He probably won’t be impeached, but Donald Trump’s street cred will likely take a tarnishing over his reaction to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate potential ties between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (filling in for AG Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from the investigation) has appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as the special counsel, indicating that the thorn in Donald Trump’s side will linger. Each week, the situation seems to grow worse for the former reality TV star.
What began with an innocuous-seeming faux pas from Trump’s new national security adviser, former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, has grown and morphed into a web of deception and hostility.
Stinging from numerous self-inflicted wounds, most recently involving the unexpected firing of FBI Director James Comey, Trump has lost his cool, yet again. In addition to his Twitter tirades, which are now expected, the nation’s chief executive told graduates at his U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement speech that no other politician in history has been treated “worse or more unfairly.” His tweet in response to the naming of Robert Mueller as special counsel was a complaint that nobody had appointed a similar figure to investigate the Obama administration or [Hillary] Clinton campaign, declaring that this was the “single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”
As per usual, Trump did not offer any alleged illegalities committed by the Obama administration that would merit investigation. And, although no special prosecutor was tapped to investigate Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server, she was indeed investigated by the FBI. Trump’s increasing complaints are starting to sound like a childish whine-fest, and it may soon come to weaken his support.
Trump made it to the White House on tough talk, smirks, and leading a boisterous crowd that frequently derides liberals as whiny “snowflakes.” For eight years under the Obama administration, Republicans took pleasure in poking and sneering at liberals. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. But, instead of weathering liberal taunts with stoicism, the self-styled tough guy in the Oval Office is losing his cool.
It will be hard for Trump’s supporters to keep mocking liberal “snowflakes” when their own leader is having meltdowns left and right.
The Trump pity party, if he doesn’t stiffen his upper lip quickly, will have real repercussions. Most immediately, the image of Trump as sniveling and unhinged will hurt his ability to find a willing replacement for James Comey: Few high-quality potential nominees will want to publicly associate with a melodramatic president who has a third-grader’s grasp of history. Already, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and former Barack Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland have passed on the chance to be named as top federal cop.
With high-stakes midterms coming up in a year, it is more and more likely that Republican incumbents will want to keep the controversial president at arm’s length. Voicing any support for Trump would mean getting pinned to his statements, which could be political kryptonite. And, speaking of kryptonite, Trump’s recent illustration of his lack of historical knowledge could hurt him on Monday, when Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is expected to unveil a federal plan to supercharge school voucher programs.
DeVos, perhaps Trump’s most controversial appointee, has also been slammed for Twitter bloopers herself. She also found herself being booed last week when delivering a commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Much of the outrage toward her stemmed from her earlier comments that HBCUs were “pioneers” of “school choice,” words that demonstrated a woeful lack of understanding about school segregation prior to the Civil Rights Movement.
HBCUs were separate because of segregation and institutional racism, not because of voluntary school choice. Donald Trump is far from being the most persecuted politician in history. Frankly, it is laughable that a president who lucked into having his political party control both houses of Congress would even try to play the victim card.
With most of the media scorn coming from unforced errors, Trump would do better to grit his teeth and keep quiet rather than insisting that he is being picked on.
But now there is blood in the water, and liberal critics know that Trump’s skin is far thinner than originally thought. Opponents will wheedle him mercilessly, hoping to provoke the next unseemly tirade. Trump has become that which he and his ilk have most mocked: The sensitive snowflake. Democrats, and even some Republicans may seek to turn up the heat to drive him from office in 2020.
Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham are all Republican U.S. Senators who lost to Trump in the 2016 GOP primaries… will they seize the chance to whip their taunter-in-chief into an image-destroying frenzy, hoping to pick up the 2020 GOP nomination for themselves?