More Limbaugh than Lincoln

Chris Cillizza on Trump’s non-presidential quality in light of his grotesque tweets last night and this morning.

Trump tweeting things to forward his own agenda in the wake of terrorist attacks is nothing new. Following shootings in an Orlando nightclub that left 49 people dead, Trump offered this: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!” After an incident of a knife-wielding man at the Louvre Museum in Paris, Trump tweeted: “A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.”

In short, the tweetstorm following the London attacks isn’t the exception, it’s the rule for Trump. Using these attacks to prove his political point is his default position not a one-time popping off.

Trump’s responses are the latest example of how he is radically altering the idea of what it means to be “presidential.” During the 2016 campaign, Trump’s attacks on John McCain’s war hero status, his savaging of a Gold Star family, his wild exaggerations about his wealth and his seeming disinterest in the truth were all taken, at one point or another, as signs that he simply wasn’t “presidential” enough to actually win anything.

That he wasn’t “presidential” enough because he wasn’t adult enough, or thoughtful enough, or decent enough. That he wasn’t “presidential” enough because he was deficient on every criterion you could think of – literally every single one. He was and is reckless instead of responsible, rude instead of civil, hostile instead of affable, ignorant instead of informed, belligerent instead of restrained…I could go on this way all night. Every moral and intellectual quality needed for the job, he has the opposite of, up to and including mere appearance – that godawful nightmare hair.

And Trump has never stopped. His quintet of tweets on London are not only something that no previous American president would ever have said, they’re also statements that it’s hard to imagine any other leader in any other democracy around the world saying.

They are more the statements of a conservative talk radio show host than they are of what we have come to think of as a president — bombastic, over the top and out of context. They are, by traditional standards, anti-presidential.

Which, come to think of it, is a good way to describe Trump. He is sort of an anti-president — at least in terms of how we have always defined those terms. Trump’s attitude and approach in office is closer to Jerry Springer than to Gerald Ford. He’s more Limbaugh than Lincoln.

And he, of all people, is in that chair.

8 Responses to “More Limbaugh than Lincoln”