'Why Can't He Be Our President?" is the question Rolling Stone slapped on the cover of their most recent issue, featuring Justin Trudeau. Given who's currently occupying the White House, leading an administration powered by a combustible mix of chaos and malice, the headline is understandable. No, it's inarguable. The editorial sentiment would have been the same if America's northern neighbour were led by Andrew Scheer or Tom Mulcair or anyone, really, other than the current President.
Yes, Donald Trump has yet to appoint his horse to the Senate. Then again, we're only one-eighth of the way through his first term.
Mr. Trump made his name as a builder, but his presidency has so far been more of a demolition project. Sometimes he's swinging a wrecking ball at adversaries. Sometimes it's allies. Sometimes it's his own administration, his own agenda and his own reputation. Sometimes it's all of the above.
This week, Mr. Trump continued his Twitter attacks on his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. He is publicly humiliating and bullying one of his own cabinet members, via social media, presumably hoping that his target will resign. Why? Apparently because Mr. Sessions is doing the right thing in law, but the wrong thing for the President, by allowing an investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia. What's more, he and his department don't seem to be spending much time investigating "Crooked Hillary."
In other words, the President is accusing the head of the Justice Department of failing to politicize law enforcement.
All of this comes a week after Mr. Trump took shots at Mr. Sessions in an interview with The New York Times. He said that the latter's decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, to avoid a conflict of interest, had been a big mistake. "If he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else." Translation: Had I known that Mr. Sessions was going to put legality ahead of obedience, I would have appointed somebody who'd do the reverse.
After Mr. Sessions recused himself, his deputy at Justice appointed former FBI head Robert Mueller as special counsel to conduct the inquiry. That's what has Mr. Trump so upset. He appears to be looking for a way to replace Mr. Sessions with someone who will fire Mr. Mueller – thereby ending the probe.
When allegations of connections between Vladimir Putin's regime and Mr. Trump's campaign, family and businesses first surfaced many months ago, they featured a lot of smoke, but no fire. Evidence has since mounted, bit by bit. And the more Mr. Trump throws roadblocks in the way of an examination of his Russian relationships, the more one wonders what he fears might be found. At this point – again, just one-eighth of the way through his presidential term – Mr. Trump's attempt to undermine the investigation is beginning to consume his administration.
But if Mr. Trump hasn't yet rid himself of the Attorney General – Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said there would be "holy hell to pay" if Mr. Session is fired – he has at least canned his chief spokesman. Replacing Sean Spicer, who sometimes gave signs of experiencing moral qualms, is Anthony Scaramucci. His style is Trumpian.
Within days of landing, the man nicknamed "Mooch" opened a whole new front in the Trump administration's civil war. On Wednesday, he phoned a reporter for The New Yorker and demanded to know who had leaked the fact that Mr. Scaramucci, the President and Fox News host Sean Hannity had just had dinner. He said that, unless the source was divulged, he would fire his entire White House communications staff. "What I'm going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we'll start over."
He also accused then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus of being the leaker – and told the reporter he had to get off the phone, "because I've gotta start tweeting some shit to make this guy crazy." Not long after, he tweeted out an insinuation that Mr. Priebus was the source of the leak.
Mr. Scaramucci also told The New Yorker that "Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic." If so, apparently with good reason. On Friday afternoon, he was ousted as chief of staff.
The administration is fully at war with itself, and Mr. Trump is okay with that. Last year, he took over the Republican Party, but he did so with almost no people of his own, other than his ubiquitous family. His administration was as a result overwhelmingly staffed by traditional Republicans, like Mr. Sessions and Mr. Priebus. Mr. Trump clearly hates having to rely on those who may be loyal to something – the Republican Party, the conservative movement, the rule of law, whatever – that is not him.
Many of his voters, Republicans all, have similarly come to loathe the GOP. They want the wrecking ball. That's why Mr. Trump may not be such an aberration or a one-off. He may be the beginning of a whole new kind of politics.
These voters, fed up with the GOP, disdainful of Democrats, and furious at the social justice warriors getting all the media sympathy, are filled with a kind of nihilistic rage. They will vote for Mr. Trump and people like him – say hello to future Michigan Senator Kid Rock – because it is guaranteed to piss you off. Will it make their lives materially better? No. But it'll at least make somebody else's worse. Welcome to government by schadenfreude.
Mr. Trump can't seem to get anything done as President, but his appetite for destruction matches a mood about in the land. That's why the Trump revolution may be simultaneously going off the rails and just getting started. The field is wide open for more upheaval, on a scale that could make the last year look mild. Did we mention that seven-eighths of Mr. Trump's presidential term are still to come?