National Commentary

Benedict Arnold, Quisling & Mudd

nfbenton-mugIn better-staged productions of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” the eye-popping final scene is where the now-terrified cruel rapist at the center of the action observes a gaping black hole opening beneath him and he is dispatched quickly down a worm hole to Hell, as scores of demonic minions fly down with him.

It’s important to show the minions facing the same fiery, horrifying eternal fate as the principal character. It’s a point that anyone who’s been cynically covering for Donald Trump must consider in the context of the growing body of evidence that Mr. Trump and his associates have been functioning as treasonous agents against the United States on behalf of a hostile foreign power.

It is amazing to see how clueless these forces are of the truly incredible consequences of their behavior. They’re treating it just like a partisan debate on a matter of policy. It’s not. The subject is treason and an ominous threat to the American democracy.

All those defending and covering for Trump at this stage need to know what the destiny for their lying treachery is going to be.

Benedict Arnold. Quisling. Mudd. These names are less well known these days, but they were household words when I was growing up. They all were the lowest of the low, the worst thing someone could be labeled. The declaration, “His name will be Mudd,” was not a reference to a facial procedure, but to the infamous Dr. Mudd who took in President Lincoln’s assassin after he put a bullet at close range into the back of the President’s head, leaped from the balcony of the Ford’s Theater yelling “Sic semper tyrannis,” caught his spur on some bunting, broke his leg upon landing, and scurried out to make his getaway. He came across Dr. Mudd, and Dr. Mudd treated him until he was killed in a gunfight with his pursuers.

Neither Arnold, nor the infamous Norwegian Quisling nor Mudd were the main causes of treachery. That went to the British for Arnold, for the Nazis to Quisling and for John Wilkes Booth for Mudd.

But no, the worst, most reviled slurs were the names associated with those who knowingly aided and abetted the evil doers.
How many of those who are knowingly covering for Trump’s ties to the Russians are looking at not only a humiliating defeat politically, but at the fate of a shunned and reviled betrayer of the core values of our democracy?

After all, we elect these congressmen to protect us as a nation from our adversaries, especially those whose values are directly contrary to our own. They’re not just ordinary people who are engaging in deceit. They are our sworn protectors who are doing it, and that goes for the high-profile religious hypocrites who steer their congregations toward the same catastrophic consequences.

How many names could I type in here? Perhaps I should try. But too many of them, I believe, have simply not taken into account the enormity of their mendacity and crimes.

Should some of Dickens’ ghosts visit them in the night? Should these people be required to see a particularly grisly production of “Don Giovanni?”

The heartless content of so much of the legislation that the masters of this uniquely unsavory gang of Republicans in Congress now is another very serious matter, of course. But one could argue, sadly, that they were elected to carry out such assaults on the less fortunate, not to mention on the environment and by so doing the longer-term survivability of us all.

The thinking of those who are calling the shots on all such things from behind the scenes, so to speak, is so short-sighted and self-serving, it is like an idiot king with a brain rotting from syphilis. A whole class of people just like that believe they’re getting their best shot at what they want right now, an ability to wreak ruin on the very cornerstones of democratic institutions against the capacity of the 99 percent to call the shots over the one percent of the most wealthy.

These degenerates so hate the postures of goodwill and generosity of spirit among our leaders that they genuinely prefer Putin.


Nicholas Benton may be emailed at