Like the world’s worst poker player, Donald Trump has a consistent tell. When bad news is about to surface for him, he goes on a day-long bender about complete nonsense. When really bad news is about to surface, he latches onto something particularly stupid and takes it to the point of complete obsession in a days-long tirade. Trump has tipped off that something particularly ugly is coming down the pike.
We’re now on day six of Donald Trump’s Alabama hurricane scandal, which now involves everything from him getting caught using a Sharpie to alter a hurricane map, to him having a Rear Admiral put out a statement insisting that he told Trump the hurricane was going to hit Alabama. This is a humiliating mess that makes look Trump look terrible. But it’s also a sign of something else going on behind the scenes.
It’s never entirely clear whether Donald Trump goes on benders like this because he knows bad news is about to drop and he’s taking out his frustrations, or if his handlers know bad news is about to drop and they goad him into behaving like this because it serves as a potential distraction. Either way, with Trump now being this fully committed to dying on the Alabama hurricane map hill, it’s pretty clear that something ugly is about to surface. So what is it?
Today’s jobs report was ugly, but not so ugly as to warrant a multi-day distraction campaign. In fact the stock market more or less shrugged off the bad jobs report, because by now investors have lower expectations for the Trump economy than they did for the Obama economy. No, this points to something else coming. It feels like one of those scenarios where a major news outlet asks the Trump White House for comment on a bombshell it’s about to publish, and it sets off a panic drill accordingly. We’ve seen this movie before, so to speak.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report