At The Atlantic, Eliot Cohen writes this about President Trump's disclosure of highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador:
He apparently divulged the information to show off, which not only shows a lack of self-discipline: It shows, yet again, how easy this man is to play, particularly by veteran manipulators like his two experienced, talented, and thuggish guests.
Do you think Trump was played? Do you think he was manipulated? I have serious doubts about that. Recall how The Washington Post described the revelation:
In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner.
It seems likely that he was just spontaneously trying to impress his important guests. For me, with Trump, it always comes back to what Mark Cuban said during the campaign:
“He’s like that guy who walks into the bar, and will say whatever it’ll take to get laid. Only in this case he’s not trying to fuck some girl. He’s trying to fuck the country,” he said to applause and laughter.
If I'm right, this was the same impulse in a non-sexual, non-electoral way: In Trump's mind, he was putting the moves on the Russians, and he knew something that would really impress them.
And this gets back to another preposterous thing about Trump: He's desperate to impress everyone, but his knowledge base is so deficient that he has no idea what's actually impressive. He gets amazing inside intelligence? Well, of course he does -- he's the president of the United States! But he seriously believes that top Russian officials won't realize that he's briefed on such details unless he tells them.
He's always like this. As his hundred-day milestone approached, distributed electoral maps to reporters -- as if they hadn't seen the map of his electoral college win. When the Trumpcare bill passed the House, he gathered House Republicans at the White House and told them, among other things,
"I’m president! Hey! I’m president! Can you believe it? Right?”
I don't have any grand thoughts about this, except that it's terrifying that a boy-man like this is president.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog