The ‘Carterization’ of Trump

Activists and ideological voters often end up being disappointed with the president they’ve supported because of compromises or perceived betrayals, but that disappointment normally takes years before it takes hold. Trump is driving away some of his supporters within the first three months.

.. The opportunistic support he is getting from hawks in both parties isn’t likely to last and won’t help him on other issues, since many of them are otherwise opposed to Trump’s proposals or want to see him humiliated politically.

.. There was already a good chance that Trump would be “Carterized” on account of the divisions within the GOP and the administration’s own ineptitude, and he is making that outcome more likely by alienating at least some of the people that have stuck with him until now. Like almost all of the other wounds his administration has suffered, this wound was self-inflicted, and in this case Trump hurt himself by doing something that he could have easily avoided doing.

Trump’s Wiretap Allegation Was a Self-Inflicted Wound

From the words, “just found out,” one would think that the evidence for such an extraordinary accusation was forthcoming. After all, Trump is now the president. At any moment he can call the FBI Director, the NSA director, or anyone else into his office and ask, “What is the meaning of this?” He can declassify anything he likes — logs, records, transcripts — particularly if it exposes criminal behavior by government officials. When he made his shocking charge, he was in the best possible position to back it up.

.. By Friday afternoon, Trump was acting as if the White House could repeat others’ accusations against allied intelligence agencies without consequence:

We said nothing — all we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn’t make any opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox and so you shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox, okay?

.. Maybe during his decades as a star of the New York tabloids, Trump came to believe that he could get out of trouble by making outrageous counter-accusations against his tormentors. Maybe in that realm, his belief was well founded. But the rules are different when you’re president. The commander in chief cannot publicly accuse anyone, much less his predecessor, of criminal wrongdoing and expect that the accusation won’t be investigated. The White House press secretary cannot suggest that an allied intelligence agency spied on American citizens for political reasons and expect that the rest of the world won’t sit up, take notice, and demand proof.

.. With every such unsubstantiated accusation, the administration loses a bit of credibility that it will need when it makes an accurate charge. Unless it wants to spend the next four years perceived as the boy who cried wolf, the White House should show more regard for the truth going forward.

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A 140-Character Flaw

It’s hard for a new administration to avoid controversy, but must Trump create it out of thin air?

.. What makes the furor over President Trump’s wiretapping claims so remarkable is how unnecessary it is. The flap didn’t arise from events outside of the administration’s control, nor was it a clever trap sprung by its adversaries. The president went out of his way to initiate it. He picked up his phone and tweeted allegations that he had no idea were true or not, either to distract from what he thought was a bad news cycle, or to vent, or both.

.. at the very least has diverted him and his team from much more important work on Capitol Hill, where his agenda will rise or fall. In an alternative and more conventional universe, the White House would be crowing over Judge Gorsuch’s testimony before Congress.

.. Since the wiretapping allegations, Spicer’s days  have been spent in the semantics, air quotes, and epistemological gymnastics necessary to support Trump’s claims.

.. All he has to say is that he accepts his FBI director’s statement and that he doesn’t want to talk about it any more.

.. It’s hard to see why the Russians would have had to involve Trump associates in what should have been a simple two-step process: 1) hack Democratic accounts; 2) give the resulting information to WikiLeaks. But Comey’s acknowledgement of the investigation will stoke the darkest suspicions of the Left.

Acting attorney general declares Justice Department won’t defend Trump’s immigration order

Lawyers sought to confirm how many people remain detained in the United States, while a lawsuit argued that dozens of people may have been forced to give up their green cards by Customs and Border Protection agents.

.. Trump claimed that “big problems at airports” were caused by the demonstrators themselves, an airline’s technical problems and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who teared up while discussing the ban. (Delta Airlines suffered technical issues Sunday evening — 48 hours after Trump signed the immigration order — that canceled about 150 flights.)

“Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning,” Trump tweeted. “Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage…..protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer.”

.. Department of Homeland Security officials said the executive order does apply to green-card holders, who may be let into the country with a waiver. The directors of each large port of entry, such as airports, have the authority to determine on a case-by-case basis whether a green-card holder may be admitted.