Now comes the mystery.
— Henry Ward Beecher, Last words
Herewith two riddles: one with an answer-one without. The riddle with the answer is solved, thanks to a story by Hannah Elliott, that appeared in Bloomberg News on May 4, 2017. The mystery was why Mr. Trump wanted to have a great big military parade like the one his friend, Emmanuel Macron took him to in France. That parade was so exciting for Mr. Trump, that he immediately decided there should be an even bigger military parade in this country. Mr. Trump said of the French parade: “It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen. It was two hours on the button, and it was military might, and I think a tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France. We’re going to have to try to top it.” Plans have already begun. A military official who spoke with a reporter said: “The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France. This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
Not acknowledged in reports, is that there is another reason Mr. Trump wants a big parade. The reason is found in Ms. Elliott’s story. The headline says Mr. Trump misses driving and “So would you if you owned his cars.” She then offers a litany of all the magnificent vehicles that Mr. Trump has owned over the years, cars worth, collectively, many millions of dollars. They include a $270,000 Ferrari Coupe, a $460,000 1997 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster, a couple of Rolls Royces and other cars similarly valuable and fun to drive. As president, Mr. Trump cannot go for a joy ride in one of his cars because of concerns for his safety. There, is, however, one vehicle his protectors will let him drive and he will joyfully ride it in the parade. It is not as glamorous as his cars, but driving one of these vehicles will almost certainly fulfill the dreams of a little boy- a tank. This writer has it on very poor authority, that the military has promised Mr. Trump that he will be permitted to drive the lead tank in the parade. The parade will stop, from time to time, to permit Mr. Trump to open the hatch, stand up, and wave to the adoring crowd that will be in attendance. His golden hair will provide a stark and colorful contrast to the drab colors of the vehicles in the parade and their militarily clad drivers. When you watch the parade, and see Mr. Trump waving, remember that you first learned of it here.
Herewith the insoluble riddle. Mr. Trump is the president of the United States, the highest elective office in the country. Prior to his election he was accused by more than a dozen women of sexual misconduct, misconduct that was documented in a lengthy article in Time Magazine last December. The article contains descriptions of his behavior by 19 women alleging improper conduct by Mr. Trump in encounters with them. Each woman’s description of the offensive conduct is accompanied by a rebuttal from Mr. Trump or one of his spokespeople denying that an improper conduct occurred. These 19 women were less fortunate than Stephanie Clifford aka Stormy Daniels. She described a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump in an interview in 2011, another encounter Mr. Trump says never occurred. Nonetheless, his lawyer paid Ms. Clifford $130,000 a few weeks before the 2016 election in exchange for her agreement not talk about the non-existent encounter. (Herewith a riddle within a riddle: why was Stormy the only woman Mr. Trump denied having any contact with to receive $130,000? Were the 19 women mentioned above not entitled to similar payments?)
Because of his past behavior, Mr. Trump is well qualified to express opinions on accusations made against his friends and colleagues in the White House. A recent accusation involved staff secretary, Rob Porter. His former wives and a girlfriend accused him of abuse. When the details of the abuse were first reported, Mr. Trump joined his staff in professing complete ignorance of the allegations, and voiced unqualified support for Mr. Porter. When Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, said in a statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the agency had notified the White House as early as last March that it had concerns about Mr. Porter as a result of screening him for the security clearance he never received, it became obvious that the White House’s claims of ignorance were lies and that the allegations from the women were true. Mr. Porter resigned.
Lamenting Mr. Porter’s departure from the White House Mr. Trump emitted a tweet: “People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused-life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as due process?”
Many of us wish that Mr. Trump’s tweeted assertion that there is “no recovery for someone falsely accused-life and career are gone” applied to him. It obviously did not, since he is now the president of the United States. The riddle is this: How and why did this happen? A possible answer (and there may be others) is that he was not falsely accused and, therefore, the accusations had no effect on his “life and career.” Whether or not that is the reason he is now president, be sure and wave to him as he drives by in his tank.