The most unqualified person to run for president or vice president in recent memory prior to Donald Trump was obviously Sarah Palin. However, unlike Sarah Palin, Trump has never held an elected position in government of any kind. So, being the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska puts Palin ahead of Trump which is saying a LOT.
Because of this, we have little to go on when judging his suitability to run the entire country. And we can’t really judge him on his business acumen given his multiple bankruptcies and the fact that Atlantic City, New Jersey now has an Emergency Manager, largely thanks to Trump’s failures there. So, we’re left to judge him by the people he has hired to run his campaign and speak on his behalf.
You could start with his campaign manager Paul Manafort. You may recall that Trump recently appeared unaware that Russia had invaded Ukraine and taken over Crimea. Back when the invasion was happening, Trump was actually against it. However, he’s now indicated that he’s just fine with Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. And it’s widely believed that Paul Manafort is the reason for this:
- Donald Trump has frequently expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin, viewing him as a “strong” leader who Trump “admires.” Trump has also given wildly differing statements on his personal relationship with Putin.
- Trump has on multiple occasions suggested a weakening of the NATO alliance.
- Despite this, Trump previously expressed support for the Ukraine.
- After Trump hired Paul Manafort, a man who had worked for—and may still be working for—pro-Russian forces seeking to destroy the democratic government of the Ukraine, Trump’s position on the Ukraine changed to one that is far more friendly to Russia.
- Trump campaign staff, including former Rumsfeld assistant J. D. Gordon, halted the implementation of pro-Ukraine language in the GOP platform, and insisted on language that was much more supportive of Russia after saying they had to speak directly to Trump about the policy.
- One week after the change was written into the GOP platform, emails hacked from the DNC were released through Wikileaks. Both government and independent investigators have identified the hackers as being associated with the Russian government.
- Donald Trump suggested that Russia might also hack Hillary Clinton’s email server and recover 30,000 emails (which are not ‘missing,’ but were personal emails deleted by a team of lawyers who reviewed the server).
- Trump later claimed he was being sarcastic, but within a week of his request, further hacks took place at the DCCC and the Hillary Clinton campaign. These hacks have also been identified as coming from Russian sources.
- Both Manafort and Trump issued denials that they had anything to do with the changes to the Republican platform, despite the many witnesses and despite having made no objection to the news as it was reported at the time.
- Trump, in interview, seemed not only confused about the two year old invasion of the Ukraine, but gave apparently contradictory indications that, were he elected, he would cede the occupied Crimea to Russia, and that the Russians would withdraw from the Ukraine.
None of that is speculation. Not one word of it is theory.
This is the sort of person that Trump hired to run his presidential campaign.
Now let’s look at his spokesperson, Katrina Pierson. During a CNN interview, Pierson blamed President Obama for the death of Captain Humayun Khan whose father gave a powerful speech condemning Trump at the Democratic National Convention. “It was under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that changed the rules of engagement that probably cost his life,” she told Wolf Blitzer.”
It was a ludicrous statement because Cpt. Khan was killed in 2004 and Barack Obama wasn’t sworn into office until 2009. President Obama is truly a powerful and effective man but, so far as I know, he’s not a time traveler.
Pierson was then forced to walk the provably false statement back and did it in classic Trumpian style:
Asked on CNN’s “New Day” whether she wished to apologize to Khizr Khan, the father of the fallen soldier who had on Tuesday night blasted her “lack of understanding” and “lack of factual correctness,” Pierson responded, “Apologize for the timeline.”
“What I was talking about is the fact that Donald Trump has no connection to anything having to do with Capt. Khan, who was a brave war hero. The timeline is very simple and true, Alisyn,” she told co-host Alisyn Camerota. “Hillary Clinton voted for the war in Iraq. She did not support the surge. Barack Obama made things worse by invading more countries than President Bush did.”
Camerota noted that Khan was killed in 2004 when Bush was president.
“But Donald Trump wasn’t there,” Pierson said. “That is the only point. That’s the only point. Donald Trump is being blamed for something he had nothing to do with, and he did not attack this family.”
Co-anchor John Berman reminded Pierson that on Tuesday she had told Wolf Blitzer that Clinton and Obama changed the combat rules of engagement that “probably cost his life.”
“You do acknowledge now that there you were just wrong?” Berman asked.
“Well, absolutely,” Pierson said. “That’s why I used ‘probably,’ because I was just going through the timeline, because since then we have had tens of thousands of soldiers that have been lost, 1 million wounded, $6 trillion later. How can we possibly put any the onerous [sic] on Donald Trump? It is absolutely absurd. And that’s why you see all this confusion surrounding this issue, because Donald Trump had absolutely nothing to do with this.”
To date, nobody is “putting the onerous” on Donald Trump for Cpt. Khan’s death. They are, however, loudly condemning him for his attacks on Cpt. Khan’s Gold Star family who have sacrificed so much for our country. So, like her boss, Pierson is not only stupid and uninformed, she is, very simply put, a liar. On national television. About things that are provably wrong.
This sort of chutzpah is right out of Trump’s playbook.
Given that these are the sorts of people Donald Trump hires and relies upon, consider for a moment what his cabinet appointments will look like. Then recoil in horror as you contemplate the sorts of people he’ll appoint to the Supreme Court.
One other thing: Two of the most visible and vocal surrogates for Trump’s campaign are his sons Don, Jr. and Eric. In the midst of all of this and as the general election campaign gets underway in earnest, both of them are out of the country.
[CC image credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr]