Thanks to the movies, Donald Trump has a vague notion of what heroism, compassion and leadership look like, and he no doubt keeps images of those virtues handy, tucked away in his under-crowded head, whenever he needs to fake them. But it was the leadership of Great Britain, among Trump’s allies, who cautioned temperance in Trump’s response to Iran’s destruction by missile of an American drone. We can’t know what was said verbatim, but the British newspaper The Independent stated (and Downing Street confirmed) that, “Britain has called for ‘de-escalation’ of tensions over Iran after reports that US President Donald Trump approved military strikes, only to decide not to launch them.” They further state that Trump reached this decision to call off the strike as a direct result of British intervention.
Trump’s version, of course, is much funnier. The Idiot-in-Chief tweeted, “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it.” Of course it didn’t happen that way. It happened just the way the Brits said it did. But it’s typical of Trump to create a fiction where he is the hero. The telltale problems with Trump’s narrative, of course, are that he doesn’t mention the name of the general, and, of course, a man who keeps children in cages has no compassion.
George Conway tried something that literally never occurred to me, however. Conway decided to take Trump at his word, when he tweeted, “Trump didn’t realize UNTIL TEN MINUTES BEFOREHAND that a planned airstrike would kill over a hundred people and would therefore be grossly disproportionate to the loss of a UAV? To say this is amateur hour would defame amateurs.” Attaboy, George, string Trump up by his very own words!
Then Mr Conway concluded with this bit of advice for the, er, President: “Resign. If you didn’t know this until it was almost too late, you’re even more of an idiot than people think you are. Do the country and the world a favor. Go back to real estate, where the worst you can do is kill banks.” Any way you slice it, whether you read between the lies and see Trump for what he is, or you take him at his word and string him up with his very own incompetence, Donald Trump’s phony, self-aggrandizing moment of “history” exposes him for the halfwitted amateur that he is.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.