Trump posed a danger to national security

CNN says it’s really that bad:

In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America’s principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials — including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff — that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations.

Oh. Well, great. Unprepared, kissy-kissy with Putin and Erdogan, abusive to allies – so that’s wonderful. It’s what you’d expect from a failed casino huckster and vulgar creep, but so then…how did we end up with him?

The calls made his top people think he was delusional. (Of course he’s delusional. He thinks he’s hot stuff.)

The sources said there was little evidence that the President became more skillful or competent in his telephone conversations with most heads of state over time. Rather, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest.

This is the Trump we all see all the time, so why would anyone think he would be different on the phone to Merkel or Macron or Trudeau?

By far the greatest number of Trump’s telephone discussions with an individual head of state were with Erdogan, who sometimes phoned the White House at least twice a week and was put through directly to the President on standing orders from Trump, according to the sources. Meanwhile, the President regularly bullied and demeaned the leaders of America’s principal allies, especially two women: telling Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom she was weak and lacked courage; and telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she was “stupid.”

Erm…that takes even my breath away.

Trump incessantly boasted to his fellow heads of state, including Saudi Arabia’s autocratic royal heir Mohammed bin Salman and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, about his own wealth, genius, “great” accomplishments as President, and the “idiocy” of his Oval Office predecessors, according to the sources.

So he talks to them the way he talks to all of us on Twitter. Of course he does: the way he talks on Twitter is the best he can do. It’s not as if he has another register for serious purposes. With him what you see is what you get.

He especially loved talking about how much better he is than Bush2 and Obama.

The full, detailed picture drawn by CNN’s sources of Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders is consistent with the basic tenor and some substantive elements of a limited number of calls described by former national security adviser John Bolton in his book, “The Room Where It Happened.” But the calls described to CNN cover a far longer period than Bolton’s tenure, are much more comprehensive — and seemingly more damning — in their sweep.

The insidious effect of the conversations comes from Trump’s tone, his raging outbursts at allies while fawning over authoritarian strongmen, his ignorance of history and lack of preparation as much as it does from the troubling substance, according to the sources.

Two sources compared many of the President’s conversations with foreign leaders to Trump’s recent press “briefings” on the coronavirus pandemic: free form, fact-deficient stream-of-consciousness ramblings, full of fantasy and off-the-wall pronouncements based on his intuitions, guesswork, the opinions of Fox News TV hosts and social media misinformation.

The performance of a very chaotic very undisciplined very stupid blob of flesh.

In addition to Merkel and May, the sources said, Trump regularly bullied and disparaged other leaders of the western alliance during his phone conversations — including French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison — in the same hostile and aggressive way he discussed the coronavirus with some of America’s governors.

He shouted at Macron a lot, but he saved his best bullying for the women.

In conversations with both May and Merkel, the President demeaned and denigrated them in diatribes described as “near-sadistic” by one of the sources and confirmed by others. “Some of the things he said to Angela Merkel are just unbelievable: he called her ‘stupid,’ and accused her of being in the pocket of the Russians … He’s toughest [in the phone calls] with those he looks at as weaklings and weakest with the ones he ought to be tough with.”

The calls “are so unusual,” confirmed a German official, that special measures were taken in Berlin to ensure that their contents remained secret. The official described Trump’s behavior with Merkel in the calls as “very aggressive” and said that the circle of German officials involved in monitoring Merkel’s calls with Trump has shrunk: “It’s just a small circle of people who are involved and the reason, the main reason, is that they are indeed problematic.”

Trump’s conversations with May, the UK Prime Minister from 2016 to 2019, were described as “humiliating and bullying,” with Trump attacking her as “a fool” and spineless in her approach to Brexit, NATO and immigration matters.

“He’d get agitated about something with Theresa May, then he’d get nasty with her on the phone call,” One source said. “It’s the same interaction in every setting — coronavirus or Brexit — with just no filter applied.”

Merkel remained calm and outwardly unruffled in the face of Trump’s attacks —”like water off a duck’s back,” in the words of one source — and she regularly countered his bluster with recitations of fact. The German official quoted above said that during Merkel’s visit to the White House two years ago, Trump displayed “very questionable behavior” that “was quite aggressive … [T]he Chancellor indeed stayed calm, and that’s what she does on the phone.”

Prime Minister May, in contrast, became “flustered and nervous” in her conversations with the President. “He clearly intimidated her and meant to,” said one of CNN’s sources.

I wish I could grab his arm and pinch a fold of flesh with pliers right now. Pinch it hard, and not stop. With his people watching and smiling.

15 Responses to “Trump posed a danger to national security”

Leave a Comment

Subscribe without commenting