Bob Franken




I Ican never remember: Is it “The best offense is a good defense,” or “The best defense is a good offense”? Let’s choose offense as defense, because the president, Donald Trump, wants to get re-elected. He constantly uses his offensiveness to shield him from accountability for various obnoxious acts. And it usually works. At least so far. Note that I didn’t say “criminal acts,” because he’s taken the position in court that he can’t be investigated. So we don’t know what evil lurks beneath that legal facade. Yet.
But Trump has made an art form of bombarding adversaries with charges of wrongdoing as a way to fend off answering for his shady past — or, for that matter, shady present. Remember how he turned on Hillary Clinton and accused her of so much corruption and even encouraged his rabid followers to chant “Lock her up”?
Four years later, he is in rare form. On May 10, after tweeting “HAPPY MOTHERS DAY,” he proceeded to flood the cyber world with accusations, leading to the third highest total tweets in a day of his presidency — 126 in all. During Trump’s rampage he accused his predecessor of criminal acts — excuse me, “Obamagate” — charging Barack Obama with illegally trying to use his presidential powers while in office to sabotage Trump’s campaign. That was apparently a retaliation for a conference call Obama had with former staffers where he referred to the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus invasion as a “chaotic disaster.”
Trump was not done that day of making outlandish criminal charges of those he perceives as enemies. This was his attack on Joe Scarborough:
“When will they open a Cold Case on the Psycho Joe Scarborough matter in Florida. Did he get away with murder? Some people think so. Why did he leave Congress so quietly and quickly? Isn’t it obvious? What’s happening now? A total nut job!”
That has to do with the 2001 death of a young female aide, two months AFTER Scarborough had announced he’d be leaving Congress. He wasn’t even in the same town as the aide, who died, investigators determined, due to natural causes. But that didn’t stop Donald Trump from making innuendoes against Scarborough, who regularly roasts him on his MSNBC show.

Sometimes he’s a little more subtle. The Trumpster is dealing with a variety of legal actions involving the 25 or so women who have charged him with sexual misconduct, to say nothing of the allegation that he tried to hide relations with a couple of not-his-wives, including a stripper.
Now, lo and behold, his presumptive Democratic opponent is fending off an accusation that he sexually assaulted a woman. Joe Biden was also accused of corruption in Ukraine, and President Trump’s role in coercing that country’s new leader to say so got him impeached.
Meanwhile, his followers lap up this stuff. They substitute conspiracy theories for common sense. They thrive on grievances. And Trump is their guy for that.
Remember “Seinfeld” and the made-up holiday Festivus? Then you’ll probably remember that there was a holiday dinner, which included an “Airing of Grievances,” as each one got to tell the others how each had mistreated him or her during the past year. Well, to Donald Trump, every day is Festivus.
If he isn’t charging opponents with a crime or grousing about something or other, he’s seeking scapegoats. Right now he’s blaming China for the COVID crisis, instead of acknowledging it was really a result of his dismissive actions early on and his administration’s incompetent response. And of course any reporting about his failures is met with a curt “fake news.”
Here is a guy who personifies the saying that the best defense is a good offense. We could also say that he’s the emperor without clothes. But that’s an image too disgusting to contemplate.

© 2020 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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