Hope you had a nice Presidents* Day.
Sorry about the asterisk, but I’m afraid we kinda need it. As you might have heard, things are getting a little sordid around the White House.
No dis on George Washington, Abraham Lincoln or even Millard Fillmore. All past presidents have had their imperfections. But from 1 to 44, every last one at least tried to do what was best for the country he was sworn to serve. What began in 1885 as a national celebration of Washington’s birthday morphed in the early 1970s into an all-inclusive Presidents’ Day on the third Monday in February.
But who’s feeling like celebrating this year? Did you hear anyone on Monday say out loud: “I sure am proud of the president we have now?”
We’ve certainly had our share of unpresidential presidents. Bill Clinton bobbed and weaved through Ken Starr’s Monica torture. Richard Nixon got drunk and paranoid as Watergate closed in. But neither of those two acted like he was more important than the office. No one else has dragged us to where we find ourselves now.
All that matters to Trump is Trump, and he keeps proving it.
Spending the holiday weekend in another frantic tweet-storm. Being hit by two new sex-and-money scandals, this time involving a porn star and a Playmate. Refusing to notice that a gun played any role in last week’s schoolhouse slaughter, the worst so far. High-fiving and then denouncing Robert Mueller’s latest indictments, this time13 Russian entities for trying to hijack the 2016 presidential campaign, the one that installed Donald Trump as president.
Blaming Democrats, blaming Barack Obama, blaming the FBI—then adding, “But wasn’t I a great candidate?” Somewhere, a 400-pound computer genius is sitting on his bed and issuing a great sigh of relief.
As Mueller’s investigation moves methodically closer to the Oval Office, Trump appears more agitated than ever before. His attacks keep growing harsher. His repetitions—“no collusion! no collusion! no collusion!”—keep sounding more obsessed. His understanding of what it means to be president keeps getting further and further from the ways his many predecessors saw the job.
Happy Presidents* Day.
Here’s hoping we all get to celebrate again before too long.
Metro columnist Ellis Henican is the best-selling author of a dozen books, including TRUMPITUDE: The Secret Confessions of Donald’s Brain. Join him on Twitter @henican.