Is Trump’s Cave on Holding the G7 at Doral Even More Significant Than It Seems?
When it comes to the question of whether the Republican Party will ever break from President Donald Trump in a significant enough way to make it possible for him to be removed from office before his first term is up, I have always been in the group of those who think this is extremely unlikely, if not impossible. For comparison’s sake, somewhere as unlikely as between the New England Patriots firing Bill Belichick and Ronan Farrow writing Matt Lauer’s authorized biography.
Trump’s sudden reversal on his inexplicably corrupt decision to host next year’s G7 summit at his own Trump Doral resort in Miami, however, should give even extreme “Trump removal skeptics” reason to at least pause. While still a long shot, this episode reveals that the resistance to Trump within the GOP at least has something of a pulse.
While Trump has made numerous statements, in verbiage that makes him sound like a child on a tantrum, that his decision to reverse the original plan was based purely on outrage from Democrats and the news media (hey, what happened to him being the fighter who never backs down from his leftist enemies?!), this is clearly not the case. Numerous reports, and basic logic, indicate that it was really backlash from elected Republicans that caused Trump to have to essentially acknowledge that this was a colossal error.
And make no mistake, Trump backtracking so dramatically on this boondoggle was as distasteful to him as if he had been forced to give Robert Mueller an in-person interview under oath. Doral, once the crown jewel of his collection of golf courses, is in financial peril and is in great need of the PR boost that such a high-profile event as the G7 summit would have provided. (I have previously written about how Trump losing the traditional PGA Tour event at Doral, to Mexico of all places, tells us a lot about his real financial situation).
To be clear, the notion that Trump, in an act of brazenness befitting the king of a third-world country, would even think that it was remotely appropriate for him to award a government contract to himself, in a manner which appears to be in direct violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, is tremendous evidence that he is simply not fit for his office. But for him to then reverse that gross miscalculation must have required extraordinary blowback from people he presumed would be afraid to express serious dissatisfaction with him.
The fact that Trump is going to great lengths to pretend that this is not why he changed course is, in reality, a strong indication that this is exactly what happened, and that it occurred in a way which shocked and rattled him. His statement just on Monday — “You people with the phony Emoluments Clause… If you’re rich, it doesn’t matter” — is just plain delusional, as well as quite telling.
Obviously, Trump did not suddenly realize that holding the G7 event at his own resort was a giant ethical and political mistake. Instead, he was forced to reverse himself on something that he really wanted to do, in a manner which has caused him humiliation and has made him angry.
Consequently, it appears that finally a red line has been drawn somewhere indicating that even within the subservient GOP there is a limit to Trump’s overt abuse of their blind loyalty. Once such a line exists, and Trump has been shown to be weak enough to where he has been forced to acknowledge he is not allowed to cross it, even when it causes him extreme personal embarrassment, that potentially opens up the scenario where those who once feared opposing him publicly start to think that he is vulnerable enough to cross without being destroyed.
In just the last few days, GOP Rep. Francis Rooney has at least somewhat backed the concept of Trump’s impeachment, even publicly supporting Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “all roads lead to Putin” rebuke of the president. Sen. Mitt Romney has begun to be more outspoken about his grave concerns about the president, and admitted to owning a secret anti-Trump Twitter account. Even Trump sycophant Sen. Lindsey Graham has publicly said that, at least in principle, he is not closed off to Trump’s impeachment.
Of course, none of this means that when Trump is impeached the vote will include significant Republican support, or that when there is a trial in the Senate that anyone other than Romney is a good bet to actually vote for his removal. It does mean that the scenario where GOP congressional support for Trump collapses has gone from “Al Gore saying that man-made climate change isn’t real” unimaginable, to something that would still be stunning, but no longer inconceivable.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.