Donald J. Trump is willing say and do some extreme things to supposedly make this country more secure against radical Islamic terrorist attacks. Many of these ideas are blatantly unconstitutional. He is willing to talk about completely banning Muslims from entering the nation, he is willing to even dabble in discussion of FDR style concentration camps, he is willing to discuss the possibility of registering all Muslims in America, and targeting American mosques for special surveillance. He is willing to spend billions on walls and enact sweeping travel bans targeting predominantly Muslim nations and attack the courts and judges who declare that last step Constitutionally infirm.
All that he is willing to do, or at least discuss doing. What he is not willing to do to make this nation safer is exercise self control. He is unwilling to rein in either his Tweeting or his mouth. His lack of self control has now become a bigger threat to the security of the nation than the heavily vetted Muslim refugees he seeks to keep out of this country.
It started with his own early version of March Madness, four tweets accusing former President Barack Obama of wire tapping his phones. It was an absurd lie, presented in a tantrum induced rant without sourcing from unreliable and flat out fake news sites. But Trump believed them. The man with access to the most comprehensive intelligence apparatus in the world then went on his impulsively irresponsible Twitter rant accusing the former President of crime, rather than just checking with his intelligence community first.
Unable to defend the Tweets, unable to provide a shred of evidence, the Trump damage control team first attempted to stall, demanding a Congressional investigation into what was little more than a blogger’s uncorroborated claims. The hope was that this would stall the issue long enough for it to blow over. When that didn’t work the Trump team tried to legitimize the Tweets by suggesting mainstream media sources, such as the New York Times, supported his allegations, but they did not. The irony of Trump citing what he previously deemed “fake news” sources as his excuse for treating unsupported allegations as fact, was palpable.
The series of panic lies to support the Trump Tweets escalated until they finally provoked an international incident. Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer stood in front of the press and justified the Tweets based on an unsupported claim by Judge Napolitano of Fox News claiming the wiretapping of Trump was done at Obama’s behest by the British Intelligence Agency.
The British were understandably outraged that the Administration would endorse such an allegation. The Trump Administration effectively accused an ally of violating the law. Angry calls, from the British government to the White House, protesting the allegations quickly poured in. The British intelligence agency, the GCHQ, rarely speaks publicly, but it did this time labeling the allegations “nonsense” that should be ignored.
The Trump Administration effectively apologized, and the British let the world know, reporting that they had been assured the allegations would not be repeated. The Trump Administration’s disingenuous explanation was that they were not endorsing Napolitano’s report, just providing information on what was being reported.
The British are an important ally in our war on terror, they regularly share intelligence with us that they gather. In making these false allegations against them, Trump places that special relationship at risk. In placing that special relationship at risk Trump undermines this nation’s security against terrorists more than the refugees he seeks to ban.
Tim Farron, part of the the British coalition government, Tweeted this concern bluntly.
Former National Security Advisor Susan was equally direct.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit has also highlighted how deep over his head Trump is when it comes to international diplomacy and relations. Their relationship was publicly icy as Trump’s wiretap joke fell flat with Merkel (the expression her face says it all) and, in an incredibly awkward moment, Trump appeared to refuse to shake her hand even at her suggestion. Then there was the spectacle as Irish Prime Minister Edna Kenny lectured Trump like a scolding parent on the virtues of immigration while Trump quoted what he described as an Irish proverb that is actually from an Nigerian poem.
The consequences of an emotionally unstable President are only beginning to become apparent. This is going to get worse. We can only hope that the adults in the White House, if there are any, at least confiscate the President’s Twitter account from him. The security and credibility of this nation cannot continue to be undermined 140 characters at a time.