A pretty serious charge, made by a very serious person, has been leveled against President Trump.
It’s an accusation that can’t be written off as campaign rhetoric or typical Trumpian-style name-calling. It’s the real deal.
Because the charge was made by a sitting U.S. senator, former attorney general of the nation’s most populous state, and former district attorney of one the country’s top twenty cities; someone who knows their stuff.
And if you haven’t heard Sen. Kamala Harris’ accusation, it’s:
“I know predators, and we have a predator living in the White House. And let me tell you, there’s a little secret about predators.”
“Donald Trump has a predatory nature and predatory instincts. The thing about predators is that they prey on the vulnerable. They prey on those who they do not believe are strong. The thing about predators you must importantly know [is] predators are cowards.”
Damn. A predator? A coward? In the White House? Really?
Clearly we need to examine the question. But how?
Well, we could define the word “predator;” then measure Trump’s behavior; then conclude if it’s true.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary says a predator is, “an organism that primarily obtains food by the killing and consuming of other organisms. (The biological definition.)
Another definition: “one who injures or exploits others for personal gain or profit; a person or group that ruthlessly exploits others, or who attacks in search of booty.” (The business definition.)
And a third: “a person who has committed a sexually violent offense and especially one who is likely to commit more sexual offenses.” (The legal definition.)
I can’t see Cadet Bonespurs brave enough to bare-hand kill something and eat it. So I guess he ain’t gonna be ranked with top-level predators such as the great white shark, piranha, black mamba (clearly he wouldn’t self-identify as one of “those”), or the Komodo dragon; although he might see himself as the king of Beasts or a killer whale.
Next then, does Trump injure or exploit others for personal gain or profit?
Ain’t a lot a debate about that, just ask any of his former wives, contractors, casino investors, personal lawyers, White House employees, Cabinet officers, Trump University students, or campaign staffers.
And he ruthlessly exploits others for personal gain.
Just ask legal asylum-seeking families being locked up at the border, kids in cages being separated from their parents, people who need medical insurance, allies who need trade and military support, the family of Otto Warmbier, or mid-West farmers; just some whom Trump has sacrificed on the alter of his reelection bid, insatiable greed, or ego.
Now, would Trump attack somebody in search of booty? That’s a silly question. He’s got a proven record of doing just that; no matter which definition of “booty” you choose to use.
Which brings us to: Is he a person who has committed a sexually violent offense, and is likely to commit more?
Let’s go to the tape.
In 2016, he brags — on the flipping — that he is a sexual predator. He says it. To the whole world. On the “Access Hollywood” tape. It’s unambiguous.
Would he do it again? He did it again, and again, and again; just ask any of the women who have credibly accused him. (Although he may be aging out his dangerously out-of-control libido.)
But he said he didn’t do it!
And no-one, beyond his base, believes the man who’s told over 10,000 lies in the last three years.
In any other universe Harris’ charge would be front page news.
But Trump’s constant lying, constant obfuscation, constant distraction, constant chaos, and his constant attack, attack, attack, no matter what, what, what works to distract; and important stuff, like his moral turpitude, gets overlooked because he daily commits worse crimes.
Now Harris called Trump a coward.
Well, he’s never shown any personal courage ala JFK and PT 109, John McCain in the Hanoi Hilton, FDR overcoming polio, or Liz Warren going from a hardscrabble kid in Oklahoma to Harvard professor and U.S. senator.
I guess you could say Der Furor bravely took $400-plus million of his father’s money then called himself, “self-made.” Now that takes courage (or a simple lie).
And hiding behind such lies, executive privilege, obstruction and stonewalling is clearly the brave thing to do when confronted with lawful examinations of one’s behavior.
But Trump is Trump, as they say. And we can conclude, from the facts, that Trump is also a predator and a coward and a liar.
And I can’t wait for Harris or Warren to meet him on the debate stage and call him out.
But I gotta think he’ll say, like he said in his defense about E. Jean Carroll’s charge that he raped her, “She’s not my type.”
Tom Burke’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.