Unusual and unseemly is one way it’s being described. Dysfunctional is another. The President-elect of the United States is holding a drama-ridden reality TV-style selection process for some of the most important positions in the United States government. People like Rudy Giuliani are openly lobbying in public for the position of Secretary of State to try to box the President-elect in, while the President-elect himself parades contestants through the lobby of his building and then tweets out his impressions of his meetings to get visceral public reaction.
It’s unprecedented, and not in a good way, but in a third-world banana republic sort of way. It’s the combination of two innate characteristics of Trump: impulsiveness and indecisiveness. If Trump cannot make decisions on impulse he’s notoriously indecisive.
Dominated by these two characteristics, Trump confronts a particularly difficult dilemma at the moment. This is the first time he has had to get other people’s permission, in this case the Senate’s, to hire someone. In the past he could simply hire and fire people on impulse and deal with the repercussions through use of the bankruptcy laws, nondisclosure agreements, legal action against critics, and withholding of payment to contractors. When it comes to the people’s business, however, he can’t do that. Hence the drawn-out, leak-ridden, transition appointment process. As one Republican commentator has put it, it is exactly the type of management dysfunction that wears out and degrades good people and good decision-making.
That’s the dysfunction part. The distraction part is more direct. Or is it?
Those who are trying to attach adult logic to the bursts of Twitter rants from the President-elect speculate that his tweets are designed to distract from serious issues like his conflict of interest problems or the backgrounds of some of his appointees. It’s the only adult explanation they can think of for a President-elect to be acting like a child online.
There are others, however, who think the child analogy is more explanatory. To them it seems clear that Trump’s ego simply cannot handle the fact that he is losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton – by millions! As a result he’s gone from criticizing the Electoral College system to praising it to now peddling the lie that he would have won the popular vote but for “millions” of illegal votes.
Thankfully people have finally started to call such statements what they are – outright lies by the President-elect. Stung by this criticism and after being pressed for any documentation whatsoever to back up the lie, Trump started tweeting and re-tweeting his so-called “evidence.” One of these re-tweets turned out to be a conclusory statement from a self-identified 16 year-old Trump supporter. But most came from an alt-right fake news conspiracy theory outlet that sometimes surpasses even Bannon’s Breitbart News in outrageousness. You’ve heard of them; Alex Jones’s InfoWars. Alex Jones is this guy:
Trump praised Jones while appearing on his show during the campaign. Jones is infamous for making claims like the following:
— The Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11 were carried out by the U.S. Government
— The Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax, faked using child actors
— Juice boxes contain chemicals that are designed to make children gay
— The government is conspiring with major pharmaceutical companies to make Americans ill with airplane chemical trails
We’re not joking! These are actual claims made by Alex Jones and InfoWars and they are but a very, very small sample of the unhinged nonsense that Alex Jones peddles there. And it’s what President-elect Donald J. Trump – while he skips intelligence briefings – is using as one of his main sources of news.
Serious Democrats and Republicans alike cringe. The world wavers between trepidation and howls of laughter at seeing American self-righteousness brought low so easily. Russia celebrates what it sees as the demise of American democracy.