Monday, March 6, 2017

Trump presidential mask doesn't last

Whatever good President Trump had done for himself in his speech to Congress last week abruptly fell apart early Saturday morning, when he tweeted angry, unsupported accusations at former President Obama. Trump claimed, without any evidence or even any rational strategy, that President Obama had tapped his phones in Trump Tower.

Government officials quickly pointed out that the president does not have the authority to order wiretaps. That action has to go through the Justice Department and a federal court established to review and limit wiretapping of American citizens. FBI director James Comey and others treated the accusations with the lack of credibility it deserves, as the equivalent of claiming Obama was intercepting Trump's brain waves through telepathy.

Trump was his old self Saturday morning, lashing out incoherently at perceived enemies. But his target, Obama, made the irrational claims even more distasteful. Since his election, Trump had praised Obama for his cooperation and advice as America transitioned from one administration to another. Obama, who strongly opposed Trump during the campaign, was overwhelmingly gracious and graceful toward the president-elect, promising him full cooperation from himself and everyone in his administration and offering insights and advice Trump. Trump thanked Obama with apparent sincerity for his cooperation and advice.

In his speech to a joint session of Congress six days ago, Trump carefully read from the teleprompter and appeared more presidential than at any time during the campaign and presidency. Then, four days later, it all imploded as the Twittering Trump lowered the boom on his predecessor without any evidence or corroboration but with plenty of malice and mendacity.

As Trump himself would say: "Sad." 

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