Sunday, March 17, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He spent the weekend fighting with the ghost of John McCain. 

Trump spent much of his attention this weekend on Twitter, where he repeatedly attacked the late Sen. John McCain. Yesterday, he accused McCain of "spreading" the "fake and totally discredited" Steele dossier, the 2016 document that identified many of the links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump also blamed McCain for Trump's failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

After McCain's daughter Meghan fired back, Trump referred to McCain as "'last in his class (Annapolis) McCain" and retweeted a conservative Twitter account claiming that "millions of Americans... hated McCain."

None of this is true.

Parts of the Steele dossier, which was originally commissioned by a conservative newspaper, remain unproven, but virtually nothing in it has been "discredited," and a great deal of it has been confirmed

McCain was not last in his class at Annapolis, but came to prominence as a result of spending almost six years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, where he survived torture. (Trump, a high school athlete and an avid golfer to this day, claimed that he had bone spurs as a way of avoiding the draft.) 

And in spite of Trump's insistence that it was "proven" that McCain tried to have the Steele dossier publicized before the election—which he certainly could have done—in reality, McCain only referred it to the FBI after Election Day.

Trump, who demands absolute personal loyalty and is easily enraged when it isn't given to him, has never forgiven McCain for the senator's criticism of him.

It's not clear what, if anything, provoked Trump to lash out at a man who has been dead for six months. But there may be a method to Trump's madness. In a recent meeting with oil industry lobbyists, an Interior Department official praised Trump's ability to distract Americans from things they might otherwise object to, like opening up huge portions of the U.S. territorial waters to oil drilling. 

Why is this something I should care about?

  • Uncontrollable anger at a dead man is not a sign of good mental health.
  • Shouting that false things are true doesn't make them true.