The Con Begins to Unravel

Andrew Sullivan, writing in New York Magazine, writes that Donald Trump is a con man, that the con is his presidency, and that the con is beginning to unravel, as all con jobs do eventually.

An unraveling con job requires increasingly desperate actions by the con man to keep the marks from tipping to the con. And that’s how Sullivan reads Donald Trump’s actions the last few weeks. The grammar-challenged “correction” of “wouldn’t” for “would” as the disastrous Helsinki press conference; the $12 billion to his farmer (and agribusiness) base maimed by his tariff wars; claiming the Carter Page FISA documents prove his claims when they disprove them. Maybe so. But maybe no.

A con unravels when the marks get suspicious, and there is precious little sign that’s happening yet. Trump’s supporters still turn out at the rallies. Trump’s endorsement still works, at least in primary elections. The economy so far is holding up pretty well against the body blows of Trump’s tariffs, treaty withdrawals and ballooning deficit. It’s true the economy won’t hold up much longer; it’s easier to fool a mark than repeal the law of supply and demand.

And WC doesn’t see a con’s desperation in banning a CNN reporter from a press conference because she had previously asked difficult reality-based questions. That’s just truculence.

WC sees it as Trump’s increasing worry that Robert Mueller’s investigation is going to produce evidence that even a Republican-controlled Congress can’t ignore. It’s pretty clear Mueller is close to turning Trump’s former consigliere, Michael Cohen, who has damning recordings of Trump. The rate of lies, according to those who try to keep up with them, is increasing.

He’s a cornered criminal, either way. And cornered criminals do desperate things. More than ever, he bears watching.