The reality TV show in Washington begins a new season this week, but the writers are stuck on the same tired plot line — one of whining revenge.
President Donald Trump, stinging from not getting a completely partisan acquittal in his impeachment Senate trial that wasn't really a trial, used a National Prayer Breakfast last Thursday to lash out at those he sees as his political opponents — specifically House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney who voted "guilty" with Democrats.
The president called them "very dishonest and corrupt people" who are trying to destroy him and the country.
Never once did he praise the Constitution, nor apologize for any intended or even unintended lapses that put the country through months of division over election interference and impeachment. It was all about how "unfairly" he — he, he, he — has been treated.
Pointedly to Romney — and remember Trump was talking at a Prayer Breakfast focused on "tolerance" — the president said, "I don't like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong."
In a clear reference to Pelosi, who has said she prays for the president, Trump said, "Nor do I like people who say, 'I pray for you,' when they know that's not so."
All this followed on the heels not just of the impeachment and trial but also the State of the Union address in which the president handed Pelosi a copy of his speech then deliberately snubbed her outstretched hand. At the end of his performance — and that's what it was — he didn't even turn in her direction. She stood and, instead of clapping, neatly began tearing the pages of his speech across the middle.
Gesture is dialogue: The state of the union.
All day Thursday, at the prayer breakfast and later, Trump recounted his many pathetic grievances — from Jim Comey to Robert Mueller to Hillary Clinton and Christopher Steele's dossier. At his hour-plus news conference "celebration" Thursday afternoon, Trump even tried a brief dramatic reading of the text messages of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the former FBI workers who, during an affair, exchanged anti-Trump comments. The president also said House Intelligence Committee Chairman and lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff "made up my statement to the Ukrainian president." All so "unfair." So "vicious." So "corrupt."
Wait. Wasn't that statement by Trump with the Ukrainian president the summary transcript released by the White House? Yes, it was.
What this president says is worthless. Just worthless. Sadly, just worthless.
Pelosi said as much as she explained her reasoning for ripping in half her copy of his state of the union address.
"I tore up a manifesto of mistruths," she said Thursday morning, doubling down on her action and adding "I don't need any lessons from anybody, especially the president of the United States, about dignity." And she said she prays "hard for him because he's so off the track of our Constitution, our values."
Oh, yeah, and she tossed this zinger at the president, noting that during the State of the Union address, "It looked to me like he was a little sedated. He looked that way last year, too."
See what we mean about the continuing Washington reality show?
But, since this is Sunday, let's go back for a moment to the National Prayer Breakfast.
The keynote speaker was Arthur Brooks, a Harvard professor and conservative thinker who, according to The New York Times, "delivered a passionate plea to Americans to put aside hatred in national life and 'love your enemies.'"
Brooks asked the audience how many of them love someone with whom you disagree politically. Hands went up around the room, and Brooks said he would round the response to 100%, despite the fact, according to The Times, that Trump didn't raise his hand.
"Contempt is ripping our country apart," The Times quoted Brooks. "We're like a couple on the rocks in this country. Ask God to take political contempt from your heart. And sometimes when it's too hard, ask God to help you fake it."
It's too bad the president wasn't listening.