Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Trump's "appalling character" in his tweets on the London bombing

It's hard to take a break when the news continues unabated and irresistible.   So I'm taking a break from my "break" just long enough to share this editorial from Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin.  It's about President Trump's response to the bombing in London (a few days old, but still relevant).

*     *     *     *     *
"The stoic determination and decency of the British people and their leaders were on full display in the hours after the latest horrific terrorist rampage. The Brits fought back. . . .  The police acted with lightning-fast precision, killing the three assailants within eight minutes of the emergency call.

"Meanwhile — and it pains me to write this — our president acted like a clod, a heartless and dull-witted thug in sending out a series of tweets. He . . . first retweeted an unverified, unofficial Drudge headline about the unfolding terrorist attack. Then he aimed to bolster his Muslim travel ban (which is not supposed to be a Muslim travel ban). 'We need to be smart, vigilant and tough,' he tweeted. 'We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!' . . .   

"After receiving blowback for that obnoxious missive, he tweeted out, 'Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!' But then he decided to slam the mayor of the city attacked, who had calmly warned his fellow Londoners: 'Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. There’s no reason to be alarmed.'  

Trump took the second part out of context and responded viciously, 'At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!' (The mayor, of course, was telling them not to be alarmed by the heightened police presence.) Trump was not done, however, inanely tweeting, “Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That’s because they used knives and a truck!”

"One is prompted to ask if he is off his rocker. But this is vintage Trumpimpulsive and cruel, without an ounce of class or human decency. His behavior no longer surprises us, but it should offend and disturb us, first, that he remains the face and voice of America in the world and, second, that his fans hoot and holler, seeing this as inconsequential or acceptable conduct. . . . 

"Sure, Trump’s policies and rhetoric are incoherent and based on a tower of lies. Far worse, however, is his appalling character, which accelerates the erosion of democratic norms and social cohesion a diverse democracy requires. . .

"The London attacks bring out the best in Britain and in Western leaders on the European continent; it brings out the worst in Trump and his followers. The former protect the soul of Western civilization; the latter drive a stake through the animating ideas that make America special."

*     *     *     *     *
Besides the character and decency argument that Jennifer Rubin so aptly makes, there is the disturbing fact that the president of the United States is also making stupid tactical mistakes,  First, he obviously thinks he has a political advantages by using the attack to bolster his travel-ban and guns-everywhere approach.   

Rather, his comments will probably doom his travel ban case before the Supreme Court.   Despite the efforts of his staff to "fix" the executive order so that it doesn't quite shout that it is an anti-Muslim ban, Trump himself has just confirmed that it is.

In my editing here, I left out some of his rhetoric;  but in this and other tweets, he laments the fact that they "watered down" the revised ban and should have left it as it was in the first.   He repeatedly refers to it as a "travel ban" and does everything but calling it a Muslim travel ban.

In one on his tweets, he wrote this:  “People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN.”

Then there's the question:   Why is he picking a fight with the London mayor?   Two reasons come to mind:   (1)  The mayor is Muslim;   (2)  Trump is always looking for some way to insert himself into any situation and declare his superiority in some way.    He has nothing here except to take a phrase out of context and pretend to criticize the mayor for not being tough enough on terrorists.   But that collapses when you read what Mayor Sadiq Kahn actually said.

Here's another disturbing possibility:   Reportedly Trump tweeted the comment about the mayor's statement just after listening to Fox News.   It's quite possible that he was relying only on Fox's own distortion of the quote.    Realize what that means:   "The President of the United States relies on Fox News, rather than his own intelligence agencies, for his information about a world crisis.


No comments:

Post a Comment