“I’m the only one that matters”: Trump’s chilling imperial power-grab!
President Donald Trump is overseas right now, doing personal appearances at his properties and making a fool of himself. So far, he’s asked Japanese car makers to start making cars in the United States, apparently ignorant of the fact that three out of four Japanese-branded cars and trucks are already manufactured in America. And he hawked U.S. military equipment as if he were selling Trump steaks on YouTube. That wasn’t the worst of it. He also told American and Japanese troops that no nation should “underestimate American resolve.” Then he quipped, “Every once in a while, in the past, they underestimated us. It was not pleasant for them, was it?” Trump’s previous foreign have also been embarrassing, but he seems more off-kilter than usual this time. That’s obviously because of the pressure he’s under back home, with the indictments of his former campaign officials by special counsel Robert Mueller. That pressure has once again brought out into the open the authoritarian impulses that are becoming more and more pronounced by the day.
Back when Trump took out full-page ads calling for capital punishment and allowing police to brutalize citizens, he was just another tabloid blowhard. And during the presidential campaign, when he endorsed torture and war crimes and made racist comments about a judge’s Mexican heritage, people assumed he was just being hyperbolic. When he repeatedly declared his opponent guilty of crimes, even spitting out the nasty jibe, “If I were president, you’d be in jail,” at Hillary Clinton in a presidential debate, nobody thought he actually meant it. But after more than nine months of his presidency, it’s become clear that Trump truly has no respect for the rule of law.
He’s gotten himself into some trouble because of this. He asked FBI director James Comey to give his friend Michael Flynn a pass and then fired Comey when he refused to play ball, an impulsive act that ended up with the appointment of Mueller. Trump then tried to get the Justice Department to go easy on former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and when that didn’t happen he just pulled out his pardon pen and set Arpaio free, sending a strong message to all his cronies that he looked out for those who stood by him. But the one thing that both thrills his supporters and gives him sustenance is continually calling for Hillary Clinton to be prosecuted.
Just before the president set out for his Asia trip, he went on a Twitter spree and gave a series of interviews that made it clear he’s serious about this. He tweeted frantically about the bogus story being pushed by Fox News about Clinton supposedly “selling out” the country to the Russians in that 2010 uranium deal. Trump made his most revealing comments of all on a radio show last Thursday:
I look at what’s happening with the Justice Department. Well, why aren’t they going after Hillary Clinton with her emails and with her — the dossier? I’m very unhappy with it, that the Justice Department isn’t going. I am not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing And I am very frustrated by it.