Donald Trump
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Despite promising myself that I’d never accept Donald Trump’s behavior or politics as normal, I have to admit that he’s worn me down. Some of his bad behavior is so familiar now that I can’t muster the interest to comment on it. I’m frankly bored by the news that the Chinese and Russians listen in on his phone calls because he doesn’t heed the experts who advise him how to keep his conversations secure. I know this is doubly or triply outrageous because he made such a big deal out of Hillary Clinton’s lapses in information security during her time as Secretary of State (“But, her emails!”). But the whole hypocrisy angle is so played out, and seems to make so little difference, that I can’t muster the energy to pursue it.

Of course I am alarmed and disturbed that our president is completely reckless and allows our adversaries to listen to his most private conversations.  But I concluded so long ago that he needs to be removed from office that this is like adding a grain of sand onto a sand dune of evidence.

The solitary thing in this story that interests me is that his own aides solace themselves that he’s such a dunce and so detached from his work that he can’t really do any harm.

Administration officials said Mr. Trump’s longtime paranoia about surveillance — well before coming to the White House he believed that his phone conversations were often being recorded — gave them some comfort that he was not disclosing classified information on the calls. They said they had further confidence he was not spilling secrets because he rarely digs into the details of the intelligence he is shown and is not well versed in the operational specifics of military or covert activities.

What’s almost funny about this is that it would be scandalous and outrageous if the national security team withheld operational specifics about military and covert activities from the president of the United States. But they don’t have to do that because he won’t read, understand or remember his briefings. If they want to do their due diligence, they can just give Trump a briefing paper longer than a few bullet points and rest relatively assured that the Chinese and Russians will never learn our secrets because the president will never learn of them himself.

At least, that’s what they tell themselves.

That this ludicrous and dysfunctional situation exists, persists, and is widely understood to keep us safer is an impeachable offense all by itself.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at