As the Trump White House increasingly resembles the Nixon White House—the 45th president’s interference in the investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 election looking more and more like the 37th’s obstruction of justice in the aftermath of the Watergate case—commentators have stumbled over themselves in their haste to remind us that it’s not necessarily the crime itself that will get you, but the cover-up. (A lot like the fact that in hockey the referees might miss the original transgression, but will always penalize the retaliation.)
Similarly, I now seem to find that while I gag at the foul displays of distemper by Trump, I retch at the displays of desperate defense by his sycophantic supporters. The latest example has come in the wake of the president’s tweets about Mika Brzezinski:
Elaine Chao defends Trump Twitter attack: 'He's new'
•June 30, 2017
At the Aspen Ideas Festival, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, one of the few women in President Trump's Cabinet, defended his Twitter attack against MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski. “He’s not in politics, and so he’s not used to the usual restraints that people in public service have," she said. “He’s new. He will adapt and he will learn.”
Well, excuse me! But the guy is 70 years old. He’s not some pre-schooler who needs socialization (“No, we do not say that Auntie Grace has big ears and smells bad”).
Then again, maybe he is.