Friday, May 12, 2017

Richard Milhous Trump

President Trump has now fired three different officials who were investigating him or his campaign: a US attorney, a Deputy US Attorney General, and the Director of the FBI. Since news coverage isn't going the way he wants, he has threatened to cancel press briefings altogether. It seems not to occur to him that these are the actions of a man with something to hide, of a man deaf and blind to the parallels he is fast creating between his own presidency and that of Richard Nixon.

These are just the latest additions to an already lengthy list of symptoms of a failed presidency, doomed before day one by the unfitness of the candidate. Trump has described the US Constitution as archaic and unfair, phrases that would have provoked apoplexy among self-styled "conservatives" had they come from a Democrat, the same apoplexy that campaign collusion with Russian intelligence should provoke, but does not. In a radical contravention of law and custom, Trump allegedly demanded a pledge of personal loyalty from the FBI director he later fired. Trump was angry that he didn't get that pledge, and angrier that Comey dared to use logic and evidence in contradicting Trump's claims that the Obama administration had wiretapped him. Just yesterday Trump signed an executive order establishing an "election integrity" commission, hoping to further his claim that he lost the popular vote because of voter fraud, a bit of dementia that even conservative media call a "baseless claim."  Trump praised Australia's socialized healthcare system even as he strong-armed congressional Republicans into passing a healthcare bill few understood and will price millions of Americans out of the market. The list goes on and on.

There is no doubt that Russian intelligence meddled in the American election and succeeded in keeping Clinton out of the White House. There is no doubt that Tump, members of his family, and members of his campaign staff had dealings and contacts with Russian agents. Whether or not any of that amounts to collusion between Russian intelligence and Trump's campaign remains to be seen. With nothing to hide, Trump could have taken the high road by practicing glasnost (openness). He has, instead, chosen the low road of smoke screens and obstruction of justice, and the public is justified in asking why.

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