Was Tuesday the worst day ever of President Donald Trump’s time in office?
One could argue that it was his worst day, since at least the day that preceded it — in other words, that each concurring day that Trump is in office is a progressively worse version of his presidency because of the cumulative gaffes, lies, and horrible policy decisions he’s put forth up to this point.
But politically speaking, Trump’s Tuesday does rank up there as one of the worst for him.
There are many reasons why that’s the case:
- The former head of his presidential election campaign, Paul Manafort, was convicted of eight counts of financial crimes, which included five counts of tax fraud, one count of hiding foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. Although Manafort left Trump's campaign a couple of months before Election Day, it’s still an embarrassment to be associated with him, as Trump invariably is.
- The second member of Congress to endorse Trump for president, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California), along with his wife, were formally indicted for crimes relating to converting campaign funds that were used for their own personal expenses. This follows another Congressman, Rep. Chris Collins (R-New York), who was also indicted earlier this month for insider trading. Collins who was the first to endorse Trump’s campaign while in Congress. Although not part of Trump’s administration, Hunter’s and Collins’ downfalls signal Trump’s support in the legislative branch is not insulated from corruption.
- His longtime “fixer lawyer,” Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations. He also indicated he would work with the special counsel’s office in its ongoing Russia investigation. Cohen’s own lawyer, Lanny Davis, said that his client has information Robert Mueller, the head of the special counsel investigation, would be interested in hearing. “The president of the United States directed [Cohen] to commit a crime, meaning the president committed the crime and covered it up because he didn’t sign the check to keep quiet the affairs with the two women,” Davis said in a recent interview.
Any one of these stories would have been bad enough for the president to have had a "bad" day. That all three of them fell on the same day, within hours of each other, makes it a horrendous one.
The last issue on that list in particular, involving his former lawyer, probably hurts Trump the most. Cohen, during his guilty plea, implicated Trump in directing him to make improper payments to two women (presumably Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal) in order to influence the 2016 presidential election. Ordering your lawyer to commit a crime on your behalf is itself a criminal action (and furthermore, is not privileged communication between an attorney and a client).
As a result, many people have gone further than just saying Trump had a bad day. Some political observers are of the opinion that it is indeed the worst one of Trump’s presidency, while others have said Tuesday was the worst day of the presidency — of any president — since Watergate.
Indeed, an ex-Watergate prosecutor has said that the revelation by Cohen is itself enough to warrant impeachment charges from Congress against Trump.
“This is clear evidence that the president committed crimes, and that is grounds for impeachment, there is no question of it,” said Jill Wine-Banks, assistant Watergate special prosecutor.
These were “crimes by the president of the United States and it affected the election,” Wine-Banks reiterated.
Trump, of course, continued to deny any wrongdoing on Twitter Wednesday morning, making claims of a “witch hunt” against him, as well as saying Cohen is not a good lawyer worth hiring (despite Trump retaining his services for a number of years). But it’s pretty evident, whether you’re of the mindset that Tuesday was his worst day or not, that the president should be concerned about more bad days to come in the weeks ahead.
Given what has transpired, more bad news for Trump is sure to reveal itself. More people close to him may “flip," as Cohen did, or more evidence from Cohen or another source may make its way into the hands of the special counsel.
Calling Tuesday his worst day ever is kind of frivolous at this point — Trump is undoubtedly trudging on the path toward many more “worst days” in the future, and it may be best to give the moniker a rest for a while.
Banner/thumbnail image credit: Leah Millis/Reuters