President Trump apparently decided to deliver one of his stridently stupid tweets in person last night when he “summoned” the press to a dinner to document his use of American military leaders as a backdrop for his reckless misuse of his authority as president.
I don’t know how the military people feel about being used this way, but they are trained to keep their mouths shut about it. And I don’t know how the individuals in the supposedly independent media feel about this idea of being “summoned” as if by royal command, but I’m pretty sure I know how Trump feels about it. He feels good. He feels entitled. He feels validated and tickled that when he barks, minions scurry. And Lord knows he enjoys thinking of the media as his minions. On the insufficiently rare occasions when they don’t act like minions, his response is to try to discredit or destroy them. They keep forgetting that.
Anyway, they were “summoned” to observe him presiding over what he no doubt regards as literally “his” military leaders in a setting awesomely evocative of a military dictatorship. There he bleated his line about how this might be the “calm before the storm.” With the focus shifting immediately to trying to figure out what storm he was talking about, we should pause momentarily and ask what calm he is talking about. There hasn’t been a day of calm since Trump took office, and that’s precisely the way he likes it. For Trump, “calm” represents a problem to be fixed. And last night he fixed it, again.
Now any rational person would take this warning as a predictor of imminent war. And war is where we are destined to arrive with Trump, eventually. But not yet. This threat bore all the markers of yet another of Trump’s insanity-generating atmospherics, from the dinner setting, to the “could be,” to his insulting answer when asked what region he was referring to and he replied “you’ll find out.” When Trump says that, it usually means he doesn’t know yet either. It’s just a tease.
But really? A tease? On the preeminent national concern of war and peace? Where Trump would be sending American soldiers to fight and die? A tease? “You’ll find out”? This is how the president respects Americans’ vital interest in the question of whether we go to war? “You’ll find out”?
It’s the “You’ll find out” quote that people should be focusing on, not the “calm before the storm” part. With Trump there is only storm and more storm.
Trump’s brazenly cavalier attitude to Americans’ rightful role in understanding and deciding issues of war and peace is just one more vivid way he has demonstrated his unfitness for the presidency.
But on and on, we let this string run. And where does it take us? If we let it run on long enough, well, we’ll find out all right.