A shrug too many

David Frum says that if Nixon had accused LBJ of involvement in the Kennedy assassination there would have been global outrage. I’m not sure that’s true, but his broader point is.

Today, President Donald Trump accused his predecessor, Bill Clinton—or possibly his 2016 campaign opponent, the former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—of complicity in the death of the accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Many seem to have responded with a startled shrug. What do you expect? It’s just Trump letting off steam on Twitter.

Reactions to actions by Trump are always filtered through the prism of the ever more widely accepted view—within his administration, within Congress, within the United States, and around the world—that the 45th president is a reckless buffoon; a conspiratorial, racist moron, whose weird comments should be disregarded by sensible people.

If that is a widely accepted view – wtf? The weirder Trump’s comments are the less they should be disregarded by sensible people or anyone else. His “comments” demonstrate and underline how radically unfit he is to be in the job he is, with the ability to launch nuclear weapons always within reach. Nobody should be disregarding any of this.

CNN’s Jake Tapper on August 2 quoted a “senior national security official” as saying: “Everyone at this point ignores what the president says and just does their job. The American people should take some measure of confidence in that.”

Oh, yes, very confidence-inspiring, that there’s a brainless loony in charge but his stooges are ignoring him. I take no confidence from that whatsoever.

But cosmic joke or no cosmic joke, Donald Trump is the president of the United States. You may not like it. I don’t like it. Mike Pompeo doesn’t like it. Mitch McConnell doesn’t like it. Kevin McCarthy doesn’t like it. But it’s still a fact, and each succeeding outrage makes it no less a fact. Grinning and flashing a thumbs-up over an orphaned baby? Yes, still president. Tweeting that a third-tier dictator has threatened him with more missile tests unless he halts military exercises with a U.S. ally——and that he has surrendered to that blackmail? Shamefully, still president. Accusing a former U.S. president of murder? It’s incredible, it’s appalling, it’s humiliating … but, yes, he is the president all the same.

Also, casually consigning a massive watershed in Alaska to destruction by mining, canceling a program to deal with white supremacist terrorism, battling to take health insurance away from millions of people, making food stamps harder to get…

No measure of confidence available.

3 Responses to “A shrug too many”