President Donald Trump laughs while delivering comments during the North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

President Donald Trump laughs while delivering comments during the North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Rickter Scale: The White House lies ahead

The Rickter Scale is a regular column

Rick Stiebel/Columnist

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any votes.”

When Donald John Trump uttered those words on the campaign trail in March of 2016 he was telling the truth for a change.

Even if there was irrefutable proof that Trump said “I know what I did was illegal and goes against the Constitution, but I’m going to do whatever it takes, including cheating, to win the next election,” it wouldn’t have mattered or made the slightest smidgen of difference in the outcome of his impeachment trial.

The state of that nation is such that no amount of tapes, transcripts, documents or witnesses – examined or stifled – would have swayed the judgment of the Republican senators who are in lock step with the president who would be king.

That’s not the nagging concern succinctly expressed by a passionately opinionated friend, however. His ire isn’t aimed at the results of a trial that was over before the first bang of the gavel.

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“I don’t know if the world can handle four more years of Trump,” said the friend we’ll call Andrew to spare him the wrath of Trump Nation. I was reminded of the time we watched Nixon’s implosion in the Crown and Anchor during a break from working as carnies on Fun Pier in Wildwood, New Jersey. At the time, it seemed like we were the only ones paying attention to what was broadcast through the flickering black and white above the bar.

Andrew’s big-picture fear now is that the timing of the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was merely a Trump-contrived distraction to divert attention away from the impeachment proceedings. The fact it enabled Trump to toss another hunk of prime rib to his rabid base simply made it more appealing.

Although he doesn’t like a lot of what our prime minister says or does, Andrew’s in total agreement with Trudeau’s view that 176 people on Flight PS 752 would be alive if not for the heightened tensions created by Trump’s decision to snuff Soleimani.

“Now Trump knows he can do whatever he wants and the Republicans will follow him every step of the way,” Andrew opined. “That should scare the crap out of everybody.”

The senators acquitted Trump so they can hang on to power before they roll the dice on another election. Although their conscience may cause some sleepless nights for a few, and others may worry about the stain on their reputations, they will continue their cult-like support for whatever Trump does as certainly as the sun will rise somewhere tomorrow.

Those rays of sunshine, however, will never brighten another day for those poor souls blown to bits in the skies above Tehran on the eighth day of January.

Their families and friends will never forget what happened on that morning, no matter how bright the sun shines.

They were nothing more than speed bumps for Trump on his road to four more years on the throne he’s built in the White House.

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.

Rickter Scale