Rachel Maddow led off her show Tuesday evening by highlighting the latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine, the lead article of which was written by the magazine’s editor, Gideon Rose and entitled “Present at the Destruction.” In that article, Rose writes:
“Every administration spins, fights with the press and the bureaucracy, pushes its own agenda, and tries to evade intrusive oversight. But ordinary White Houses do not repeatedly lie, declare war on mainstream media institutions, pursue radical goals while disdaining professional input, and refused to accept independent scrutiny.
“How seriously you take these behaviors depends on how you assess the motivation behind them, generating a game some have taken to calling ‘Stupid or nefarious?'”
This is the very same question Maddow herself asked in February as she looked at the many missteps and blunders the Trump White House had made in the first month of the administration. Now, with the 100-day mark approaching, it’s worth another examination.
Rose also has this to say about Trump and his first three-plus months in office:
“Do slow appointments signal poor management or a deliberate attempt to ‘deconstruct the administrative state,’ as Trump guru Steve Bannon says? Is dismissing experienced senior officials en masse just a clumsy way of handling a presidential transition or a purge of potential obstacles and whistleblowers? Are all the lies mere venting or a deliberate plot to distract critics and undermine reasoned discourse?
“Damage is already being done.”
Just this week, we witnessed the revelation that the carrier battle group Trump and the Secretary of Defense had said was headed to the Sea of Japan as a way of sending a message to North Korea was actually headed for maneuvers with our Australian allies. Did the Trump team think they could hide the location of an aircraft carrier and the flotilla which surrounds it?
So: Stupid or nefarious? Considering that Donald Trump is the person in charge, it seems only fair to say it’s a bit of both. And that does not exactly make me sleep better at night. How about you?
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