E.J. Dionne: Trump shows he hasn't got it

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - EJ Dionne Colum­nist E.J. Dionne is syn­di­cated by the Wash­ing­ton Post Writ­ers Group.

Don­ald Trump shows he's too nasty, im­ma­ture and undis­ci­plined to be pres­i­dent...

WASH­ING­TON >> Don­ald J. Trump has per­formed a gen­uine ser­vice to our na­tion. He has now driven home, in a way no apol­o­gist, en­abler or timid an­a­lyst can plau­si­bly deny, that he is far too nasty, im­ma­ture and fright­en­ingly undis­ci­plined to be pres­i­dent.

And thanks to Hil­lary Clin­ton for the as­sist: By us­ing the first de­bate to bring up the case of a Miss Uni­verse who, Trump decided, had put on too much weight, the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee un­leashed the ugly in­ner Don­ald — the man whom the can­di­date and his han­dlers have been try­ing to hide.

This should be a wakeup call to po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts who have gone out of their way since Trump first an­nounced his can­di­dacy to pre­tend that he was the in­ge­nious cre­ator of a po­lit­i­cal spe­cial sauce who de­served our re­spect for “speak­ing his mind.” No, Trump all along has been a clin­i­cally self-in­volved con man who never took the is­sues, the pres­i­dency or the fu­ture of our coun­try se­ri­ously. Can there be any doubt that his cam­paign is a brand­ing ex­er­cise gone, quite lit­er­ally, mad?

Trump’s gift to vot­ers was a se­ries of tweets he started send­ing out at 3:20 a.m. Fri­day morn­ing. His be­hav­ior gives new mean­ing to the old ads about 3 a.m. phone calls ques­tion­ing how a would-be pres­i­dent might re­spond to cri­sis. Be­ware any human be­ing who feels an im­pulse to send out an­gry tweets at that hour.

The first, in­ter­est­ingly, was an expression of pure para­noia about his own cam­paign. “Any­time you see a story about me or my cam­paign say­ing ‘sources said,’ DO NOT be­lieve it. There are no sources, they are just made up lies!”

This, pre­sum­ably was a re­sponse to sto­ries such as a New York Times ac­count by Pa­trick Healy, Ash­ley Parker and Mag­gie Haber­man based on con­ver­sa­tions with Trump lieu­tenants. The Times had re­ported that Trump “found it hard to fo­cus” dur­ing his sham­bolic de­bate prepa­ra­tions and that he “did not seem to pay at­ten­tion dur­ing the prac­tice ses­sions.” Not ex­actly the traits you want in a chief ex­ec­u­tive with power over our mil­i­tary, the FBI and the nu­clear but­ton.

A cou­ple of hours later, be­tween 5:14 and 5:30, he turned to tweets about Ali­cia Machado, the Miss Uni­verse win­ner who, as Clin­ton pointed out, faced crit­i­cisms from Trump over her physique af­ter she won her crown in 1996.

The most re­mark­able was: “Did Crooked Hil­lary help dis­gust­ing (check out sex tape and past) Ali­cia M be­come a U.S. cit­i­zen so she could use her in the de­bate?”

Pars­ing that one would re­quire a pha­lanx of psy­chol­o­gists. Can you imag­ine any other can­di­date for our high­est of­fice even talk­ing about a “sex tape”? And no­tice the para­noia-laced in­nu­endo. What does he think he can gain by say­ing that Clin­ton gave “help” to Machado in gain­ing cit­i­zen­ship? Is he try­ing to prompt sto­ries about a new un­der­handed Clin­ton trick to help one of his tor­men­tors gain the right to cast a bal­lot?

If this Trump episode does not lead to a flood of de­fec­tions among Repub­li­can politi­cians sup­port­ing him, they will be on record as putting party loy­alty (or fear of Trump’s fol­low­ers in GOP pri­maries) over the need to protect the na­tion from a truly un­hinged leader. And this should be the end of the pre­tense, which some­times drives the me­dia, that what­ever might be wrong with Trump, there are things equally wrong with Clin­ton. Sorry. Clin­ton may have her prob­lems, but she has never, ever be­haved like this.

That a po­lit­i­cal party, a po­lit­i­cal sys­tem and a me­dia blessed with broad con­sti­tu­tional free­doms have al­lowed a man like this to get so close to the pres­i­dency should be a mat­ter for se­ri­ous in­tro­spec­tion.

And that in­tro­spec­tion should start now. Ev­ery time Trump has shown us how out­landishly ill-suited he is for the pres­i­dency, his out­rages have been al­lowed to fade. Again and again he has been given op­por­tu­ni­ties to nor­mal­ize his can­di­dacy. Many can’t be­lieve that a ma­jor party nom­i­nated some­one like him. Their so­lu­tion is to pre­tend he’s some­one else.

If an onslaught against a Gold Star fam­ily didn’t stop him, why should his wee­hours-of-the-morn­ing storm of vi­cious in­vec­tive be any dif­fer­ent?

The an­swer is that this episode should fi­nally force everyone to say: enough. Trump is nei­ther nor­mal nor sta­ble. He is man­i­festly dan­ger­ous to our coun­try and er­ratic in ev­ery­thing ex­cept his un­re­strained mean­ness. He should not be given fifth, sixth and sev­enth chances. He has shown us who he is. We should be­lieve what we see.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.