman? Or do you think that Trump would say something like “My followers are powerful and feel deeply about this, people should know that crossing my followers carries risk.” I see it as the only possible response.
This is our president. And no Republican does anything. Susan Collins is – though – deeply “concerned.”
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