A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

16 August 2017 — 1025 mdt

Donald Trump doesn’t know how to be President — and never will

All who hoped Donald Trump would become even a minimally competent President had their hopes dashed yesterday when he falsely equated the murderous neo-Nazi violence at Charlottesville with the infuriating, but not lethal, misbehavior of a few dozen Antifa miscreants. In these situations, when the nation’s psyche is bruised, when evil is unmistakable and must be condemned, a President must provide moral clarity and calming leadership. Trump provided neither. Instead, he delivered a red-faced rant that revealed he understood neither the events he was addressing, nor his obligations as our nation’s leader. His conduct was as frightening as it was embarrassing.

As Ed Kilgore observed today at New York:

It is also difficult after this performance to harvest any misapprehension that Trump is just playing the fool to manipulate public opinion. There is no sense in which there is a popular majority for the causes he now seems to be defending, and it’s not like the neo-Confederate right is going to find itself another national political champion.

No, it is increasingly clear that with Donald J. Trump, what you see is what you get, and what we got in this presser gone mad was Archie Bunker on paranoia-inducing steroids. By contrast, his remarks on Monday condemning the white riot in Charlottesville looked forced, like a statement made as part of a plea bargain. The minute he had a chance, as stunned aides stood by, he set us straight.

It is going to be a very long three-and-a-half years, and if Trump runs for reelection after incidents like this one, his slogan might as well be “Make America Hate Again.”

The United States will survive the assembly of neo-Nazis, members of the Klan, and other white supremacists. This was not the first time American Nazis and the KKK joined hands:

A meeting of the minds— of sorts— was held on August 18, 1940 when honored guests bedecked in white robes arrived at Camp Nordland. Two groups with mutual interests, the German-American Bund and the Ku Klux Klan, were having a get-together. One estimate suggested thirty-five hundred people were in attendance. Another put the rate much lower, with perhaps only one thousand present, and just one hundred of them Klan members.

Bernstein, Arnie. Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund (p. 273). St. Martin’s Press. Kindle Edition. Link added by Flathead Memo.

No one should have illusions Trump will change for the better. That’s not his temperament. Indeed, as he ages in office, his faculties may erode, his judgment may decline further, and his behavior may become more erratic and dangerous.

In a parliamentary government, Trump’s conduct yesterday probably would have resulted in a vote of no confidence and his ouster as the prime minister. Not having that immediate remedy for removing a leader who become unfit to serve is a defect of our presidential system with fixed terms of office.