I feel like sharing with you a political fantasy that keeps creeping into the recesses of my noggin.
Right off the top: I cannot stop wondering if there’s a chance that Donald J. Trump would resign the presidency, the way Richard Nixon did on Aug. 9, 1974.
President Nixon’s resignation speech spoke of the distraction a prolonged impeachment hearing in the House and a Senate trial would become. He said resigning was “abhorrent” to him. The president added that he couldn’t in good conscience concentrate on keeping his job at the risk of letting more critical matters of governance go unattended.
So, he quit.
To be fair, the president didn’t mention in that televised speech that Senate Republicans had told him he was toast when the matter would go to trial.
Twenty-four years later, another president was impeached. Bill Clinton didn’t quit. He fought it, but was able to compartmentalize the impeachment apart from the task of governing.
Donald Trump isn’t wired that way. He is being consumed by the impeachment. He fires off a constant stream of Twitter messages blasting the House impeachment inquiry, and the patriots who have told House committee members that, by golly, the president did seek a quid pro quo, a personal political favor from a foreign government.
Resigning, of course, would belie what Trump has said all along, that he didn’t do anything wrong when he had that “perfect” phone call with the Ukrainian president.
Nor is Trump inclined to put country ahead of his personal political fortunes. I mean, he had no public service exposure prior to running for the presidency in 2016, so the idea of serving others is totally foreign to this guy.
Plus, I guess I should add that the prospect of the Senate convicting him of any crime against the nation is even more remote than it was in 1999 when it cleared President Clinton.
However, I cannot stop hoping that Donald Trump would find it within himself to simply walk away. Sure, that would mean we’d get Mike Pence as president. The vice president also might be tainted by the dirt that has been kicked up around the president, which I suppose is grist for yet another story at another time.
I am not sure I have the stomach for the impeachment that is racing closer to finality. If only the president of the United States was as queasy as many of the people he promised to serve … and could finally put the nation’s interest ahead of his own.
If only he’d just quit.