Let’s get two things out of the way first. I am not a conspiracy theorist, and I do accept that Donald Trump won the election. That is why I’ve never been more worried about our country.
As last week’s news developed through the weekend I grew concerned that we had a president who was unbalanced and isolated, uninformed and uninterested in governance, and surrounded by three or four extremists squabbling with each other and manipulating him like their puppet.
A carefully supported and well reasoned analysis of these events can be found at https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/trial-balloon-for-a-coup-e024990891d5#.1fohlbr91 I urge you to read it.
The chaotic unfolding of his immigration policy suggested either a bungled attempt by amateurs to carry out an outrageous campaign promise without legal vetting — or a deliberate sowing of confusion in a cynical effort to challenge the credibility of the Federal courts while terrifying refugees, immigrants and, ultimately, all minorities.
There were so many questions to raise about the immigration mess. Why were only Muslim nations affected if order wasn’t anti-Muslim? Why were the Muslim nations in which Trump has business interests excepted from the policy? Why were refugees of minority religions (read Christians) excepted from the policy? Why did the order include green-card holders at first and then exclude them?
At least equally disturbing was the sudden announcement that the military and the intelligence members on the National Security Council were being replaced by Trump’s closest political advisors, Steve Bannon and his chief of staff, formerly head of the Republican National Committee. It’s nothing short of madness to diminish the role of military and intelligence advisors in discussions of national security and replace them by political advisors. Security decisions—in which American lives are at stake—should never take politics into account.
The telephone call with the Russian president also had a lot of unanswered questions surrounding it. We do not yet know whether the Russian government has ways of blackmailing our president—with compromising information about him, information regarding Russian involvement in his election, large loans to Trump from Russian banks or individuals, or video of sex games. There are many unverified—and perhaps unverifiable—reports surrounding these questions and Trump’s conversation with Putin. While it’s irresponsible to repeat unverified stories, it is not irresponsible to demand that the White House put these questions to rest.
On the weekend there were several threads on Twitter that purported to be from rogue White House staff shocked at the interplay between Trump and his advisors. I could not confirm the legitimacy of these tweets and did not repost them. But I urge you again to read Yonatan Zunger’s analysis using the URL above.