Favorite

Trump unfit 

click to enlarge President Trump - GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Gage Skidmore
  • President Trump

Even as an oligarch, President Trump turns out to be breathtakingly incompetent. Is there any reason to suppose he's even loyal to the United States? Does he even understand the concept? Trump is loyal to Trump, and to his absurdly swollen ego. Nothing and nobody else.

How long before the president appears on a White House balcony dressed up like a Third World generalissimo, wearing mirrored sunglasses and gold-fringed epaulets the size of football shoulder pads?

Hosting Russian diplomats in the White House just one day after boasting on national TV that he'd fired FBI Director James Comey to shut down the "fake news" investigation of his presidential campaign's dalliance with Vladimir Putin's spies can only be understood as an oligarch's gesture of contempt.

Contempt for the truth, of course, which almost goes without saying. As if the initial cover story — that Comey got dumped for mistreating poor Hillary Clinton — weren't insulting enough on its face.

But also contempt for the American news media, who Trump barred from the meeting in favor of photographers from Tass, the Russian state news agency. As should have been predictable, that backfired badly. Photos of the president yukking it up in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak turned up in Moscow news media. If you didn't know better, you'd think Trump was bragging about his sexual exploits.

Also contempt for the anti-Trump majority. Here's how that great American Rush Limbaugh saw it: "So he fires Comey yesterday. Who's he meet with today? He's meeting with the Soviet, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov! I mean, what an epic troll this is."

(Republicans of the Limbaugh persuasion long ago chose party over country. In their minds, all competing values are subordinate to making Nancy Pelosi unhappy.)

But, no, Trump wasn't talking dirty to the Russians. We should be so lucky. Instead, he appears to have been expressing his contempt for the U.S. intelligence services, by recklessly boasting about top-secret information regarding an ISIS terror plot that had been shared with the CIA by an ally. That ally (probably Israel) will now be forced to reconsider whether or not the U.S. government can be trusted to keep a secret.

Certainly not as long as Trump's in office.

See, people get murdered when spy networks get blown. Painstakingly cultivated sources flee for their lives. Hasn't Trump even read a John Le Carré novel? Almost certainly not. Even a movie like "The Bourne Identity" might give the president a clue if he were capable of learning anything not directly related to his ego or his pocketbook.

Yet again the White House sent out respected advisers — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster — to issue carefully worded nondenial denials. Trump undermined them in early morning tweets boasting that he had the unquestioned power to do what they'd just finished claiming that he hadn't done.

The psychological subtext is unvarying: big me, little you. Trusting this bombastic faker with sensitive national security intelligence is like trusting a basset hound with a ham sandwich.

See, a real dictator like Vladimir Putin can pull off these contemptuous gestures. Besides being infinitely smarter and more self-controlled than his American apprentice, Putin's also utterly ruthless and doesn't care who knows it. Trump is merely egomaniacal and amoral.

"If [Putin] says great things about me," Trump said during the 2016 campaign, "I'm going to say great things about him. I've already said, he is really very much of a leader. I mean, you can say, 'Oh, isn't that a terrible thing' — the man has very strong control over a country."

Russian dissidents fall off balconies or succumb to poison. Putin skates in exhibition hockey matches, where he scores seven goals.

There's no sign Trump has the chutzpah for that kind of thing. Nor is the United States by any stretch of the imagination Russia — where autocratic governments, secret police and prison camps have been the rule for centuries.

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne wonders whether Trump is more thuggish or clownish. He concludes, "Trump can be fairly regarded as both incompetent and authoritarian. We may be saved by the fact that the feckless Trump is often the authoritarian Trump's worst enemy. If we're lucky, Trump's astonishing indiscipline will be his undoing."

But only if the Republican leadership begins to say publicly what some confide privately: Trump is congenitally unfit for power and growing more so daily. Even formerly sympathetic figures like MSNBC's Joe Scarborough are beginning to say the word "Alzheimer's" aloud.

Trump's verbal incoherence, angry outbursts, and incipient paranoia are consistent with the disease that killed his father.

A timely diagnosis would give Republicans an escape hatch. But he can't be forced to see a doctor.

Either way, things can't go on like this much longer.


Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of Donald Trump

Comments (27)

Showing 1-25 of 27

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-25 of 27

Add a comment

More by Gene Lyons

  • A difference

    How low can a columnist go? On evidence, nowhere near as low as the president of the United States. I'd intended to highlight certain ironies in the career of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). The self-anointed moral arbiter of the Senate began her career as a tobacco company lawyer — that is, somebody ill-suited to demand absolute purity of anybody, much less Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).
    • Dec 14, 2017
  • Cats and dogs

    I've always been leery of people who dislike animals. To my wife and me, a house without dog hair in the corners and a cat perched on the windowsill is as barren as a highway rest stop. We're down to three dogs and two cats, the smallest menagerie we've had for years.
    • Dec 7, 2017
  • GOP contempt

    Sometimes it's hard to be cynical enough about the current course of American politics. Astonishing, yet not at all surprising. That was my immediate reaction to the news — largely ignored by national print and broadcast media — that the Trump administration refused to ask Congress for one thin dime of disaster funding in the wake of Northern California's devastating wildfires.
    • Nov 30, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Hillary hit jobs

    It's always been my conviction that if Hillary Clinton could be appointed president, she'd do a bang-up job. Getting elected, however, might prove more difficult.
    • Jul 28, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in Gene Lyons

  • A difference

    How low can a columnist go? On evidence, nowhere near as low as the president of the United States. I'd intended to highlight certain ironies in the career of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). The self-anointed moral arbiter of the Senate began her career as a tobacco company lawyer — that is, somebody ill-suited to demand absolute purity of anybody, much less Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).
    • Dec 14, 2017
  • Cats and dogs

    I've always been leery of people who dislike animals. To my wife and me, a house without dog hair in the corners and a cat perched on the windowsill is as barren as a highway rest stop. We're down to three dogs and two cats, the smallest menagerie we've had for years.
    • Dec 7, 2017
  • GOP contempt

    Sometimes it's hard to be cynical enough about the current course of American politics. Astonishing, yet not at all surprising. That was my immediate reaction to the news — largely ignored by national print and broadcast media — that the Trump administration refused to ask Congress for one thin dime of disaster funding in the wake of Northern California's devastating wildfires.
    • Nov 30, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31  

Most Viewed

  • Money talks

    Democratic candidates face a dilemma in Arkansas. To take on the GOP members who are firmly entrenched in the state Legislature and Congress, they will need lots of money and lots of votes. The easiest way to get more votes is to spend more money. Obscene amounts of money. And thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and President Trump's judicial appointments, this will be our reality for a long time. The six Republicans who make up our congressional delegation have stopped pretending to care about their constituents. They vote in line with the interests of big corporations and lobbyists. They know what side their bread is buttered on.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Gratitude

    • Thanks for the information about the rally Saturday.

    • on December 15, 2017
  • Re: Money talks

    • I understand what you are saying about money, but there are always exceptions and a…

    • on December 15, 2017
  • Re: A difference

    • History is likely to move with light speed in concluding that in late 2017 society…

    • on December 14, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation