One of the few threads of consistency in President Trump’s tangle of brain wiring is that if Barack Obama did it, he must undo it. This began on Day One, when Trump looked out and imagined an inaugural crowd of unmeasurable size chanting for him to demolish Obama’s legacy.
Trump had counted up imaginary ballots in his head and found he got way more votes than Obama, and also the biggest mandate in history. And that mandate was to repudiate everything Obama stood for. The only problem with this beautiful dream of his was how to convince everybody else. Obama, as it turns out, is America’s favorite recent president, by a lot.
But Trump has his own ideas. If Obama extended health-care coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, then that coverage must be taken away. If Obama signed anything to slow climate change, then Trump must burn those documents to produce more carbon pollution. Trump has no choice. The imaginary voices he hears in his head demand it. And those voices also are clamoring for him to increase the divisiveness in the United States. Don’t forget that Obama said “there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America.” Well, that idea will have to go. And Trump hasn’t stopped at saying there is in fact a liberal America and a conservative America. He’s edited that to say there is only a conservative America. And further, that conservative America is whatever Trump tells it to be.
The dunning imaginary chorus in Trump’s head shouts that he is Americans’ favorite president. And as he acts to obliterate Obama’s record, he will eventually imagine that he has obliterated the very presidency of Obama. And maybe the presidencies of all of Obama’s predecessors, too, while he’s at it. “Donald Trump, Father of His Country” has a nice ring to it. Isn’t that what his largest-ever inaugural crowd was chanting?
Americans’ high regard for his predecessor is, like climate change, an inconvenient truth for Trump. And we are learning what that means.
Like Obama’s record, truth will have to go.