Obama’s Gift of Immunity to Trump

It is now old wisdom that Barack Obama created Trump—as in the idea of a national pushback to Obama’s out-of-the-mainstream agendas and the unconstitutional way in which he pursued them. Forgotten is the insulation that Obama has also provided for the excesses of Trump as a candidate and, especially, if he were to be president.

Last week, in sober and judicious tones Obama all but warned Americans that they cannot seriously support Trump, who, he implied, is little more than a reality-TV conman. But such admonitions come from a president whose chief foreign policy advisor, a failed fiction writer and D.C. insider, just bragged how he deceived the media and Washington’s insider world by feeding amateurish journalists misleading talking points. Is it serious or in the spirit of reality TV for a president to invite to the White House a rapper whose court-ordered ankle monitor goes off in a presidential ceremony, or to give an exclusive interview with YouTube personality GloZell, noted for her selfies of eating breakfast cereal floating about her in a bathtub? Obama has lectured the media that they have to vent Trump, this from a candidate who never released his medical or college records, whose speech in praise of Rashid Khalidi was suppressed by the media, and whose entire memoir was only belatedly found out to be impressionistic fiction. Obama lowered the bar and Trump skipped over it.

Can Trump mislead much more than did Obama, who assured Americans that they would never lose their doctor or health plan but rather save money and have better care, and that pulling peacekeepers from Iraq would ensure a stable and self-reliant country? Obama, remember, also bragged abroad that he had all but closed Guantanamo within a year and would stop the Bush habit of piling up more debt? After Ben Rhodes and Jonathan Gruber, what exactly are the presidential standards on veracity that we must hold Trump to?

Can Trump act any less constitutionally than has Obama? Will he scan existing law, and order his attorney general to enforce some statutes but ignore others? Will he boast that “I won” and thus has a pen and a phone to sign treaties with foreign countries without Senate ratification?  Will Trump, in Obama fashion, threaten to cut off federal funds to cities that believe in biologically identified male/female restrooms, while encouraging other cities to defy federal immigration law? Sanctuary cities in California, but not in North Carolina? Are we back to 1860 and state nullification of federal law if and when the president wishes it?

How can the media fault Trump as uniquely dense for lacking even basic familiarity with geography or foreign affairs, when they shrugged after the current president of the United States variously believed there are 57 states, there is an Austrian-speaking Austria, and the Maldives islands are the Falklands? When a president declares that Hawaii is in Asia, certainly the media cannot be surprised that Trump is not embarrassed about being clueless about the nuclear triad.