“Hello, General? What do you think of me?”

Trump phoned the troops to boost morale and express thanks.

Or he meant to, or he was supposed to, but it didn’t come out quite right.

President Donald Trump struck a nakedly political tone during a Thanksgiving call with US service members stationed around the world as he steered the conversation toward controversial political topics.

Speaking with a US general in Afghanistan, Trump likened the fight against terrorists to his efforts to prevent a group of migrants from illegally entering the United States, and he assailed federal judges who have ruled against his administration. The President also pressed the commanding officer of a Coast Guard ship in Bahrain on trade before touting his trade policies and arguing that “every nation in the world is taking advantage of us.”

Who wouldn’t want to take a call like that? So festive, so grateful, so empathetic.

“This was, sadly, predictable and avoidable,” said retired Rear Adm. John Kirby, a CNN military and diplomatic analyst. “The President’s conduct on that call, the manner in which he politicized it, demonstrated an utter and complete disregard for what military service means.”

And for what his relationship to it is supposed to be, and for any point of view that isn’t his. Other than that, great stuff.

Without evidence, he painted Air Force Gen. David Lyons as a proponent of his hardline immigration policies after Lyons said US troops are fighting in Afghanistan to prevent terrorists from reaching “our shores again.”

“Large numbers of people are forming at our border and I don’t even have to ask you, I know what you want to do, you want to make sure that you know who we’re letting in. And we’re not letting in anybody essentially because we want to be very, very careful,” Trump said, speaking to Lyons over the phone. “You’re right, you’re doing it over there. We’re doing it over here.”

See what he did? He took Lyons’s statement about fighting in Afghanistan to prevent terrorists from reaching the US again and pretended it was exactly parallel to repelling asylum seekers from Central America. Here’s the thing: Islamist terrorists are not Central American asylum seekers and vice versa. (Is it possible that terrorists could pretend to be asylum seekers? Yes. Is that a reason for one ignorant president to violate the law on asylum seekers? No.)

The topic brought Trump to another familiar airing of grievances, as he complained over the phone to the general that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has “become a big thorn in our side.”

“It’s a terrible thing when judges take over your protective services, when they tell you how to protect your border. It’s a disgrace,” Trump said. “It’s a disgrace.”

I’m sure that boosted the troops’ morale no end.

After he hung up Trump went on ranting at the reporters present about the court and the border and closing the whole entire border and yadda yadda. And then the “who can possibly know?” issue again.

Trump also once again undermined the CIA’s assessment that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the murder of Khashoggi, insisting the agency did not conclude bin Salman was responsible.

“They have not concluded. Nobody’s concluded. I don’t know if anybody’s going to be able to conclude that the crown prince did it,” Trump said. “They said he might have done it. That’s a big difference.”

And yet…Trump knew for certain that the Central Park 5 were guilty before the trial and also after DNA evidence emerged and their convictions were thrown out. Somehow he can know unknowable things when he wants to, and other people cannot when he wants them not to. Convenient.

At one point, Trump was asked what he was most thankful for on this Thanksgiving.

“For having a great family and for having made a tremendous difference in this country,” Trump said. “I’ve made a tremendous difference in the country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn’t believe it.”

So, long story short, he’s grateful for himself. Cool.

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