« The President Matters | Main | Preserving Culture in a Chaotic World »

Our President is a Joke

I don’t like to make personal attacks. In fact, I think that many Democrats and progressives are making themselves look bad by engaging in what Rand Paul recently called “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” I have argued that there are plenty of policy disagreements with the president’s and the Republican Party’s positions to support substantive arguments against them without resorting to personal attacks. But in the last two days President Trump has shown a level of incompetence that is truly frightening for a United States President.

Trump crowed that he didn’t need to prepare for his summit with Vladimir Putin and the highlight of their meeting would be a long talk between just the two of them, accompanied by translators but no advisors. The meeting was immediately followed by a working lunch, which included advisors and then a joint press conference. Days before the summit, a grand jury had indicted 12 members of Russian intelligence for interfering in the 2016 election, based upon evidence presented by the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller’s team. At the same time, President Trump blamed United States “foolishness and stupidity” for our country’s bad relationship with Russia, not mentioning Ukraine, Georgia, Syria, assassinations in the UK and in Russia itself, or meddling in the election.

In their joint press conference, Trump sided with Putin on the issue of the lack of Russian meddling in the election. In response to questions about the indictments and his own opinion as to who he believed, Trump repeated his characterization of the investigation by Mueller as a “witch hunt,” and then launched into an unresponsive and incoherent attack on Hillary Clinton, asking “where are those servers” and ranting about the 33,000 missing emails. He repeatedly claimed that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia during the election, which was not a question even asked.

Today, the president said that he “accepts our intelligence community’s conclusion” about Russian interference in the election. He added that it may well have been others as well, undermining his own previous statement, since the intelligence community has never accused anyone else of trying to interfere with the election. He also said that he “misspoke” at the summit when he said he didn’t “see any reason why it would be” Russia that interfered with the election when he actually intended to say he didn’t  “see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia” that interfered in the election. This was more than 24 hours and several interviews and tweets after the summit had ended—a summit he declared as a great success without mentioning that he said the opposite of what he meant on the main topic discussed at the press conference. On Sean Hannity's Fox program following the summit, the president never once mentioned that he had misspoken, nor seemed to disagree with anything he said during the press conference. 

Even putting aside Trump’s fawning over Putin as a wonderful, strong leader and his failure to criticize him on his country’s behavior in Syria or the Ukraine, the president’s behavior during the summit and afterward in response to the criticism of how he behaved shows sheer incompetence in the man leading our country. He clearly was neither prepared for the summit nor for the press conference following it. He fumbled his answers, and tried to save himself with a bald-faced lie afterward. He interpreted questions about the evidence of Russian election meddling as criticism of him and of the legitimacy of his election. Everything he did had the look of a man in over his head in the office he holds. 



Reader Comments (6)

It was a bad showing.

Except for the fact that keeping the peace with Russia allows the entire planet to survive.

July 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMark Wheeler

You're being too kind, Casey. I've been saying for over two years now that Trump's launch into politics was generated by his debt to Russia via Deutsche Bank, which saved him from becoming a complete bankrupt financially, as he is morally. I care not a whit about Rand Paul's characterizations of how many of us feel about Trump. The reality is that he's a traitor. We have to look at the lives ruined and ended by the drumbeat of the extreme right when it came to the Joe McCarthy Communist hunts and ask ourselves, how steeped in hypocrisy have we become that now, when Russia is in the hands of a former KGB agent who murders his citizens--political opponents, journalists, etc.--we go on allowing a Russian agent in the White House.

July 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAnca Vlasopolos

I believe that Mr. Trump has invented a new type of truth, something I call "situational truth." Whatever he needs to say at a particular moment that shows himself in a good light, that's what he says. When the situation changes, so does the truth.

When coupling "situational truth" with Mr. Trumps other beliefs (there are no good deals except the ones HE negotiates; he can never be wrong, much less admit it) we can see our President as the quintessential flim-flam man of the greatest magnitude. And WE elected him. Shame on us.

Walter Sanville
San Luis Obispo

July 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterWalter Sanville

President Trump is neither a traitor nor a Russian agent. Neither is the president the inventor of “situational truth.” That concept has been around forever. He was simply trying to keep lines of communication open by not directly exposing Putin’s alleged duplicity. That effort was big picture but the president looked bad in those moments of political equivocation. As a person who negotiates on behalf of others nearly every day, the concept of assigning a little mutual blame or responsibility isn’t a wholly bad idea. But President Trump spoke inexpertly and inexactly. What he shouliid have said was something like “Our intelligence community says Russia meddled in the 2016 election while President Putin strongly denies this allegation. Both concepts can’t be true so I’d rather concentrate on the future than attempt to divine a murky and unfortunate past. I’m more concerned with nuclear disarmament and lasting peace than I am with dubious tampering efforts that didn’t change a single vote.” That would have sufficed, I think.

July 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMark Wheeler

I agree with Mark’s comments. I think the danger seems to be underestimated.

July 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNorma

"Vladimir Putin America's Biggest Threat!" that's why the recent polls also show 65% in US think Russia is the "Enemy". Simplistic, and absurred. Briefly, since Reagan promised Gorbachev that NATO will not expand (some say he said, one inch) NATO expanded, to some 1,500 miles (equivalent to US East Coast). From 12 countries to 27. Then US walked away from ABM treaty. Then US spends billion to do the usual Social Engineering in Ukraine with an eye to eventually include it to NATO. Its doubtful that the public at large remembers what we did in the 90's to Russia, historical amnesia! If we don't have an "Enemy"like Russia, then there is no justifications for $900 billion NATO budget. That's why Russia's Putin has been declared to be the biggest threat to America!.To the extend that the president tried very hard, in his "casual business way" to mend
things with Putin, he should be supported, The indictment of the Russian, while he is on the trip to
negotiate with them, no matter how we disagree with him, was awfull.


July 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSam

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>