not a strategy

Trump as the twitter birdFor months, I’ve struggled to decide whether Trump is a master manipulator, a Machiavellian puppet master of the electorate, or just a blundering idiot. Recently, I had been leaning towards the latter, and at 12:06 am on Wednesday morning, I got my answer: “covfefe.” He’s a blundering idiot.

The problem with “covfefe” is not that in and of itself, it is dangerous, but that it seems to be part of a pattern. Covfefe is a symptom of a larger problem, and that problem is careless idiocy. Think about what that tweet shows about Trump and the White House in general. It shows what seems to be a President losing his grip on reality. He tweeted that past midnight, and we know that he personally tweeted that, not just because it was such a stupid thing to say (a clear mark of Trump), but because he’s previously bragged about personally tweeting from his account.

Why is the President up so late, not working on fixing world hunger, or the Syrian Civil War, or Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, or homelessness among veterans, but about sending out an incomplete, incoherent tweet, that we can only assume would have been critical of the media? Why was that his top priority at the time?

Perhaps of more concern, it shows how careless Trump is. He sent this tweet out, a tweet that was incomplete and contained a blatantly made up word, and then did not retract it until nearly six hours later. He is, unfortunately, the President of the United States of America, he controls the largest and most powerful military that the world has ever seen, he commands a nuclear arsenal capable of annihilating mankind several times over and that could send the Earth into a nuclear ice age, he is in charge of an economy that shapes the economies of every other country around the world. What he says—what he tweets—matters. Back in December, when we had a President who was poised, elegant, and intelligent, Trump tweeted about Lockheed Martin’s F-35 in a negative way and their stock saw a marked drop. So his tweets, as much as they are the machinations of a lunatic, do have domestic and worldwide implications. He would do well to remember that and perhaps go so far as to spell-check his tweets.

Where was the White House staff, or others close to Trump, when this tweet went out? Why did nobody either take the tweet down, or tell the President to take it down? It took nearly 6 hours for it to be removed, enough time to tempt someone to think that he tweeted it as he was falling asleep and then woke up, immediately checked twitter, and then removed it. This means that the first and last the President does every day is check twitter—not receive the latest national security briefings, not talk to his economic advisors, but check his social media. There must not have been anybody watching over his twitter, which given Trumps propensity to shoot himself in the foot on that platform, one would think they’d at least keep an intern watching over it. What happened to having his tweets vetted by legal counsel, something that would actually be a wise decision? Clearly that’s not happening.

Maybe all of the above could have been excused as a simple mistake, if not for the fact that it fits perfectly, like the last piece of a puzzle, into a larger picture, a picture that when complete, shows an idiot sitting behind the Resolute Desk. As I mentioned earlier, many of the things that Trump has said, done, and tweeted, could be seen as an ingenious manipulation of the electorate and the media. But with this final piece of the puzzle put into place, it shows that all of those things are simply the doings and ravings of an imbecile. Someone with neither the judgement or intellect worthy of the Presidency.

Back when he first launched his campaign, at a time when our President’s IQ was not seemingly in the single digits, Trump said of Mexican immigration, “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.” At the time, pundits said that statement would hurt Trump, but it soon became clear that it only helped. When that startling reality came to light, many people said that statement was a brilliant calculation to build up his base, to gather loyal support from the far-right. Now it seems that he simply made a mistake, went too far, but somehow was helped by it.

After winning the presidency, Trump called Taiwan before China. This was seen as extremely risky, provocative even, but also lauded as an ingenious way of showing the Chinese exactly where we stand on that issue. In light of recent events though, it seems like this was simply a foreign policy blunder that was well-spun by his communications staff and surrogates. After all, what has come of that? Has the US made any demands to China about Taiwan since that call? No. He just messed up, because he is an idiot, and has a spinroom that made it look strategic.

There are many countless of actions and statements that he has made, like the aforementioned ones, where whether or not he is simply unintelligent or masterfully manipulative is ambiguous. Where the media has over analyzed the situation and concluded that he must actually be a genius. This ignores all of the things he has said and done that are exclusively the doings and sayings of a person who is plainly an ignoramus.

He denigrated and disparaged the war record of John McCain. In a moment that many people seem to have forgotten, while talking about McCain and his time as a POW, he said, “I like people who weren’t captured.” This was the now-president, saying that John McCain was not a war hero. John McCain, a man who was brutally tortured, who endured excruciating physical and mental pain, a man who fought, killed, and bled, who lost friends, who was willing to die for this country, is not a war hero? Trump didn’t even serve; he is a draft dodger. While McCain was languishing in a POW camp, Trump was avoiding his ‘own personal Vietnam’ of contracting STD’s. All POW’s are war heroes, but John McCain is a level above. What makes him so special is that his father was an admiral and he was offered release by the Vietnamese because of this. But he said no, because he would not leave his men, his brothers, behind. He chose to remain in the hands of an infamously brutal group because of his honor and sense of duty, because he truly believes in ‘no man left behind.’ Does anybody think, for a second, that Donald Trump would have done the same?

During the Democratic National Convention, the parents of Captain Humayun Khan, spoke to the crowd in what is a now famous speech. They were, as you might expect of people speaking at the DNC, critical of Trump. He of course, attacked them. He attacked the family of a man who was killed saving the lives of others in his unit. He personally went after the parents of someone who sacrificed his life for others and now he’s our president.

Trump physically mocked the reporter Serge Kovaleski. He stood up on a stage, in front of thousands of people and on national TV, and physically mocked a man with a disability.

None of those were calculated, none of those were the decisions of a Machiavellian politician. They were mistakes, plain and simple. By saying that they are strategic and intentional, we give him too much credit. Trump is simply not intellectually capable of such calculations.

As damning as all that is for Trump, what does that say of us as a country, that we elected this person? That by saying things that were objectively false, horribly offensive, and frankly, just stupid, he was not only unhurt by those things, but he was HELPED by them.

He has been nothing more than one accident after another, yet he somehow won the presidency. He has “accidented” (if the President can make up words then I sure as hell can too) his way to victory. He is the real life Jar Jar Binks. Someone who has no idea what is going on, speaks nonsensically, and is the intellectual inferior to all those who surround him, but he won.

So the next time someone says that he is intentionally having scandal after scandal, misstep after misstep, as part of a strategy to distract away from his last brainless blunder, they’re wrong. It’s not a strategy, it’s not a tactic. He’s the most incompetent, incapable, intellectually lacking person to ever hold the office of the presidency. He’s just an idiot.


Image: we have been unable to identify the artist who modified the twitter logo to this form - should they be identified, we'd gladly attribute and link, license or take down.

Matt Blakely

Matt Blakely is a political consultant and strategist based in Atlanta, Georgia. He focuses on Democratic campaigns and progressive causes.

  1. Eileen Dight

    When I studied American history and international politics I learned about checks and balances shrewdly established in the American Constitution. When I expressed concern last year about the possibility of trump’s election my son told me not to worry, there were sufficient checks and balances in the American political system to overrule the excesses of a rash, misguided president. Now I’m hoping there are patriots ready to overrule him if he decides to launch a nuclear weapon, but who can sleep easy knowing he is in charge and that Republicans endorse him?

    1. In theory, yes, checks and balances established by Constitution should help us weather the effects of a manchild-in-chief. However, the system only works if the other branches of government aren’t also broken, which they are. Republicans control the House, Senate, and SCOTUS, so ALMOST anything that they want to do, they can, because they’re all working together. Your fearful sentiment of a nuclear launch is completely justified. If he orders a launch there’s not much that could stop it. Let’s just hope his late-night habits continue to be tweeting inane babble rather than launching missiles.

  2. Spot on…everything many of us have been saying, writing, sharing for months and months. It is refreshing to have a person of your generation voice these thoughts and concerns so succinctly.
    Keep up the good work and don’t spill your covfefe. Never know when you’ll need it.

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