In this piece, written for The Guardian, I argue (among other things) that “Trump’s own statements so often contradict his own stated policy goals that his administration’s motto might as well be ‘Yes, we can’t!'”
How long can we keep watching this endless car crash that is Donald Trump’s presidency? The world has pressing problems to solve, from climate change to global terrorism, but instead of contributing resources and wisdom from the United States, Trump relentlessly gets in the way of solutions and exacerbates problems, all the while turning our shared tragedies into his own spectacles.
We shouldn’t be passive onlookers to Trump’s pantomime presidency any longer. It’s time we learn how to read Trump more judiciously, if only to learn how to deal with him better.
Take Trump’s obtuse reaction to the heinous terrorist attacks on the London Bridge. Only this American president would hear the words of capitulation in London mayor Sadiq Khan’s reasonable advice, made during an interview, that Londoners should not be alarmed by an increased and armed police presence on the streets following this terrorist attack.
Trump’s outsize animosity to Khan may stem from rank bigotry – Khan is Muslim, after all – or be due to Khan’s criticism of Trump’s then proposed Muslim ban last year. Either way, who really cares anymore? Reasonable people should not. Instead, reasonable people should see through Trump’s Twitter theatrics to discover a rather pitiful method of leadership.
By focusing less on Trump’s personal reasons for his behavior and more on the political motivations for his actions, we can easily discern something crucial. The mounting evidence since 20 January shows that Trump’s notion of leadership revolves around creating a politics of unreasonably low expectations so that any measure of near adult behavior by the man will be seen as remarkable, or even presidential, while his hopes abound that the normal methods of judging legislators will fade from view.
His churlish use of Twitter is a case in point. The public consumes Trump’s Twitter timeline as if it offers access straight through the weird hair and directly into Trump’s brain. But Trump’s tweets are not merely 140-character missives of questionable spelling and intelligence. Whether we like it or not, they are also official pronouncements of the president of the United States. And as such Trump’s tweets – in form and content – effectively lower our expectations of what presidential communication should both look like and contain.
Read the rest here.