Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Trump the Destroyer

With all the skill of an experienced arsonist, US President Donald Trump is preparing America for a firestorm. Voters who thought they were supporting the only capable firefighter around have been played.

LONDON – With all the skill of an experienced arsonist, US President Donald Trump is preparing America for a firestorm. His actions have heightened insecurity, instability, and fear, while potentially making populations elsewhere in the world even more susceptible to political fire-starters. Voters in the United States who thought they were supporting the only capable firefighter around have been played.

But Trump has a knack for manipulating perceptions. To deflect attention from potentially incendiary policies, he launches baseless accusations against his supposed enemies – beginning with the media. Portraying negative coverage as “fake news” has helped Trump to distract from scandals big and small: his family’s conflicts of interest, his dodgy business deals around the world, white supremacists among his senior staff, the rejection of ethics training for senior White House staff, and much else.

Perhaps the most prominent such scandal concerns the string of revelations tying Trump’s administration to Russia, including the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn over “misleading” the vice president about the nature of his pre-inauguration conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the US. When the charge of “fake news” proved inadequate to silence the whispers, Trump pulled out the big (still imaginary) guns, tweeting that former President Barack Obama had Trump Tower’s “wires tapped” before the election.

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