In watching the ongoing train wreck we call the Trump administration, I recently found myself thinking about Bernie Madoff — another man who misled many gullible people, including government agencies, and thereby enriched himself with untold wealth. At the end Madoff seemed resigned, perhaps even somewhat relieved, to be caught and sent off to prison for the rest of his life. What I doubt he anticipated, however, was that one of the repercussions of his massive fraud would be having one of his sons commit suicide. Much as I’m sure he enjoyed the luxurious life his crime provided, I wonder if he would have thought the loss of a son was a price worth paying, had he known in the beginning.
Now we get to see Donald Trump watching his son follow in his father’s footsteps. Donald Jr. seems to have learned well — beginning with savagely attacking those who perpetrated this “hoax” about conspiring with the Russians, knowing full well that it was most certainly not “fake news.” And then he lied, and just kept on lying, until drip by drip, more and more news was revealed about the full scale of his meeting with the Russians. His representation that he wanted to be transparent was more of a lie than a confession. He pointed to his volunteering the incriminating emails, neglecting to mention that he did it only in a race to do so before the New York Times did it for him.
I wonder what goes through President Trump’s mind as he watches this farce unfold. We know he has explored his options in regard to pardons for staff, family, and even for himself. Does he have any more reflective, enlightened thoughts than just trying to figure out how to help his son beat the rap? In short, does he feel any regret that he has taught his own beloved son to be such a contemptible, unethical human being?
I truly can’t offer a guess as to whether Trump is capable of any insightful reflection about his son’s predicament. Offensive as I find Donald Jr., I sincerely hope his father did have the capacity to offer him an apology for what he has done to him.