So, in the last few days, we have seen “good Trump” on ample display. He had a nice meeting with the Failing New York Times, backed away from his pledge to lock up Crooked Hillary, nominated a couple of women for top jobs without grabbing them by the pussy, and so on.
He gave a Thanksgiving address, or should I say made a Thanksgiving video, calling for unity after a long and bruising campaign (without mentioning that he caused almost all the bruising).
Why? Why now? What’s in it for him?
A friend of the blog offered the theory that he’s worried about the upcoming electoral college vote on December 19, and is being told to present a saner version of his mercurial self until that hurdle has been cleared.
As we all know by now, Trump lost the popular vote by over two million votes. That’s a lot! Clinton has 232 pledged Electoral College votes and would need only 38 faithless electors to change their vote, which, in 22 states, they would be entirely within their rights to do.
It’s a longshot at best, but many of those electors have been getting an earful. An online petition already has 4.5 million signatures. Apart from the fact that he lost the popular vote and is seen by most as temperamentally unfit for the job, he accepted illegal campaign contributions amounting to $1.3 million and the Trump foundation has admitted self dealing to the IRS.
In addition to all that, there is the whole question of conflicts of interest with his various businesses. Although he claims that “the president cannot have a conflict of interest” and that the law is on his side (amazingly, he could be right on this!), that may not be enough.
The emoluments clause in the constitution prohibits receiving gifts from foreign powers, and, depending on how you want to define “gift”, Trump could be in a lot of trouble here.
To put this in perspective, Obama had to jump through a lot of hoops to figure out whether accepting the Nobel Prize was a violation of the Emoluments clause.
Whether Trump’s conflicts of interest are something for the electoral college to sort out, or whether it will be the job of congress or the Supreme Court, is yet to be seen. But if you were an elector, perhaps it would tip the scales for you. There’s already plenty of weight on the side of the faithless.
In the meantime, on Thanksgiving, we can give thanks for a few days of relative normalcy in Mar-a-Lago.