Donald Trump (Getty Images/ Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Stock)

Donald Trump can't stop losing: The past few weeks have been the worst of his presidency

Donald Trump is in full retreat on all fronts, and he's bitter and angry about it. You do love to see it



Lucian K. Truscott IV
June 20, 2020 12:00PM (UTC)

Donald Trump is losing. He's losing nationally in the polls. He's losing in battleground states. He's losing in the streets. Every day when he wakes up and turns on the news, he is losing. He can't escape it. He is a loser.

He is losing his precious Supreme Court. Twice in one week, the court ruled against him on matters near and dear to his heart. On Monday, the court handed him an unexpected defeat as two conservative justices, including Trump's hand-picked buddy-boy Neil Gorsuch, ruled that gay and transgender Americans are covered by the Civil Rights Act's Title VII and cannot be fired or discriminated against in hiring simply because they are gay or transgender. On Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberals in deciding against the Trump administration's attempt to end the DACA program, ruling that Trump's order to cancel the program had been ham-handed and "arbitrary and capricious."

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He is losing to John Bolton, the former national security adviser and a man he called a "dope," whose book, "The Room Where It Happened," to be published next week, has already made headlines and sent Trump into paroxysms of anger and despair. Bolton, who refused to testify before the House impeachment committee or to provide testimony at Trump's trial in the Senate, didn't add much to the Ukraine bribery scandal, but he did admit that he had gone to Trump's lackey of an attorney general, Bill Barr, and reported on Trump's penchant for "doing favors for his favorite dictators." He quoted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling Trump "full of shit," echoing his first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who called him a "fucking moron." Zing.

He is losing to his generals. After using National Guard troops to clear the way for his disastrous Bible-toting photo op at St. John's Church and threatening to put active duty troops on the streets of Washington to suppress protests, he was forced to withdraw all National Guard troops from the capital. Then Secretary of Defense Mark Esper gave the order to send home the active duty Army units Trump had called up and stationed outside D.C. at Joint Base Andrews. Several former high-ranking military officers, including former Defense Secretary James Mattis and retired Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, wrote articles critical of Trump's proposed use of American soldiers against protesting American citizens. Even active duty generals reacted strongly, with Gen. Mark Milley, current chairman of the Joint Chiefs, writing a cleverly coded letter to the rest of the joint chiefs reminding them of their oath to the Constitution, including their obligation to defend its guarantee of free speech and assembly.

He is losing to the protesters. Demonstrations in Washington caused Trump to erect a 10-foot-high fence around the White House, two miles of it by some accounts. And yet the protests against the killing of black men and boys by police go on, and the protesters keep coming. Two blocks of 16th Street near the White House have been renamed "Black Lives Matter Plaza." Thousands in Washington are still protesting police brutality, and against Trump himself. Trump disappeared into a bunker in the basement of the White House at the height of the demonstrations. He has been surrounded.

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He is losing to Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, D.C. In addition to painting "Black Lives Matter" in gigantic yellow letters on the street in sight of the White House, she demanded that National Guard and active duty troops be removed from her city, and Trump was forced by his own generals to comply. Muriel Bowser is in charge in Washington, not Trump.

He is losing to Colin Kaepernick. The commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, made a video admitting that the NFL made a mistake when it sought to bar players from "taking a knee" in protest against police brutality. At least two NFL coaches and one team owner have shown interest in signing Kaepernick "if the timing and the fit" are right, according to Fox News. If they ever get the NFL season going this fall, it will be a nightmare for Trump as he watches players take a knee during the National Anthem in protest against police brutality.

He is losing to Aunt Jemima. On Wednesday, Quaker Oats announced that it will completely change the name and brand due to its racist stereotypes. Three other brands that used racist stereotypes quickly followed suit: Uncle Ben's rice, Mrs. Butterworth's syrup, and Cream of Wheat hot cereal. All these brand changes come in reaction to the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks by police, and to the subsequent protests. Trump's reflexive support of police and "law and order" is backfiring on him. A recent Washington Post poll found that 70 percent of Americans say that police killings of blacks are a sign of "broader problems." That number was 43 percent only a few years ago. Major companies around the country have made announcements in support of Black Lives Matter. The dog whistles and racist code that Trump has used for four years no longer work. 

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He is losing to himself. Trump has become an American Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian president overthrown in that nation's 2014 revolution. His violent reaction to the peaceful protest outside the White House, when he used police SWAT teams and National Guard troops and tear gas and swinging nightsticks to clear the way for his insane photo op, only served to inspire more protests, not less. The violent suppression of that protest set off the revolt of the generals. His promotion of violence on Twitter — "when the looting starts the shooting starts" — finally motivated Twitter to circumscribe his access to their platform and to add clarifying comments to some of his lies. Even Facebook recently took down some Trump campaign ads that made use of Nazi-style symbols, saying they "violated our policy against organized hate." Police violence against protesters is leading to arrests of some abusive police officers. Even a few Republican senators are edging away from Trump, albeit gingerly.

He is losing to the very forces he unleashed to win the White House. He lit the fires of racism and hate, and they are consuming him. By actively promoting racism again and again, he shined a light on the ugliness that has always been there, and now that people see it clearly, they are recoiling from him. Demonstrations against racism and hate have exploded across the country. People are sick and tired of Trump and of what he represents. They are in the streets to feel better about the country and themselves, and they are going to stay there until they have a chance to rid themselves of him at the ballot box. It's wonderful to see. It's profound. It's Shakespearean.

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Donald Trump is losing. He is in retreat. It isn't Black Lives Matter that's on trial. It's Trump. He has been forced into a defensive crouch and he's scared. This is the moment we have waited for. Pay attention. Remember these days. They will go down in history.


Lucian K. Truscott IV

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He has covered stories such as Watergate, the Stonewall riots and wars in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels and several unsuccessful motion pictures. He has three children, lives on the East End of Long Island and spends his time Worrying About the State of Our Nation and madly scribbling in a so-far fruitless attempt to Make Things Better. He can be followed on Facebook at The Rabbit Hole and on Twitter @LucianKTruscott.

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