08 November 2020

‘If you are not big enough
to lose, you are not
big enough to win’

Is the Trump golf resort in Doonbeg going to close before climate change brings down another small part of the Trump Empire? (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Patrick Comerford

My desk-top calendars is one of those tear-away calendars with a combination of pithy and witty quotes, Christmas-cracker-style witticisms, and miscellaneous recollections of the ‘on-this-day’ sort. At the weekend, there is just one page for the two days, Saturday and Sunday.

I sometimes only get to read these one-liners when I tear off the previous day’s page the following morning. But I was struck this weekend that two combined citations for yesterday and today say:

‘Mary Robinson was elected Ireland’s first woman president – 1990’


‘If you are not big enough to lose, you are not big enough to win.’

Yes, it is worth celebrating that the United States has elected its first woman Vice-President; but it’s reassuring to be reminded that the Republic of Ireland is a full generation – 30 years – ahead of the US when it comes to being progressive on women’s place in politics.

And it is salutary to think that in his refusal to concede he has lost, Donald J Trump is not even big enough to accept the candid kitchen advice given on a tearaway calendar: ‘If you are not big enough to lose, you are not big enough to win.’

Even when Trump gives way, it’s not all over. He remains in office for the best part of the next three months, and I do not doubt that he is capable of wreaking untold damage during that time.

There was an American colloquialism that, despite its now apparent sexism, became almost a proverb: ‘It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.’

And this saga in America is probably not over until somebody sings to the point that Trump goes to jail.

One of the reasons that Trump has been so reluctant and so begrudging when it comes to conceding victory to Joe Biden must be his fear of ending up in jail.

Steve Bannon has yet to be arrested for his remarks a few days that amounted to incitement to murder. Demagoguery is hardly a criminal offence. But is Trump going to be arrested for inciting riotous behaviour, inciting racist hatred or abuse of office?

There is still a possibility that over the next few weeks that he resigns, Pence succeeds as President, and signs a presidential order that pardons Trump of any criminal offences in office, icluding tax fraud, abuse and misuse of office and criminal conspiracy. But that does not prevent civil actions for rape, assault, and reckless trading.

He owes hundreds of millions to people who have helped him build his businesses but who have never been paid. Forbes reportedly recently that lenders will expect his businesses to pay back an estimated $900 million in the next four years, an alarmingly accelerated timetable that involves more than twice as much debt as the president previously indicated. he inflated his assets togain loans, and deflated them when it came his tax liabilities.

How long can Mar a Lago survive?

Is the Trump golf resort in Doonbeg going to close before the climate change that Trump denies sees the sand dunes below erodes, bringing down another small part of the Trump Empire?

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