Trump Is Obsessed With Adam Schiff's Parody of His Phone Call with Zelensky

One of the things we know about President Crimey McPantsshitter is that he brooks no insults (unless he's in on the joke, a la his Comedy Central roast, which, yes, is a thing the president of the goddamn United States has done). You could make a strong case that one reason he ran for president is because Barack Obama said some mean shit about him at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2011 and he wanted to destroy Obama's legacy for it. We know that Obama had other things on his mind that night, like the operation to get Osama bin Laden. We know that Trump was mightily pissed off at all the jokes at his expense all evening. A rational, real billionaire might be able to brush it off, in a kind of "Laugh all you want, peasants. I'm still rich enough to buy your companies and have you fired" way.

But not Donald Trump. And that leads to another thing we know about him: once he gets something in his tiny brain, he will not let it go. Some call that "marketing genius," the idea that if you repeat a phrase or idea over and over, people will love it, no matter how shitty or dishonest it is (see: "We're gonna build a wall and Mexico will pay for it"). However, it's less marketing than it is a kind of dullard's echolalia, along with an inability to move on, like the endless, endless, truly, madly endless replay of Hillary Clinton's missing emails and her acid-washed, missing server. Or whatever the fuck.

In the realm of Trump's batshittery related to the impeachment hearings, one of the weirdest is Trump's utter obsession with Rep. Adam Schiff's opening statement of the impeachment hearings weeks ago, spurred by Trump's phone call with Ukraine's President Zelensky. Schiff gave a paraphrase of the phone call that he said twice was not a quote. Hell, later in the hearing, he called it "at least in part a parody." Before going into a not-un-Trump-like wannabe mobster tone, Schiff prefaced the summary with, "It reads like a classic organized crime shakedown. Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates." Then he does the paraphrase before saying, "This is in sum and character what the president was trying to communicate with the president of Ukraine."

Now, maybe "essence" and "sum and character" are words that are too fancy for Trump, but in the hearing, a Republican, Mike Turner, declared that Schiff was "just making it up" and "Because sometimes fiction is better than the actual words or the text. But luckily the American public are smart, and they have the transcript. They’ve read the conversation; they know when someone’s just making it up." Apparently, they're not and they don't.

Why is this important? After all, this took place on September 26, which is like thirty years ago in Trump time.

Well, see, nearly every day, Trump attacks Schiff, and, in most of those, he brings up Schiff's parody of him. Just last night, at almost midnight, Trump tweeted, "The only crimes in the Impeachment Hoax were committed by Shifty Adam Schiff, when he totally made up my phone conversation with the Ukrainian President and read it to Congress."

On October 26, he tweeted, " Even Shifty Schiff got caught cheating when he made up what I said on the call!" On October 20: "When do we depose Shifty Schiff to find out why he fraudulently made up my phone call and read this fiction to Congress and the American People?  I demand his deposition. He is a fraud."

Trump has at various times called on Schiff to be sued for "fraud" or "impeached" (which isn't a thing for members of Congress) or arrested for treason because of the characterization of the goddamn phone call.  Here he is yesterday, just losing his shit over it during one of his screaming Q&A's before getting on Air Force One: "Adam Schiff went up before Congress and he made my words.  He didn’t copy what I said.  He didn’t know them, probably, at the time.  Nobody thought I was going to release the conversation.  I got the approval from Ukraine.  Once I released the conversation, this thing all died.  And that’s what they should be looking.  And Adam Schiff went before Congress, and Adam Schiff, what he did, will never be forgotten.  He made up a conversation that was a phony fabrication.  It was a fraud.  And people shouldn’t be allowed to get away.  They say he has immunity because he’s a member of Congress.  People shouldn’t be allowed to do that.  That’s a criminal act.  What he did is a criminal act."

Or on October 12, at another yelling appearance before a Marine One departure, "Schiff made up a story.  Because when Schiff read what I actually said, he said, “I can’t say this because he did nothing wrong.”  So Schiff went out and he made up a lie.  He made up a — it was a fraudulent story.  You know that...And, frankly, he went out.  He made up a fraudulent story.  He then went before the U.S. Congress and the American people, and he reported a fraudulent story.  Now, Schiff — something should happen to Schiff for that.  He shouldn’t have immunity for that.  Why should Schiff be given immunity when he goes out and he says a story about the President of the United States — what the President said — and it bears no relationship?  In fact, every word was different. And I’ll tell you what: I can’t believe that a congressman could be that dishonest and can have immunity from that."

This is fucking nuts.

When your leader is a madman, if you are one of his loyal servants, you must agree with his madness or risk being banished to the hinterlands. So we've been treated to GOP members of Congress acting all outraged over Schiff for the parody, going so far last week as to attempt to censure him. Here it is from the text of their resolution:

"Whereas, in a September 26, 2019, hearing on the whistleblower complaint, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff purported to relay the content of the phone call to the American people;

"Whereas, instead of quoting directly from the available transcript, Chairman Schiff manufactured a false retelling of the conversation between President Trump and President Zelensky;

"Whereas this egregiously false and fabricated retelling had no relationship to the call itself;

"Whereas these actions of Chairman Schiff misled the American people, bring disrepute upon the House of Representatives, and make a mockery of the impeachment process, one of this chamber’s most solemn constitutional duties..."

Democrats blocked the vote on the resolution because no shit.

But Republicans in Congress, and the conservative noise machine won't give up on this idea that Schiff committed some grave sin by rephrasing Trump's phone call. And it's because Trump won't give it up. He brought it up in an interview with Hannity right near the time of the censure vote.

By the way, before Trump went nutzoid about it, Tucker Carlson, while deriding and degrading Schiff, acknowledged that the congressman "delivered his own prophetic version of what he believed must have happened between President Trump and the president of Ukraine." See? Tucker knew, and that motherfucker is dumber than a bucket of hair.

Maybe this gets back to the first thing we know about Trump: he can't stand to be insulted. Or, maybe, the insults are part of a larger truth about him. Trump has virtually never been held to account for all the terrible shit he's done in his life. When someone speaks truth to power, they are telling the powerful that they know what they're up to.

When that someone can actually bring Trump to account, it scares the hell out of him. As it should.