For once, Trump may not be lying. I find it entirely plausible that Trump did not read the briefing materials. Everyone who has worked with the President over the course of his business and political career has consistently said Trump does not read. If you are lucky, you might get him to look at a
single piece of paper with bullet points. Maybe.
So I don't find it far-fetched that Trump did not read about the bounty program in the informatin he was given.
Likewise, I find it entirely plausible that no one around Trump verbally told him about the bounty program. Trump is very, very fond of Russian President Vladimar Putin. Trump constantly fawns over Putin, groveling for his approval. Trump is also notoriously adverse to bad news. Does not want to hear it. He only wants to hear the good news. Early in his administration, it was reported that Trump had an aide twice a day bring him a folder full of positive stories about him. No negative stories allowed.
So could it be that national security officials were concerned about giving Trump the bad news that his buddy Vlad was rewarding terrorists with bounties for killing American soldiers? That those administration officials knew the intelligence would make Trump angry and cause him to attack the very people who developed the intelligence and tried to convey it to him? es, that is entirely plausible because it's happened before.
But what does it say that we have a President who does not read and cannot bear to hear bad decisions? Nothing good.
Then you have the new story on CNN from legendary Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein about Trump's phone calls with world leaders:
In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America's principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials -- including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff -- that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations.
The calls caused former top Trump deputies -- including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials -- to conclude that the President was often "delusional," as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders. The sources said there was little evidence that the President became more skillful or competent in his telephone conversations with most heads of state over time. Rather, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest.None of this should be surprising. Trump is a man with tremendous character and personality problems that go far beyond an inability to tell the truth, and a mind-boggling ignorance about history and world affairs. Trump is deathly insecure about his intelligence and his abilities. He is enamored with dictators who do not have to succeed on their merits, and is resentful toward leaders from democratic countries who have become successful leaders on the merits instead of wielding autocratic power.
By far the greatest number of Trump's telephone discussions with an individual head of state were with Erdogan, who sometimes phoned the White House at least twice a week and was put through directly to the President on standing orders from Trump, according to the sources. Meanwhile, the President regularly bullied and demeaned the leaders of America's principal allies, especially two women: telling Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom she was weak and lacked courage; and telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she was "stupid."
The insidious effect of the conversations comes from Trump's tone, his raging outbursts at allies while fawning over authoritarian strongmen, his ignorance of history and lack of preparation as much as it does from the troubling substance, according to the sources. While in office, then- Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats expressed worry to subordinates that Trump's telephone discussions were undermining the coherent conduct of foreign relations and American objectives around the globe, one of CNN's sources said. And in recent weeks, former chief of staff Kelly has mentioned the damaging impact of the President's calls on US national security to several individuals in private.
In short, Donald Trump has proven beyond any doubt that he is spectacularly unfit to be President of the United States. That was not a surprise to most of us who followed his career as a failed businessman/con man/reality show star before he got into politics. But now Trump's enormous character flaws, lack of intellect and management abilities, should be apparent to everyone. Even if Trump were right on all the issues (he most certainly is not) voting for his re-election should not be an option for anyone who cares about this country.
Now some OOP's short takes:
- Two more days passed and two more Trump campaign commercials appeared on my Indianapolis TV.
- Other people are starting to take seriously my theory (yes, I'm claiming that it originated with me) that Trump may drop out this Fall rather than face an electoral landslide.
- The once proud National Review continues its downward slide by today publishing a piece by Victor Davis Hanson (he wrote the book, The Case for Trump), titled "The Strategies of Dementia Politics." In the piece, Hanson, who has a B.A. and Ph.D. in the "classics," makes the medical diagnosis that Biden has "dementia" and states as fact that because of his dementia the Democrats are desperately trying to keep him in the basement until Election Day. (I will ignore the irony of someone who supports mentally-addled Trump questioning the mental acuity of a candidate who, even at his worst, is a 100 times sharper than Trump.) That the editors of National Review would publish an entire article premised on the the medical diagnosis of a candidate rendered by a lay person, speaks volumes about the decline of the National Review as a serious conservative publication.