Politico has been doing some digging and reveals that Pres. Donald Trump came into office with a ready-made plan for fighting impeachment. In fact, Trump actually revealed his own strategy for impeachment 21 years ago when he defended embattled Pres. Bill Clinton. Trump’s plan? Total warfare.
According to Politico, Trump appeared on NBC’s Hardball during the time Clinton’s impeachment saga was going on, and he told host Chris Matthews that what Clinton needed to do was “go after his enemies.”
“Go after your enemies. I mean, they’re after you. Go after your enemies,” Trump said on Hardball in September 1998. “I think that Clinton probably is too nice a guy in a certain respect. I don’t think he’s going after people the way he should and I really believe his thing is to be liked and I don’t think that’s a very good position to be in right now.”
And lo and behold, that is exactly what Donald Trump is doing.
“Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats can’t put down the Impeachment match. They know they couldn’t beat him in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, and they’re increasingly aware of the fact that they won’t win against him in 2020, and Impeachment is the only tool they have to get….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
But one thing Trump doesn’t have to worry about is scruples. Unlike Bill Clinton, Trump isn’t “too nice a guy.” He’s not a nice guy at all, and I don’t think that’s particularly insulting to him, to be honest. He likes being seen as a bully and an asshole.
Politico reporter Tina Nguyen explains.
“The subsequent impeachment proceedings? A revenge-motivated ‘lynching’ that Republicans needed to treat as a war they needed to win. The Democrats investigating him? Trump called them peddlers of ‘ bullshit,’ who would lose in 2020 if they didn’t relent. (‘Get a better candidate this time, you’ll need it!’) And what if Trump does get removed from office? In September, the president tweeted a quote from Pastor Robert Jeffress, warning that if the Democrats removed him as president, ‘it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.”
So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2019
She added this.
“In 1998 and 1999, Trump — then just another billionaire who had yet to launch The Apprentice — used repeated opportunities in the spotlight to share his views on impeachment and what he would do if he were in Clinton’s position. At the time, he was storming the airwaves to promote his book, ‘The Art of the Comeback,’ while talking up his first dance toward the presidency as a potential candidate for the Reform Party.”
Trump actually seemed to love giving Bill Clinton advice during that difficult era. He also went on The Today Show with Matt Lauer and brought up Clinton accuser Paula Jones’ deposition. Trump said that Clinton should have just refused to discuss it.
“He could have said, ‘Look, I don’t want to discuss it,’” Trump told Lauer. “I’ve seen politicians in New York that are scoundrels get away with that for years. ‘I don’t talk about my personal life…’ He should have done that. Instead, he had to lie.”
In fact, he thought Clinton should have taken the Fifth Amendment.
“I’m not even sure that he shouldn’t have just gone in and taken the Fifth Amendment and said, ‘Look, I don’t get along with this man Starr. He’s after me. He’s a Republican. He’s this, he’s that,’ and, you know, just taken the Fifth Amendment. It’s a terrible thing for a president to take the Fifth Amendment, but he probably should have done it,” he told Lauer.
Even some of the same terminology was in place. Trump said that Clinton should avoid telling outright lies, don’t get involved publicly, and make independent counsel Kenneth Starr look like he was on a witch hunt.
This mofo is doing and has done all of that!
The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2019
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2019
I can not even count the number of times he’s tweeted nothing but “WITCH HUNT!” However, The Nation states that he’s used the term nearly 300 times since becoming president. And that article is from October 2019, so the number is probably much higher than that by now.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2019
The author of the article by The Nation points out that Trump is actually cleverly using something called the “reiteration effect.” Essentially, when false information (lies) is repeated often enough, people start to believe it, according to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association.
Ironically, in an interview with Geraldo Rivera in November 1999, Trump said that Kenneth Starr was a “total wacko” but he praised Hilary Clinton, calling her “a very, very good person.” WTF?
Of course, he eventually got to the stuff that really matters. You know, the important stuff: that Trump thought the women Clinton was involved in were physically unattractive. In an August 1998 interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, Trump tossed this up.
“It’s like from hell, it’s a terrible group of people,” Trump told Neil Cavuto on Fox News in August 1998. “The whole group, Paula Jones, [Monica] Lewinsky, it’s just a really unattractive group. I’m not just talking about physical,” he said.
He even suggested that the whole ordeal would have been more “pleasant” to watch if the women had been “supermodel”-level attractive (Cavuto’s description, not Trump’s).
And lookee here! He even addressed “declining” to answer, just like Trump himself is doing by refusing to testify.
“He should have also declined to answer, rather than perjure himself. If the Clinton affair proves anything it is that the American people don’t care about the private lives and personal [sic] of our political leaders so long as they are doing the job.”
However, Trump does have some strong ideas about who should have been impeached. He shared with Wolf Blitzer in a 2008 interview with CNN that he believed Pres. George W. Bush should have been impeached. And guess his reason: lying. He believed Bush should have been impeached for lying about the justification for the Iraq War. We happen to agree, but for Trump to complain about anyone lying is hella audacious.
“Look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant. And they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense,” he said. “And yet Bush got us into this horrible war with lies, by lying, by saying they had weapons of mass destruction, by saying all sorts of things that turned out not to be true.”
“Any president has the authority to investigate corruption. The President himself released the transcript of the call. Now the Democrats have no evidence of a crime and no evidence of violating the law. This is a kangaroo court in the House, but it’s going to go to the Senate,…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2019
See, with Trump, it’s all a matter of what TRUMP thinks is unimportant. Like pressuring a foreign leader to help with a political campaign, for instance. Unimportant! True? Yeah, maybe. But….unimportant!
“Everybody knows I did nothing wrong,” he told the Washington Examiner in a recent interview. “Bill Clinton did things wrong; Richard Nixon did things wrong. I won’t go back to [Andrew] Johnson because that was a little before my time,” he said. “But they did things wrong. I did nothing wrong.”
Well, first of all, you can still go back to Andrew Johnson because we do have history books, but God knows Trump hasn’t read them. Anyhow.
Perhaps the most Trumpian advice of all, however, popped up in a New York Times article published in September 1998.
“Mr. Clinton’s latest attempts to grovel and continuously apologize to anyone willing to listen are demeaning both to himself and his country,” he wrote. “How many times does he have to say ‘I’m sorry’?”
Never apologize. Never.