It was an early-morning construction crew coffee klatch that first convinced us Trump might have a shot in 2016. The chatter we just heard today is he may finally have gone too far…
Back then it was:
“If he can deal with New York City unions, he’ll for sure be able to deal with Congress.”
This time it was about “this military thing“. And the people we overheard were two couples who were seated together. Two men, two women. When one of the women brought up the issue of politics, everyone groaned loudly. (Which is what got us to zero in on their conversation, which until then we’d only listened to peripherally, and seemed to be about comparing doctors they’re seeing and what meds they’re on.) But don’t go thinking we’re some kind of privacy-invading weirdos. Number one, if you’re in a packed coffee shop, you can’t help but listen to what everybody else is talking about (it’s either that or the voices in your head — jk!). Number two, if you haven’t noticed, the weather (pretty much anywhere you are in the country) is terrible and we weren’t about to slink out into the freezing rain and wind without getting at least a fair amount of coffee in us. And number three, it’s an underrated (probably because it’s easily discredited) way of reporting; at least of keeping your ear to the ground.
Anyway, this collective groan, which indicated to us we had at least one Trump supporter and one Trump hater, and the people at the table knew it, and for that reason typically avoided bringing it up. But the woman who’d brought it up persisted: protesting that she only wanted to talk about as we said “this military thing”, in light of the fact that both men at the table had served in the U.S. armed forces. (Our guess is they were in their mid-60s).
And the guy at the table who quickly pretty clearly seemed to be the Trump supporter spoke first:
“Even I think he’s gone too far this time. It’ll backfire with most of the people in uniform.”
This surprised us a little. While we know several people on active duty who do not support Trump (and are either Liberal or Libertarian—sometimes we can’t tell), we know more who do love the President, probably in greater proportion than the general population. Or at least they are a lot more vocal about their support. So we’d figured the former military folks Trump’s been listening to about this probably represent the thinking of the men and women currently serving more than not. In particular, Trump’s friend on Fox, Pete Hegseth, who he’s more than once considered for Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Turns out, maybe not. Maybe resoundingly not.
The other veteran at the table, whom by now we’d now tagged as the Trump-hater, enthusiastically agreed:
“He’s destroying everything.”
And that was it.
So is this what finally brings Trump down? Pardoning convicted war criminals? Overruling the best judgment of not one but many soldiers who saw the now exonerated Navy SEAL’s actions firsthand?
Maybe. Not more than maybe. But a more resounding maybe than we thought yesterday.
Look, we heard this kind of thing before after Trump’s “pussy-grabbing” comments from some steadfast Trump supporter friends. They said that was a deal-breaker. But turned out only temporarily. They were back on board and even more fervent within a matter of weeks. We suppose that could happen again.
Even the people at the table at the coffee shop, in rare agreement, weren’t fully convinced. Here’s how their conversation concluded:
“He’ll lose with us. Who knows about everyone else?”