“The thing I like about Trump is that he’s not a politician.”
For dripping ripeness, that ranks with:
“I like Trump because he’ll finance his own campaign.”
(Sure, with millions from the National Rifle Association, and Sheldon Adelson, and the Mercers, and the Kochs, and the DeVos family, and . . .)
As advertised, Trump is beholden to no one — except to every moneyed interest cultivating the soupy swamp he said he would drain.
As to that “not a politician” thing:
As president, Donald Trump has shown his utmost interest always (1) to ingratiate himself; (2) to reward supporters or (3) to smite his partisan enemies and anyone in his own party who isn’t all in on him as the “chosen one.”
If Trump is a statesman, Barney Fife was a philosopher king.
Consider his visit to a weeping El Paso, where at the hospital he was so focused on all the suffering that he just had to employ an aside comparing the size of his crowds to Beto O’Rourke’s.
And now we have Hurricane Dorian.
Much has been said, and rightfully, of the completely irresponsible Sharpie art that Trump employed to tell the people of Alabama that – tie that milk cow to the porch – Dorian was coming their way.
(Even the projections Mr. Fake News used to deliver this terrifying information only pointed to winds around 40 mph. We have those every spring in the Colorado foothills.)
Sure, that was bad. “One for the history books” bad. But what the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake points out is even worse – that Trump played partisan politics with Dorian, and has made a habit of doing so with hurricanes.
In advance of Dorian, Trump tweeted that at the request of Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, he had signed an emergency disaster declaration for North Carolina.
Is that so wrong? Well: As Blake points out, requesting such designations is not what senators do. That’s something governors do. It just so happens that North Carolina’s governor, Roy Cooper, is a Democrat.
Tillis, meanwhile, is considered vulnerable as he faces a re-election fight that could see the Senate go blue.
Blake says this fits with a pattern. Even when hurricanes cause untold suffering, Trump just can’t be a statesman. He has to be a partisan animal. And he never misses a round of golf amid all the suffering.
Recall Trump’s horrific efforts to dismiss the scope of devastation in Puerto Rico and to throw blame around. He said Democrats – what? – were overstating the death toll there. Did that even matter?
The grim truth could not have been overstated. Maria claimed over 3,000 lives. How petty could this man be?
Here’s how petty:
As Blake reports, when Hurricane Harvey was delivering a hammer blow to Houston, Trump was contemplating, of all things, when best to announce that he was pardoning disgraced Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. So that’s when he did it.
As Trump said, the “ratings would be far higher” for the announcement with so many watching TV.
Ah, but Trump is no politician. Only politicians seize on horrific events to benefit themselves and their party.
We shouldn’t have to advise our leaders to do one simple thing in the midst of a natural disaster.
Shut up and do what you can to help.
Of course, with Trump’s level of dexterity in doing what he can to help – tossing out paper towels in Puerto Rico, for instance – maybe the golf course is where he can best be of service.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.