Is Trump still engaged in an attempted coup d’état?

Yesterday,on November 23, 2020, many of us who have been following the implementation of Donald Trump’s vast criminal conspiracy to overthrow the results of the 2020 Presidential election breathed a sigh of relief, for two reasons.

First, the election officials in Michigan voted to certify the vote, by a margin of 3-0 with one abstention. Two democrats and one Republican, who decided to follow the law and not commit a felony by joining Trump’s conspiracy. The abstention was by a Republican official, who probably did commit a felony by joining the conspiracy.

Second, the General Services Administration official charged with authorizing the initiation of the transition process, who had been sitting on that decision for several weeks.

Many reacted  as if Trump’s dramatic efforts to hand on to power through his criminal conspiracy were over. This was not exactly the case.  As Trump lost support and Biden gained momentum, the risk remained of what Trump might do with his Presidential powers between now and January 20, 2021.

David Ignatius, one of the very best-connected columnists with contacts in the intelligence and defense communities in Washington, published an intriguing column in the Washington Post today, in which he considered the possibility that Donald Trump may still be trying to carry out some kind of coup d’état to remain in power.


David Ignatius, “How Trump could still disrupt the transfer of power,” Washington Post, November 24, 2020 (12:24 p.m.)

To be sure, after painting a harrowing picture of the possible scenarios for a coup, Ignatius reassures his readers with the following comment.

Trump wouldn’t succeed if he tried to cling to power. We know that because — well, because every responsible political leader, and, indeed, every citizen, will make sure it never happens. Still, thinking about the unthinkable can help us avoid it.

“Still,” he writes, “thinking about the unthinkable can help us avoid it.” This is more or less the rationale behind our articles asking the reader to imagine Adolf Hitler in the White House.


1) “Imagine: Hitler in the White House–Scheming to hold on to power,” The Trenchant Observer, November 21, 2020.

2) “Imagine: Adolf Hitler in the White House,” The Trenchant Observer, November 9, 2020.

Ignatius’ disclaimer at the end of his article reminds me of one of my favorite movie scenes, at the end of “Ship of Fools” (1965), with Lee Marvin, based on the book of the same title by Catherine Ann Porter. The movie reveals the fascist thinking of some of its German passengers. In the final scene, the dwarf (who represents the objective observer), remarks, “Now you’re wondering, ‘What does this have to do with me?’ Puffing on his cigar, at the bottom of the gangplank, he looks the viewer in the eye and responds, ‘Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” Chuckling, he then turns and walks away.

Ignatius reassures us that Trump’s coup could never succeed. Why? “(W)ell, because every responsible political leader, and, indeed, every citizen, will make sure it never happens.”

Looking at the craven performance of Republican leaders, including all but a few of the Republican Senators, one must view Ignatius’ disclaimer as a deeply ironic and urgent warning about what could well happen, if his assumed condition does not hold.

The Trenchant Observer