While Donald Trump — and Tennessee senators and representatives — sink to new lows in their seemingly bottomless plunge to stay in power, someone is dying of COVID-19 every 33 seconds. That has meant about 2,600 deaths a day over the past week.
Here in Hamilton County, we ran through all the vaccines we were offered last week long before the 75-year-olds and up got queued into lines. And, go ahead, call your regular doc to ask if he or she will be prioritizing their patient lists for vaccines at their office. They'll tell you they certainly have that capability, but they'll also say — and we quote — they have "no clue" if or when they'll get any of the vaccine. No clue.
Yet what has any of that got to do with Trump, who over the weekend made it crystal clear once again that the only thing he can think about is how to cheat his way into staying in office?
This time he phoned the Georgia secretary of state and spent more than an hour browbeating, cajoling, begging and threatening Brad Raffensperger and his general counsel, Ryan Germany, telling them: "I just want to find 11,780 votes." Just "find" the votes to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election which Trump lost to Joe Biden.
Importantly, Trump made this clear after Raffensperger and his deputies debunked the numerous lies about vote fraud made by Trump to justify his atrocious demand just days before Georgia's Senate runoff elections set for today.
Trump's preposterous effort — recorded on tape and released to the media after Trump attacked Georgia officials again via Twitter on Sunday morning — reveals more than just how desperate this president is. It also shows him — once again — to be more than willing to commit crimes to maintain his hold on power.
Sadly, he isn't alone. On Wednesday, dozens of congressional Republicans are expected to join Trump's effort by objecting to Joe Biden's electors. This quest, if it could succeed but almost certainly won't, would overturn millions of votes in the swing states where Trump lost. Not questioning, of course, the states where he won.
These congressional Republicans — including U.S. Reps. Chuck Fleischmann and Scott DesJarlais as well as Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty — say they will object to Biden electors based on the same numerous claims of fraud that already have been shot down in dozens of court cases and state recounts.
In effect, they are advocating for the same kind of rigging for which Trump has angled.
They are saying they will vote not to count our votes. Not to count Biden's electors. Electors for whom Americans voted. Because they don't believe us. They don't believe our votes.
Fleischmann, especially, should know better. He is claiming he's representing his constituents. But he isn't. Not if he's planning to vote not to count the Biden electors who were chosen by voters.
How is that different from what Trump asked of Raffensperger in his Saturday call when he asked Raffensperger to just say he "recalculated" the certified vote that was subject to multiple recounts?
Trump: "So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state." But what? No, he didn't?
Well, just change your number. Just don't count the Biden votes because I don't believe them. Just don't count the Biden electors. Just cheat in plain sight. Call it recalculate. But just cheat.
Legal experts say Trump might have violated Georgia state laws against solicitation of voter fraud and extortion by seeking to exert pressure on Raffensperger.
And already, some pundits are clamoring for Trump to be impeached again.
After all, by suggesting to Raffensperger, who also is a Republican, that he might be committing a criminal offense by not bending to the president's will, Trump was asserting the power of his office in ways that recalled his 2019 phone call to Ukraine's president.
You remember that call — the one in which Trump pressured President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to begin a bogus investigation into Joe Biden by withholding vital military aid to the country?
Imagine how many more coronavirus vaccines might be in arms today if Trump put even a tenth of the effort into fighting COVID-19 that he's put into subverting democracy.