Donald Trump is on a mad power binge right now, doing a purge of all who are “disloyal” to him. Michael Atkinson, the inspector general who forwarded the whistle blower complaint to congress, has long been on Trump’s hit list and for whatever reason, Trump decided that Friday was the day to pull the plug. This is certainly not surprising and actually is part of an overt pattern of disabling the intelligence community. This isn’t what a democracy looks like. New York Times:
The slew of late-night announcements, coming as the world’s attention is gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, raised the specter of a White House power play over the community of inspectors general, independent officials whose mission is to root out waste, fraud and abuse within the government. […]
The administration official described the move as part of a broader shake-up of the intelligence community that Mr. Trump has set in motion in the past several weeks. He recently installed Richard Grenell, the ambassador to Germany known for his combative conservatism, as the acting director of national intelligence, a position where presidents typically look to install career officials or apolitical appointees. And Mr. Trump has nominated one of his top allies in Congress, Representative John Ratcliffe of Texas, to the take over the post permanently.
The ouster of Mr. Atkinson came as the White House announced five nominees for inspector general positions. They included Brian D. Miller, an aide to Mr. Trump in the White House counsel’s office, who was tapped to be the newly created special inspector general for pandemic recovery.
Trump hasn’t given a solid reason for firing Atkinson, “loss of confidence” not being good enough. Trump also put Atkinson on administrative leave, rather than give a thirty day notice to him and the rest of the government that he’s making the change, as he is required to do by law. This is no different from when he had Alexander Vindman walked out of the White House and fired his brother, Yevgeny, as well, although the man had nothing to do with the impeachment hearings. His only infraction was being the brother of Alexander Vindman and in Trump world that’s enough.
These are banana republic machinations, and in true form, Trump gave a total banana republic performance at his press briefing Saturday. Pure vindictiveness and rancor oozed. Trump is a bombastic buffoon most of the time, but today he showed another, creepier side. He showed the creature under the rock, the one that envies, the one that schemes, the one that hates. Take a look at this. You can tell your grandchildren, either now or in the future, if they haven’t been born yet, that this is what it looks like when a petty, authoritarian personality gets too much power.
The President admits he fired the ICIG over the whistleblower report pic.twitter.com/UwJ7wLJC1B
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 4, 2020
“That man is a disgrace to IGs… He’s a total disgrace.. That’s my decision. I have the absolute right… He’s a fake whistleblower and frankly somebody should sue his ass off” pic.twitter.com/Sz4SotQJMs
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 4, 2020
It’s not clear whether Trump is talking about suing the ass off the whistle blower or the inspector general, but I’m sure either or both would be fine with him. At least he said, “sued” rather than hung.
But look at him — if you can stand to. Look at the loathing, seething resentment and barely contained rage. This is not a mature personality, or anything close to it. This is a partially formed personality, that got warped along the way and never fully developed. He sees everything in childlike terms, because he is pure ego, pure id. He never learned basic give and take, or how to cope with frustration, things most of us get before grade school. He was given everything on a silver platter and never had a real job in his life. And now he’s found himself suddenly and grotesquely miscast as a world leader in a time of crisis — a crucible which has had the effect of showing the mettle of many a man and woman. As Michelle Obama said, “I’ve seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.”
Ladies and gentlemen, behold Donald Trump. This is who he is. This is all there is.
Do not expect this malicious, mendacious being to exit the White House with the dignity or grace of a Jimmy Carter or a George H.W. Bush. Bush gave a particularly gracious concession speech, as you may recall, and was immediately lauded for his “patrician” ways. Donald Trump never even heard the word.