When the Senate acquitted Donald Trump on the articles of impeachment, those who know how Trump operates started counting down the time before he took his revenge. As it turned out, it only took 48 hours for Trump to carry out a campaign of retribution that has already drawn parallels to Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” of 1974.
First, Trump struck out at Alexander Vindman, the decorated war hero and National Security Council staffer who told Congress that he believed the now-infamous phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was “not proper.” Indeed, he was so alarmed by Trump’s demands that Kiev join in on a politically motivated investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden that he relayed his concerns to NSC lawyers.
For his courageous stand, Vindman was removed from his post as Director for European Affairs at the NSC. He and his brother, NSC lawyer Yegveny Vindman, were both escorted out of the White House–a clear sign of retribution. The Vindmans will both be reassigned within the Army.
Hours later, Trump recalled Gordon Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union. Sondland testified in November that he was working hand in glove with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on Ukraine matters–and doing so at Trump’s “express direction.” His testimony also directly linked Trump to the numerous attempts to make official actions contingent on investigations by Kiev.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Jim Acosta went there when news of Sondland’s ouster broke. Watch here.
Acosta said that one of his sources in the White House wasn’t surprised Trump went after Vindman and Sondland, given “the way he (Trump) operates.” He said that we can expect more “acts of retribution” in the next few days–which, to Acosta’s mind, was evidence Trump hadn’t learned a thing, as Senator Susan Collins suggested when she announced she would vote to acquit Trump.
When Blitzer mused, “It’s a Friday night already,” Acosta mused, “Friday night massacre”–a sentiment echoed by numerous other reporters, as well as a number of Democratic lawmakers.
Predictably, though, the Trump diehards are just giddy about it. If you believe deplorable Twitter, Vindman and Sondland had this coming to them for their disloyalty to Trump.
But Trump’s loudest and most obnoxious surrogate, Donald Trump Jr., believes we should actually be thanking the Democrats for this. Specifically, House Intelligence Committee chairman and lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff.
Wait a minute. So because of Schiff’s leading role in the investigation, it was a lot easier for Trump to retaliate against those who dared speak up? And here we thought that because of Schiff’s efforts, we now know that Trump carried out one of the most ham-handed abuses of power in recent memory.
We already knew that Donald Jr.’s moral compass was every bit as warped as that of his father. Now we have more proof. By his warped logic, this massacre would not have even happened if not for the Democrats holding his father accountable. Apparently Donald Jr. forgets that this is exactly what the American people wanted the Democrats to do when they voted in a Democratic House.
We also know that a massacre like this is perfectly acceptable behavior for a president. After all, we can only assume that Donald Jr.’s thinking is a carbon copy of that of Donald Sr. Sadly, Donald Sr. refuses to understand that Vindman and Sondland took an oath to defend the Constitution–not the president.
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