Just put it on the towering pile of scripts even the writers of “Veep” would have rejected as too absurd. But it’s shockingly, appallingly, real.
See if you can follow this.
On Tuesday morning, the president’s national security adviser, John Bolton, announces North Korea is one of five countries he believes are actively spreading misinformation about dysfunction in the Trump administration. Bolton says this — again, on Tuesday morning — in an interview at a Wall Street Journal event.
Bolton goes on to smear the American press — at this press event — as “the stenographers of these regimes,” who “immediately pick it up.” On Tuesday morning.
Cut to Tuesday afternoon. President Trump is asked about a new Wall Street Journal report that Kim Jong Un’s brother, Kim Jong Nam, was a CIA informant before he was killed in a chemical weapons attack in 2017.
Trump says — to a reporter — “I saw the information about the CIA with regard to his brother or half-brother, and I would tell him that would not happen under my auspices. I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices. I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un.”
To recap, the president of the United States, essentially, promises that he will not spy on North Korea, a regime his national security adviser said — on that same day — was actively lying about us. He makes this promise to the American press, which his national security adviser said — on that same day — was basically traitorous for publishing North Korean propaganda.
There are words for this. Words like “Orwellian” or “gaslighting.”
What else do you call it when the leader of the free world can’t tell the factual, objective difference between our friends and our enemies, between people who actually need him and people who are clearly just using him to boost their own influence?
Or when he holds up a Kim love letter like it’s proof of his manifest destiny — or anything other than his unprecedented gullibility — and tells his campaign advisers to deny their own polling when he doesn’t like the results?
After his own advisers said Kim’s missile tests violated UN resolutions, he was all too happy to give him cover:
“He kept his word. There’s no nuclear testing. There’s no large, there’s no long-range missiles going up. The only things he’s set up were very short term, short range. That was just a test of short range. It’s a whole different deal, but he’s kept his word to me. That’s very important,” he said.
He’ll scream at his rallies and rant on Twitter that the press is the enemy of the American people, then look right into a reporter’s eyes and tell him he believes North Korean, Russian or Saudi Arabian propaganda, sometimes even at the expense of our own U.S. intelligence.
What a joke — if only it were funny.
What a shame — if only he were capable of any.
What a disgrace.