The President Who Knew Too Little
Is it possible to feel sorry for Kellyanne Conway? After spending (an enforced?) time away from the cameras she was once again brought out to defend the President against his controversial firing of FBI Director James Comey. She toed the line and peddled the story that it was Comey’s handling of the Hilary Clinton emails nine months ago that led the President to fire him. Each time she was pressed on whether the untimely firing was linked to the FBI’s investigation on Russia’s links to Trump’s election campaign, she repeatedly refuted them. Now she has been publicly proven wrong. The man who exposed this: President Donald J. Trump.
In an interview with NBC News, Trump brought up the question of Russia and indirectly linked Comey’s firing to the investigation. Trump spoke to NBC’s Lester Holt telling him: “Regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey. Knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election they should have won.”
That small passage shows Donald Trump contradicting his own White House statements twice. The first was going back on his letter to James Comey where he explained that he had been recommended by the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States to fire him. The second was, a note unprompted by Lester Holt, speaking about the Russia investigation and Comey together. In fact throughout the interview Trump would contradict White House statements and most often himself. At one stage he argues that he wants the investigation to go ahead to find out if there had been interference then almost immediately denounces the investigation as a Democrat attack, then backtracks and states, “I want to get to the bottom of it, if Russia hacked the election, I want to know about it.”
The response to the interview has been fast and condescending across news outlets worldwide. Jay Williams writing for GQ appropriately put that “the damage control needs damage control,” pointing out that it took the President less than 24 hours to “torpedo his preposterous explanation for his decision to axe former FBI director James Comey.”
This is once again another example of Trump either deliberately ignoring his staff or blindly unaware of what he is doing. The decision to fire Comey has led political spectators such as Betfair to veer away from their coverage of the UK General Election and focus its editorial content on Trump’s obvious shortcomings. In one article they documented how the odds on Trump leaving in 2017 have plummeted. It is not hard to see why. Trump is losing allies on all sides as he causally throws them under the bus.
First there was Paul Ryan who took the fall for the failing of the first healthcare bill, and now Vice-President Mike Pence and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein have found themselves publicly discredited for defending the President. The Washington Post reported that Rosenstein went as far to threaten to resign after being portrayed as the man who ousted Comey. Pence found himself looking foolish too after he backed Trump’s letter to Comey and told news outlets that the President had acted on the advice of Rosenstein only for the President to say the opposite was true. These constant backtracks and indecisions are stacking up against Trump.
If the White House Staff can’t trust the President to know how to handle a controversial decision, how can the American public trust him? As the days of his presidency roll on, Trump swims further out of his depth.