Donald Trump has spent the past few days putting the United States on the brink of nuclear war, and now we know that it’s apparently all been an attempt at distracting everyone from a huge bombshell story he knew was about to surface in the Washington Post. Sure enough, that story has landed, and it reveals the FBI has raided Paul Manafort’s home (link). Now Trump is so desperate to take attention away from the breaking story, he’s trying to create his strangest distraction yet.
Not long after the Manafort story took over the headlines and airwaves today, Donald Trump decided that his whole nuclear armageddon thing wasn’t enough of a distraction to prevent the media’s and public’s focus from shifting back to the Trump-Russia scandal. So he decided to pick a fight with one of the very few solid allies he has left in the Republican Party. He tweeted “Senator Mitch McConnell said I had ‘excessive expectations,’ but I don’t think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?” (link). This is remarkable.
McConnell’s bid to pass TrumpCare failed more than a week ago. Yet until this afternoon, Trump hadn’t publicly said a negative word about him. Then this morning Trump’s errand boy Sean Hannity began attacking McConnell out of nowhere as a “weak, spineless leader” (link). It felt like Trump had instructed Hannity to pick a fight with McConnell in order to distract from the impending Manafort story. And sure enough, by the afternoon, Trump himself was now taking public swings at McConnell.
What makes this such a big development is that Donald Trump doesn’t actually have a problem with Mitch McConnell. The two of the them are personally allied. McConnell ran interference during the election to try to prevent Trump-Russia news from publicly surfacing. McConnell’s wife is in Trump’s cabinet. If anything, Trump and McConnell may literally be partners in crime. But because there’s no one else left to pick a fight with, Trump is reduced to attacking his own closest ally just to create one more distraction. And even that’s not working.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report