Scenario: Trump resigns after extorting pardons – deluded he’ll fend off recrimination and penalties

Many voices must apply maximum pressure, but it’s no slam dunk that anything overcomes Trump’s impenetrable defenses.


The wheels are coming off what was already skidding off the icy bridge onto the guardrails. Who knows the odds for or against Trump finishing his term, so here’s one scenario that follows the logic of the current dynamics.

If there’s one Trump nightmare more terrifying than losing, even humiliation, it’s being held responsible – and, horror or horrors, personally punished for criminal misconduct. This is a creep who wants everyone else to pick up every breakfast, lunch, and dinner tab. Any successful malignant narcissist must have perfected his manipulative style, erecting thick walls to keep him (or her) from ever having to pay a price for untreated psychopathology. Now in free fall, Trump the righteous warrior has to feel besieged, in fortress mode, confused that his machinations no longer work.

Paranoia feeds on itself when enemies, hiding under every rock, rush out in force to persecute the innocent, “stable genius.” Having gotten away with so much, Trumped cannot abandon the fiction he can get away with anything, even inciting a riot against Congress debating his own delusional election challenges. That’s why Trump spent hours on Tuesday, per current reports, pressing Pence to bring off a coup – or else there would be hell to pay for all perceived foes. Delusion, thy name is Trump.

If an intervention had stopped earlier derangement, this psychopath might have been shocked into awareness of sickness, with heavy demands to get therapy. But Republicans were too cowardly and too blinded by ambition to understand the bomb in their midst ready to go off. Indeed, his party shared many of the same delusions, that it, too, could ruthlessly get away with anything. That’s exactly what its pulled off with the unconscionable manipulation of two Supreme Court nominations. That makes it far more than poetic justice to see Merrick Garland nominated for Attorney General – and with Democratic senate control a sure thing.

The Farce of Self-pardoning

That Trump is again ready to pardon himself, per utterly unsurprising reports on Thursday, is exactly how power-hungry madmen perpetually try to escape harm’s way. Forget the blatant contradictions (and likely impossibility) of self-pardoning, turning the law on its head by making the unrepentant criminal his own corrupt judge. High-flying narcissists would be paralyzed if they believed for moment they were truly and permanently trapped.

Thus ends one of Trump’s most corrosive, norm-busting lies. Never could Trump have shot someone on Fifth Ave and walked away scot-free. That was just an unfunny, dark fantasy to obscure his over-weening confidence that someone so entitled was an untouchable superman. That jest wasn’t true four years ago, and it’s not true today. Of course, indicted narcissists are the last ones to know the walls are closing in and the doors are all locked – and there is no way out.

Trump’s own major appointments are finally, tellingly too late, rushing for the exits. High time. If Speaker Pelosi says the House is ready to impeach if the 25th Amendment isn’t invoked, then we will have another impeachment. The 25th Amendment is too cumbersome to work, with too many built in delays; plus, it’s designed not to remove the criminally deranged but the unconscious, physically defective, incapable to performing basic duties. That is, alas, not Trump unless he has a stroke – and what, in the next two weeks? This is no quicky impeachment alternative. And if invoked, there will be more outraged Trumper mayhem and more bloody streets.

The Walls are Closing in

Trump, like Nixon, should be given no choice except to resign. Trump will insist that resignation comes only with a full Pence pardon for past, present and future sins (and maybe some bonus cash on the side, if Trump’s predictable blackmail works). Pressure from cabinet members talking up the 25th amendment would help corner the criminal president. So would Moscow Mitch declaring that a majority of senators are ready, if not eager to convict, to save their asses and careers.

In short, many voices must apply maximum pressure, but it’s no slam dunk that anything overcomes Trump’s impenetrable defenses. That’s what crazy is all about. How do you make clear to a psychopath that he’s run out of options? If Trump remains in fortress mode, more vindictive and paranoid than ever, he won’t hear any more reality about personal threats than he ever did about the legitimacy of the election that fired him.

And what if we haven’t seen the worst? What if this enraged commander-in-chief attempts to call for martial law or orders the military to do his bidding? Until he is defanged, and not even then, any president has immense powers. As a positive, this finale will force some of the 74 million voters to regret thinking Trump worthy of re-election. Many are as crazy as he.  But some Trump voters will come to understand they voted for madness over a sane centrist who makes genuine contact with other earthlings and accepts unpleasant realities beyond his control.

Trump proves what a desperate malignant narcissist will do – scheming up a coup is par for the course. His is no mildly neurotic condition, capable of normal restraints: losing delusional control over his world represents a mortal threat. His fabricated, protective walls are his persona and without them he is unacceptably vulnerable. That surpasses all other fears, that he will make history by being doubly impeached, or threatened with the 25th Amendment, or eventually the first U.S. jailbird president.

For the greediest of status-conscious billionaires, whose self-esteem equals his bank balance, jail is only slightly worse than losing all his money. Without an inheritance to wave about, whither his slavish family? To avoid harsh penalty, children might even start telling the truth – and won’t that be a juicy tale for the ages? Truthtelling would be infinitely more enlightening than hearing one more nutcase rightwinger blame anti-Trump haters for causing the Capitol riots. So we’re not done yet, but we are making progress through pain, tears and bloodshed.


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.