There isn’t much art to Donald Trump’s transparent attempt on Wednesday to divert the public’s attention from the Russian investigation: Kick the transgender kids.
You can almost see him pacing in the Oval Office, chafing against the advisers who warn him not to fire Robert Mueller, at all costs. Our obsessive TV-watching POTUS hears every pundit on every cable news show (save Hannity’s) telling him that firing Jeff Sessions to clear the way for a new attorney general who would fire Mueller would set off a constitutional crisis.
Trump hates being boxed in. Plus his Trumpcare health plan was revived for about an hour on Tuesday before being voted down yet again. He hates losing. And he hates, absolutely, this Russian investigation.
How to get it out of the headlines? Rile up the culture wars. Feed the base some bigoted red meat. Wave a red flag in front of the liberal Twitterverse and let the news cycle be full of talking about the medical cost of transgender military personnel instead of Jared Kushner’s testimony to Congress.
It’s a diversionary tactic that is a pretty well-established pattern from our bully-in-chief. Yes, of course it’s disgusting that he takes aim at the most vulnerable in our society and further divides us in trying to protect himself — but we have learned to expect no less from this president.
We know that nothing Trump says has any meaning. There are no principles behind his words, no authentic beliefs behind his policy measures. He has no problem dismissing Senator John McCain’s heroic service in the Vietnam War one moment — then praising McCain as a “very brave” man when he showed up to vote for Trumpcare.
He can promise a girl that he will not take away her health care, and then do it.
Trump promised to care for the LGBT community during the campaign. That was a meaningless promise, like so many other meaningless promises.
The question is, will we — we the public, we in the media, those who obsess on social media all the day long — fall for his tactic? Will we allow ourselves to be diverted from the focus on the federal investigation into collusion and corruption in the presidential campaign, and into the current White House?
We have a choice not to be pawns in his transparently cynical game.