Of all the potential symbols to extract from the burning of Notre Dame on Monday, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) has chosen the worst possible one: the Trump presidency “torching the entire structure of government.”
Speaking with Chris Matthews on MSNBC, Cohen cited the president’s alleged obstruction of justice as evidence of his erosion to the American government.
“I filed articles last year. I haven’t brought them up this year, but we are getting so far along in seeing what this president has done and what he’s done to the Constitution, what he’s done to the people’s respect for our government,” Cohen said. “What he has done to the Constitution and the rule of law is as bad as that fire did to Notre Dame.”
“He’s torching the entire structure of government and the people’s respect for it and the Congress needs to act,” he continued. “The facts were supposed to be in the Mueller Report. We’ll get them.”
Steve Cohen was not the only one to see the Notre Dame fire as analogous to Trump. Ian Milihiser, a columnist for ThinkProgress, made a veiled reference when he likened the smoldering fire to “Democracy in 2019.”
“The fact that a human achievement that took a century to build can be burnt away in a few hours is such a horrible metaphor for democracy in 2019,” he said.
Fortunately, few Democrats used the horrible tragedy as a means to bash Trump, with most offering condolences to France for what it lost.
“For centuries, Notre Dame Cathedral has withstood wars, revolutions, and the test of time. It is a symbol of faith & a testament to history,” tweeted former Vice President Joe Biden. “And even as our hearts break to see it burn today during the holiest week of the year for Catholics, I have faith that it will rise again.”
“I still remember the beauty of an Easter Mass I attended at Notre Dame cathedral some twenty years ago,” tweeted Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “Dreadful to see such destruction at one of the world’s most wondrous places.”
“Watching the Notre-Dame Cathedral burning on Easter week. A tragedy for Paris, the Church and the world. 700 years of history. Such a sacred and beautiful place,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
“My heart goes out to Paris. Notre Dame is a symbol of our ability as human beings to unite for a higher purpose—to build breathtaking spaces for worship that no one person could have built on their own,” said Hillary Clinton. “I wish France strength and shared purpose as they grieve and rebuild.”
President Trump hailed Notre Dame in the wake of the fire as being “greater than almost any museum in the world.”
For a moment, if only brief, the tragedy brought people together in mourning of what Pope Francis referred to as an “architectural jewel of a collective memory.”