Since taking office as the Nation’s 45th President, Donald Trump has attacked or undermined one public or private institution after another.
- The Secret Service: Trump has kept his longtime private security force, and combined its members with those of the elite federal agency. By marginalizing the Secret Service, he has clearly sent the message: You’re not good enough, and I don’t trust you.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): As a Presidential candidate Trump slammed the agency’s employment numbers that showed the economy improving under the Obama administration. His response on March 12, 2016: “The numbers are phony. These are all phony numbers. Numbers given to politicians to look good. These are phony numbers.”
- In February, 2017, the BLS said that American businesses had added 235,000 workers to their payrolls.
- On March 10, a reporter asked Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, whether, given his past statements, Trump thought this jobs report was “accurate.” Spicer replied: “I talked to the president prior to this, and he said to quote him very clearly: ‘They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now.’”
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Trump believes that climate change is a hoax. He didn’t offer any proof for this. Instead, he appointed an EPA director–Scott Pruitt–who claimed that climate change wasn’t caused by human activity.
- Pruitt ordered EPA staffers to remove pages from the agency’s website concerning climate change, threatened to review all of the agency’s data and publications, and cut the budgets of all scientific research in government.
- The Congressional Budget Office (CBO): Fearing the CBO’s verdict on the costs and coverage of his proposed Trumpcare replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Trump ordered a preemptive strike on the agency’s credibility. Said Sean Spicer to assembled reporters: “If you’re looking at the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place.”
- The director of the CBO is a Republican economist and former George W. Bush administration official who was chosen for his position by the Republican Congress in 2015.
Seal of the CBO
- President Barack Obama: For five years, Trump, more than anyone else, popularized the slander that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya–and was therefore not an American citizen.
- On March 23, 2011, Trump said: “I want him to show his birth certificate. I want him to show his birth certificate. …There’s something on that birth certificate that he doesn’t like.”
- Even after Obama released the long-form version of his birth certificate–on April 27, 2011–Trump tweeted, on August 6, 2012: “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama‘s birth certificate is a fraud.”
- On November 23, 2014, he tweeted this: “@futureicon: @pinksugar61 Obama also fabricated his own birth certificate after being pressured to produce one by @realDonaldTrump“.
- Then, in June, 2015, Trump declared himself a candidate for President. By September, 2016, he found his popularity steadily dropping among black voters. Even the managers of Trump’s campaign urged him to put the “birther” issue behind him.
- On September 16, 2016–10 days before his scheduled first debate with Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton–Trump made his version of a reversal: “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. “I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.”
- On March 4, 2017, in a series of unhinged tweets, Trump accused former President Obama of tapping his Trump Tower phones prior to the election: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
- “Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!”
- “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”
- “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
Thus, without offering a shred of evidence to back it up, Trump accused his predecessor of committing an impeachable offense.
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Donald Trump isn’t crazy, as many of his critics charge. He knows what he’s doing. His strategy is two-fold–both immediate and long-term.
In the short-term, he’s attacking anyone who dares to disagree with him. Much of this is driven by his own natural aggression–he can’t tolerate criticism or dissent.
The long-term reason for his assaults on public and private institutions is far more sinister.
He intends to strip every potential challenger to his authority–or his version of reality–of any credibility with the public.
If he succeeds, there will be:
- No independent press to reveal his failures and crimes.
- No independent law enforcement agencies to investigate his abuses of office.
- No independent judiciary to hold him accountable.
- No independent military authorities to dissent as he recklessly hurtles toward potential nuclear showdowns.
- No candidate–Democrat or Republican–to challenge him for re-election in 2010.
- No candidate–Democrat or Republican–to challenge his remaining in office as “President-for-Life.”