1. It’s Wednesday, August 16, 2017.
2. It’s the 176th anniversary of what is considered the most violent demonstration in the history of the White House (if you don’t count the British burning it in 1814).
On August 16, 1841, President John Tyler vetoed Congress’ effort to re-establish the Bank of the United States, a national bank that Andrew Jackson dismantled years before.
Tyler, who succeeded William Henry Harrison four months earlier, in name belonged to the Whig party, which controlled Congress and passed the bank law. But Tyler was kind of a hard-headed jerk, and he really didn’t give a damn what Congress or anyone else thought.
The Whig politicians reacted by marching with supporters from Capitol Hill to the White House. They stormed the ground, burning Tyler in effigy.
In later years, the Whigs made noises about impeaching Tyler, to no avail. But his independence cost him – neither the Whigs nor the Democrats wanted him as their standard bearer in 1844. In 1861, Tyler voted in a special convention for Virginia’s secession from the Union and he was elected to the Confederate House but died before he could take his seat.
Tyler had been a Democrat before the 1840 election, but joined Harrison – a hero at the Battle of Tippecanoe against the Shawnee tribe – on the Whig ticket. The most famous thing about both men is their campaign slogan, “Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too.”
3. John Tyler might resemble Trump more than any other of Trump’s 43 predecessors – counting Grover Cleveland only once.
He thought that once he became president, he could just run the country. Forget that Congress had other ideas. He managed to piss off both Whigs and Democrats.
But somehow, Tyler staved off impeachment. The Whigs tried, but just couldn’t muster the articles of impeachment needed for a vote in the House.
Republicans are in a different place in 2017.
Unlike the Whigs, who claimed they were double-crossed by Tyler, the Republicans knew what they were getting with Trump. The party leaders backed him once he got the nomination, and were on board with his agenda when he won.
The only reason Obamacare remains on life support is that three Republicans had the integrity to say that what was being done to the American people – ramming through a bill that would take insurance away from millions of them – wasn’t right.
But still, they remain teammates. Democrats can scream all they want – they can’t do anything to Trump.
Even if Robert Mueller finds out that Trump collaborated with the Russians in an attempt to tilt the 2016 election in his favor, Republicans will have to be the ones to see the crime as high enough to warrant action.
So I’m skeptical that, even with yesterday’s sheer debacle of a news conference, even with the condemnation of every politician and other national figure with a shred of decency, even with the outcry on every major TV channel and news organization, that Trump is going anywhere soon.
And even if congressional Republicans have had enough, do you really want Mike Pence in the White House? He’s been complicit with all of this, and all he would do is put a more respectable face on the same crap.
It might give people some sense of relief to type #ImpeachTrump in their Twitter feed. But the reality is that impeachment might not be the solution. It will be just as hard to do that as it was to get rid of Tyler in the 1840s.
Which reminds me that there’s one other thing Tyler and Trump have in common.
They’re both traitors.