Trump Tries to Derail Gun Control and the Russia Probe in One Repulsive Move

It seems every day that we’ve hit a point where it’s impossible to be more outraged than we already are by the Trump Administration’s continued affronts to decency. But every day they manage to find a way to to plumb new depths of depravity.

After the mass school shooting Donald Trump made a point of visiting the hospital and the police in the aftermath. Even as the brave survivors of the assault were making impassioned and heartbreaking pleas for reasonable controls on firearms, Trump was posing like a grinning idiot with a big thumbs up in front of a line of cops. He even made the image his twitter background, as if seeming to celebrate with law enforcement in the aftermath of a deadly shooting fit the somber mood.

Trump then made a point of honoring the dead by….skipping golf for a day. Instead, he went to a disco party at his private Mar-A-Lago resort. If this were the script of a political novel, the editor would throw it out as unbelievable pulp fiction trash with a ludicrous villain. But here we are.

But Trump did something even more appalling than all this yesterday.

Now, there are those who say we should ignore these tweets as a mere distraction. That’s understandable. But these are the official communications of the President of the United States. They matter. And this one in particular is so detestable that it requires special condemnation.

Trump is doing two things here: first, attempting to deflect the ire of the nation against the NRA and the gun merchants of death onto the FBI. Second, he is attempting to use the FBI’s failure to adequately investigate the gunman as an excuse to attempt the law enforcement officials working on the Russia conspiracy and his own obstruction of justice probe–even as he takes tone-deaf photo ops using law enforcement as props.

It’s true that the FBI dropped the ball in not dealing with the shooter when warned. But it’s also true that insofar as the FBI failed in this regard, it was due to institutional conservatism and latent racism. There is no chance that the same organization that blackmailed MLK Jr. and infiltrated Peace Fresno would have ignored the shooter if he were a black or Muslim radical. But likely in part since the shooter was an openly Trump-supporting white supremacist, the FBI did nothing. That doesn’t exactly help conservative and Trumpist claims against the FBI.

More importantly, on the very day after Robert Mueller leveled indictments against over a dozen Russian conspirators, an innocent president of the United States would have promised to get to the bottom of it and stop such a thing from happening again. Not Trump. A president who wasn’t a sociopath would have assured children all across America that law enforcement would never again overlook a threat to their safety on his watch. A president who wasn’t an ethical garbage fire wouldn’t have made the deaths of seventeen children all about him, especially when the gun policies he and his party supports were being so roundly and furiously criticized by survivors, classmates and bereaved parents.

But the president we have is a moral monster, lacking in empathy, decency or true patriotism. He saw an opportunity to all at once deflect from his party’s unpopular gun policy while attacking his perceived enemies at the FBI (let all that sink in for a moment), and he took it. No doubt thinking himself quite clever the entire time. It’s disgusting.

I’m sure tomorrow will bring yet another, even deeper outrage. But for now, it’s hard to fathom what it would be.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.