The President Is Purging the Security Services While Rejecting the Results of an Election He Lost

Jack Holmes
·4-min read
Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla - Getty Images

From Esquire

The results of the 2020 election are not in doubt. Republicans made gains in the House, control of the Senate will come down to two runoff elections in Georgia, and Joe Biden won the presidency. It wasn't close. He is on track, at the moment, to win 306 Electoral Votes, the same number Donald Trump won in 2016. His leads across the key states that made the difference are likely to be larger—often much larger—than those that got Trump across the line last time. Oh, and Biden got millions and millions more citizens' votes, not that it matters, strictly speaking, in our boneheaded system.

Yet the president and his allies refuse to accept the very clear outcome. His campaign is firing off spurious lawsuits left and right, screaming about fraud. (Trump telegraphed this play ahead of the election—it has no relationship to what actually happened. He was always going to do it.) His Senate apparatchiks are suggesting the results are in doubt, and the two Georgia senators up in that state's upcoming runoffs have been enlisted to attack Georgia's Republican secretary of state. More than all that, the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, could be found "joking" Tuesday that "there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration." As we know now, people in this movement are joking until they're not, and they're not really laughing when they are. They are leering as they do it, injecting something into the body politic with a wink and a nod to see if it might take root there. Oh, and his pet attorney general is busy adding a patina of legal clout to the whole scam.

But all that may pale in comparison to the president's move to purge the Department of Defense this week—again, while simultaneously rejecting the results of the democratic election he lost. He fired the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, and passed over many candidates in the line of succession to haul Christopher Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, into the big time. One wonders why he might have been chosen. So, too, with the new Pentagon chief of staff, Kash Patel, "a former Devin Nunes staffer who worked to discredit the Russia investigation," according to Jennifer Griffin of Fox News. Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Joseph Kernan is also reportedly out. Meanwhile, there's talk he'll get new people in at the CIA and the FBI.

Considering this is a president who has already demonstrated his willingness to wield the power of the state against peaceful marchers protesting his regime in the nation's capital, and considering he has rejected the election results and his White House is reportedly behaving internally as if he will serve a second term, it is somewhat alarming that he is currently purging the senior leadership of his security services and replacing them with what appear to be more pliant loyalists. Maybe this is about some policy disagreements, since as we all know, Donald Trump is real big on the details. Or does he maybe believe these folks will be more reliable if he decides to give the order to the United States security apparatus to crush demonstrations in the street? Is this merely part of whatever inevitable coverups his administration will pursue ahead of actually leaving? Are these questions we should really need to ask in the United States of America? And what would we be saying if we saw this in another country?

It remains incredible to watch various Savvy Observers calmly explain that The Laws will prevent Donald Trump from doing stuff. They've never stopped him before, whether it was in his prior gig as a real-estate crook or in his current one as President of the United States. This is a guy who seized money Congress refused to appropriate for his Big, Beautiful Wall, relentlessly undermined the independent system of justice, and rejected the oversight power of the House of Representatives. But surely he'll play by the rules now, when leaving office could present him with significant legal exposure. On a more fundamental level, taking this L would deal possibly debilitating psychological damage to someone of his...particular makeup. He will do whatever he can get away with, as he always has, and it will be up to the rest of the country to decide what that is.

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