Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt offered a very odd warning to President Donald Trump on Sunday.
“The President should be very careful over the next 10 days that his behavior is what you’d expect from the leader of the greatest country in the world. Now, my personal view is that the President touched the hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again.”
Oh man! Look out, President Trump! You had better not incite another riot that leads to the storming of the Capitol! But you probably won’t because you learned your lesson!
It’s the last part of Blunt’s warning that, to me, is the most disconnected from the reality of who we know Donald Trump to be.
He touched the stove? And he’s not going to touch it again?
There’s absolutely nothing in how Trump acted amid the overrunning of the Capitol – or how he had conducted himself over the past four years in the White House – that backs up Blunt’s idea that Trump has been somehow daunted by what happened over the past week.
Let’s start with last week. As his supporters swarmed the Capitol building, did Trump dissuade them? No! Quite the opposite! Tweeted Trump: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
And then there’s what Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse told conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt on Friday about the President’s behavior during the insurrection: “As this was unfolding on television, Donald Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was as you had rioters pushing against Capitol Police trying to get into the building.”
Trump wasn’t chastened! He was confused that people weren’t more celebratory amid the Capitol riot!
Which is in keeping with how Trump has acted during not just his entire presidency but his entire life.
Remember back in April 2016 when Trump pledged that he would “be so presidential … you will be so bored”? Or how, after every marginally normal speech, his congressional enablers insisted he was turning over a new leaf and would be a more measured presence? Or how, after major crises like his botched handling of the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, or his poor performance in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic we were told that he got it now and would behave himself?
All of that was total bull. Because who Donald Trump is today is who he has always been. Go back and read articles about him as a young businessman in the 1980s. He was exactly the same person – hugely full of himself, spinning a web of exaggerations (and lies) about his successes and using absolutely every tool at his disposal to reward his friends and punish his enemies.
The idea that Trump would change once he came to the White House ignored human nature. The fundamental core of people rarely, if ever, changes. And that goes double (or triple) for a wealthy and deeply vain businessman who has just been elected president. Trump’s election didn’t make him consider how he could act differently. It convinced him that how he acted and treated people was entirely justified.
There was never any Trump 2.0 waiting around the corner – no matter how much Blunt and the rest of the GOP establishment wanted there to be. There was only Trump and he had zero interest in ever changing his behavior.
So, no, Trump will not recoil in the face of criticism following the Capitol riot. If past is prologue, he will find ways to dig even deeper – absolutely certain that he is right and everyone else is wrong.