Former President Richard Nixon famously had an “enemies lies” — a list of people, mostly lawmakers and members of the media, whom he didn’t trust and aimed to get even with or embarrass.
President Donald Trump, himself known to hold onto petty grudges for a long period of time, appears to be taking a page from the Nixon playbook.
According to sources who spoke with Vanity Fair, Trump is looking to get “payback” against individuals involved in the impeachment saga he views as his enemies.
“He has an enemies list that is growing by the day,” a source close to the president said.
“Trump’s playbook is simple: go after people who crossed him during impeachment.”
The list reportedly includes impeachment managers Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, as well as Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney.
What’s perhaps more concerning isn’t the fact that Trump has an enemies list, but rather that it’s not all that surprising to the average person that he has started compiling one. Presidents in the past have had to work with lawmakers they didn’t always get along with, but with Trump, it’s been noticeable that his qualms with others have resulted in occasions where he’s been unable to get over his own personal (and apparent) hatred of others.
Trump is compiling a post-impeachment enemies list and Bolton is at the top of it. Trump had told people he wants Bolton criminally prosecuted. My latest:https://t.co/p7ZjjszDhP
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) February 3, 2020
Take, for example, the time Trump famously blew up a meeting between him and Democratic leaders in Congress due to ongoing investigations into his administration. Trump said he refused to work with Democrats, who control one of the Houses of Congress, until those investigations ended, the New York Times reported.
The president’s ability to hold a grudge against someone isn’t limited to Democrats, either — nor to the living. Trump famously had difficulties working with fellow Republican Sen. John McCain. After his passing, Trump couldn’t refuse to belittle the late senator, who was unable to defend himself against accusations from the president that his family refused to give thanks to Trump for approving funeral arrangements.
Trump claimed to provide McCain “the kind of funeral that he wanted — which, as president, I had to approve.” Except, according to the National Cathedral in Washington, where McCain’s funeral took place, that wasn’t the case at all, the New York Post reported —
“Only a state funeral for a former president involves consultation with government officials,” the Nationl Cathedral said in a statement. “No funeral at the cathedral requires the approval of the president or any other government official.”
Trump has, perhaps more than any other president (including Nixon) the ability to hold onto a grudge for as long as he feels the need to, consequences be damned. So in this post-impeachment world we’ll soon be living in, it’s not necessarily a surprise at all to presume that pattern of behavior will continue on — or get worse, even, as he may feel vindicated by the Senate trial’s outcome.