When America becomes Donald Trump’s ego guard

The inconclusive American Civil War battle of Antietam, cited by historians as “America’s bloodiest day,” was distinguished by the Union commander George B. McClellan’s failure to pursue a retreat by rebel general Robert E. Lee. Such was the magnitude of this tactical blunder that President Abraham Lincoln, not ordinarily known for sarcasm, sarcastically referred to the Army of the Potomac as “McClellan’s bodyguard.” Those fatal words proved the beginning of the end for McClellan. It was time for him to go, and go he did.

When the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) informally announced that its DNI John Ratcliffe will no longer provide in-person intelligence briefings to the Congress on election security, but will instead provide written reports only, no one is fooled as to the reason why. It was done because Ratcliffe now serves as Donald Trump’s ego guard.

This is a recent example of how profoundly broken the American government is because of Donald Trump. Ratcliffe is clearly more concerned about incurring the wrath of Trump than he is about keeping Americans safe. So brittle is Trump’s ego that he cannot bear to have it exposed to open questions in Congress.

Trump has long demonstrated impatience with intelligence on election security, particularly where it involves Russia. Trump continues to side with Putin when he insists that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election and is not a significant threat in 2020. This goes against the findings of the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the Department of Homeland Security and every other intelligence entity.

As CNN correspondent Jake Tapper put it, “Obviously this is going to come as alarming news to a lot of people who care about election security — Democrats and Republicans.” Tapper noted that “Republicans and Democrats on those committees prefer in-person briefings so that they can ask questions, challenge assumptions, conduct their oversight role properly.”

Trump’s allergic response to any suggestion of Russian election interference is well documented. As Tapper puts it, “There is a long trail of individuals who worked for president Trump in one capacity or another, whether former national security advisor John Bolton or former chief of staff of the Department of Homeland Security Miles Taylor, who have said publicly that when it came to issues of election security and the Russians, president Trump did not want to hear about it.”

The DNI has always been answerable to the Congressional and Senate committee on intelligence. Former DNI under Barack Obama James Clapper puts it this way: “It’s a new norm for me that appearing before the Congress is optional.” Again, this isn’t how the American government is supposed to work. Of course, it’s particularly obvious why it’s being done so close to the election. Trump doesn’t want it generally known that Russia is trying to rig the election in his favor.

It is one of the great recent ironies that Donald Trump compared himself (favorably, no less) with Abraham Lincoln, yet Trump continues to preside over a government that exists exclusively to guard his own interests and his own ego. This is why we must get rid of this monster Trump, to ensure that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

There are a million reasons why Donald Trump is unfit to continue as president of the United States, this has been another of them. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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