“Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile”

– Henry VI, Part 3

Is this a problem for anyone else? How do you account for otherwise educated and rational people choosing to support Donald Trump, whether in his ludicrous attempts to overturn an election or, more generally, as a man deserving high office of any kind, never mind president of the United States?

Some will argue that they are willing to overlook his personal flaws because he has proven willing and able to implement policies and take action on certain issues that mean a great deal to them. Never mind that just about every action he has taken seems designed to separate the USA from the community of nations, specifically Western democracies, as well as such significant concerns as climate change, international cooperation, support for fledgling democracies, containment of authoritarian impulses, to name but a few.

Unfortunately, I am forced to accept that evil is real and that, inherently, it has a human face. In this instance, though, beyond being appalled by Trump himself, my revulsion for the man is exceeded to some degree by my abhorrence for those who support him, specifically his most intimate enablers, many of whom can boast of exceptional educational backgrounds and great individual achievement. The two of greatest interest to me are Rudy Guiliani and Kayleigh McEnany.

Rudy Guiliani. Here is the man who, throughout the world, in so many people’s minds, became the face of the American recovery from the horrors of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. As a symbol of American resilience, fortitude, determination – pick any other suitable adjective – few could contend for the title. A former federal prosecutor, assistant attorney general of the US, mayor of New York City, holder of an undergraduate degree and a JD (Juris Doctor) somehow finds himself a defender of arguably the most corrupt, morally bankrupt leader in the history of the United States. I just don’t get it.

Kayleigh McEnany is a younger, smarter version of Rudy it seems. She has her JD from Harvard Law and has been described as being in the top 1% of her graduating class while at the University of Miami Law School.

She first came to my attention as a talking head with CNN during the run-up to the 2016 US election that saw Trump assume the presidency. She was the designated “other voice”, if you will, the one member of the panel of talking heads who was expected to defend Trump and speak positively of the campaign and the candidate. I remember at the time being amazed at the contortions in logic and argument that she could produce in response to challenges presented by her fellow panelists.  She was good, no denying it. Her performance as White House press secretary has done nothing to alter the impression.

So, to return to my puzzlement, how can two well-educated individuals, obviously capable and charismatic when need be, countenance the likes of Donald Trump? And defend him beyond reason? Is “evil” at play somehow? If it is, I know beyond question that it has a human face.