From IAN BIRRELL
Abridged by Lasha Darkmoon
LD: The article you are about to read will probably make you want to vomit, particularly if you happen to be a staunch supporter of Donald Trump. Even if you dislike Trump, the article might strike you as grotesquely unfair. This article shows the mainstream media at its venomous worst. It is billed as “a vivid dispatch from the epicentre of US democracy still quaking from the aftershocks of a petulant, preening and poisonous presidential press conference that has exposed the DANGEROUS DELUSIONS OF THE DONALD.”
The article is followed by the full 77-minute press conference in which you will find a totally different Trump: a consummate showman in full control who is enjoying himself and is bursting with ebullient energy and confidence. In order to appreciate the sheer malevolence of the article, you need to watch this video also.
My advice to you is to skim through the abridged article if you are pressed for time and then proceed straight to the video, starting at the 24-minute mark. The first 24 minutes are relatively dull, consisting of a long monologue by Trump reading from a script. It’s only when Trump begins interacting with the reporters at the 24-minute mark that the real “action” kicks in. I was impressed by Trump’s bravura performance. He certainly made mincemeat out of the media, his sharpest barbs being reserved for CNN, the New York Times, and a Jewish reporter who had asked him a cheeky question about his “anti-Semitism”. (LD)
DANGEROUS DELUSIONS OF THE DONALD
IAN BIRRELL, Daily Mail columnist
How much has Russia’s malevolent President Vladimir Putin influenced Donald Trump? For months this frightening suggestion has rattled around the free world, with suggestions of dark deeds and nefarious dossiers. Last week, we saw one answer with an astonishing press conference straight out of the Kremlin textbook. It was filled with falsehoods, phoney claims and vicious verbal assaults on his enemies, like nothing seen before in the White House’s long history.
From the moment he strolled up to the East Room podium to present an epic one-man show, the delusions and the delirium of the 45th President of the United States were on full, and frankly, disturbing display. It marked a new low in the nation’s political history. Behind the trademark bluster and bombast, the world’s most powerful person revealed burning resentments and bristling insecurities rarely seen in a President, let alone one just four weeks into office.
Trump’s rambling soliloquy was punctured with self-pity, sarcasm and sheer fury before the world’s press – presenting an alternative reality to that seen by almost everyone else here in Washington. There was one truth at the outset when he declared: ‘I don’t think there’s ever been a President elected in this short period of time who has done what we’ve done.’
Certainly he has shaken up his nation, although not necessarily for the best. After just 30 days – yes, it seems much longer – Trump’s approval ratings have plunged to historic lows, while his administration has been plagued by chaos. There has been the divisive inaugural speech, bungled immigration ban, bumbling talks with foreign leaders, swirling rumours of Russian links, and chaotic appointments culminating in the humiliating sacking of his key security adviser.
The buffoonish 70-year-old billionaire with orange face, small hands and strange hair has picked ceaseless fights with judges, journalists and television jokers.
And he seems to expend huge political capital pursuing silly feuds on social media. Yet as he stood before the cameras, his yellow bouffant lost in glitzy golden drapes behind him, this strange insurgent politician claimed to be a great success still adored by the American people who had handed him power against all expectations.
‘I turn on the TV, open the newspapers, and I see stories of chaos,’ he said. ‘Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine – despite the fact that I can’t get my Cabinet approved.’
The 77-minute event, hastily arranged and featuring surreal flights of fancy, led one Senator to text: ‘He should do this with a therapist not on live TV.’ Another Republican insider described it to me as ‘performance art’. Others simply wonder if their President is a bit bonkers – prompting the psychiatry professor who defined narcissistic personality disorder to write to the New York Times saying it was stigmatising the mentally ill to be ‘lumped with Mr Trump’.
There were demands for ‘friendly’ questions, discussion of cable TV ratings, constant assaults on ‘fake news’, attacks on defeated rival Hillary Clinton, even telling an Orthodox Jewish reporter to ‘sit down’ for daring to ask about anti-Semitism.
At times it was terrifying, such was the detachment from the truth. And at times it was even touching. ‘I’m really not a bad person, you know,’ he mused. Above all, it was compelling – a car crash of a press conference by a politician who is a unique showman. Name another world leader you might watch for more than an hour and a quarter – even if it is with horror through your hands.
‘Tomorrow they will say ‘Donald Trump rants and raves at the press’,’ he said. ‘I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you. You know, you’re dishonest people. But I’m not ranting and raving. I love this. I’m having a good time doing it.’
Most remain perplexed at best, fearful at worst – and there are 1,353 more days of this until the next election. Perhaps this is the new politics amid anger against the established order. Yet one day this man and his ‘fine-tuned machine’ will be tested by real conflict, possibly with the spilling of American blood rather than silly skirmishes on Twitter.
And this is why, as you wander Washington’s corridors of power amid those splendid neo-classical buildings reeking of history, the mutterings grow louder about America’s bizarre new leader and his chaotic team. We have never witnessed such dysfunction and incompetence as this,’ said one former White House aide, now advising a prominent Republican Senator.
Others put it more starkly. ‘This is the most dangerous President in my lifetime,’ said (((Eliot Cohen))), a prominent defence analyst who served under George Bush. He was utterly scathing to me about the ineptitude and nastiness of Trump and his team.
Such fears are intensified by events such as last week’s press conference.
Hours later came news that Robert Harward, a retired admiral who was next pick for National Security Adviser, had turned down the post.
This role determines intelligence seen by a President, so could not be more crucial. General Mike Flynn, Trump’s foolish first choice with a fondness for conspiracy theories, was dismissed amid controversy that still rumbles over undisclosed links to Russia.
Already he has turned political certainties on their head.
First with his astonishing victory against all odds – and now with his ranting, his use of social media, his assaults on mainstream media and his amazing ability to brazen out falsehoods.
The big question is whether this turbulent presidency will settle down – perhaps restrained by establishment forces in courts, security and Congress already flexing muscles – or end up like Nixon, forced to resign in shame?
Just one month into the Trump epoch, this astonishing suggestion is already being discreetly aired as the dark shadow of Putin looms large. ‘It is not impossible if uncomfortable evidence emerges over Russia,’ said a foreign policy expert in the Senate.