Saturday, January 12, 2019

Donald Trump, Prescient

When at a debate in August, 2015 Megyn Kelly asked Donald Trump whether he was part of a war on women as alleged by Hillary Clinton, Trump was uncharacteristically forthright, maintaining

The big problem this country has is being politically correct. I've been challenged by so many people and I don't frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn't have time either.

A few months later, Republican senator Lindsey Graham labeled Trump "a race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot. He doesn’t represent my party. He doesn’t represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for. " Two days later, he would comment "you know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell."

Two months later, Graham would state "I think he's a kook. I think he's crazy. I think he's unfit for office" and he ultimately voted for Independent Evan McMullin in the presidential election.

In "Fear" released last September, famed former reporter Bob Woodward claimed that the dramatic turnaround in Graham's attitude toward Donald Trump began with an Oval Office meeting in March, 2017. Trump met with Graham with a bear hug and then remarked "We've got to be friends. You are going to be my friend."

Some unfortunate teen-age girls have been told by a boy, "you are going to be my girlfriend" or by a creepy uncle, "you are going to be my friend." Yet, if Woodward is to be believed, it worked like a charm.

Nonetheless, in July Graham knocked the President for having suggested that Attorney General Sessions should have prosecuted Hillary Clinton. The following month, he criticized Trump for his response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A couple of months later, the two played golf together and Graham gushed over the President as if he had a schoolboy crush:

It was all downhill from there, Graham even returning to the theme last June with

Most recently- on Thursday evening- the Senator recommended the President "declare emergency, build the wall now" because "the Democrats are not working in good faith with you." By later that evening, it was all but certain that President Trump would declare a national emergency and re-direct funds to construction of his precious wall. 

On Friday afternoon, however, Trump told reporters that invoking emergency powers is "the easy way out" (which is why he probably will do it eventually) but "I'm not going to do it so fast."

Though surprising, it wasn't startling because the President believes he has little reason to concern himself with GOP members of Congress and others who do not want him to take that constitutionally doubtful action.  And he has no reason at all to heed Lindsey Graham.

Aside from the far right represented by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham, there is no Republican (Vladimir Putin being a member of the All-Russia People's Front) who can exert control over President Trump.

The House of Representatives, once ruled by sycophantic Paul Ryan, now is in Democratic hands, the Senate Majority Leader has a wife in Trump's cabinet, and Lindsey Graham is from South Carolina.

Graham may have been angling for a spot in President Trump's cabinet, previously as Attorney General, now as Secretary of Defense. However, that may not transpire, leaving him as a United States Senator from the state of South Carolina, a state which consistently votes Republican in presidential contests and in which Trump is very popular.

As a Republican (one not identified with the far-right of the Party), Lindsey Graham is nearly certain to win a general election. However, Donald Trump can make or break GOP candidates in primaries and South Carolina is a very conservative state with extremely conservative primary voters. It's highly unlikely that Trump failed to mention that in both the golf outing in October, 2017 and the earlier meeting at the White House.

There has been an unwritten rule that gentlemen not be unnecessarily rude with other gentlemen, including blackmailing them on unrelated, personal matters. It's highly unlikely, though, that President Trump, who shatters norms almost daily, would allow what he would consider "political correctness" to interfere with his message to the deep south Senator.

In October, comedienne Chelsea Handler tweeted "If you’re wondering why Republicans took a sick day today, it’s probably because it’s #NationalComingOutDay. Looking at you @LindseyGrahamSC."

Pointing out that Lindsey Graham is Protestant, a lawyer, or a veteran would be harmless and would pass without notice. Even claiming that he is not Protestant, a lawyer, or a veteran would be relatively uncontroversial. However, Handler was criticized by conservatives and gay groups- criticized precisely because they realize that Graham would be harmed if he were believed, at least by his home state's residents, to be gay.  (They did not choose to deny her assertion.) 

President Trump has not been one to allow the niceties of what he would consider "political correctness" to get in the way of his message. Though it is widely speculated that Lindsey Graham is gay, he has denied it, and the very lack of hard evidence is a safeguard against its use as a political cudgel against him in South Carolina.

MSNBC host and former GOP Representative Joe Scarborough (R-Fl) recently lamented Donald Trump's transformation from "one of the most genial, reasonable and measured members of Congress" to "one of the administration's leading henchmen in hatching plots to run roughshod over our nation's traditions and turn the party into a rudderless collection of mini-me Donald Trumps."

This is a widely-held view. Yet, there has been relatively little interest in exploring the radical change over the last two years in the behavior of a member of the upper chamber of the legislative branch of the most powerful nation on earth.  "The big problem this country has is being politically correct," Donald J. Trump advised us 41 months ago. Alas, in the interest of a misguided politeness, the saga of Lindsey Graham has proven him right.

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