Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Washington Post: The Trump Experiment may come to an early tipping point

Those who support President Donald Trump hate former President Barack Obama. These people are going to rally behind Trump’s propagation that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, just as they rallied behind his propagation of the “birther” notion, the false accusation that President Obama was not American born. His supporters, many of whom still do not believe that Obama is American born, have not realized the liar Trump is. The “tipping point” will only come when Trump’s supporters and a Republican Congress finally realize that Trump is in it for his own gain, and that he is a con man who has cheated and tricked them by gaining their trust and persuaded them to believe his stories that are not true, defining them as alternate facts. This latest attack on Obama is only an attempt to divert attention away from his Russia problem.

E.J. Dionne:If there is any good news here, it’s this: Alternative facts can take you only so far. A president can’t just make up charges against his predecessor, call him a bad (or sick) guy, and then get away with it.

Can he?

During the 2016 campaign Trump called Vladimir Putin “a better leader than Obama because Obama’s not a leader” and praised Putin for having “very strong control over a country.”

That should have been the tip-off. For Trump, good leadership is synonymous with strong control.

That’s why Trump hates leakers, the press, judges who disagree with him, the intelligence agencies, and critics of all kinds. It's why he was so angry about the revelation last week that Jeff Sessions misled the Senate about his two meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and at Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the investigation of Trump contacts with Russian agents. It's also why Trump was furious after Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, had to resign, when Flynn's false claims about not meeting with Russian agents came to light.

Someone needs to tell Trump that leadership in a democracy is not about control. It’s about accountability, humility, and wisdom. But Trump won't want to hear this because these are three traits he sorely lacks.

Trump seems to assume that the truth doesn’t matter anymore, that a leader just needs enough voters to believe the “alternative facts” his side invents.

By E.J. Dionne Jr.