There I was.

Minding my own business back in February of 1991.

I was taking in that classic thriller, “Silence of the Lambs.”

Suddenly, and without warning, that vile, serial killing cannibal (with the cleverly rhymed first name), Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins), utters the phrase, “Quid pro quo.” (Latin meaning “something for something”)

“Quid pro quo,” he tells the upstart FBI agent, Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster).

“I tell you things. You tell me things,” he adds, offering a transaction, in which Starling will give personal details about her life, for details about another serial killer still on the loose.

I had no idea that nearly 29 years later, we’d hear that Latin phrase over-and-over in 2019.

But here we are.

For me, There’s no suspense.

I truly believe Donald Trump has committed a deliberate quid pro quo.

That’s not my point here.

My real point is that he had no idea what that phrase meant before he started claiming that he hadn’t committed one.

Listen to him use it.

He says it with the unease he says “Af-fri-can A-mer-i-cans” – as if he’s in fear of leaving out a key syllable.

On some occasions, he’s said, “quid quo pro,” or he’s even said he hasn’t engaged in any “quo pro.”

That’s our fault for electing a guy who has a tough time with the English language, (“covfefe,” or “Mark Esperanto), let alone any language “per se.” (Latin meaning “by or in itself”).

He just stands in front of cameras and claims his fateful telephone call with that leader of Ukraine didn’t have any “quid,” or “quo,” “pro” in it, - “ad nauseum.” (Latin meaning “to the point of sickness”).

But Trump seems to know that his presidency, while not yet suffering from “rigor mortis” (Latin for “the stiffness of death”) is, however, slowly making him become a “persona non grata,” (Latin meaning “an unwelcome person”) – among most Americans, and even by some members of the Republican Party.

Since Democrats have revved up their impeachment apparatus, “et cetera” (Latin meaning – “and the rest of such things”), Trump has become out of sorts.

Even some Republicans, who should’ve known better when they threw their lot behind Trump, are now openly lamenting their failure to have heeded “caveat emptor” (Latin, meaning “Let the buyer beware”).

Respected Republicans, like Mitt Romney, aren’t holding back about their disgust for Trump.

It’s been recently revealed that Sen. Romney had a fake Twitter account he used to throw shade at the president from behind his keyboard.

Pierre Delecto, Romney’s Twitter “alter ego,” (Latin meaning “other self”), was his way of showing he’s at far more odds with Trump than he’s been in public.

Romney is just one of a slowly growing number of Republicans who’re showing they’re having enough of Trump – and his antics.

That doesn’t mean there’s a groundswell of Republicans willing to “carpe diem.” (Latin meaning “seize the day”).

Last week, two dozen Republicans stormed into that secret impeachment hearing, in an attempt to embarrass Democrats, and to support Trump, because they don’t want him to get impeached.

They want to maintain the “status quo.” (Latin meaning “the existing state of affairs, especially regarding social or political issues”)

That tiny bit of theatre didn’t help Republicans or Trump.

I suspect it meant “vice versa.” (Latin meaning “The other way around”)

Especially since on that same day, reporters in the halls of Congress desperately tried to get Republicans to comment on the testimony given on the previous day by the current U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor.

Taylor had essentially fingered Trump in a “quid pro quo” with the leaders of Ukraine, that involved weapons for dirt on the son of Trump’s leading Democratic competitor – Joe Biden.

Reporters tried in vain to get Republicans to comment on Taylor’s testimony.

Cameras showed them running away.

Republicans had become “de facto” (Latin for “in fact”) – to borrow part of a phrase from the title of that 1991 movie – The Silence of the Sheep!

Edward A. Owens is a multi-Emmy Award winner, former reporter, and anchor for Entertainment Tonight and 20 year TV-news veteran. E-mail him at

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