Trump Hurricane

In case you haven’t kept up with Donald Trump’s tweets (39K of them since June 2009), fear not. 

Since his White House era tweets are official pronouncements of the president of the US, every one of them will be gathered and made accessible online or at his presidential library, once he leaves office. Bet you can't wait.

That treasure trove of nonsense will include today’s doozy, sent ahead of the potential killer hurricane that is barreling down on the Carolinas and Virginia:

“We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan). We are ready for the big one that is coming!”

Our president just can’t stop singing his own praises, whether they are earned or exist only in his head.

Michiko Kakutani, former long-time book critic of the New York Times, tries to make sense of Trump’s tweets in her recently released book, “The Death of Truth.”  Get a copy. It's well worth the time of any communicator.

She writes that Trump’s tweets have consequences, “whether they be distractions meant to divert attention from the Russia investigations, the stream-of-consciousness rants of at attention-craving narcissist, or part of a more deliberate strategy to acclimate people to the aberrant.”

Kakutani quotes Ruth Ben-Ghiat, professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, who sees parallels between Trump’s rise and that of Mussolini.

Ben-Ghiat argues that authoritarians typically test “the limits of what the public, press and political class will tolerate" and that Trump’s incendiary tweets and remarks are efforts “to see how much Americans and the GOP will let him get away with—and when, if ever they will say enough.”

The Republican party—apparently happy with Trump’s tax cuts for the rich, deregulatory push, Supreme Court nominations and evisceration of ObamaCare—has abandoned its responsibility to keep the president in check. The spineless GOP totally caved to Trump, fearing the power of his voting base in potential primary challenges.

Kakutani also writes that like Big Brother in George Orwell’s “1984,” Team Trump exerts “control over reality by adjusting the past to conform with their worldview.”

She notes that within days of Trump’s inauguration, changes were made to the White House website’s section on climate change to conform with the president’s denial of a threat from global warming.

The Environmental Protection Agency also did its part, according to Kakutani, when it announced that its website was “undergoing changes that reflect the agency’s new direction.”

Its announcement included the chilling Orwellian phrase “updating language to reflect the approach of new leadership.”  War is peace/freedom is slavery/ignorance is strength, indeed.

The president’s tweet today attempted to re-write the history of the feeble federal response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

You won’t find truth-tellers in the Republican party (RIP John McCain) to challenge the presidential re-write. So it’s left to Democrats like San Juan’s mayor Carmen Ulin Cruz to speak truth to power in responding to Trump’s tweet.  

“He doesn’t understand that this isn’t about him and about his ego,” she told MSNBC. “This is about the inability of his administration, that he directs, to ensure that the appropriate help got to Puerto Rico in time.” Cruz tweeted that if Trump thinks losing 3,000 lives in Puerto Rico is a success, “Can you imagine what he thinks failure is?”

Good luck to all of the people in the path of Hurricane Florence.