President Trump's top 5 Houdini acts

With much of the political and media elite anticipating the president's imminent political demise, it now looks instead as if the president may just be in the process of extricating himself from another seemingly hopeless political bind, his latest Houdini act in a career famous for them.

Updated: July 3, 2020 - 10:04pm

With Thursday's far-better-than-expected June jobs numbers, President Trump finally had something to cheer about after weeks of rising coronavirus infections, spreading civil unrest, and plunging poll numbers.

With much of the political and media elite once again anticipating the president's imminent political demise, it now looks instead as if the president may just be in the process of extricating himself from another seemingly hopeless political bind, his latest Houdini act in a career famous for them.

Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-born American illusionist and stunt performer, famed for his sensational escape acts. Premature political obituaries and political escape artistry are nothing new, from the "Dewey-defeats-Truman" false headline claiming that Harry Truman had lost the 1948 presidential election, to Bill Clinton's famous status as "The Comeback Kid," to Joe Biden's own surprise political resurrection earlier this year after a string of humiliating defeats in early Democratic primary and caucus states.

The national media seem particularly eager to write Trump's political epitaph, yet each time, Trump recovers, returning to political health stronger than ever. Here, in chronological order, are President Trump's top five Houdini acts:

1. The 2016 presidential election: Trump's unprecedented victory — he was a political newcomer who had never held elected office — shocked the Beltway elite, including establishment Republicans and even many Trump supporters themselves. A prominent member of the Screen Actors Guild, the longtime host of "The Apprentice" (who disclosed in 2015 that he still held $110,228 in a SAG pension fund) ended the underdog script for his 2016 election with a dramatic twist worthy of a former reality TV star.

2. Kavanaugh nomination: Congressional Democrats and grassroots progressive activists pulled out every stop in their push to block Brett Kavanaugh's 2018 Senate confirmation as a Supreme Court Justice. But even in the heat of the #MeToo movement holding men accountable for sexual misconduct, liberals were unable to convince key moderate Republican swing votes in the Senate that there was solid evidence to substantiate an allegation that a teen-aged Kavanaugh had committed a sexual assault at a high school party. Even as Kavanaugh's nomination looked all but dead, Trump never wavered in his support, and Kavanaugh ultimately became the president's second confirmed Supreme Court pick.  

3. Mueller investigation: For years after Trump's historic electoral victory, liberal media critics and political opponents clung fiercely to the hope that the forthcoming Robert Mueller report would finally prove once-and-for-all that Trump was in the hip pocket of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Their fantasies dissolved as Mueller cleared the Trump campaign of any supposed "collusion" with Russia to hijack the 2016 election.

4. Impeachment dividend: Trump's nickname "Teflon Don" appeared to be well-earned in this case, which saw Trump retaining — and in some cases, increasing — his public approval rating during and following his impeachment by House Democrats in late 2019 and exoneration by Senate Republicans in early 2020. Voters seemed unconvinced by congressional Democrats' claims that the president abused his power in a conversation with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

5. Coronavirus: This global pandemic battered the U.S. economy and shut down much of society during the spring of 2020. Yet following bipartisan efforts to relieve U.S. workers of some of the coronavirus shutdown pain, Trump on Thursday expressed joyful optimism that the worst of the economic crisis is behind us. "These are historic numbers in a time that a lot of people would have wilted," Trump said Thursday morning at the White House while touting the historic June jobs growth. "But we didn't wilt, and our country didn't wilt. And I'm very honored to be your president."

 

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