Rick Wilson is dropping some hard truths (for Trump) this week, not the least of which is that "Donald Trump is a coward. A chickenshit."
Published:December 14, 2023
By Rick Wilson
A quote misapplied to everyone from Winston Churchill to Aristotle to Marcus Aurelius comes from Samuel Johnson and is the origin of one my most important rules in life; “…courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues; because, unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for preserving any other.”
That’s why I want to encourage people in the pro-democracy fight ahead to keep a key fact close to their hearts:
Donald Trump is a coward.
He’s a yellow cur, running from, not to, the sounds of the guns.
The long-suffering and wildly incompetent Alina Habba (who for some reason seems to look more like Melania every day) was, of course, dragged publicly for having said, “He will open himself up to whatever they want because he’s not afraid. People that are afraid cower. President Trump doesn’t cower.”
Au contraire, parking lot lawyer.
Trump does cower—often, and with enthusiasm.
From releasing his taxes during the 2016 election to his bogus claim that Barack Obama and Hillary wiretapped Trump Tower to voter fraud accusations in 2020 and roughly 30,000 other claims in between, Trump doesn’t lie for fun.
He lies because he’s afraid of the truth. The truth of his smallness. The truth that he was never a real billionaire. The truth that his ongoing criminal enterprise disguised as a real estate development firm is one concatenating series of scams, grifts, tax frauds, flim-flams, foreign influence schemes, and long cons.
He’s afraid of you knowing the truth of his intellectual shortcomings. (He can barely read.) The truth about his weight and his health. (275 on the low end.) The truth about his vulgar taste. The truth of his accidental victory in 2016. The truth of his weirdness, his unsexy history of paying for sex, his shit-tier parenting, and how many times he’s failed in business and life.
Autocratic bullies and braggarts need an unending string of victories, a potent and positive image protected by a bodyguard of lies and deceptions. Why? Because they’re deeply, profoundly afraid of the people they rule.
Invulnerable, overwhelmingly virile, powerful, and dominant are the tropes of every dictator; in every case the image disguises the fear and weakness.
A shocking number of 20th-century autocrats were never tested by their people and died in bed.
Nevertheless, Hitler took the coward’s bullet. Saddam Hussein was dragged from a spider hole. Gaddafi died begging in a sewage culvert. Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu actually died with some guts, monsters though they were. Elena hissed to their guards after their very brief trial, “You could have shot us without this masquerade” as they were backed up on a barracks wall before a firing squad.
I doubt Trump would hold up half so well if he got a speeding ticket. He’d beg. Run. Cajole. Deal. Wheedle. Cry.
One wonders at the scope of the illusion required to sustain the image of Trump as courageous and strong. The online obsession by MAGAe of showing Trump as a ripped and swole bodybuilder, soldier, or superhero is both puerile and risible, but it speaks to the level of delusion he demands.
The fact is, he’s barely been tested. A brush with COVID? An eagle that tried to bite him? A riser falling on a stage? The occasional protestor? A few trials over his long history of criming?
It’s why these trials are such a window into Trump’s character, even if they won’t have the political impact many of us desire; they show the fear in his soul of accountability and truth. In Trump’s case, he combines the worst of all worlds: physical, moral, and political cowardice with malice, cruelty, bullying, and projection. We’ve seen it over and over again in the past decade. As long as he feels physically safe — behind the walls of the White House, or before that, protected by the security bros at Trump Tower or Mar A Lago — Trump is a swaggering, shit-talking goon.
His affect shift is notable every time he’s out of his bubble. Many of the deposition videos of Trump in his previous civil litigation show a man willing to say, over and over, “Uh, I don’t recall.”
In videotaped depositions for civil litigation, Trump often displayed a more restrained and controlled demeanor. He typically answered questions with a level of formality, adhering to legal advice and showing a (relatively) measured response to avoid legal complications. In the political arena and on social media, Trump's tone is, well, Trumpian. More animated, charismatic, aggressive, and cruel.The tough-guy showman behind the wall of guns. But behind it all is a man scared of his ferocious father and controlling mother, a man who has never taken or delivered a punch, a man who knows he’s a fraud and a fake, but dreams of one more con before he’s caught.
A coward in every respect.
It’s why Trump is so profoundly offended when people like Chris Christie, Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney, and even Ted Cruz call him a coward. He knows how true it is, and how deep it cuts.
Much of what Trump does and says is meant to horrify, to instill terror and despair in others, and to smash the morale and energy of his opposition. It’s straight out of the autocratic playbook, even if it masks his yawning terror of exposure, responsibility, or even the mildest challenge.
Remember, America. Trump wants you to be afraid of him…because he’s petrified you’ll see him for precisely the coward he is.
"The demagogue gains power by democratic means, claiming to be a champion of ‘the people’ and making wild promises...Anyone who opposes the demagogue is labeled an ‘enemy of the people’ and exiled or killed," writes Teri Kanefield.
"Find Me The Votes" authors and journalists Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman join Rick to discuss the Georgia investigation into the efforts to overturn the 2020 election led by Fani Willis. They get into the incredible breadth and complexity of the case, from pressure campaigns on state officials and intimidation tactics against election workers to the strategic use of RICO charges. The episode also details the challenges facing Willis, Trump's reactions, and the case's implications for future elections and American democracy.
Ruth Ben-Ghiat taps into how public shaming and divide-and-rule tactics used by autocrats create toxic environments of fear and insecurity, where opportunists thrive at the expense of individual dignity and the good of the people.
Sound advice from Robert McElvaine: "Call Hur’s 'Bombshell' what it is: Bullshit!" Don't miss his debunking of baseless claims surrounding Joe Biden's mental fitness with undeniable facts and accomplishments: Joe Biden tackles the challenges head-on while his predecessor's mental decline remains ignored.