Out, Out, Brief Candle

Richard Nixon’s resignation speech attempted to persuade the American people that he was making a huge personal sacrifice by doing the exact opposite of what he really wanted to do which was to fight the impeachment proceedings and serve out his term in office. He suggested that he was resigning the office of the presidency to end the turmoil facing the American people. Congress, he said, was no longer providing the political base he needed to continue the fight. After reminding his audience of all of the speeches he had given and the decisions he made while president, Nixon indicated that he had “always tried to do what was best for the nation.” The president said, “I have never been a quitter,” but he decided to resign anyway because he no longer had the support of Congress necessary to carry out his duties as president. He “must put the interests of America first” and not continue seeking vindication. Nixon ended the speech by stating that he resigned effective noon the next day.

President Nixon was true to himself until the very end–he lied once again, without shame. His speech suggested that he was innocent. The motivation he presented for resigning was his desire to pursue a transcendent value (sacrificing his good name for the greater good of America). He would have continued the political battle and won, if only he had greater support, his speech suggested. In other words, he blamed others for the problems he himself created. He mentioned Watergate, but he never talked about the charges against him, his role in the cover-up, his pending expulsion from office, and the highly likely criminal trial awaiting him.

Tony Schwartz, the ghost writer of Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal, suggests that Trump is likely to resign soon, before it looks like he is losing. Schwartz says Trump will declare victory after giving a good excuse for quitting.

I, too, along with many others, wondered whether Trump would finish out his entire term. I thought that if he left office, the most likely reason would be an incapacitating mental problem. A little less likely, in my mind, was impeachment. After all, impeachment, in a Republican controlled Congress, demands a high threshold.

I did not think it was very likely Trump would resign. First, back before the day of his inauguration, I thought his ego was too large to think about voluntarily leaving the world’s top job. Second, I assumed he would be smart enough to maintain the support of his Republican colleagues and his fervent supporters. Third, I thought Trump would turn over much of the role of governing to someone else in his administration and focus his time on the ceremonial aspects of the job. I have been proven wrong to some degree about all three assumptions. After seeing him in action as president, I now agree with Schwartz that resignation, even early resignation, is a possibility.

I now understand that Trump is comfortable changing positions instantly. His flip-flopping is not strategic; it’s impulsive. He is not guided by any principles whatsoever. The Donald wants what sounds and looks good to him at the moment. If he sees his choices as resigning or spending time in jail, he’ll quit. He declared bankruptcy several times and subsequently stated he was talented at declaring bankruptcy. He said, with pride, he knows how to work the system. I assumed he was smart, given his college education and his business success. The more we learn about Trump, the less we believe he is smart. He’s not even street smart. His shooting from the hip was not a negotiating style; it was all he had. He didn’t really control the media, we now know; his outbursts were simply entertaining and financially rewarding enough to stay in the news. Nowadays, it seems like few, even those closest to Trump, back him anymore. They leak information because they want him gone. They are either seeking payback or they are leaking because they fear for our country. The White House is, simply stated, a total mess.

His ardent fans still believe Trump is shaking things up in a positive way, and they believe the press is exaggerating and/or lying about his shortcomings. But, the educated world knows that Trump is, at best, totally out of his element as a politician. Unbiased observers realize that Trump has expanded the width and depth of the swamp and filled it with dangerous animals. He has damaged our democracy by violating more constitutional safeguards than any previous president in record time. (There is your “bragging” point, Mr. Trump.) His constant lying has weakened America’s trust in the government–a feat that I would have found hard to believe a few years ago because I thought trust in the government, especially the Congress, was already at its lowest possible point. The attacks on the press, the promotion of right-wing conspiracy theories, and the war on facts, have made the citizenry less informed and more divided. His disregard for the laws of the land and those who enforce them has generated a fear that will take years, maybe decades, to calm. Trump’s failure to distance himself from his business interests has surfaced the corruption we’d prefer to keep hidden in the remote corners of the swamp. The swampy stench of our political system is pervasive.

Sean Spicer and Stephen Bannon seem to have fallen out of Trump’s favor. Big surprise. It will happen to everyone (except Ivanka). Stephen Miller may find his time has come after Trump gives Miller’s speeches on the international (let’s hit the road by taking a pilgrimage) tour. So, who will be left to write Trump’s resignation speech? I volunteer. I would be happy to do so in the style Trump likes. As they say at Chick-fil-A, “it would be my pleasure.” My motto: Let Trump say whatever he wants, just as long as he goes. No changing his mind. Out, out brief candle.

Trump’s Resignation Speech

Good evening. As you know, in my short time in office, I have accomplished a great deal. I have changed the direction of the country, turning it away from the path set by so-called leaders like Obama. Now that I have set a new course–the country is no longer descending; it is rising. America is great once again, with more jobs, a larger middle class, safer borders, a reformed government, laws that are respected, fair taxes, and a health care system that works for everyone. We are the strongest nation on earth and our might does now make right.

When I began, the country was a disaster. It was pitiful. The United States was not first; it wasn’t even second or third. Just about every country on earth got the better of us. We didn’t know how to make deals. Now, I have made friends of former enemies, established a road to peace for countries in the Middle East where peace was said to be impossible. And, I stopped the North Korean aggression. With missiles. America is respected once again. We no longer have to live in fear of terrorists or worry about Planet Earth. I am the best friend ever of the environment.

I have enjoyed my days in office. At no time, have I ever been the subject of any investigation by the FBI or any other agency of the American government. How many times must I state the obvious before the press reports it? We all know that it’s true; Comey said it repeatedly, no judge ever pressed charges, and the special prosecutor has refrained from investigating me. There’s nothing there. No Trump-Russia connection. I could tell you Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s secrets, but just remember that the charges against me are bogus. There is always someone waiting, in the wings, to attack successful people.

I have thought a long time about how to continue to make America great again. I have come up with a brilliant approach. I will continue to guide the nation, but Mike Pence will take over my responsibilities as president. Like all great leaders, I delegate. It is his time to walk in my big footsteps. I am resigning the presidency of the United States effective tomorrow at noon. Don’t worry. If need be, I will return. But only if the lies about me stop.

I have served this country well. We now know how to make America first. God bless the United States of America and our newest ally, Russia. History will judge my presidency to be the best the world has ever seen. Hallelujah.

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