Last week Donald Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial. But that wasn’t enough— emboldened by his acquittal, Trump embarked on a revenge campaign against those who’ve wronged him.
On Thursday, Trump remarked that the Democrats who led the campaign against him, “should be held accountable.” When asked what he meant , the president cryptically replied,
Well, you’ll see. I mean, we’ll see what happens.
Over the weekend Trump’s revenge plans became clear. Lt. Col Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council (NSC) Russia and Ukraine expert, was removed from his post.
Vindman wasn’t alone in suffering Trump’s wrath. His brother Yavgeny Vindman was also fired from the NSC where he was working as a lawyer. Yavgeny had no involvement in the impeachment inquiry.
Gordon D. Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the EU, was also removed from his post despite pushback from Republicans .
Trump’s revenge probably won’t end there. There are a host of others on his apparent hit list, which some have liked to Nixon’s enemies list . Back then, Nixon’s allies refused to punish the individuals named. In today’s political climate, there’s no telling what lawmakers will do.
Vindman and the handful of others that Trump feels wronged him were simple enough to remove from their posts or reassign elsewhere. But there are others who will prove more difficult to “pay back.”
Nancy Pelosi is one such figure he will have a harder time getting rid of. Trump and his allies have made much of her decision to tear his State of the Union Address in half on TV. Some have even said the act was illegal.
With legal action against Pelosi unlikely, Trump and his supporters have started a smear campaign against the Democrat Congresswoman. A new video making the rounds on Twitter shows Pelosi’s speech rip played repeatedly following emotionally-charged moments in Donald Trump’s speech.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2020
Republicans say the video underscores the fact that Pelosi disrespected those Trump honored in his speech. Democrats are calling for the video to be removed from social media, saying it spreads misinformation.
This won’t be the last of Trump’s attempts to embarrass Pelosi. He is no doubt hoping to force her into retirement, but Pelosi has hinted that she’ll likely stay on board should Trump win the 2020 election.
As the only Republican senator to cast a ‘convict’ vote against Trump, Mitt Romney has put himself in a precarious position. The Utah Senator said himself that he was expecting “unimaginable” consequences. Indeed, Trump is probably planning to retaliate, but it’s unclear exactly how.
For now, Trump and his supporters have resorted to jabs on social media and in the press, but there’s probably more to come.
According to the Washington Post , Trump campaign officials say the president may try to interfere with Romney’s re-election campaign; but they’d have to wait for 2024. Trump could also make it more difficult for Romney to push his agenda in Congress. Some of Trump’s supporters have also called for Mitt Romney to be removed from office , but that outcome is unlikely.
Chariman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff has also been publicly named by Trump as someone who will “pay.” Earlier this year Trump remarked that Schiff, “has not paid the price yet” for his role in the impeachment.
Again, it’s unclear what options are available to Trump when it comes to punishing Schiff. In the past, the president and his supporters have hinted at arresting Schiff for treason, but that would be far-fetched. Trump probably couldn’t interfere with his re-election efforts either, given Schiff’s popularity among Democrats.
But that doesn’t mean he won’t try. Schiff could find himself the victim of a hacking attack that puts his dirty laundry on display if what happened to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race is anything to go by.
There are a handful of others on Trump’s hit list as well. Michael Atkinson, the intelligence committee’s inspector general, is also reportedly at risk of losing his job after he passed the whistleblower’s complaint on to lawmakers. The whistleblower is also dealing with the repercussions after their name was repeated on the floor of the Senate. Now, that individual is forced to travel with a security team .
Of course, Trump’s greatest revenge on the entire Democrat party would be winning re-election. His support base has already proven to be willing to do whatever it takes this election cycle.
In the disastrous Iowa caucus, some claimed that Trump supporters got a hold of the back-up phone line and jammed it up with calls professing their support for Trump. In South Carolina, Republicans say they’ll vote in the Democrat primaries to skew the results.
So far, petty comments on social media have made up the majority of Trump’s return-fire. But that’s likely to amp up in the weeks to come as the president sets his sights on re-election and looks to even the score.