WASHINGTON, NEXT WEEK, AT THE RATE THINGS ARE GOING — Asked to account for his attempts to pressure Ukraine into influencing the election, Donald Trump responded by standing bare to the elements in the middle of the South Lawn and shouting, “IN A WORLD WITHOUT GOD, EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED!” as lightning crashed and thunder rolled around him.
He explained that he had asked other countries to intervene in the election, would ask them again, and hoped even more foreign adversaries would intervene and try to provide him with dirt on his opponents, even if it required his using U.S. stature to threaten them. He added that he saw nothing wrong in so doing and that if the law seemed to frown on it, that was because the law had been made by Democrats. Any law that would say that he was doing things that were illegal but that Democrats who had held power before him had not done things that were illegal could not be a fair law.
Trump continued, saying that he planned to shoot a man on Fifth Avenue, maybe even several men, and hoped that others, ideally foreign adversaries, would join him in the act. He lit his tax returns on fire and chanted his own name into the wind.
“THERE IS NO LAW!” he elaborated. “THERE IS NO MORALITY! THE OLD GODS ARE DEAD! I HAVE KILLED THEM! FAITH IS HYPOCRISY! WHEN THE STORM CEASES, I WILL BE ALL THAT REMAINS! I AM LAW UNTO MYSELF! AFTER ME IS NOTHING AND BEFORE ME WAS NOTHING! THERE WILL BE NO JUDGMENT! THERE WILL BE NO REDEMPTION! NO ONE IS COMING FOR YOU!”
Several Republican senators went on TV and confirmed, “He wouldn’t be this brazen about something if it were actually illegal, right? I mean, right?”
There is no morality, the president elaborated. We exist in chaos, and our actions possess only the value we assign to them. “THEREFORE I DO NOT ASK WHO IS GOING TO LET ME; I ASK WHO IS GOING TO STOP ME. I AM KING ONLY FOR A BRIEF TIME, AND I AM ALWAYS AND NEVER JOKING. SHOOT THE DRONES DOWN. SHOOT THE PEOPLE. SHOOT THEM IN THE FOOT. THERE IS NO MEANING. THERE IS NO EVIL. THERE IS ONLY ME. I ALONE AM LAW.”
Several freshman congresswomen tweeted that such gross abuses of power made the president unfit for office; in immediate response, several advocates for civility leaped to denounce them for describing the president or his actions as “gross.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded by noting that the impeachment process would continue in an orderly fashion and that it was important to take time to ascertain the facts. Congress generally sat there agog, and Mitt Romney said he didn’t know much about what had happened, but if it was as it was portrayed, it was certainly troubling.
And the lightning raged all around.
Follow Alexandra Petri on Twitter @petridishes.