Tuesday April 02, 2019
Yesterday, the New York magazine website published a good, short piece by Jonathan Chait called, “The President as Adolescent Bully,” which includes a shot of Biff Tanen from the “Back to the Future” movies. Some of the better lines:
He is especially fascinated with the appearance of toughness. Trump has praised “his” generals as looking like they come out of “central casting.” He has praised his ICE director, “He looks very nasty, he looks very mean ... that's what I'm looking for.” He has famously urged police officers to treat suspects in their custody with more brutality. Of course, abusing a person who's in handcuffs does not take courage.
Actual courage is a virtue Trump regards with indifference sometimes bordering on hostility. He has spent years mocking John McCain for having been captured in the Vietnam War, completely disregarding his perseverance under torture and refusal to give his captors a propaganda victory by accepting their offer to be sent home ahead of his order of capture. This is not simply Trump's habit of automatically flaying anybody who attacks him. “He was captured. Does being captured make you a hero? I don't know. I'm not sure,” Trump said in 1999, long before McCain had crossed him in any way. ...
What is so remarkable about Trump is that he has no interest or need to conceal his cruelty. Trump is a highly familiar social type: the leader of a gang, taunting his targets while his flunkies guffaw. Before he came along, it was never possible to imagine such a person occupying the Presidency of the United States.
The distinction about Trump loving the appearance of toughness but not actual courage is a good one. Dems should use it. All the time.