Brits Are Not Amused Over Bogus Spying Claims
Facing a rocky start to his unexpected term as president, Donald Trump has taken to lashing out at his predecessor, Barack Obama, and the man’s liberal administration. Early this month, Trump went on a Twitter tirade accusing Obama of having wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower prior to the November 2016 presidential election. When pressed to produce any evidence of such a bold claim, Trump’s team came up with nothing.
But allegations of Obama malingering continued, with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer suggesting that a “deep state” of civil service leaders loyal to the previous president was bent on wrecking Trump’s plans. The belief in a “shadow government” of entrenched officials fits with the controversial narratives of the alt-right, which depict conservatives as victims of a nanny state obsessed with political correctness and redistribution of wealth. Democrats themselves are also being blamed, this time pre-emptively for the possible failure of Republicans’ Obamacare repeal-and-replace legislation.
All of this reveals a simple Trump strategy: Cast blame widely, and let the accused scramble to defend their innocence. In other words, the best defense is a good offense. Levy an accusation, and let your opponent expend all of his or her energy protesting.
If you think about it, playing the blame game is surprisingly effective. Even if you are able to generate no evidence to back up your claims, as Trump has failed to do, it is probable that your opponents can also offer up little concrete evidence of their innocence. The absence of evidence works against both sides. If a situation simply did not happen, the accused may struggle for words. The accuser, when and if he receives pushback, can hold up his palms and claim that everyone is taking things too seriously.
Donald Trump, when receiving little love from fellow Republicans over the Obama accusations, quickly had his minions explain that he was speaking more “broadly” about “surveillance.” Basically, Obama may not have tapped his phones right before the election… but could have done something at some time. Now the left has to try to refute a fuzzy charge that is amazingly ambiguous and open-ended, which is a virtually impossible task.
So far, Team Trump has been winning at this game of feints and jabs by putting Dems on defense. The president can seize on an obscure right-wing article, lobby accusations of unfair play by liberals or the “liberal media,” and then play dumb and defiant when the truth rolls in. To avoid the commander-in-chief being universally pilloried as an outright liar, the president’s team has taken to insisting that the accusations are what Trump believes. As in, it’s not a lie if the teller believes it to be true.
But has Trump finally gone too far?