Thursday, September 27, 2018

Wednesday's post was accidentally hidden for most of the following day. We apologize for the mistake.

What did Donald Trump do today?

He had some mood swings.

Like many Americans today, Trump kept up with the dramatic Senate hearing on his endangered Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. He was widely reported, in near-real time, as having whipsawed through the whole emotional spectrum

In the late morning and early afternoon, Trump was reportedly furious and despairing at the emotional impact and credibility of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who says a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when she was 15. 

But later in the day, Trump was said to be thrilled by Kavanaugh's shockingly aggressive testimony, in which the nominee said it was a "national disgrace" that he had to answer the allegations about his sexual behavior, and accused Democratic Senators (and Ford) of being part of a revenge plot "on behalf of the Clintons" and "left-wing opposition groups."

Kavanaugh seems to have been deliberately playing to an audience of one, and it worked. Trump ended the day with a triumphant tweet, calling the hearing "disgraceful" and a "total sham."

Emotional roller coasters are nothing new for Trump, and they are particularly understandable where Kavanaugh is concerned. Trump may soon desperately need someone on the Supreme Court with Kavanaugh's highly specific views of the powers of the executive branch to resist investigation. 

Other than promising to listen to her testimony with an open mind yesterday--at the same time that he was saying she was part of a "big fat con job"--Trump has refused to mention Ford directly. 

While Trump reflexively defends men (and himself) who are accused of being serial sexual harassers or assailants, his unwillingness to call Ford a liar and his reaction to her testimony suggests he may believe her but want Kavanaugh to become a Supreme Court justice regardless.

So what?

  • It shouldn't be this easy to curry favor with a president.
  • A president's personal political or legal needs shouldn't be what determines who sits on the Supreme Court.