Just another day in Trexit

Jonathan Freedland points out how each new disclosure simply slides off Trump:

…late on Tuesday, the lawyer for Michael Cohen – Donald Trump’s personal attorney, fixer and keeper of his secrets – released a tape in which he and Trump are heard discussing how exactly to fund the silencing of a former Playboy model, Karen McDougal. Cohen apparently wanted it be handled legally, while Trump seemingly had other ideas.

“We’ll have to pay,” Cohen says. Trump’s reply: “Pay with cash.”

Put aside the impact an equivalent revelation about Clinton would have made in 1992. Just imagine the storm this would have caused if it had come out at the time Cohen and Trump had that conversation, just two months before the 2016 election. The entire political class would have assumed it would be devastating.

But now they know better, because nothing is devastating to Trump. There is a new story, there is outrage, then there’s a new story. It’s a pattern.

Note this month’s revelations by BBC’s Panorama programme that Trump behaved like a “predator” at parties packed with teenage girls in the 1980s and 1990s. It included the testimony of Barbara Pilling, then a young model, who recalled Trump asking her age. On hearing that she was 17, Trump said: “Oh, great. So you’re not too old and not too young. That’s just great.” Pilling added that she “felt I was in the presence of a shark”. Again, imagine what similar revelations would have done to the standing of Clinton or any previous president. Yet for Trump, they made barely a dent.

Grab one pussy, grab them all – what’s the difference?

For this reason, we shouldn’t be hoping the Mueller inquiry will make any difference.

Even if Mueller produces jaw-dropping evidence against Trump, the president’s base is unlikely to be impressed. For a flavour of the likely response, note Alex Jones’s latest Infowars broadcast, making the wild, evidence-free allegation that Mueller was involved in a child sex ring and fantasising about shooting Mueller. (Predictably, Facebook, which carries Infowars, said the broadcast did not breach its rules.)

We have to face the grim reality that in our post-2016 world few of the previous norms and standards apply. In Britain, too, we can see how things have changed. There was a time when a government admission that it was having to plan for the possibility that food and medicine would run out – not through natural disaster, but because of a policy it was pursuing – would have been terminal. Now it’s just another day in Brexit.

So that’s cheery.

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