Trump’s Behavior Continues To Offend And Baffle

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Polls, Stormy Daniels Affair, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

In the days following the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland Florida, and with Mueller clearly breathing down Trump’s neck, his behavior has been frenzied and offensive.

Here’s how Time described it:

The weekend began with what many considered a victory of the smallest order. The typically chatty President bypassed the reporters to board his waiting helicopter without saying a word about the Mueller indictments. Trump ignored the shouted questions and climbed into the green-and-white helo. (First Lady Melania Trump traveled separately to Andrews Air Force Base, a development her staff attributed to scheduling convenience but which inevitably raised questions about her reaction to the latest reports of the President’s infidelities, including one published hours earlier.)

The presidential silence was short-lived, however.

As soon as Trump was in the air, aboard a Marine helicopter that reaches speeds of 150 miles per hour and has anti-missile systems at the ready, the President unleashed the first of 22 tweets to come between Friday afternoon and Sunday night. “The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!” the initial tweet read, incorrectly stating what the filings actually said — especially for him. It was merely the prelude to what would be many, many tweets that the President would send in obvious frustration with the chaos surrounding him.

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Even by Trumpian standards, the President’s weekend in Florida was a class apart. In angry, sometimes profane and occasionally misspelled outbursts, the President gave the world a glimpse into what was going through his head at a moment certain to draw scrutiny for generations. It also brought to light what it’s like to work for this Leader of the Free World who is increasingly feeling isolated.

Let’s have a rundown.

First off, Trump was planning to visit his resort at Mar-a-Lago, but it really seems like the Florida high school shooting but a wrench in those plans. How could he go to Florida and play gold at a place only 40 minutes away?  Plus, he had other things on his mind….

Trump is referring of course to the Mueller indictment of 17 Russian people and entities for their social media electioneering and influencing.  That was his best attempt at spin, now that he could no longer claim that the Russia thing was a hoax. Of course, he is right that there was no mention of collusion IN THIS INDICTMENT, as everyone pointed out.

Trump eventually went to a hospital, visited only two patients and stayed about 35 minutes.  Mostly he met with doctors and nurses and first responders.

But the next day, prohibited from playing golf because it would have made him look bad, Trump took to Twitter and got defensive and crazed:


Again, Trump focuses on the “no collusion” aspect, which makes him look silly. (At the end of the day, there may prove to actually be “no collusion” on his part, but you can’t say that definitively NOW).

Trump points out that the Russia group was formed in 2014, before he began to run for President. The problem was that Trump has always toyed with the idea of running for President, since 2000. Also, the goal of the Russia group, as the Mueller indictment points out, wasn’t to elect Trump so much as it was to NOT elect Hillary, and so discord in America. Trump’s entrance into the race was fortuitous.

Then, you have this tweet, from 2014:

and this tweet, also from 2014, by Yulya Alferova—ex-wife of Russian oligarch Artem Klyushin and a member of Trump’s entourage in Moscow in 2013:

Well, that’s awkward.

So much for Trump’s claim that nobody knew he was running back in 2014. Apparently, Russia knew.

Trump also tweeted about Rob Goldman, the ad exec at Facebook, who said that the majority of Russia’s ad spend came after the election, and that the majority of the ads were not intended to sway the elections. Both Trump and Goldman make an obvious error — they are asserting that one could understand the scope of the Russian propaganda campaign just through the ads. Russia’s ads were viewed roughly 11 million times, while posts by Russia-controlled accounts had been viewed 150 million times. Leaving aside pure numbers, anyone who had read the indictment knew that ads were a minute part of the operation. Facebook likes to point out that the Russians only spent a hundred thousand dollars on all their ads, a rather small number in comparison to the $1.25 million that the indictment reveals Russia’s Internet Research Agency was spending monthly on its election influence campaign.

Later that day, Rob Goldman seemed to come to the same understanding, and posted internally at Facebook a message that read as follows: “I wanted to apologize for having tweeted my own view about Russian interference without having it reviewed by anyone internally. The tweets were my own personal view and not Facebook’s. I conveyed my view poorly. The Special Counsel has far more information about what happened [than] I do—so seeming to contradict his statements was a serious mistake on my part.”

But Trump wasn’t done for the day. Next came what I consider to be one of his most offensive tweets to date:

That tweet alone, many thought, was all that was needed to impeach the president. He was using the death of 17 people and making it about him.  The FBI was under scrutiny — it had received a tip about Nikolaus Cruz and failed to follow up, but in all honesty, even if the FBI *had* followed up, there was nothing that they could have done under current law. Also, it goes without saying, that the Florida office of the FBI probably isn’t swamped with Russian “collusion” work. The FBI employs tens of thousands of agents.

Next?

H.R. McMaster is Trump’s National Security Advisor and also a lieutenant general in the U.S. Army. At a conference in Germany, he said that there was “incontrovertible” evidence that Russia had meddled in the U.S. election. McMaster was citing Friday’s federal indictments, stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, that said Russian operatives conducted a sophisticated internet campaign to sow chaos in the American political scene.

Trump’s drivel about Clinton and the DNC being the REAL conspirators is, of course, senseless.

Trump’s tweets continued into the next day.

Embarrassing.

Schiff, by the way, did criticize Obama, and perhaps in hindsight, Obama should have done more. The problem is that by doing so, he would have been accused of swaying the election (by none other than Trump).  Kind of a Catch-22 that Obama was in.

And Trump has denied Russian involvement over and over again.

June 2016: “It was the D.N.C. that did the ‘hacking.’”

September 2016: “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the D.N.C.”

October 2016: “Maybe there is no hacking.”

December 2016: “I don’t believe they interfered. That became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point.”

January 2017: “Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyberinfrastructure of our governmental institutions.”

May 2017: “If Russia did anything having to do with our election, I want to know about it.”

July 2017: “Somebody did say if he did do it, you wouldn’t have found out about it.”

November 2017: “Every time he [Putin] sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’”

Anyway, on and on Trump’s tweets went.

… with Trump trying to revive those days when he was running for President.

And uinto the next day

By the way, there is absolutely zero evidence that companies are coming back into the country AT ALL.  And as for Obama not doing anything about Russian meddling, he did. Obama expelled Russian diplomats, seized their compounds, and signed the Magnitsky Act in Dec 2016. Trump has refused to enforce the 2017 sanctions that Congress enacted after Magnitsky and is doing NOTHING about Russia’s ongoing attack on our democracy.

Which brings us to today

Again, more Obama attacks (by the way, the Parkland Florida high school shootings is still very much in the news, although you wouldn’t know it from Trump’s feed).  First of all, Obama was talking in October 2016, long before the facts had been gathered. It was only two days after the Carter Page FISA warrant, so it is unlikely that the extent of Russian involvement was known.

Trump’s next tweets followed along with what they were talking about on Fox & Friends this morning:

No, Republicans are not leading in the generic polling (although Republicans have made gains, the Generic Congressional Ballot at Real Clear Politics has Dems up by an average of 6.9 points.

[UPDATE: This happened today —

]

The idea that Trump has been tougher on Russia than Obama is ridiculous.

And finally….

That makes it sound a lot like he might have given it a try were it not for those pesky security cameras! Also, one person who might try something like this in the lobby of a building would be the owner of the building itself. Just saying — it was Trump Tower, after all.

And we also know that this is Trump’s modus operandi from the Access Hollywood tape:

You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Which is pretty much how the woman describes it.

The woman in question is Rachel Crooks, and the incident did not take place in the lobby of Trump Tower.  It was in a hallway.  The story plainly says this.  And Rachel isn’t scared.

Trump tweets are often thought to have diversionary intent, but all he does is jump from one controversy to another.