The President of the United States, who is obsessed with calling any investigation of his administration or campaign organization a “Witch Hunt,” is, himself, engaged in a witch hunt of the most nefarious, Constitutionally-dangerous, and shameful kind. Not only is Mr. Trump setting his vainglorious sights on Attorney General Jeff Sessions in an ill-conceived effort to roust the AG from the Justice Department (and, thereby, cracking open a door to get rid of Special Counsel Robert Mueller), he has targeted transgender citizens for removal from—or refused entry into—any form of service in the U.S. Armed Forces. Wednesday morning’s presidential anti-transgender tweet follows on the heels of Mr. Trump’s Queeg-like search for “leakers” in the White House and throughout the Executive Branch. Talk about a witch hunt.
The continuation of this unbalanced man’s early morning searches for strawberries of villainy and treachery on Capitol Hill, behind the doors of the Justice Department, and in the White House itself would not be complete without entangling others in his unhinged rambles and rants. It is not satisfying enough, apparently, for Mr. Trump to watch adults like Jeff Sessions twist on the gallows of his contempt. It is also not enough, apparently, for Mr. Trump to play the Wizard of Oz to his political base and encourage his sham-entrapped entourage of electoral suckers to trumpet his praises despite his deceptions.
No. Mr. Trump is finding out that playing games with the grownups in Washington is not exciting enough (and may be a wee bit dangerous), so he turns to the kids in the country, specifically to the Boy Scouts of America (one of which he never was—probably due to that bone-spur that also kept him out of Vietnam, where John McCain was wasting America’s time by not being a hero).
Mr. Trump’s bizarre speech (full transcript here) on Monday to the Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, illustrates the murky depths of deception down to which this president will attempt to drag impressionable young Americans, involuntarily bound to the coils of his bombastic and simplistic rhetoric.
Had he simply followed the time-honored script of support and encouragement, Mr. Trump might have garnered more than a few lines of good press. He started out well enough:
“When you volunteer for the Boy Scouts you are not only shaping young lives, you are shaping the future of America.”
“The United States has no better citizens than its Boy Scouts.”
But then came the first clank of the Trumpian chains being fastened to the impressionable minds of the attending crowd:
“You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp, and it’s not a good place. In fact, today, I said we ought to change it from the word “swamp” to the word “cesspool” or perhaps to the word “sewer.”
“But it’s not good. Not good. And I see what’s going on. And believe me, I’d much rather be with you, that I can tell you.”
“Boy Scout values are American values. And great Boy Scouts become great, great Americans.”
“As the Scout law says, a scout is trustworthy, loyal ― we could use some more loyalty I will tell that you that.” (AG Sessions was an Eagle Scout)
I’m waving to people back there so small I can’t even see them. Man, this is a lot of people. Turn those cameras back there, please. That is so incredible. By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible massive crowd, record setting, is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero?”
“The fake media will say, ‘President Trump spoke’ ― you know what is – ‘President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today.’ That’s some ― that is some crowd. Fake media. Fake news.”
Clink. One more link added to the chain.
And then, for some unfathomable reason, Mr. Trump went off on a ten-minute memory lane trip to the history of William Levitt of Levittown fame, talking about Levitt’s rise to success, and then his downfall—sprinkled with references to yachts and New York parties. Relevant to the Boy Scouts how?
But lest you think Mr. Trump might have returned to the Boy Scout path, he stayed true to form and basked in the glory of his election, and how he duped the Trump deniers:
“Do you remember that famous night on television, November 8th where they said, these dishonest people, where they said, there is no path to victory for Donald Trump?” “But you remember that incredible night with the maps, and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue, and that map was so red it was unbelievable. And they didn’t know what to say.”
“So I have to tell you, what we did, in all fairness, is an unbelievable tribute to you and all of the other millions and millions of people that came out and voted for make America great again.”
CROWD: USA! USA! USA!
“And I’ll tell you what, we are indeed making America great again. What’s going on is incredible.”
What’s going on is more than incredible. What is going on is shameful, deceptive, duplicitous, unpatriotic, and, perhaps, in the end, un-Constitutional. Trump’s hunt for witches, is not the ethical or moral model for America’s young men and women involved in Scouting to follow.
Here is my simple message to the Scouts who listened to Trump on Monday and heard about Trump’s anti-transgender military service tweet on Wednesday: No matter what clothes they choose to wear, no matter what war they fight in, no matter the battles they have to face at home or in a foreign land, transgender Americans in uniform—soldiers, Navy and Coast Guard sailors, Marines, and airmen—have more patriotism in their little fingers than Donald Trump has in all his wildest dreams.