Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.
Trump is clearly the most dangerous when he is hunkered down and connected to reality only by the thin thread of twitter. The last week has apparently felt even more besieged than usual, either out of exhaustion from his trip or in anticipation of James Comey’s testimony to Congress. Either way, the net result has been a disaster – and the worst may well be yet to come.
If it’s not yet clear to everyone that this man is not fit to lead anything it will be soon.
It’s hard to know where to begin. Creating an entirely false fight with London Mayor Sadiq Khan the day after a terror attack may play well with his base, but it’s unbelievably bad for our “special relationship” with the UK. It can only be called psychotic. Where the Khan told people to not be alarmed by the increased police presence, Trump lashed out at his supposed telling people to not be alarmed by terrorists and doing nothing about it.
Where the truth was obviously right in front of everyone, Trump denied it. Repeatedly.
This is hardly the strangest fantasy of the week, however. It was revealed in the most cursory analysis that the $110 billion deal Trump announced with the Saudis was also completely fake. Everything was based on previously signed deals and a few things currently under discussion. None of it is likely to come through as the Saudis are fast running out of money, given years of low oil prices.
The one big public appearance this week at the Oval Office was a signing ceremony for a major infrastructure investment. There was, however, neither a bill nor an executive order to sign – just a memo to Congress to do something about infrastructure. There isn’t even a plan yet, and more to the point the one that will be cooked up over the next few months is likely to slash the Federal contribution to infrastructure overall.
The event wasn’t just theater, it was a cartoon performance by a cartoon character.
Some of this might be funny if it wasn’t serious. What no one can laugh about is the increasing isolation of Qatar, a stable US ally in the region. The Qatari army performed bravely in the liberation of Kuwait and currently houses the largest US base in the region, Al Udeid. It’s home to over 100 airplanes on constant patrol and supported by 11,000 US troops. Qatar has long been a remarkably open nation which has played the role of middle-man between the Sunni-Shi’ite divide. As the home of al Jezeera it also can boast the freest press in the region.
Much of this rankles the Saudis, who are deliberately dividing the Moslem world. It appears now that Trump gave them the go-ahead to isolate Qatar, and has even bragged about it on twitter. It makes no sense at all in any way, but even more importantly it puts our troops and their mission in serious peril.
How could this get worse?
James Comey will testify before Congress on Thursday, and the White House is naturally preparing. Ideas for a “war room” to seize the news cycle away from what is likely to be explosive are perfectly understandable. Those preparations fell apart in what is apparently a classic Trump move to manage his own image his own way – by live tweeting his responses to the hearing. It is impossible to imagine a worse idea, and even harder to imagine his lawyer tolerating this for one second. But it’s a possibility.
Even if this doesn’t come to pass, we can expect many reactions in 140 characters after the fact.
What does it take to demonstrate that Trump has no grasp on reality? What do we need to show that he is dangerous? How many of our close allies does he have to piss off and how many of our troops have to be put into needless danger?
The answers to all of these questions have been on display this week. If it isn’t obvious to someone that he needs to be removed after the Comey hearing I have no idea what it will take to convince them.
Don’t make popcorn. This is worth celebrating about as much as 9/11, and may yet involve a lot more people dying.