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An American tragicomedy: Trump a loose cannon in the White House

Monday August 19 2019

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally in Manchester on August 15, 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire. He is accused of ineptitude. PHOTO | SPENCER PLATT | AFP 

MUTAHI MUREITHI
By MUTAHI MUREITHI
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Donald Trump is unashamedly a Twitter addict.

With over 62 million followers, his late night Reality-TV induced tweets are sometimes so acidic and crass that one is forced to check whether it is his real handle or a parody account.

No topic is sacred, no human being can escape the wrath of this man; no subject is too technical for President Trump.

And he has a very uncanny ability to create rather unsavoury monikers for his opponents: He called Hillary Clinton “crooked” and Ted Cruz was nicknamed “Lyin’ Ted”.

North Korea Kim Jon Un was “Rocket man” before they made up. But these are rather mild compared to what he has said of his adversaries.

INSULTS

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When some emails leaked from UK’s Ambassador to the USA, Kim Darroch referring to Trump as “clumsy and inept”, the President came out with guns blazing, saying that though he had not yet met this “wacky ambassador that the UK foisted upon the United States”, this was not someone he would like to deal with.

“He is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy,” tweeted the President, adding for good measure that he had heard that the Ambassador was “a pompous fool”.

Just before he made an official visit to the United Kingdom, Trump had on-and-off sparring sessions with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Sadiq had written a stinging editorial about Trump, that, among other things, called out the President’s apparent dislike for Muslims. Trump hit back in his usual style.

AL SHARPTON FEUD

The Mayor of London, he tweeted, “has done a terrible job, and has been foolishly nasty” to the most powerful man on earth.

“He is a stone cold loser,” said Trump. “Khan reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, De Blasio, who has also done a terrible job – only half his height.”

Unfazed, Khan recently referred to Trump as a “six-foot-three child in the White House”. Trump’s tweets know no boundaries.

He recently referred to Al Sharpton, a leading black civil rights activist and church minister as “just a con man at work”, a “troublemaker who is always looking for a score”.

This latter reference is slang for many unsavoury things that cannot be associated with a man of God.

Heads of State are not spared Trump’s vitriol either. After France announced plans for a digital tax that would mainly affect American companies, Trump promised to retaliate with appropriate measures to this “Macron’s foolishness”.

EDITORIAL

On Brexit, he claimed he had advised former Prime Minister Theresa May on how to deal with the matter but she did not apparently heed his wise advice: “I told Theresa May how to do it but she went her own foolish way. A disaster!”

Even in his own backyard, he does not fare any better. Recently, he referred to Baltimore, whose Democratic Representative is African American Elijah Cummings, as “the worst run and most dangerous in the US. No human being would want to live there”.

The city, Trump wrote, is “a rat and rodent infested place”. Cummings responded very civilly. “Mr President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning I wake up and I go and fight for my constituents.”

The local newspaper, Baltimore Sun Editorial, however defended their man quite robustly in what can easily be classified as one of the most stinging editorials ever written on Trump.

Previously, Fox News - a Trump supporter - had ran a piece that was seen as heavily critical of the District, and the Baltimore Sun held that the negative story must have been “irresistible in a Pavlovian way” to President Trump.

“Fox News rang the bell, the President salivated and this thumbs moved across his cell phone into action.”

LIES

The editorial concluded: “While we would not sink to name calling in the Trumpian manner, we would tell the most dishonest man to occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are good people among murderous neo Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post.

"Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighbourhood than be one.”

His Twitter critics do not spare the man. After one of those 3am tweets, a lady wrote: “Can someone please put this man to bed!”

Potus has also been accused of lying. Maria Konikova of Politico wrote that although all presidents lie, “Donald Trump is in a different category”.

“The sheer frequency and spontaneity and seeming irrelevance of his lies have no precedence. Nixon, Reagan and Clinton were protecting their reputations; Trump seems to lie for the pure joy of it,” said Konikova.

Mr Mureithi is a communications consultant; [email protected]

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