Oscar Wilde once observed that only very superficial people don’t judge things by their appearances.
Like many of Wilde’s quips, that observation has the dual advantage of being both witty and true. Its apparent flippancy — in fact, its flippancy is genuine, not just apparent — does not so much conceal as embody the deep truth it expresses.
Thomas Aquinas also appreciated the importance of appearance as the ambassador of truth. Aquinas tended to speak of pulchritudo, ‘beauty,’ which he congregated with the good and the true as interwoven ‘transcendentals.’ The beautiful, Aquinas wrote, is id quod visum placet, that which having been seen, pleases. I hope that no one will mistake the simplicity of that observation for its being simple-minded.
In any event, this brief exordium is merely a prolegomenon to the occasion for this column, viz the continuing travails of Hope Hicks, the strikingly beautiful woman whom the Democrats, abetted by their wretched brethren in the press, hounded from her position as Donald Trump’s White House communications director last year.
Hicks was (and by all accounts still is) close to the president. So the Democrats, again aided by the jackals of the press, hoped that by badgering Hope they might fulfill their hope of rendering the president’s position hopeless.
It didn’t work. They hauled her before Congress in February 2018 to grill her about the president, about Russia, about Steve Bannon, with the result that the public now knows that the White House communications director endeavored to put a positive spin on things the president said and things that were said about him. Mirabile dictu. Will wonders never cease? A person hired to do public relations actually does public relations.
I thought that we had — and the prospect saddened me — seen the last of Hope Hicks, at least in any role of the that long running farce ‘Get Trump,’ which is more and more updated version of the Road Runner cartoon featuring Donald Trump as the Road Runner and the Democrats filling the role of Wile E. Coyote.
But, no, Jerry Nadler, the Jabba the Hutt of the House, has issued subpoenas to Hope Hicks and to Annie Donaldson, former deputy White House counsel and therefore a chief aide to Don McGahn, the former White House counsel, in order to inflict further torment in pursuit of their unholy grail, the removal of Donald Trump from office.
The subpoenas stipulate that the ladies are to turn over various documents by early June and then appear before the House Judiciary Committee later in the month. The subpoena says that, but I wonder what thepoena, the penalty, in subpoena really consists of in this case. Don McGahn himself, at the instruction of the White House, blew off a demand that he appear before them on Tuesday, just as AG Bill Barr did a week or two ago. Jerry Nadler stamped his feet and banged his gavel. But just as Eric Holder ignored a contempt of Congress citation, so it is likely that these people will, too. And so will Reince Priebus, a former chief of staff to the president, and Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist, who are also slated for subpoenas. ‘We couldn’t get Trump through Robert Mueller’s stupid investigation. But we’re not giving up! Come tells us nasty stories about the president.’ That’s the message.
When it comes to their make-believe ‘investigation’ of President Trump, the Democrats seem to be employing the same strategy being deployed by the Dems in the presidential race: run all the candidates! Investigate everyone Donald Trump ever spoke to!
Both are signs of desperation. And both will achieve the same end with respect to Donald Trump: nada, rien, nichts, zilch, nothing.
Appearances are not always deceiving, you see. The appearance of Democratic fatuousness and panicked desperation that you see across the fruited plain is not deceptive. You see it everywhere, in their public relations firms — The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC — as well as in the sudden chaos in the narrative emanating from the Democratic pols and, above all, in the hysterical accusations being traded among Deep State actors like John Brennan, the two Jameses — Comey and Clapper — Andrew McCabe, and others. As Victor Davis Hanson observed, the ‘higher loyalty’ crowd is now behaving like a bunch of school children caught in some naughtiness: ‘He did it, not me!’ It is sad, really. But one would have to be a more upright soul than I not to take some satisfaction in the spectacle. Which brings to mind another mot of Oscar Wilde: ‘One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.’