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Donald Trump is a True Delusional Paranoid, a Very Serious Criminal, and/or Willing to Sacrifice Public Trust
Without evidence, a delusional, sexual predator of a president tweets lies about President Obama and calls him names ater reading right wing radio sources. This country is in serious trouble now.
By Robert B. Reich
Editor's Note: At this website regular readers will know that I have emphasized the huge role of right wing radio, especially in rural areas, in creating the conditions of current politics. Most people don't know this because they don't listen to this radio and Fox News. But now Trump has used Mark Levin and Breitbart News as sources for attacking Obama for "wiretapping" his campaign offices. The key to knowing this is the fact that Trump is attacking Obama personally. This is what right wing radio does. It does not just disagree with someone's opinion, it attacks the person expressing the opinion. For years they say things like "those liberals want terrorists to come into the country" or "those liberals want people to be on welfare" or "those liberals hate Israel," etc. That is "liberals" are always hateful and evil and bad. And that is why politics has become so corrosive in the past couple decades as people become chemically addicted to right wing radio which generates hate and anger to keep its listeners. This is now killing the country literally. Free speech should not include the freedom to lie on public air waves.
Early Saturday morning, March 4, the 45th president of the United States alleged in a series of tweets that former president Barack Obama orchestrated a “Nixon/Watergate” plot to tap Trump’s phones at his Trump Tower headquarters last fall in the run-up to the election. Trump concluded that the former president is a “Bad (or sick) guy!” Sunday morning, Trump called for a congressional investigation.
Trump cited no evidence for his accusation.
Folks, we’ve got a huge problem on our hands. Either:
1. Trump is more nuts than we suspected – a true delusional paranoid. Trump’s outburst was triggered by commentary in the “alt-right” publication, Breitbart News, on Friday, which reported an assertion made Thursday night by right-wing talk-radio host Mark Levin suggesting Obama and his administration used “police state” tactics last fall to monitor the Trump team’s dealings with Russian operatives. If this is what triggered Trump’s tantrum, we’ve got a president willing to put the prestige and power of his office behind baseless claims emanating from well-known right-wing purveyors of lies.
Which means Trump shouldn’t be anywhere near the nuclear codes that could obliterate the planet, or near anything else that could determine the fate of America or the world.
2. The second possibility is the Obama administration did in fact tap his phones. But if this was the case, before the tap could occur it’s highly likely Trump committed a very serious crime, including treason.
No president can order a wiretap on his own. For federal agents to obtain a wiretap on Trump, the Justice Department would first have had to convince a federal judge that it had gathered sufficient evidence of probable cause to believe Trump had committed a serious crime or was an agent of a foreign power, depending on whether it was a criminal or foreign intelligence wiretap.
In which case we have someone in the White House who shouldn’t be making decisions that could endanger America or the world.
3. The third possible explanation for Trump’s rant is he was trying to divert public attention from the Jeff Sessions imbroglio and multiple investigations of Trump associates already found to have been in contact with Russian agents during the election, when Russian operatives interfered with the election on Trump’s behalf.
Maybe he’s trying to build a case that the entire Russian story is a plot concocted by the Obama Administration – along with the intelligence agencies and the mainstream press – to bring Trump down. This way, he can inoculate himself against more damaging evidence to come.
But if it’s all a big show to divert attention and undermine the credibility of the intelligence agencies and the press, Trump is willing to do anything to keep his job – even if that means further dividing America, undermining trust in our governing institutions, and destroying the fabric of our democracy.
So there you have it. We have a president who is either a dangerous paranoid who’s making judgments based on right-wing crackpots, or has in all likelihood committed treason, or is willing to sacrifice public trust in our basic institutions to further his selfish goals. Each of these possible reasons is as terrifying as the other.
For Democrats to be the only ones sounding the alarm risks turning it into the new normal of partisanship. For Obama himself to respond would only dignify it.
So the responsibility falls to Republican leaders to stand up and call this what it is: Dangerous demagoguery. Former Republican presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, former Republican senators and members of Congress, and current Republican senators and members of Congress, must have the courage and decency to stop this outrage. We are in a serious crisis of governance, and their voices are critical.
Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His website is www.robertreich.org.
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