Thursday, January 9, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He accused Democrats of taking a page from his playbook.

Trump held a campaign rally tonight, the second he has held since being impeached for his efforts to get Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election. He used it to claim that the reason he refused to inform Congressional leaders about his assassination attack on an Iranian general in Iraq was that they would have leaked the news. "We’re having people like Nancy Pelosi…they’re all trying to say, ‘How dare you take him out that way? You should get permission from Congress…so that we can call up the “fake news” that’s back there and we can leak it,'" Trump said.

There is real irony in Trump accusing Democrats of leaking sensitive military information. Just before the Soleimani attack, he tipped off his Mar-a-Lago customers that "something big" was going to happen with Iran—which was not even the first time that paying to have dinner near Trump resulted in military secrets being exposed. Trump also accidentally revealed the identity and methods of Israeli spies to Russia, The CIA was even forced to retire a spy deep within the Putin regime in Russia for fear that Trump had exposed them—or would.

In reality, Democrats—and Republicans—in Congress were furious because Congress has a legal right to be briefed in advance about military actions it hasn't authorized. Trump's apparent inability to explain why the strike was ordered in the first place—he changed his story yet again today—has led some to suspect that he saw it as a way to distract from his impeachment

Trump has been trying hard, but with limited success, to get the image of himself as a hero for the Soleimani assassination to catch on. Trump has promoted Soleimani as the "top terrorist" in the world, but fewer than 40% of Americans approve of the order to have him killed. Worse, for Trump, Americans believe by a better than 2-to-1 margin that Trump's assassination of him made the country less safe.

So what?

  • It's wrong to accuse other people of disloyal or stupid acts you've committed yourself.
  • Campaigning on an unpopular military strike with disastrous immediate consequences is beneath the presidency.