Donald Trump has been called many things — narcissist, groper, pathological liar, misogynist, draft dodger, demagogue, vulgarian, foul-mouthed ignoramus, xenophobe, bully, hapless, forgetful, fear monger, racist, clueless, incompetent, insensitive, thin-skinned, authoritarian, nativist, to name a few — and now you can add a new one: cry baby.
His speech to the graduating cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy was supposed to be uplifting and inspirational, but instead he turned it into a whine.
From his second day in office when he went to CIA Headquarters and boasted about his election victory and aired a long list of personal grievances, Trump speeches tend to quickly stray off topic and be all about himself.
That’s what happened at the Coast Guard ceremony. He told the graduates:
“No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.”
That revealed two things: Trump knows nothing about history and wallows in self-pity.
Has he never heard of the vicious attacks on John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, often by each other, or on Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy or most of his predecessors?
He returned from New London, Connecticut, to learn that the man he’d chosen to be his number two at the Department of Justice, Rod Rosenstein, had appointed a special counsel to investigate possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
That was followed by another Twitter tantrum of self-pity:
“This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”
It isn’t a witch hunt by any stretch of the imagination; this is something both Republicans and Democrats welcome as the best way to get to the bottom of the Russia-Trump connection.
What it could do, however, is expose the greatest single crime by any president in American history, collusion with a hostile foreign power. The second ranking Republican in the House, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, told a closed meeting of colleagues last summer that he believed Trump was being paid by Russia. He now says he was just joking. That’s something Robert Mueller, the new special counsel, will be looking at.
Muller, the former U.S. attorney and FBI director under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has a sterling reputation for integrity, and his appointment was widely praised by Republicans and Democrats alike.
What Trump’s latest tweet tells us is that he is truly worried about what Mueller will uncover.
Trump, who seemed late in life to discover that Lincoln was a Republican, should know that “Lincoln was more reviled than any American president,” according to Donald Nieman of Binghamton University.
The opposition press described him as a “fungus from the corrupt womb of bigotry and fanaticism,” a “worse tyrant and more inhuman butcher than has existed from the days of Nero” and “a vulgar village politician without any experience worth mentioning.” Even Lincoln’s now-classic Gettysburg Address was derided as a display of “ignorant rudeness.”
The most important lesson for Trump is in the author’s next sentence:
“These attacks stung, but Lincoln refused to take the bait. “
Every president has run into these. Some of the worst attacks on Barack Obama came from Trump himself, who was a leading voice in the bigoted birther movement trying to delegitimize the election of the first African American president by claiming he was born in Kenya.