"Oh, it's just Donald being Donald," they'd yawn, as they eagerly rushed their latest anti-social legislation to his desk for his pudgy-fingered signature.
I don't exaggerate. Because if Trump could re-tweet inflammatory anti-Muslim propaganda videos originating from a notorious Britain-based hate group whose leader is under criminal indictment, and all that GOP connivers like Jeff Flake and Lindsay Graham can do is shrug their shoulders and sigh "that's not helpful," then I think that yes, he probably could actually get away with a lot worse than simply instigating violence on an epic domestic and global scale.
He is, of course, no outlier. Although his drone assassinations and the civilian death tolls of his bombing campaigns already threaten to overtake those of his immediate predecessors, he is only using the lethal and normal unitary executive powers bequeathed to him. His emotional and monetary embrace of the despotic Saudi government, with its mass extermination campaign against Yemenis now vying with Rwanda and the Balkans in genocidal horror, is met with complicit silence from both major political parties. Congress loves war, Congress loves arms sales to authoritarian regimes, and Congress especially loves the campaign donations and the bases and the Homeland Security fusion centers and the nuclear and "conventional" weapons factories which keep military and civilian constituents alike employed and supportive.
So when the New York Times first published the story of Trump's anti-Muslim tweets and his boosterism of a marginalized far-right British hate group on Wednesday, the media world was still busy reeling from news that NBC superstar Matt Lauer had been fired. The Trump article was initially and discreetly placed about a third of the way down the digital home page.
Only days after publishing a much-maligned puff piece serving to "normalize" an Ohio neo-Nazi, the Times drawled in its initial story: "It is unusual (my bold) to see an American president push out this type of content on such a powerful social media platform."
Is it merely "unusual" for the leader of the free world to spread blatantly fake videos which purport to show a Muslim man attacking a child on crutches, and another Muslim man desecrating a statue of the Virgin Mary, and a Muslim mob pushing a man off a rooftop?
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president's unhinged outburst with the usual disclaimer that facts don't matter as long as effective lies can serve to bolster his regime's fascist message. "Whether it's a real video, the threat is real," she insisted in true Goebbelsian fashion. "The threat is real, the threat needs to be addressed, and the threat needs to be talked about, and that's what the president is doing in bringing it up."
Look, I've been as sanguine as anybody about the sad reality that this president's Twitter habit serves mainly as a diversionary smokescreen from his own legal troubles and the kleptomaniacal attacks which pose as a White House administration. But this one goes way, way beyond the usual quotidian mischief.
My published comment on the original ho-hum Times article:
"It is unusual to see an American president push out this type of content on such a powerful social media platform."Only when British Prime Minister Theresa May and other European politicians expressed shock and outrage did the Times advance the story to the top of the home page, and later completely rewrite it. The paper removed the banal "it is unusual to see an America president" characterization of the Tweet in favor of the more compelling "no modern American president has promoted inflammatory content of this sort from an extremist organization. Mr. Trump’s two most recent predecessors, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both made a point of avoiding public messages that were likely to be seen as anti-Muslim and could exacerbate racial and religious animosities, arguing that the war against terrorism was not a war against Islam."
No it's not. It's unprecedented, it's pathological, and it's dangerous. It might even border on the criminal, should it lead directly to someone, or many people, getting killed. It is an incitement to violence.
Trump is breathtaking in his irresponsibility. He knows, deep down within whatever rational part of his brain might still exist, that his presidency is a monumental failure. His solution, therefore, is to bring the rest of the world right down with him.
Thanks, but no thanks. Congress can either impeach this pathocrat, or they can be complicit with his antics. They don't get to have it both ways, not when so many lives are at stake.
Not that Bush and Obama are exactly friends of Muslims either, given the illegal invasion of Iraq, the occupation of Afghanistan, the military-corporatist re-colonization of Africa, the cluster bombings and drone attacks on Yemeni civilians, the drone strikes in the "tribal areas" of AfPac, and the CIA's illegal program of domestic spying against Muslim Americans. Bush and Obama committed their own foul deeds with pretty and false words, while Trump commits his foul deeds with equally foul words. His bloodthirstiness and racist venom are unacceptably outside the "norms" of American bloodthirstiness and venomous exceptionalism.
But not that unacceptably. Because Trump is a very useful idiot indeed, able to convince his fans and fellow xenophobes that the oligarchic plot to financially ruin the lives of hundreds of millions of ordinary Americans under the auspices of "tax reform" is actually manna from heaven for them.
About a third of the voting population which continues to enable him will go happily to their doom, safe in the knowledge that their president feels not their pain, but their hatred.
Trump is a master of the politics of resentment. And if Congress has anything to say about it, he won't be going anywhere for a very long time. Unless the KFC and the McDonald's fries do him in first, of course.