Thursday, February 15, 2024

Trump Excels At Shooting Himself In The Foot . . .


. . . And Anyone Else’s Foot He Can Target.


Will Saletan, at THEBULWARK+,  began an outstanding essay with the title:  

Decision 2024:  A ‘Well-Meaning’ Old Man vs. a Corrupt Old Man

Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigations found that, “These two investigations have exposed two fundamental differences between the candidates. First, Biden is well-meaning, but Trump isn’t, and that’s why Trump, unlike Biden, committed crimes. And second, Biden’s cognitive flaws are small and benign, while Trump’s are enormous and dangerous.”,c_limit,f_webp,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/

Folks, be sure to click the above link and read the whole, short article! Vitally important and easily read.  



Judy Woodruff, Sarah C. Hartman, and Frank Carlson are the author’s of the America at a Crossroads series.  In January they published online their valuable article, “Conservative Trump critic discusses his impact on the GOP and a divided America. 


Judy Woodruff, a political conservative, is a well-regarded journalist and a known Trump critic. David Frum, Senior Editor of the Atlantic, asks the questions of Judy Woodruff.

DAVID FRUM asks: “Does Trump fit in with traditions of conservative thought in the U.S?”

JUDY WOODRUFF answers: Trump is “exactly the person and exactly the thing that conservative thought has always sought to exclude from power.”  And further, “The anger and rage, the desire to target, the willingness to use methods that are anti-constitutional, the fascination with violence, these are characteristics of a different kind of politics than the kinds of politics in the past we have called conservative.”

Then, JUDY WOODRUFF asks of FRUM: “How do you explain the loyalty that Donald Trump has today?

DAVID FRUM answers:  “[T]hey use hurts and grievances as permission to break rules, and because they have convinced people that the people who are enforcing the rules are your cultural enemies. . .[that] “even if I did break the rule, the fact is, you’re still—I’m on your side and they’re not.”  And further, “I don’t think we have ever seen this before with a federal—successful federal politician who said, I want to speak to hurts and grievances across the whole culture, across the whole country, and everyone who tries to enforce rules on me is an enemy of yours.”

FRUM goes on to assert that Trump will want to exploit the “demons” that exist in American society; Trump will provoke and amplify those tensions of his followers “in order to impose his lawless will upon the constitutional system.”

FRUM further predicts Trump's goals will be like:

  • getting away with something like Watergate
  • pardoning himself
  •      firing prosecutors
  •      telling people in advance what he’s going to do to them
  •       and “frightening the political system into letting me have my way.”

These are extremely useful questions and insights. Frum’s credible analysis of Trump’s political tactics is both a descriptively accurate and useful in predicting at any given time what his most likely reaction will be. Anyone closely following Trump’s political moves can recognize this endlessly repeated behavior.  




In the most simple terms, Trump has aptly been called a “wrecking ball.” And I will explain why this captures much of Trump’s effects on the political realities around him.

·         At the Republican Presidential Debates, Trump’s behavior and words were very unlike the other dozen candidates. He was the odd ball. He didn’t talk about politics. So what did he do? He made outlandish proposals like “I’ll build a wall and Mexico will pay for it.” He did not show respect for the other debaters. Once while Hilary Clinton was speaking he walked around the stage behind her (odd behavior useful for diverting attention from Clinton to him. When others called him out for being factually incorrect, it didn’t bother him at all. He had enormous self-confidence without a legitimate basis.

·         When he won the Presidency, he did not have an organized plan for beginning his term. When his very skilled cabinet sought to bring him up to speed with a schedule and agenda, he resisted. When his own cabinet secretaries (experts in their fields) made reasonable recommendations, Trump would often be uninterested; if his staff tried to reorient him to reasonable approaches, he would tell them they were wrong, or stupid, or mock them. After a mere couple months in office, his staff were beginning to realize Trump didn’t know much of anything about how politicians actually collaborate and get work done!  The interpersonal environment of the Trump White House was extremely poor. The wrecking ball had the effect of disrupting the staff’s professional routines.  Bright and capable men eventually began leaving when the saw their best efforts wasted.  

·         Trump lacked the normal interpersonal skills necessary for teamwork. When he had to act and make decisions, he often resorted to biased personal preferences because he didn’t understand how domestic or international politics worked—and he wasn’t interested in learning.


Detailed information on Trump’s inadequacies in the White House can be found in the following books.

Woodward, Bob. FEAR: Trump in the White House, 2018. Woodward is probably the world’s expert on the American Presidency and I have read a half dozen of his books.

Bolton, John.  The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, 2020.

Esper, Mark T. A Sacred Oath: Memoirs Of A Secretary Of Defense During Extraordinary Times, 2022.

Cummings, Elijah. We’re Better Than This: My Fight For The Future Of Our Democracy, 2020.

Califano, Joseph A. Jr. Our Damage Democracy: We the People Must Act, 2018

All of these books are deeply interesting and reveal the inside story of Trump’s serious ignorance of government and gross lack of integrity.

Woodward, Bolton (Trump’s former National Security Advisor), and Esper (Trump’s Secretary of Defense) have all said in all seriousness that Donald Trump is a threat to democracy.



Many legitimate, honorable Republicans have described Trump as a wrecking ball because he tends to destroy normal political business, and this leads to chaos and confusion. You can google “who has called trump a wrecking ball,” and see all the politicians names that pop up.


Typically, Trump is all about filling up the room with his cynical, sarcastic, puffed up mocking of other people. Trump doesn’t have any well-laid out plans; instead he thrives on public attention and spouts off with non-stop dramatic policy threats. Trump is unusually unfiltered. If he thinks it and feels it he’s going to put it in someone’s face.

Bob Woodward’s book, listed above, gives stunning examples of Trump’s fundamental inability to function as part of a team. Here are some examples:

·     Woodward, pages 274-276 show Trump’s lack of understanding of the economy and international trade agreements.  

·     Woodward, pages 272-273 shows that when his advisers tried to guide him into effective strategies, Trump would prefer his personal (uninformed and biased) opinions. When his advisers challenged Trump he could not be persuaded by intelligent discussion. Instead, Trump said, “I know I’m right. If you disagree with me, you’re wrong.” From my reading the above books, Trump does not show a capacity to prioritize the important issues of the moment; he’s a very poor listener; he responds with his gut and does not display the use of critical thinking skills necessary for reasonable decision making.

·     Woodward, page 276 shows how Trump hated the World Trade Association, claiming we were being taken advantage of and calling it the “worst organization ever created!” Trump’s very knowledgeable staff pointed out that America has won 86% of its cases. Trump responded with, “This is bullshit. This is wrong.” The staff data was, of course, correct. Trump was not interested in the facts and on many occasions would not even read what his staff gave to him to be informed—even on national security intelligence matters.

·     Trump was often cruel to his staff. Sometimes he was cruel by outright personal attacks. Other times he would freeze someone out for months. Trump often talked behind the backs of his staff; and he would seek personal opinions from staff about other staff. These tactics were thought to be destructive.

·     Woodward, page 226: A senior White House official speaking about a White House meeting made two important observations:

Trump “proceeded to lecture and insult the entire group about how they didn’t know anything when it came to defense or national security.”

And, “It seems clear that many of the president’s senior advisers, especially those in the national security realm, are extremely concerned with his erratic nature, his relative ignorance, his inability to learn, as well as what they consider his dangerous views.”




The five high quality, authoritative books are “textbooks” of  the real Donald Trump as president. The authors are experts in how good government functions. Since 2016, about 50% of the voting public liked Trump as a person or as a politician enough to vote for him. Liked is a feeling. It’s not right or wrong.

However, the words and actions of politicians are public actions seen and documented facts.

Donald Trump did not have a criminal record before becoming president. That’s a good thing to know.

But now, in 2024, many of his 90 criminal indictments will one by one be tried in criminal courts. There is tons of evidence to convict him. Many of the lawyers, citizens, and even members of Congress) who performed illegal acts for him have been convicted; and, there are at least ten or twenty who will be testifying against him in court. The federal criminal justice system has already been very successful in getting guilty pleas and prison sentences for those who tried but failed to manipulate electoral votes to corrupt the election into a Trump win.

It would be great news for Trump if he were simply defeated in the next presidential election.


Any references not found above are on the page  BIBLIOGRAPHY / WORKS CITED  in the blog.

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