Monday, 6 March 2017

Trump the Deflecting Liar


Those in the know in The White House say that Trump was furious on Friday at his senior staff that the fight to defend Jess Sessions was abandoned and he will now recuse himself from investigations into Trump campaign links with Russia. Why the fury? Because Trump is vulnerable. He knows it, we know it. Russian links with his campaign are the major issue now. They may well be the only real issue, because they are even forcing the most compliant and lickspittle in Congressional ranks to distance themselves from the president. His links are looking more and more toxic.

In part this is down to the president's serial inability to ever signal retreat, to be diplomatic, to turn the other cheek. If he were to simply give his critics what they want and what, in a democracy, they are entitled to demand, then this would not be a story. But Trump's White House lacks the basic maturity to do this. A man accustomed to always getting his way, of shouting down opposition, of bullying his way to what he wants is incapable of the nuance and political skills he so desperately needs now. His own behaviour has repeatedly called into question his motivations vis a vis Russia. To be clear, nothing is proven and nothing, thus far, could not potentially be satisfactorily explained away. But they won't open themselves up to questioning, they won't open up the books. They keep doubling down on the rhetoric and the inane counter accusations. 

And that is what happened this weekend. Trump had had a good start to the week and had got good reviews, even if those reviews were born mainly from his having surprised the world by sounding a little less pugilistic and juvenile than usual. The content was lacking, indeed some of the content was scary, but the tone won through. Trump basked in the qualified adulation. 

And then Jeff Sessions happened. That explains his fury. Sessions detracted from his nice headlines. Worse they meant that he ended the week once again as a net loser. Nothing has been accomplished once again, his travel ban remains suspended with no replacement yet advanced and yet the nation remains remarkably safe, thus the reasons for the ban are further undermined. 

But more than that Trump does not like to lose. 

So he did what he always does. He fired back a volley of ludicrous accusations and contumely at his detractors and tormentors. And so he ended a week in which he sounded almost presidential by sounding like a spoilt brat out of his depth and increasingly at sea. Was this deflection? No, not really. This was a grown man, a septuagenarian, having a tantrum. If it was supposed to be deflection then it is a trick that no longer works because the nation, the press, his opponents, his party, the world is wise to him. 

Trump simply picked up upon a few badly researched reports on sites he likes reading because they flatter him and turned them into a story. In so doing he took the world and even his own administration by surprise. The world has reacted by rolling its eyes and laughing that the man so irate about anonymous sources is now relying on them for this infamous and irrational broadside. The man who talks of fake news and the dishonest media is quoting some because it comes from media that likes him and strokes his ego. As he might have said in a tweet: 'sad!' in one of those rare words he manages to spell correctly at the first attempt.

President Liar is at it again. Now, stop changing the subject and answer the questions about Russia.


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