National Commentary

The Rule of Law Impeaches Trump

Here’s an interesting proposition: take everything Trump rants about in his remarkable six-page letter to Nancy Pelosi on the eve of his impeachment as if it was written in front of a mirror.

This is often the way a demented, paranoid mind works. It takes all the internalized hate and fear and projects it outward. Everything he is accusing Pelosi of are crimes and excesses his mind is telling him he’s guilty of.

What turns this paranoia into a screed is terror. Trump is experiencing primordial terror at the prospect of being called out for his bad behavior. It’s something he’s never had to do before his entire life, and he can’t handle it. We can expect it to get even worse after the vote to impeach is taken.

Apply this projection paranoia to his attack on prayer in the letter. Trump’s the one who is callous and totally hypocritical on the subject, but now that he’s terrified, he is becoming unhinged by the thought that God is abandoning him, too, and he is fit for nothing but a plunge into the dark, friendless emptiness and horrors of hell.

It is instructive that this particularly hateful letter was addressed to Pelosi, a woman, exactly the kind that Trump can’t handle emotionally.

Of citizens polled who favor his impeachment and removal from office, it is women who represent one of the biggest majorities. The #MeToo movement has brought millions of people to a new level of awareness, an awareness that was first inspired by the rise of the modern feminist movement, something generally written out of our formal histories at least up until the point that women won the right to vote a century ago.

Indeed, there was a vibrant women’s movement during and following the American revolution, where in France the revolution there called for equal rights for women, including the vote, from the start. Paris was the center of the Democratic Enlightenment that informed and fueled the American revolution with its “History of Philosophy” movement.

Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin and other seminal thinkers in the push to revolution in the colonies were deeply informed by the Paris movement, from where key support for the war fighting also came.

There was an unrelenting push for women’s equality that loomed in the background of formal U.S. historical accounts and it was not until the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 took 20 million lives, including over 100,000 American lives, that the pressure grew to the point that the 20th Amendment was passed in 1920 granting the right of women to vote.

The sentiment was that men had screwed the world up so badly as to foment World War I, led by three male cousins, heirs of Queen Victoria. It was marked a wholesale slaughter of millions of educated young men who were perceived by European royalty and oligarchs as a threat to their order.

It caused the devolution of Europe into fascism, tyranny and mass murders after that war, requiring, for purposes with better motives, the prosecution of the Second World War to eradicate.

With the rest of us now, Trump was born into a post-World War II world that had been through all that, and that remained divided between those seeking a revival of fascist and communist tyrannies and those of us who grew up as heirs of a humanist mobilization against that madness.

Trump and his racist father arose on the fascist side of this divide, and when Trump was ready to launch his own career, his confidant was Roy Cohn, the aide to Sen. Joe McCarthy who sought to revive the post-war fascist cause in America.

Here remains the divide today. Trump did not come from a vacuum. His rise was conditioned by a cultural mentality contemptuous of democracy and the rule of law from his earliest days, one that conformed to the brutal laws of organized crime. Crime, get it? That’s his pedigree. Above the law, in favor of rule by force, by nature.

That’s what this impeachment is about. It is about holding Trump to the rule of law, something for which he’s had no respect whatsoever.

 Nicholas Benton may be emailed at