Donald Trump’s spectacularly stupid endgame

Donald Trump has a limited amount of time left to find a way to save himself from ouster, and a limited amount of political muscle with which to pull it off. Based on his increasingly frantic and frazzled nature, even he seems to know deep down that he’s operating on borrowed time with one hand behind his back. So how’s he choosing to spend it? In remarkably stupid, small minded, and self defeating fashion.

Take, for instance, Trump’s trial balloon yesterday about revoking the security clearances of former U.S. intel community leaders like James Clapper, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe. He clearly floated this on a whim, because if he’d had his people vet the idea, he’d have learned that Comey and McCabe no longer even have security clearances. But it’s not just that this was a poorly executed idea that makes him look inept; it’s a small and petty move that gains him literally nothing, while using up some of the limited remaining political capital he has.

Then there was his tweet over the weekend about Iran. If his goal was to convince the average American that Iran is a threat to the United States, he could have tried posting a rational-sounding argument. Instead his all-caps tirade about death and violence merely served to paint him as equal parts desperate and unstable. He didn’t sell anyone on the idea that something must be done to curtail Iran. If anything he sold people on the idea that something must be done to curtail him.

Yet this seems to be all that Donald Trump has to go on these days. Then again, he may simply be mimicking his puppet master. Vladimir Putin is facing the highest stakes of his long political career, yet he’s preoccupied with getting personal revenge on Michael McFaul and Bill Browder. Trump seems just as obsessed with settling the score with the likes of James Clapper and James Comey, even if it means taking his eye off the ball at a time when he has one foot in prison.

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