Trump’s Return to the Scene of His Worst Crimes Was Welcomed with Contemptable Cowardice and Avarice*

R.VanWagoner
5 min readJun 16, 2024

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Trump went to Capitol Hill for the first time since January 6, 2021, where he was met with a demonstration of devotion and adoration by deeply craven Republicans, rivaled only by North Korea’s worship of Kim Jong Un. Trump also met privately with the country’s top business leaders who have come to believe that “the threat to capitalism from the Democrats is more concerning than the threat to democracy from Trump.” See Jamelle Bouie’s There’s a Reason Trump Has Friends in High Places. These public officials and private business leaders appear willing, eager even, to destroy democracy for power and money.

The Former Party of Principled Conservatism is the Dog that Returns to its Vomit

I struggle to understand the fawning welcome Trump received this week “from a bunch of cowards” at the scene of the worst crimes an American president, or anyone for that matter, could commit against the citizens of the United States. See Like an arsonist returning to the scene of the fire.

“‘You could go to a Taylor Swift concert this summer and see less giddiness about her from teenage girls than we saw from Republicans on Capitol Hill about Donald Trump,’ Willie Geist said. ‘These are grown men [and women], supposed leaders, who just cannot be more excited to be in the same room to breathe the same oxygen as Donald Trump.’. . . House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) recalled that Trump ‘said complimentary things about all of us’; Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) breathlessly recounted how ‘electric’ Trump was; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) praised him for being ‘so sweet’ and ‘recognizing’ her, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) enthused, ‘We were glad he was leading us.’” GOP members welcomed Trump to Capitol Hill with open arms (video clip).

As expected, Trump’s private meeting with Republicans was a rambling gripe session mostly devoid of policy.

The Proverbial dog that returns to its vomit is a most fitting metaphor for the corruption and demise of a once vibrant party of principled conservative values, with cowardly McConnell at the front of the line.

Leading Capitalists Appear Willing to Kill the Golden Goose

Trump also met privately with the country’s top CEOs on Thursday where he couldn’t stop gibbering. Trump reportedly gave the business leaders an unfiltered view into his rapidly disintegrating mental acuity from a baseline that was already demonstrably unstable.

Why would these top business leaders meet with Trump after denouncing and turning away from him in the wake of Jan. 6? Citing Sam Sutton in Politico in his brilliant New York Times column this week, Jamelle Bouie explains, “several Wall Street executives and Silicon Valley venture capitalists who backed Donald Trump and then spurned him after the Jan. 6 insurrection have now returned to the fold, with open arms and open wallets. They are . . . ‘looking past qualms about his personality and willingness to bulldoze institutional norms and focusing instead on issues closer to the heart: how he might ease regulations, cut their taxes or flex U.S. power on the global stage.’”

Bouie explains: “As Anthony Scaramucci, onetime communication director for the former president, told Politico in a striking critique of Trump’s billionaire supporters: ‘You need a democracy to have effective capitalism. If you don’t, you get cronyism. You get oligarchy. You get crony capitalism. You get arbitrary and capricious administration to the law, which reduces people’s tendency to invest in your country.’”

“The irony of capitalist discontent with democracy is that capitalist democracy has been a very good deal for capitalists. Roosevelt understood, as he spearheaded his defense of the constitutional order, that a measure of modest egalitarianism — facilitated through the formal institutions of democracy — is a small price to pay for stability and the rule of law.”

Bouie dives deeper, quoting philosopher Nancy Frasier: “‘the power to organize production is privatized and devolved to capital’ while the ‘task of governing ‘noneconomic’ orders, including those that supply the external conditions for accumulation, falls to public power, which alone may utilize the ‘political’ media of law and ‘legitimate’ state violence.’”

“The upshot of this dynamic is that democracy under capitalism is necessarily of limited scope. We have the power and capacity to regulate and structure the market, but the fundamental questions — of production and surplus, of ownership and social reproduction — are beyond the reach of democratic decision-making as presently constituted.”

Capitalism necessarily “‘freeloads off public power, availing itself of the legal regimes, repressive forces, infrastructures, and regulatory agencies that are indispensable to accumulation.” The “‘thirst for profit periodically temps some fractions of the capitalist class to rebel against public power, to bad-mouth it as inferior to markets, and to scheme to weaken it. In such cases, when short-term interests trump long-term survival, capital once again threatens to destroy the very political conditions of its own possibility.’”

“For these donors, President Biden’s efforts to enforce antitrust law and ‘tighten rules around markets and mergers’ are such a threat to their financial interests that they’ve abandoned the misgivings they entertained in the wake of Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. One must also imagine that there is some unhappiness with Biden’s efforts to create and preserve a tight labor market that puts more income into the hands of ordinary workers. Whatever their grievance, these business leaders have come to believe that ‘the threat to capitalism from the Democrats is more concerning than the threat to democracy from Trump.

Of course, this idea is nonsense. There is no way in which the Democratic Party constitutes a threat to capitalism. At most, the party’s program of regulation, redistribution and higher taxes may shrink, ever so slightly, the profit rate for some of the nation’s wealthiest shareholders. But when compared with Trump’s promise to destroy the regulatory state and siphon the public coffers into the accounts of his billionaire friends and allies, even modest intervention on behalf of consumers and labor looks like the harbinger of a dictatorship of the proletariat.

“The truth is that regimes of corrupt, personalist rule — in which authoritarians wield the state to reward friends, punish enemies and secure their fortunes — are much less prosperous than the alternative. It’s not as if Viktor Orbán’s Hungary, a shining city on the hill for the MAGA right, can claim to possess anything like a dynamic, growing economy. And the big-ticket items on Trump’s supposed second-term agenda — large tariffs on most goods entering the United States, the total politicization of the federal bureaucracy, including the Federal Reserve, and a plan to systematically deport who he says are tens of millions of undocumented immigrants — would plunge the country into turmoil and economic disarray.

(Emphasis added.)

R.VanWagoner https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner publishes. https://richardvanwagoner.medium.com/subscribe

*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner. Rob’s second novel, a beautifully written suspense drama that takes place in Utah, Wyoming, and Norway, dropped on November 17, 2020. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Bookstore and your favorite local bookshop, this novel, The Contortionists, which Rob himself narrates for the audio version, is a psychological page-turner about a missing child in a predominantly Mormon community. I have read the novel and listened to the audio version twice. It is a literary masterpiece. The Contortionists is not, however, for the faint of heart.

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R.VanWagoner

Exercising my right not to remain silent. Criminal defense and First Amendment attorney.