As I write this, we are almost at two months into the presidency of Donald Trump. A state of events that most, if not all, of the United States and the rest of the observing world thought had the chance of the proverbial snow ball in hell a year ago today.
Well, we’ve gone through the excruciatingly painful primaries and campaign that showed a callous disregard of tact, truth, and statesman-like behavior and now here we are looking at what we are to expect for the next four years.
I, personally thought that we could not descend any lower than when the Clintons rented out the Lincoln bedroom in the White House for funding their party’s campaign chest. I thought that the bumbling administration of the well-meaning Jimmy Carter could not be surpassed. Silly me, I thought that the double-speak and outright lies of Richard Nixon and his apologists had been the low watermark for all presidencies to come. Surely the enormous ego of Lyndon Johnson and how it accelerated and then crippled a war effort costing so many lives would be a lesson to each office holder.
Okay, all Presidents lie to protect their reputations or protect events that are taking place in the interest of the country. As sad as it is to admit this, I think that in such a short period of time we have seen all of previous “alternative truths” spoken by previous Presidents easily exceeded by our current President in just two painful months.
The difference between previous Presidents and now is that the almost daily fabrications and juvenile rantings (published for all the world to read) put out by Mr. Trump and immediately reinterpreted and deflected by his staff have become less of an offence and have morphed into a dark, macabre type of joke. We seem to flinchingly await the next day’s White House faux pas with the anticipation one has when one watches a slapstick comedy akin to The Three Stooges. We think “no, no, don’t say that, it will blow up in your face” and then watch the lead actor do something that no-one over the age of three years would do. And we don’t know whether to laugh or cry when he does it.
Forgetting the outlandish treatment of facts and truth during the campaign (who believes candidates anyway?) we have had to put up with exaggeration, edited facts, and outright lies virtually from the moment his hand left the Bible at the inauguration. Speaking of his inauguration, he reconstructed meteorological events when he told us that the rain stopped during his speech when everyone present could see and feel the light rain continue. Perhaps the secret service had a huge umbrella stretched over his head and he didn’t realize it. Still speaking of the inauguration, he noted that the crowd numbered over one million and stretched to the Washington Monument. Oddly when I looked at the overhead crowd shots, I must have missed two thirds of the crown and somehow those stretched to the Washington Monument were wearing camouflage and blended in with the ground.
He castigates the CIA by comparing them to Nazi Germany and then tells them the media made it all up, he was their biggest supporter.
We have him reporting that 3 to 5 million unregistered voters voted in the election with no proof or even decent speculation as to that number. The list fabrications goes on and on and shows no sign of stopping or even slowing down.
And if cavalier treatment of facts and the truth were not enough, when he is not busy manufacturing issues and truths, Mr. Trump is busy insulting and denigrating people and places left and right. A Judge that doesn’t agree with him, is branded a “so called judge”; he declares the mainstream media an “enemy of the American people” when they ask for clarification or challenge his version of events; he has insulted Australia and Mexico, and on and on. It appears that to Mr. Trump, anyone with the temerity to question, lampoon, or even doubt the infallibility of Mr. Trump and his staff is somehow un-American or even a danger to this country.
Now we are faced with what can only be either a weak, slapstick attempt at humor or a departure from reality on his part when we have a sitting President accuse his predecessor of wiretapping Trump Tower. When faced with an overwhelming lack of evidence in support of this claim, President Trump and his staff blithely try to redefine the word “Wiretap”.
Surely Mr. Trump’s most ardent supporters must cringe each morning when they turn on the news and wait for the latest tweet, press conference, or interview. I can picture a new feature of White House staff meetings in which they are daily planning on how to soften, misdirect, or even deny the latest communication from the oval office. And if that is how we may feel in this country, how do our allies and enemies deal with what Mr. Trump says about anything? Do they take him seriously, or just wait until the dust settles and then decide?
I also wonder if Mr. Trump’s ego and/or management style is such that no-one dare let him know that he is 1) making a fool of himself; 2) denigrating the office of the President; 3) alienating any number of voters who elected him; 4) endangering his own party’s hold on congress in the upcoming off year elections; and 5) confusing and alienating allies while simultaneously encouraging enemies.