President Trump cabinet meeting/Reality Presidency Show season premiere today garnered huge media coverage. Numerous comments the president made raised eyebrows and evoked critical media commentary, but the thing that struck me about this Trump show is it was a boring rerun of every other Trump show, when he’s trying to talk his way past some deepening controversy.
Trump really is a one-trick pony repeating the same media gimmicks over and over.
Today was a boring rerun of Trump’s staged attacks against his enemies. It’s just like his May 31, 2016 press conference he staged to silence the controversy over the funds from his January 2016 debate temper tantrum, where he staged a vet fundraiser rally. By the Spring of 2016, media questions started swirling about which veterans groups received funds from that January fundraiser and exactly how much money was raised:
Today, Trump repeated this same press conference, except he used his cabinet as stage props instead of some veterans, who support him.
Incoming Senator Mitt Romney penned a scathing op-ed about President Trump leadership and character for the Washington Post last night. Romney stated:
“The Trump presidency made a deep descent in December. The departures of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, the appointment of senior persons of lesser experience, the abandonment of allies who fight beside us, and the president’s thoughtless claim that America has long been a “sucker” in world affairs all defined his presidency down.
It is well known that Donald Trump was not my choice for the Republican presidential nomination. After he became the nominee, I hoped his campaign would refrain from resentment and name-calling. It did not. When he won the election, I hoped he would rise to the occasion. His early appointments of Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, Nikki Haley, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster, Kelly and Mattis were encouraging. But, on balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.”
This op-ed added to the growing criticisms of Trump’s handling of announcing a Syria pull-out via a tweet, without even informing our allies or his own national security team about the decision first. The bad press escalated with General Mattis’ resignation as Secretary of Defense, followed by Trump’s spiteful announcement he was moving up Mattis’ departure.
As criticism over both Trump’s Syria decision and how he went about it escalated, the president began ramping up his mean tweeting in recent days. He retaliated over the weekend when General McChrystal answered a reporter’s question about whether he would ever serve in the Trump presidency and whether he believes the president is immoral. McChrystal, I believe, answered the questions honestly. In typical Trump fashion, Trump decided to wage the only strategy he knows – a vicious divide and conquer attack.
We now have a POTUS committed to playing American generals against each other and even more disturbing, publicly undercutting top retired generals to curry favor with the troops. He is undercutting confidence in the US military and its top leaders, all to win spin cycles…
The truth is these retired generals should tread very cautiously criticizing the President and avoid it. Engaging in public spin attacks back and forth with Trump will only damage military morale and could easily begin to damage confidence in America’s top military leadership. If these retired generals or former Trump administration officials feel strongly about Trump’s competency, conduct in office and handling of national security matters, the proper way to air that would be to testify to Congress, under oath.
The real big picture threat is America’s adversaries are watching the Trump Reality Presidency Show and they understand that Trump’s shallow narcissism makes him so easy to manipulate. Since Erdogan talked Trump into pulling out of Syria, both Kim Jong Un and Putin made public overtures to Trump about more meetings. They obviously feel confident they can easily play Trump again. All it takes is stroking Trump’s ego, by praising him as a strong leader. How much Trump will sell America down the river remains to be seen, but for a reality check, Trump doesn’t bother with facts or details.
The media latched onto a Trump comment in his presser that speaks to Trump’s colossal ignorance about American foreign policy and history. Trump touted the Soviet view on their invasion of Afghanistan, not the Reagan foreign policy view. It was a surreal comment coming from a sitting American president:
Trump: “The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia.” This is simply not true. The Soviet Union ventured into Afghanistan as part of its effort to prop up communism abroad, not because terrorists were striking the Soviet homeland.