Of King Henry II, Nixon and Trump

“Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” mused Henry II, and a knight seeking royal favor murdered Archbishop Thomas Becket in the cathedral at Canterbury.  This quote is recalled as Donald Trump fires FBI Director James Comey.

Conservative columnist Michael Gerson compares Trump to Henry II and to Nixon: “It is dangerous to have a leader with disdain for the law,” he writes. “It is also dangerous to have a leader who believes that anything legal is permissible.”

“It is amazing what our democracy has, so far, allowed Trump to get away with, giving only a grimace, a laugh or a shrug. But this tolerance is about to be tested.”

Conservative Charles Krauthammer calls Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey “a political ax murder,” and warns “if Trump thought this would kill the inquiry and the story, or perhaps even just derail it somewhat, he’s made the blunder of the decade.”

“Why did he do it? Now we know: The king asked whether no one would rid him of this troublesome priest, and got so impatient he did it himself.”

John Aloysius Farrell, in a well-written, well-researched piece on the tragedy of Richard Nixon, makes a similar point. Nixon’s rise and fall was like a Shakespearian tragedy. Trump’s rise and fall strikes many of us as more like a farce, so predictable from the start.

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