Donald Trump’s international trip has actually been fairly successful thus far, if only because he hasn’t started Armageddon yet. Yet some people on both sides just have to complain. First, he and his family got attention from liberals because of their special deal to give Saudi Arabia upwards of $109 billion in weapons and equipment.
I hate to tell you this, folks, but heaping praise and aid on Saudi Arabia while turning a blind eye to their monstrous theocracy is the most conventional aspect of Donald Trump’s Administration relative to other presidents.
And on the other hand, Trump’s “alt-right” fans are going apeshit when he made his speech to the Saudis Sunday morning, and did NOT use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” and even went so far as to call Islam one of the world’s great faiths. For this they gave him their usual insults, calling him a “pussy” and a “cuck.”
Seriously, Trumpniks, what do you expect your Dear Leader to do? Yeah, go ahead and go to the kingdom that controls the Two Holy Cities and tell them that Islam is a death cult. Go ahead and tell them that Allah isn’t the same as God. Go ahead and tell them that the purpose of Islam is to wage war with the unbelievers until they are all converted or enslaved.
You might as well expect Mr. Unpredictable to go to CPAC or the Republican National Convention and tell you, “America does not have an official religion. America does not have an official language. You cannot have the big, powerful government you want if rich people don’t pay taxes. But instead of trying to make government fair and just, you want to make everything nonsense and Opposite Day, because you’re bitter reactionaries and you’ve made Two Minutes Hate into a permanent lifestyle.”
See how far he’d get with that.
Meanwhile, in the last week before the start of the international tour, the Trump Administration continued to suffer setbacks in the court of public opinion, as news article after article revealed more embarrassing details about the president’s overall lack of competence and temperament. An example is a May 17 article in the New York Times. The article, by the Times’ designated chroniclers Michael Shear and Maggie Haberman, mentions Trump’s reluctance to sleep in any location other than a Trump property (of which there are none in the five countries on the trip), and his request to “cut short” a trip to Israel’s Holocaust memorial site. It also says that recently, “(in) an attempt to capture his interest, aides threaded Mr. Trump’s own name through one of the two-page memos they wrote for him.” And: “in private, Mr. Trump’s advisers acknowledge that they are concerned about his off-script eruptions, his tendency to be swayed by flattery and the possibility that foreign leaders may present him with situations he does not know how to handle. They worry he will accidentally commit the United States to something unexpected, and they have tried to caution him about various scenarios.”
This story, with many, many more like it, gives the picture of a particularly bratty and stupid child who is incapable of grasping the basic tasks of his current office, let alone those of a CEO. If you are a conservative or a Trump voter (not necessarily the same thing) you can use these articles to make a case that Trump is the victim of slanted presentation by a biased media. And you would have a point. But consider: These stories are the results of leaks from Administration staff. Not just whatever people may be left from the Obama Administration, if there are any. We’re talking about Republicans who have direct access to Mr. Trump on a personal and daily basis. These are people who got on the Trump Train because they thought he had a plan to Make America Great Again (TM). And they are seeing the man in action, and they are deeply dismayed. The theory, confirmed by at least one conservative, is that the leaks are not an attempt to undermine the Administration, but rather to save it. In an article for The Hill, Erick Erickson, best known for the Red State site, asked: “Why would a loyal staffer who adores the president of the United States leak damaging information to the national media that makes the president look bad? … The story had multiple sources. I know one of those sources. He can only be characterized as an ardent Trump supporter who desperately wants the president to succeed. But as more than one member of the Trump White House realizes, sometimes the president will not take advice. Sometimes the president treats suggestions as criticism. More often than not, the president is vastly more interested in what the media says about him than what his advisers in his employ say to him. White House staff have ample incentive to leak to the press when they believe the president needs to pay attention or be admonished. ”
In other words, Trump, while he complains to high heaven about the mainstream media, spends a lot of his time obsessed with mainstream media, especially when it’s about him. And thus leaking to the “MSM” is the only way they can bring stuff to his attention.
It would be one thing if a partisan media were simply doing everything it could to make a Republican president look bad. Conservatives ought to expect that. But what ought to concern them is how many conservatives who know what’s going on are helping the liberal media expose their savior. And that’s because some of them are starting to realize what the rest of us have been telling them all along: Trump will do the same thing to conservatism- and the nation- that he did to the Atlantic City casino industry.
In the first month of the Administration, as Trump made his first clumsy steps to Trumpify the apparatus of state, a lot of liberals were fretting about “Trump fatigue” – the idea that Trump’s mere presence at the head of state would normalize a deeply abnormal situation and serve to usher in fascism, and people would eventually get tired of taking to the streets in protest every time he did something stupid and/or evil. But now it seems to be the other way around. Now as Trump moves on not-exactly-leftist institutions like the FBI- not just because he wants to consolidate power, but because he literally doesn’t know what he’s doing- as his unwillingness and inability to keep promises is now impossible to deny, and as the political liability to conservatism becomes that much more obvious, it’s the alt-righters and establishment conservatives who are asking: How much longer can WE put up with this shit?