Trump surprised everyone, including his own staff, by revealing classified information to the Russians. His staff at first denied it, possibly believing that it could not be true. Then, as he often does, Trump made fools of his own people not only by admitting he had shared the intelligence with the Russians but that he has “an absolute right” to divulge anything he chooses.
Since it was such a surprise to everyone in the White House — and then seemed to cause such a quick stir in the intelligence community immediately afterward — it is safe to say he did this entirely on his own without benefit of the intelligence community or his own security team. And it is just as safe to say it was shared on a whim with no forethought at all.
Can there be anyone left in America who does not see the extreme dangers of a president who combines amazing ignorance with stunning thoughtlessness, adds in a grotesque ego and blends it with a sense of total irresponsibility?
Never let yourself forget these two photos, one showing Trump with a crucial ally and one showing him with active predators. The first shows him very uncomfortable with and almost ignoring a friend and the second showing him relaxing with buddies who represent the country which had actively interfered with our election. Remember, too, that the picture with the Russians was taken by Russian photographers, since Trump wouldn’t let American journalists or photographers in the room.
I’ve got trumpitis, a disease marked by great mental fatigue and caused by unending dramatic twists and turns in the Oval Office. Trump’s bizarre blending of malevolence and incompetence is bewildering and disorienting. How strange it is to watch a man in the highest office in the land blunder so badly that he can’t stop himself from revealing his own evil. Never has the old phrase “his own worst enemy” been so apt.
Trump’s self-inflicted wounds seem to occur several times each week, making it nearly impossible for him — or for congress — to get anything done. Washington was dysfunctional before Trump arrived and in fact probably was a major factor in his election. But now Washington has reaped the whirlwind and — were they not blind — the Republican leaders would surely be saying another of those old phrases: “We have met the enemy and it is us.”
The Republican commitment to stopping Obama, no matter whether he was right or wrong on the various issues, jammed the wheels of government, which created a backlash that in turn led to the election of a truly and deeply incompetent oaf at president. What none of us guessed during the campaign was the extent to which Trump would act like a man beholden to Vladimir Putin. It is becoming increasingly clear that Trump at the very least has shown a degree of favoritism toward Russia that is inexplicable in purely political terms. This favoritism is not a matter of policy or diplomacy but something more sinister.
I keep thinking of how happy Trump looked while hosting the two Russian officials in the Oval Office last week. We can see that happiness because Russian photographers were permitted to take photographs while American photographers and reporters were excluded. What the photos show is a Trump who seems much more at home with the Russians than he has with any other foreign officials, including our closest allies. In fact. he seemed much happier in those photos than when he is with his own wife. . .
Was it the funniest moment of the week? Or was it the saddest?
On Tuesday night, a few hours after the sudden firing of FBI Director Comey, Sean Spicer was “caught” by reporters outside the White House. Apparently he tried ducking behind some bushes but did finally emerge. Before talking with the reporters, he said, “Turn the lights off.” He was reluctantly willing to talk with them but only under cover of darkness.
Funny? Or sad? Darkness certainly characterizes the White House these days. The light of truth is blocked by an incredible quantity of lies and misrepresentations coming mostly from Trump himself. The Washington Post counted 492 in Trump’s first 100 days.
Even his closest staff members and his official spokespersons cannot guess the truth when Trump speaks. They end up passing on falsehoods, perhaps inadvertently, which are then undercut by Trump himself. Maybe the worst dimension of Trump’s antagonistic relationship with reality is that Trump himself cannot seem to keep his stories straight. I think he has lied so very much in his lifetime that he simply cannot tell any longer whether he is speaking truth on this or that occasion.
I doubt, for example, that he intended to reveal the truth when, speaking with Lester Holt, he admitted that the Russia investigation was on his mind when he decided to fire Comey, It was a very deeply damning admission. He owes us a great many more such admissions of guilt.
One way to see the difference between the way Trump treats Russia and the way he looks on democracy is to compare these two pictures. In one Trump is being rude to Merkel, as he apparently was during her entire visit. She is the world’s strongest leader of a democracy, one which is central to Europe and therefore of great importance throughout the globe. In the other we see a happy Trump, warm and gracious, with the Foreign Minister and the Ambassador from Russia. Clearly, Trump has everything all backwards. . .
President Trump gestures to Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, as he speaks to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office on Wednesday.
For a lark I just looked at the first post on this blog. It is dated August 18, 2012, the day after my 70th birthday. After a discussion of the invasion of politics by marketers, the post concluded with this question:
“The question I keep asking these days is, Who is most likely to elected to high office in our day, an honest person or a bald faced liar?”
Well, now we know the answer. . .
One of the advantages of living a long time is that when history repeats itself, you can recognize what’s happening. Having followed closely the Watergate hearings more than 40 years ago, I can say today that the same unpleasant odor is in the air. It is the smell of coverup.
Even if Trump is not actively engaged in trying to stop the Russia-probe, there is this simple and damning fact: As president of our democracy, he owes it to all of America to take the lead in finding out all we can about the Russian interference in our elections. He has not good excuse for his abject failure in this area.
But of course by now we know full well why he does not speak out against Russia and its actions in the U.S. cyberspace. He is trying to hide his own guilt. We don’t yet know specifically what his relationship to Russia is but we do know he is desperate to hide it.
Like Nixon, the closer the press and the investigators come to uncovering the facts, the more wildly desperate Trump becomes. The incredibly foolish firing of Comey is as wild and reckless as it gets.
Trump, despite all his braggadocio about how smart he is, has shown himself once again to be quite dense. It seems he actually believed that people would not see immediately that Comey’s handling of the Clinton emails has nothing whatsoever to do with the firing.
This is all just plain coverup, noting more, nothing less. It becomes more clear everyday that Trump is a crook and a traitor, an American enemy.
The only good news is that more and more people are having the scales fall from their eyes. Trump’s disapproval rating is at an all time low while his disapproval rating is at an all time high. Maybe there is still some hope. . .
Preet Bharara (U.S. Attorney in New York; Sally Yates (acting Attorney General); James Comey (FBI Director) — These three people were all concerned with Trump’s possible ties with Russia. And these three people have all been fired by Trump. Trump has refused to turn over any documents to the Senate committee investigating Russian involvement in our recent election. Trump repeatedly calls the whole question of his Russian ties a big hoax, though in fact the evidence continues to add up and point in the same direction.
Can there really be a single person in this country who cannot smell the coverup? Even if Trump has no direct ties himself, the very large question remains: Why has he surrounded himself with people who do in fact has multiple and highly questionable ties to Russia?
Trump has such a long, detailed history of bald-faced lies that we cannot trust a single word, a single tweet. He is a man who has shown no ability to speak or act with integrity or with any sense of moral responsibility. Here’s a paragraph from today’s New York Times:
|First, it’s important to remember just how often Trump lies. Virtually whenever he finds it more convenient to tell a falsehood than to tell a truth, he chooses the falsehood.
|An incomplete list of the things he has lied about include: Barack Obama’s birthplace, Obama’s phone “tapp,” John F. Kennedy’ assassination, Sept. 11, the Iraq war, ISIS, NATO, military veterans, Mexican immigrants, Muslim immigrants, anti-Semitic attacks, the unemployment rate, the murder rate, the Electoral College, voter fraud, the size of his inaugural crowd, his health care bill and his own groping of women.