What’s going to be so exhausting about the Trump presidency will be the sheer pace of it. My wife asked me yesterday late afternoon if I’d seen the Trump press conference madness. I thought she meant the crazy Netanyahu one, where Trump may or may not have shut the book on twenty years of diplomacy regarding the Middle East peace process. I was referencing something that had happened almost 24 hours previous – what was I thinking?
The most important things to take away from the Trump press conference yesterday – what goes beyond the usual Trump administration insanity, I mean – are the following. One, Trump is really trying to discredit the media as much as possible, to clearly cast as much doubt on what the media – all media, right and left, something I don’t think Fox News has fully grasped yet – says and does. This is usually one of the first things dictators do when they get hold of power, so for that reason alone it is terrifying. Yet even worse is that the way he is trying to do this is so unhinged, so adolescent almost, that what it says about Trump’s mindset is even more worrying.
The question that runs through all commentary on Trump is whether he is brilliantly manipulating the system in order to grab as much power as possible a la Putin, or is just an emotionally immature simpleton who lets whatever comes into his mind out of his mouth. Thing is, I’m not really sure which is preferable.
Take the situation with Putin. It is hard to know which would be worse for the world in the long run: if Trump and Putin have some unshakable bond based on who knows what, or Trump just liked the guy for whatever reason and that is all starting to fall apart already because Trump went into a phone conversation with the Russian president not realising that Russia and Iran are allies. In other words, which is the more egregious? A corrupt US-Russia entente based on each leader’s respective personal desires, or the complete falling apart of US-Russian relations, bringing the world close to the brink of nuclear disaster, all because of Trump’s inability to understand even the broad strokes of foreign policy combined with his uncontrolled temperament? They are both so terrible, I really don’t know.
The second thing to take away from the press conference is that Trump has no interest in the old rules. I mean, whatsoever. Whether by design or by accident, Trump is forging a new path. Where that goes either only Trump understand or no one does. That should worry Republicans as much as Democrats, if not more so. If the western Right keeps trying to follow Trump’s every mind fart, they will unravel themselves completely.