Winston Churchill: “You’re very rude to me, Inches.”
Inches: You’re very rude to me, sir.
Churchill:“Yes. But I am a great man!” – HBO’s “The Gathering Storm”
“My existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.” – Col. Nathan Jessup, “A Few Good Men.”
Anyone who has spent much time in the room with major politicians or C-Suite executives can tell out-of-school stories that would curl your hair.
The bad conduct and off-the-wall statements attributed to Donald Trump by 20-something former White House aide Cassidy Hutchison before the Jan. 6 House Select Committee, if true, are not excusable – but also not all that surprising.
One quickly learns that world-changers are generally big personalities who break eggs, occasionally dishes, and frequently, the rules.
Sometimes, along the way, they blurt out-of-the-box ideas and are talked down from the ledge by wise counselors whose job it is to steer them away from their worst impulses – and help build on their best.
And sometimes, small people like Ms. Hutchison who also get to be in the room, but lack that skill or insight, think instead that they can make themselves bigger by eschewing the loyalty that is supposed to come with access, and bringing those big personalities down based on what they’ve witnessed.
Rarely, when there is conduct that somehow crosses the line – or as has been the case over the last few years, a line newly established – they succeed.
More commonly, they only succeed in making themselves look smaller and wrecking their own careers. Yes, they will have 15 minutes of fame and may be remembered fondly (or otherwise) within the confined and insular worlds of politics or business. But for the most part, they will be shunted aside as the world moves to the next big story, often by the very wreckers (read: Adam Schiff and Liz Cheney) for whom they are briefly useful fools, and the sycophants tweeting plaudits about their “courage.”
Ms. Hutchison is making headlines with her assertions about actions and statements of Trump and his inner circle. Most of which, by the way, amount to hearsay. Some of which are already reportedly being refuted by people actually present (which happens a lot with this former president).
And none of which is substantive or serious enough to amount to more than a minor embarrassment for perhaps the biggest personality ever to occupy the Oval Office – who had long since proven himself beyond and above embarrassment.
After all, The Donald wasn’t brought down by attacks (on multiple occasions) on war heroes. Or his slurring of sitting judges. Or the release of recordings bragging about grabbing women’s private parts. Or his own accounts of sleeping with married women. Or even bragging about his manhood on national television.
Unsubstantiated allegations that he swore at the Secret Service, grabbed at “The Beast’s” steering wheel in a fit of rage or demanded, certainly knowing the suggestion would be rejected out of hand, that armed people be allowed into his immediate vicinity? Won’t lay a glove on him.
If this is the “evidence” that Schiff thinks will be the basis of some kind of legal action, good luck.
But back to the main point: Even many like this commentator who found aspects of candidate Trump’s very existence to gravitate toward the “grotesque and incomprehensible” – feelings that from time-to-time resurfaced during his presidency – came to want him in that White House, and need him in that White House.
Stipulated: Donald Trump was and often still is rude. But in terms of keeping his promises to the American people, he rose to be a great man – and greater president.
Cassidy Hutchison is still a young woman and might, despite this egged-on misstep, yet have a bright future ahead. But it can virtually be guaranteed that in her entire career, she won’t accomplish anything as consequential as Donald Trump did in any given five-minute interval of his too-short presidential tenure.
Cassidy Hutchison won’t produce the substantive tax reform Republicans repeatedly whiffed on, that included long-needed reductions in corporate rates.
Cassidy Hutchison won’t rise above the broken promises of previous presidents of both parties to move the U.S. Embassy to Israel’s true capital and midwife unthinkable diplomatic rapprochements with some of her fiercest erstwhile enemies.
Cassidy Hutchison won’t preside over the attainment of our nation’s long-sought Holy Grail of energy independence.
And Cassidy Hutchison couldn’t dream of transforming a Supreme Court that, in a single week, turned out Constitution-affirming decisions on gun rights, school choice, religious freedom and the reversal, after nearly 50 years and 63 million lives snuffed out in the womb, of history’s worst instance of judicial legislating.
Cassidy Hutchison is a small person having a big moment – or maybe a few big news cycles. But when brusque, convention-wrecking Donald Trump’s big-time achievements are feted in tomorrow’s history books, she won’t even merit an asterisk.
Bob Maistros is a messaging and communications strategist, crisis specialist and former political speechwriter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.