Puerto Rico Etc: The Buck Lingers Here Long Enough for Trump to Find Someone Else to Blame

Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the Carolinas with the anticipation of substantial damage and injury. Everyone on the ground is working furiously to mitigate the worst scenarios, but even the most cautious predictions are troubling. And while the residents of the impacted region are scrambling to secure their homes and families, Donald Trump is scrambling salve his fragile ego.

Donald Trump

On Thursday morning, as the winds were beginning to batter the eastern coastline, Trump felt it was necessary to bang out a couple of tweets that were characteristically all about him:

Our intellectually-challenged president is incapable of grasping the fact that any fatality that was the result of injuries or hardships caused by Hurricane Maria are attributed to it. And the estimated 3,000 deaths were calculated by independent researchers at George Washington University. The Democrats had nothing to do with it. Trump didn’t even bother to explain how Democrats could have produced casualty estimates that were accepted by the Republican governor of Puerto Rico.

However, Trump is well known for his cowardice and pathological aversion to taking responsibility. Puerto Rico is just the latest example. But the incidents of this psychosis are numerous and easy to find. For instance:

  • Trump blamed his own policy of separating immigrant children from their parents on Democrats.
  • Trump blamed collusion with Russia on Hillary Clinton.
  • Trump Blamed his loss of the popular vote on imaginary voter fraud.
  • Trump blamed President Obama’s “illegitimate” presidency on his Kenyan birth.
  • Trump blamed China for starting the “hoax” of climate change.
  • Trump blamed the fatalities from mass shootings on mental illness and gangs.
  • Trump blamed his failure of constructing a border wall on Democratic obstruction.
  • Trump blamed the “pussy-grabbing” Access Hollywood tape on “tampering.”
  • Trump blamed his confession of obstructing justice on NBC’s Lester Holt “fudging” the tape.
  • Trump blamed crime and terrorism in the U.S. on Muslims who entered the country illegally.
  • Trump blamed the nation’s economic problems on foreign tariffs.

Every one of those diversions are unambiguously false. And for virtually everything else that Trump wants to avoid responsibility for, he blames what he calls the “fake news.” Clearly he is fixated on identifying anyone or anything other than himself for what are his own failures. Just like he did when he was a businessman. It’s another symptom of his malignant narcissism that results in casting blame onto whatever handy victim he can stir up.

Conversely, he takes credit for any positive events that take place during his time in office. The economy has been rising for ten years, beginning back in Obama’s first term. But Trump is not only taking credit for all of it, he’s lying about the economy collapsing when he was inaugurated (it wasn’t). He has also taken credit for being tougher on Russia than any other president (he’s not). He takes credit for saving the coal industry (he didn’t). He actually says that construction has begun on his border wall (it hasn’t). And he even tried to credit himself with rescuing the children who he ripped from the arms of their sobbing parents.

This is the behavior of a severely disturbed person. It is someone who fits the description provided by his closest associates in his administration. Like his former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, who called Trump a “moron.” And his Defense Secretary, James Mattis who said Trump has “the understanding of a fifth or sixth-grader.” And his White House chief of staff, John Kelly, who called Trump an “idiot.” And his former National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, who said Trump was a “dope” with the intelligence of a “kindergartner.”

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Yet, somehow, most of the Republicans in Congress (and the electorate) continue to defend and enable this dangerously psychotic pretender to leadership. It’s an abdication of their duty and patriotism. And it makes them complicit in the harm that Trump is doing to America and its future. Their slobbering infatuation with, and obedience to, the wannabe dictator Trump is as destructive as anything Trump does himself. And the sooner he’s gone, whether by election, impeachment, prosecution, or resignation, the better.

Trump’s New National Security Advisor Rejects His ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’ Hogwash

For most of the Obama administration, conservative pundits and politicians sang a common refrain to castigate his anti-terrorism efforts. They offered little of substance to alter or improve the situation, but they were convinced of one thing. Just saying “radical Islamic terrorism” would send the enemy scurrying away forever. They regarded it as a magic incantation that would result in a glorious victory. {See The Reverse Beetlejuice Doctrine). Never mind that most experts rejected such rhetoric as counterproductive. They knew that it would alienate the Muslims who are critical to any successful fight against terrorism.

McMaster Trump

Among the chorus of wingnuts was our now-President, Donald Trump. Throughout his campaign he employed the mindless chant. He used it this week in his speech to CPAC. “We are going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country,” he ranted. True to form, he never explained how he would do that.

One of Trump’s first appointees was Gen. Michael Flynn as the National Security Advisor. Flynn lasted all of 24 days in the job. He was fired by Trump after news broke that he had inappropriate discussions with Russian agents during the campaign. Making matters worse is that reports reveal that Trump knew about Flynn’s activities but still made him the fall guy.

After a couple of respected national security experts declined Trump’s offer to replace Flynn, Trump got Gen. H.R. McMaster to accept the position. McMaster is considered to be a warrior-scholar with an independent streak. And he’s already displaying a profound measure of independence. According to the New York Times:

“President Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser has told his staff that Muslims who commit terrorist acts are perverting their religion, rejecting a key ideological view of other senior Trump advisers and signaling a potentially more moderate approach to the Islamic world.”

McMaster, reportedly told his new staff that the label “radical Islamic terrorism” was not helpful because terrorists are “un-Islamic,” That’s a direct repudiation of the position of Trump and senior aides such as Stephen Bannon. Not to mention virtually every Republican in Congress. The only question is whether Trump will respect the advice of a bona fide expert, or rely on partisan political hacks and propagandists. If the past is any indication, Trump is not going to be easily persuaded. Last year he tweeted:

Hopefully someone in the “fake news” will ask Trump to reconcile that statement with the views of his new National Security Advisor. McMaster’s position is one that has broad agreement in the security community. They recognize that saying “Radical Islamic Terrorism,” or otherwise associating the entire Muslim faith with the acts of violent extremists, is unwise and dangerous. We need to preserve our ability to form coalitions with Muslim nations in the Middle-East. Their cooperation is required to prevail against ISIS. And broadly demeaning their faith works against that objective. But it’s more than that. Accepting the terms and definitions of the terrorists is tantamount to acting as their PR department. They desperately aspire to be regarded as the legitimate voice of Islam. So why would Trump and his GOP cohorts insist on granting the terrorists that victory?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

It remains to be seen how Trump will respond to McMaster’s comments. It is also notable the McMaster doesn’t share Trump’s opinion of Russia. He is unequivocal about Russia being an unfriendly adversary. Trump, on the other hand, is eager to cozy up to Putin. Under the circumstances, McMaster’s tenure as NSA might not last much longer than Flynn’s, but for entirely different reasons.