What kind of a leader would say, “Even if I shot someone on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight, I wouldn’t lose any supporters?” Or would claim that in meeting starlets, “I just start kissing them, you can do anything , they’ll let you, grab ‘em by the…p-word” (slang for genitals)?

Could that be the same kind of leader who had to settle class-action suits targeting a for-profit university he created, by paying out $25 million against scores of accusations of false advertising and other fraud?

And who just recently was made by the courts to pay $2 million in fines for misappropriating funds from his charitable foundation for non-charitable uses?

This individual, now serving as the 45th president of the United States, has also been tracked by The Washington Post with spouting close to 14,000 lies since taking office 34 months ago. By some accounts he is now averaging 22 lies a day.

Yet supporters of Donald J. Trump have been sticking with him almost religiously through his current travail: an inquiry in the U.S. House of Representatives that likely will soon lead to the filing of articles of impeachment for abuse of power, bribery or extortion, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Trump is accused of withholding almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine pending an announcement by that country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, that he was investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter for any possible improprieties. The younger Biden served on the board of the Burisma natural gas company while his father was in office in Washington.

The senior Biden still leads in national polls among Democratic contenders hoping to win their party’s nomination to take on Trump in the 2020 elections.

Both Bidens deny any wrongdoing in connection to Ukraine.

Trump likewise denies he did anything wrong, and indeed the Ukrainians ultimately got their aid for missiles they needed to wage war against Russian-backed separatists. Zelensky never made an announcement about investigating the Bidens. In effect, Trump relented on the withholding of aid once what has been called the “dirt for arms” scheme was publicly exposed.

NBC correspondent Martin Savage traveled to the Florida panhandle, a very Republican-leaning area, to interview Trump supporters as the Democrats wrapped up the first phase of the impeachment inquiry. Nine witnesses had all testified to becoming aware of the squeeze on Zelensky to smear Trump’s leading opponent, Joe Biden — and the holding up of military aid.

One woman in her 60s told Savage: “No matter what they do, they’re not going to change how I feel about him (Trump).” She and her companion of a similar age said that they had not been watching the impeachment inquiry hearings on television — “and that’s by choice.”

Just the mere recitation of the negative facts sprung from Trump’s past life and his words and actions as president, for his diehard fans, are apparently too painful to bear.

Feelings, rather than an appreciation of facts or logical analysis, seem to be the dominant energy behind much of Trump’s base of support.

Regarding Trump’s boast that he could shoot someone in broad daylight and get away with it, he is doing something much worse: He has put himself above the Constitution and above the Code of Criminal Justice. Like a tyrant king or a ruthless dictator.

For democracy’s sake, he must be stopped.

John Patrick Grace is a Huntington-based book editor and publisher.

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