Matt Frei is Leading Britain's Conversation.
6 March 2017, 15:26
"The man who constantly rails against fake news, has created some of his own, in spectacular fashion", says David Mellor.
By David Mellor, LBC's Political Commentator
Is Trump nuts?
Is he safe to have his pudgy mitts on the nuclear button?
I know, as Henry Kissinger once memorably said: “Even paranoids have enemies”. But what other rational explanation can be offered to explain his behaviour this weekend, when he was allegedly raging around his country estate, demanding that charges be laid against President Obama for tapping his phones at Trump Tower?
He said the FBI and Congress should investigate his assertions with the same energy they are devoting to investigating the Trump teams dodgy dealings with Russia, during the election campaign, even though he produced no evidence of phone tapping, but evidence of bad stuff with Russia is abundant.
For anyone at the back of the class who needs to catch up, here’s the deal:
On Saturday, in a series of ferocious tweets, Trump claimed Obama had ordered the FBI to tap the phones at Trump Tower in New York. He put forward no evidence to support the claim.
Misspelling “tapp”, suggesting he doesn’t bother to check these early morning Twitter rants – itself very troubling for a man with such power – Trump claimed the election process was “very sacred” (tell that to Putin, Donald), and concluding “this is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy”.
Later on Saturday, the Director of the FBI, James Comey (yes, that one, of Hillarygate fame) demanded that the Justice Department, presided over by discredited Attorney General Jeff Sessions, publicly reject Trumps claims, on the basis he has produced nothing to support them. The Justice Department has apparently refused to do so.
On Sunday, Trump demanded that Congress investigate the allegations, though there aren’t any substantive ones, just a bare assertion from Trump that stuff happened.
Despite the absence of any evidence of tapping, right wing media outlets have been regurgitating the wire/tap allegations as if they were true. In other words, the man who constantly rails against fake news, has created some of his own, in spectacular fashion.
If this was in a TV series, you’d think it a grotesque libel against America, suggesting that such a shambolic situation between the White House, The FBI, the Justice Department, and Congress could ever happen.
But it can. And this weekend it has. The President of the United States has libelled his predecessor with allegations as fake as Trump’s own comb-over. And Washington simply doesn’t know how to handle it.
What a mess.
And now a trailer for later.
Coming up, a new Muslim ban. Trump has reworked his ban on Muslims entering the United States, apparently now taking Iraq off the prohibited list; continuing to refuse to put Saudi Arabia on it, even though more than half the 9/11 bombers were from Saudi; while retaining the ban on six middle-eastern Muslim countries, which have not, between them, produced a single citizen convicted of terrorist activities on American soil.
This opens up the prospect of –
· A clash with the courts over the constitutionality of this Presidential Order.
· A clash with Congress, ditto, with Congress inevitably thinking such a ban should have their approval, and they should not be by-passed by a direct Presidential instruction.
· The demonisation of innocent Muslims to no benefit in the fight against terror, but driving more young Muslims to ISIS recruitment centres.
Back to the beginning. What’s your definition of madness?
Mine is this sort of stuff. QED.