Burke: ‘Trump being Trump’ isn’t a rationale; it’s an indictment

This is where the defense of the president’s acting on his gut impulses has gotten us.

By Tom Burke / Herald columnist

The president’s supporters often explain Trump’s actions by saying, “That’s just Trump being Trump.” Let’s see how that’s working out.

As when Trump crudely dumped on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other high-ranking military officers saying, “You’re all losers. You don’t know how to win anymore. I wouldn’t go to war with you people. … You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”

But, hey, who cares? That’s just Trump being Trump.

Or when Trump withheld congressionally approved funds from Ukraine, and the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog, said Trump committed a crime by violating the 1974 Impoundment Control Act prohibiting him from withholding funds Congress has appropriated.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump “fell in love” with Kim Jong-un touting success reducing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, when actually North Korea is stronger than ever, and he’s clearly bungled the North Korea nuke issue.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump signed a nothing-burger China trade agreement but his deal leaves intact the biggest Chinese trade abuse: a vast system of subsidies favoring high-tech industries and state-owned firms; and does not cover any of Trump’s long-standing U.S. concerns about China.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump flat-out lies about who pays for his Chinese tariffs; and it’s not China but U.S. businesses and consumers.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump claims victory building his wall, despite only erecting a few miles of new barrier; and then plans to steal $7.8 billion from the Pentagon budget, shifting cash away from military construction and efforts to combat drug smuggling.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump’s signature tax overhaul gave more than $32 billion in windfall profits to banks this year as lenders curbed new borrowing, pared jobs and ramped up payouts to shareholders. The middle class got stiffed.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump assassinates a foreign military leader, Iran’s Qassem Soleimani, and then lies about it; almost gets us into a shooting war with Iran without consulting Congress; and then refuses to release any information.

Who cares? That’s just Trump being Trump.

When Trump pulls all U.S. troops out of Syria without consultation with our allies or Congress, stabs our Kurdish allies in the back, gives enemies Assad and Putin a huge win, and then sends troops back into Syria.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump tries to buy farmers votes with $28 billion in subsidies for a trade war he started; then cuts $5 billion from children who need food stamps to help pay for it.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump removes environmental protections for roughly half the country’s wetlands and millions of miles of streams.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump retweets crudely photoshopped pics of Schumer and Pelosi and lies about their loyalty.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump abandons Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump says he “saved” the American health care system, despite encouraging a lawsuit to eliminate the ACA and its pre-existing condition insurability guarantee.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump claimed millions voted illegally in 2016 with no proof; got caught bribing two porn stars after sleeping with them; called the free press an “enemy of the people” ala Stalin; made his career on Obama birtherism and the Central Park Five (who were later exonerated).

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump’s pulled out of the Paris climate accords and had the State Department cancel two mandated congressional briefings on embassy security plus the fallout from his killing a senior Iranian general.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When Trump dismissed proven Russian interference in the 2016 election; sided with Putin instead of the FBI and intelligence community; and tried to bribe the Ukraine to get dirt on Joe Biden.

Who cares? That’s just Trump being Trump.

When Trump lied more than 15,000 times since his inauguration.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

When President Donald John Trump is impeached by the House of Representatives, then claims there aren’t enough first-hand witnesses, after refusing to allow any White House first-hand witnesses to testify, or any documents to be examined.

Who cares? That’s Trump being Trump.

I care.

The Constitution, the rule of law, our free press, and our most basic community values are under attack because some people think letting “Trump be Trump” is a good idea.

Trump is a grifter, a cheat, a liar and wanna-be dictator.

But by the time his supporters begin to pay for “Trump being Trump,” it may be too late.

I will take grim satisfaction saying, “I told you so.” It may be the only solace I find as we work to restore our country.

Tom Burke’s email address is t.burke.column@gmail.com.

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