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Updated: Dec 23, 2020

December 6, 2020

I bet I'm not the only American who's freaking out about what Donald Trump is up to right now.

Considering how much damage he did while so much was going his way -- so many people bowing to his ego, so many levers of power at his fingertips, taxpayer cash flowing, much of it straight into his pockets — what might a furious and bitter Trump be capable of?

Illustration: Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News

The possibilities curdle one's blood. I can think of several appalling ones right off the top of my head: bombing Iran (or someone else); sharing (more?) classified intelligence with Vladmir Putin; wiping out whatever environmental protections he may have overlooked in his zest to destroy the planet; and further cruelties to immigrants. And that's just the short list.

This has been on my mind for much of this year — long before we knew what the election results would be. I tweeted on May 3, "What damage will the Mad King do between now and [Election Day]? If we win, a vindictive Trump with nothing left to lose will have 3 months between November and January to get his revenge."

And now here we are.

As devoted as we are to our tradition of a peaceful transition of power, wouldn't it be smarter this time to do what employers do when letting an obstreperous employee go: escort him or her straight to the door? When the danger to everyone in the building outweighs the employee's dignity, that's what smart employers do.

We're technically Trump's bosses (though it seems he doesn't know that, and neither do a lot of his voters). Trump, the disgruntled employee, is endangering every one of us right now.

Still, it seems we'll be following tradition in 2020, rather than protecting ourselves.

Photo: Skyler Ewing for Pexels

Not only are we giving Trump and his team of grifters a leisurely period of time in which to operate, we're also giving them a prestigious setting for it - the United States White House! This will this make it convenient for them to steal whatever they can cram into a bag, plus they can have catered-lunch meetings to hatch their plans for ongoing sedition.

Reporters from numerous outlets tell us staffers are acting like they're staying and leaving, both. Well, understandable since he still hasn't conceded, and even today a huge segment of America thinks the election was stolen from him — by Biden, Democrats, Antifa, cannibal child molesters, the deep state, China, the Clintons, and even Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, who has been dead for 7 years.

That 's quite a lineup. No wonder Trump lost.

Then again he spent a whole lot of 2020 claiming the election would be stolen from him, so it isn't that surprising that his wild claims flowed up and over Election Day itself — in fact, are still flowing now, almost exactly a month later.

Trump himself, when not golfing or rage-tweeting, is focused on his own transition, namely, his future as the continued leader of the Republican Party, his coming TV dynasty, and the 2024 Presidency, just in case he doesn't get to keep this one.

None of his future plans come cheap, which is why he's started a new PAC to collect money from his followers. Although the funds are supposedly earmarked for legal fees, so he can continue to scream "fraud!" in courtrooms across the country, we all know they're his new income. And he likes to live high.

The transition period is normally used to give the outgoing administration a chance to tie up its ends, with the expectation that it will also assist the new one in starting up. This is for our benefit. We, the People, definitely don't want a new President unable to get his team up and running on Day 1, right?

And doesn't it make us vulnerable in the world if everyone is watching us lurch from one administration to the other, with space for all kinds of mischief between leaders?

The November-January period is considered so important to our system of government and safety that the Presidential Transition Act was passed in 1963. Its purpose was to promote the orderly transfer of the executive power in connection with the expiration of the term of office of a President and the inauguration of a new President” and it has in fact done that till now — especially after outgoing Commander-in-Chiefs like Herbert Hoover did try to disrupt the process and sabotage the administration of his replacement, FDR.

At left: Herbert Hoover, 31st U.S. President, defeated after one term (1929-1932)

But Hoover's "failure to cooperate" isn't comparable to Trump's tornado of self-pity, destruction, plotting, and repeated insistence of "me won, no ME won!!!" throughout these past 6 weeks. Actually, Hoover sent a telegram conceding the race by 10 p.m on Election Day.

In the U.S., the time-honored transition period has a financial purpose too, which is to cover the costs involved in the transition between one administration and the next. This is money that's set aside long in advance to make sure it's available for the new administration as soon as the election is final. I'm sure we all could've anticipated that no money has found its way over to the Biden team so far.

Trump's lack of honor in general is only exceeded by his total unscrupulousness in the area of money. If there's money in a "transition budget," you can bet Biden will never get it. In fact, it's probably in Trump's own pocket by now. We've never had a President till now who regarded federal revenue like a great, big piggy bank with his own name on it, and I'm sure he's alert to any final filching opportunities still remaining.

Because the Trump camp isn't paying for the transition, Joe Biden had to go hat in hand to his big-money donors a few weeks ago. Surely this is a first for our country. I doubt any incoming President has ever before had to pay for his own, privately-funded transition before.

This is what I mean when I say we are insisting on honoring our tradition of graciously transitioning from one Presidential administration to the other. But We, the People, are the only ones doing that.

But even if Trump is refusing to use the transition period to, y'know, transition, no one can say he's not being productive. In addition to tweeting and filing bogus lawsuits, sucking more money from his base while surely pocketing whatever loose change he can find in the Oval Office sofa cushions, throwing tantrums and firing "disloyal" staff, he's still managing to find time to keep rolling back environmental standards. What a multi-tasker! He's taking on so much EPA-reversal stuff that actually feels like this President WANTS the planet as polluted as possible.

Maybe one more way he's expressing his rage and vindictiveness at losing the election?

Photo: Liam Riby for Unsplash

Trump is busy with other projects, too. He wants to execute death row prisoners. He's ordered the executions of 9 people over the past month, which is the greatest number of Americans executed in a single whole year since 1896. He's considering issuing pardons to himself and his kids, and probably to a ton of other people who have information on him, information he'd like bottled up before his Presidential immunity disappears. He's trying to fill vacancies on scientific panels and he wants to make sure protected lands in Alaska get drilled for oil. He wants to prevent Biden from re-establishing climate and nuclear accords that he, Trump, doesn't like. Oh, he's busy right now, all right.

His goal overall seems to be to hold off Biden's efforts to give us what we elected him for: mature, stable government; new, science-based policies regarding the coronavirus; fairness and decency in leadership; and protections for the environment and for We, the People, against adversaries who are undoubtedly watching the shitshow this transition has become and wondering how they can take advantage of it.

And yet, with all he's doing right now, Trump still makes time every day to try to overturn the election!

But I guess none of that is good enough reason to send him away before January 20, right?

Photo: Andrew Neel for Pexels

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