Opinion, Berkeley Blogs

Jane Marple meets Donald Trump

By Malcolm Potts

Agatha Christie's frail, sometimes dithery, often knitting, but always profoundly insightful sleuth, Miss Marple, maintained that there are only two reasons for murder — sex and money.

As we watch our social norms and legal frameworks destroyed by one man, one way to keep our spirits up is to put bets on what might happen next. I suggest Miss Marple’s analysis applies to the overarching question, Why is Trump so eager to please the Russians? Did they help bail him out of his usual financial mistakes? Or should we look more carefully at Miss Marple’s other explanation — sex.

Miss Marple Immediately before the inauguration, when Comey was still the FBI director, he felt it his responsibility to brief Trump as president-elect about the "salacious" dossier complied by Christopher Steele. Steele is an ex-president of the Cambridge Union, ex-adviser to the British Special Forces and previously head of the major UK spy agency MI6’s Russia station. The dossier purports to show that Russia has evidence of Trump’s sexual indiscretions in Moscow. At one time Steele felt so vulnerable to Russian attacks that he went into hiding.

Senator John McCain reviewed this document in 2016 and appears to have been deeply troubled by it. Others dismissed it as without foundation, but in his testimony last week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said he could not comment about it “in open session,” implying that the dossier may have validity. Trump has been brushing it aside, denying any relationship with, in his words, “ hookers.” But the guilty sometimes half identify what really happened by the enthusiasm with which they deny an event.

Plenty of presidents had colorful sex lives, beginning with Thomas Jefferson, who had children by a slave who was also his wife’s biological half sister. FDR had a loving relationship with Lucy Mercer and President Eisenhower with his wartime driver Kay Summersby. John Kennedy’s numerous sexual liaisons did not reach the contemporary media in the 1960s, but Comey's predecessor at the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, used them to secure the servile support of his president.

But Trump is different. Bragging on video that “. . . when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything”  He has never been shy to describe “anything.”

A year ago, no one would have thought they would have ended up quoting salacious details about a sitting president on a Berkeley blog. Trump dirties everything. So to keep me sane, as I watch the democracy I came to as an immigrant in 1978 near collapse, I am not putting my bet on following the money, but on following the testosterone. I wish Miss Marple were around to help making the salacious details public and rid us of this man.