So far, Trump has been mer­ci­fully in­com­pe­tent

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION - DANA MILBANK Twit­ter: @Milbank

“The world is laugh­ing at us. They’re laugh­ing at the stu­pid­ity of our pres­i­dent.” — Don­ald Trump, Oc­to­ber 2016

Stupid is as stupid does.

Dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Don­ald Trump re­marked often on the stu­pid­ity of our lead­ers. He was un­der the im­pres­sion that the rest of the planet was in­dulging in some sort of global guf­faw at our ex­pense. “How stupid are we? The world is laugh­ing.” If so, what must the mirth­ful world think of our cur­rent state of af­fairs? This past week alone:

The House and Se­nate in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tees said they saw no ev­i­dence for Pres­i­dent Trump’s wild claim that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama wire­tapped Trump Tower, and Bri­tain protested that the White House falsely al­leged that British in­tel­li­gence was in­volved. White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer has been ar­gu­ing that Trump didn’t mean wire­tap­ping when he said Obama had Trump’s “wires tapped.” Trump coun­selor Kellyanne Conway sug­gested that eaves­drop­ping could have been ac­com­plished us­ing mi­crowave ovens.

Trump’s fel­low Repub­li­cans pro­nounced his bud­get dead on ar­rival in Congress — “dra­co­nian, care­less and coun­ter­pro­duc­tive” were the words used by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), former House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee chair­man — be­cause it reck­lessly cuts (slash­ing the State Depart­ment by nearly a third and tar­get­ing Meals on Wheels for the el­derly) yet still adds to the debt Trump promised to elim­i­nate.

Leg­is­la­tion to re­place Oba­macare stalled in Congress and had to be rewrit­ten be­cause of a re­bel­lion within Trump’s own party.

A judge halted Trump’s sec­ond at­tempt at a ban on travel from sev­eral Mus­lim coun­tries.

And Repub­li­can law­mak­ers prob­ing Trump’s ties to Rus­sia threat­ened sub­poe­nas over the ex­ec­u­tive branch’s stonewalling.

In one of the pres­i­den­tial de­bates, CNBC’s John Har­wood asked Trump if he was run­ning “a comic book ver­sion of a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.” Now Trump seems to be run­ning a car­toon ver­sion of a pres­i­dency, and he’s Elmer Fudd. His pro­pos­als could, if suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented, be ru­inous. But so far, at least, Trump has been mer­ci­fully in­com­pe­tent.

He and the GOP-con­trolled Congress have been on the job two months, but he has signed only nine bills into law, none ma­jor. The only law so far this month: a bill nam­ing the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs fa­cil­ity in But­ler County, Pa. A McClatchy-Marist poll last month found that a 58 per­cent ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans re­ported be­ing “em­bar­rassed” by Trump. For good rea­son:

Trump’s first na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, Michael Flynn, lasted just 24 days on the job af­ter mis­rep­re­sent­ing his con­tacts with Rus­sia. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Sessions falsely tes­ti­fied that he’d had no con­tacts with the Rus­sians, forc­ing his re­cusal from Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tions once the truth came out.

Trump’s nom­i­nee to be la­bor sec­re­tary with­drew in the face of broad op­po­si­tion. His ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary, who sug­gested that schools need guns to de­fend against griz­zlies, was con­firmed only when the vice pres­i­dent broke a tie vote.

Trump blamed a “so-called” judge for strik­ing down his first travel ban and pro­posed blam­ing the court sys­tem if there was a ter­ror­ist at­tack; his own Supreme Court nom­i­nee called such re­marks dis­heart­en­ing.

Trump con­ducted sen­si­tive diplo­macy over a North Korean mis­sile launch with the Ja­panese prime min­is­ter sur­rounded by din­ers at his Mar-aLago coun­try club, one of whom posted on­line a photo of the man car­ry­ing the nu­clear foot­ball.

Trump, af­ter in­flat­ing the crowd size at his in­au­gu­ra­tion and em­brac­ing a con­spir­acy the­ory that 3 mil­lion to 5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans voted il­le­gally, falsely ac­cused the me­dia of not cov­er­ing ter­ror­ist at­tacks. The White House then pro­duced a badly spelled list of at­tacks, most of which had been cov­ered. Conway in­vented one at­tack, the “Bowl­ing Green mas­sacre.”

Conway pitched Ivanka Trump’s fash­ion line on Fox News. Tax­pay­ers have sub­si­dized mil­lions of dol­lars’ worth of ex­penses re­lated to Mar-a-Lago and the Trump sons’ for­eign travel.

Trump marked Black His­tory Month with re­marks sug­gest­ing he thought abo­li­tion­ist Fred­er­ick Dou­glass was still alive.

Trump opened a rift with Aus­tralia in an an­gry phone call with that ally’s prime min­is­ter. He pro­voked the Mex­i­can pres­i­dent to can­cel a trip to Washington, and he baf­fled the Swedes by al­lud­ing to fic­ti­tious refugee-re­lated vi­o­lence “last night in Swe­den.” Bri­tain post­poned a visit from Trump in hopes that anti-Trump protests would cool.

Trump’s clos­est aides have leaked sev­eral ac­counts of him rag­ing about the White House. His team is fre­quently caught off guard by his Twit­ter at­tacks, which have in­cluded shots at Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger and Nord­strom and mis­in­for­ma­tion Trump heard on Fox News.

This tragi­com­edy adds irony when you con­sider that the main char­ac­ter is the same one who cam­paigned by say­ing “they laugh at our stu­pid­ity” and “we are led by very, very stupid peo­ple” and “I have the best words, but there’s no bet­ter word than ‘stupid.’ ”

Now the world has rea­son to laugh at us — be­cause we’re with stupid.


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