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Rex Huppke: Donald Trump's presidency is collapsing


© AP President Donald Trump, center, waves during his arrival with first lady Melania Trump and their son Barron at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Sunday, April 1, 2018. Trump returned to Washington after spending Easter weekend at his Mar-a-Lago…

By Rex Huppke, Chicago Tribune

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

We know President Donald Trump is a strong man, possibly the strongest and most fit president we've ever had.

But even his broad shoulders — which many say are the broadest of all the presidential shoulders — can't carry the weight of the scandals that are presently piling up.

We're only one year into Trump's presidency, and we're already witnessing its entirely predictable collapse.

Consider the news swirling about on Thursday:

The phrase "pee tape" was trending on Twitter, thanks to excerpts from former FBI Director James Comey's upcoming book describing Trump's obsession with one of the more lurid claims in the controversial dossier compiled by a British spy. We don't know if there's actually a video recording of Trump watching Russian prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room. But we know it's at least a possibility, and that's not good for a president.

Comey's book also describes Trump as an unhinged narcissist and compares his behavior to that of a mob boss. At the end of the day, who you believe will depend on who you trust, Comey or Trump. Given all that Trump has shown us about who he is and how he behaves, I'm guessing the Vegas line on who will win the most trust leans heavily in Comey's favor.

Two news outlets — the New Yorker and the Associated Press — reported on another suspicious payoff during the presidential campaign, this one to a doorman at one of Trump's New York City buildings. The doorman reportedly claimed that Trump had fathered a child with an employee and was paid $30,000 by the company that owns the National Enquirer to keep the rumor to himself. There's no proof the rumor is true, but the issue is the hush money and what appears to be furious attempts to insulate Trump from past dalliances during the campaign. Already we know about a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels from Trump's personal attorney and a $150,000 payment to a former Playboy Playmate from the National Enquirer's parent company. Does anyone who is even remotely tethered to reality think we won't learn of more?

There were reports that Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney, was known to secretly record telephone conversations. So the concern in Trump's circle is that the recent FBI raids on Cohen's home and office might have turned up recordings that could make the president look bad. That's not good! Cohen, an argumentative, ornery lawyer, has also taken an oddly polite tone regarding federal investigators, raising questions as to how much trouble he might be in and how much it would take for him to flip on the president.

That's just Thursday. And I'm probably missing one or two other developments.

Special counsel Robert Mueller continues to look into whether Trump obstructed justice and whether his campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election. And the administration is dealing with other problems, from EPA head Scott Pruitt's bizarre spending habits to turnover that is unprecedented in American presidential history.

Republican lawmakers are announcing plans to retire — most recently House Speaker Paul Ryan — and the sense in Washington, at least among conservatives, is that rough days are ahead.

This is untenable. Every president winds up embroiled in some form of scandal, maybe even several. But the sheer volume of controversies consuming the Trump White House is unlike anything we've ever seen.

Some may be false, some may be exaggerated, some may be legitimate. But their very existence points to a president whose past should have disqualified him from office and whose temperament consistently leads him to trouble.

If we had President Jeb Bush or President Marco Rubio right now, there would be ample partisan squabbling and quite possibly a minor scandal or two. But I feel confident we wouldn't have "pee tape" trending on Twitter. We wouldn't have a special counsel closing in on the president or a series of salacious stories about questionable payoffs for past affairs. We wouldn't have the home and office of the president's personal attorney being raided by the FBI.

This is too much for Trump to shoulder and it's too much for this country to maintain. And there's a good chance that within moments of this column publishing there will be another scandal, and an hour later five more.

Trump will never admit his presidency is collapsing.

But it is, and fast.

And there's nothing our strong, tough and staggeringly healthy president can do to slow it down.

Rex Huppke is a Chicago Tribune columnist. Readers may send him email at


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Politics - U.S. Daily News: Rex Huppke: Donald Trump's presidency is collapsing
Rex Huppke: Donald Trump's presidency is collapsing
Politics - U.S. Daily News
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