First time North Korea’s Kim Jong-un bowled, he rolled a 300. He walked at three weeks old and talked at eight. Golfing for the first time, he got 11 holes-in-one and scored 38 under par. He was born under a double rainbow, at which point a new star appeared in the sky. Also, he invented the hamburger.
The preceding are claims by North Korea about leaders named Kim. Defectors say citizens believe them.
Hurricane Dorian was heading straight for Alabama. Climate change is a hoax. Trump’s is “the most pro-science administration, ever.” Democrats will turn America into Venezuela. Trump engineered the biggest economic turnaround in history. Ivanka got her “moral compass” from her father.
OK, that last one is obviously true.
Also, Donald invented the Sharpie.
Unlike North Koreans, Americans can access real news (which, Kim-like, Trump and Trumpists prefer to call “fake”) and multiple sources by which to evaluate it. Truth, even when denied by our current government and misrepresented by its media mouthpieces, is still obtainable by those wishing to know it. There is, therefore, no reason for a “Dear Leader” cult to exist here. But it does. Cut off from the world, Kim’s believers may be excused for their sad credulity. Not Trump’s.
For example: When not ignoring it entirely, they dismiss the Dorian/Alabama debacle as amusing. It’s not. Because of what happened after Trump’s baseless tweet, it’s portentously illuminating. His claim that Alabama was in the hurricane’s path needed redress, lest Alabamians take unnecessary, costly actions, including panic. Having made a mistake, normal people would admit and correct it. Trump, being Trump, did the opposite. Insisting he was right, Dear Leader clumsily altered an official weather map, and, confident in the slavish loyalty of his excusers, didn’t even bother to make it look convincing. (Or is he so delusional that he thought it was?)
It’s Trump, so there’s more. Attacking the National Weather Service for its much-needed, factual correction, he threatened their jobs, via the inexcusable Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Caving, in an unsigned statement, NOAA’s leadership submissively chastised the people who’d issued the corrective. At least it didn’t overtly claim Trump was right; only that, duh, one can’t be 100 percent sure of weather projections. He could have said Dorian would bowl a 300 game, in other words, and who’s to say?
A “president” successfully bullied scientists for political gain; even today’s Republicans ought to recognize the danger. If they were still conservative, they would.
So fearful are Trump’s swamp-dwellers of resisting his derangements, they pressured international agencies dealing with migration to scrub mention of climate change as a factor. This week, because liberals are serious about climate change, he revoked California’s authority to set its own automobile emissions standards. Why aren’t states-rights, anti-authoritarian “conservatives” outraged? It won’t always be California.
Other than Trump, whose shaky self-esteem is threatened by President Obama, who benefits from deregulating drinking water? Was he joking when he justified re-enabling energy-gobbling incandescent light because he likes the way it makes him look? Responding to the attack on Saudi oil fields, he announced we’re “locked and loaded,” waiting only for Saudi Arabia’s murderous leader to tell us “under what terms we would proceed.” Great. Now Trump takes orders from MBS. Then, after Putin told him to cool it, he said it wasn’t really a threat.
But Trump stands up to dictators and would never lie us into war. Nor is his unilateral withdrawal from the Iran agreement responsible for Iran’s escalations. Also, Kim is so perfect, he neither defecates nor urinates (actual assertion).
Too insecure to do otherwise, Trump lies rather than admit a mistake. His flammable vengefulness makes his surroundees afraid to contradict him. Now it appears his acting DNI is suppressing a whistle-blower complaint about his actions, deemed credible and urgent by the department’s Inspector General. These capitulations to a dangerously disordered leader should disturb everyone who understands what has, until now, kept America great.
Whatever Trump does to intimidate these people, it’s turned 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue into North Korea West. But what explains Trump’s cultists outside the Beltway? Perhaps it isn’t swampy cowardice, but a manifestation of the easily-exploitable human weakness that, throughout history, has led people to deify demagogues who blame others for their problems. Might they yet look inward and disenthrall themselves? It’d save them and us, but that’s not how cults work.
Trump kept his no-golfing promise, though. He was already acing every hole.
Email Sid Schwab at firstname.lastname@example.org.