If Donald Trump wanted to give himself the best chance of surviving this new and devastating phase of his Trump-Russia scandal where Michael Flynn flips on him and exposes his darkest secrets, he’d only have to do one thing. He’d have to stop the Twitter antics and bring in a professional political operative who can coach him on how to impersonate presidential behavior. Instead, Trump has decided to sharply go the other way – and it’s getting uglier by the minute.
We’ve all seen the tweets this past week since it was revealed that Michael Flynn had sold Donald Trump out. Trump is either looking to create a distraction from the Russia scandal, or he’s simply dissolving into an even deeper level of psychological deterioration, or some combination of both. His antics are getting worse by the day. Now we know that he’s not merely content to go berserk on Twitter; he’s acting out in the same manner when it comes to his own administration.
On Thursday several news outlets reported that Trump is preparing to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo. By Thursday evening, the other half of the story surfaced: Trump leaked the news on purpose because he wanted to “publicly shame” Tillerson (link). Maybe Trump is taking out his frustrations on Tillerson as a way of blowing off steam over what Flynn is doing to him, or maybe this is yet another attempt at a distraction – but this kind of thing doesn't work. Donald Trump's approval rating is in the low thirties, yet most polling experts agree that his base only consists of fifteen to twenty percent of the nation. That means another roughly fifteen percent of Americans are not part of Trump’s base, but are still giving him the benefit of the doubt anyway. These kinds of fence-sitters don’t know or care about partisan issues, but they despise things like incompetece, which they see as unpresidential. By airing his own dirty laundry about why he’s ousting his Secretary of State for petty personal reasons, Trump is merely telling the fence-sitters why they should give up on him. He’s making it easy for them. He’ll drive his own approval rating into the twenties – and then it’s over for him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report