Let’s get a few things straight. Facts are facts, alternative facts are lies, and speculation is conjecture. This ruleset — known to people around the world as reality — is how we define the universe that most of Earth’s inhabitants occupy.
Then there’s Donald Trump. Since before he was elected, the man who would become “leader of the free world” has made over five misleading or false claims per day.
Rather than defend his gut-wrenchingly poor performance and acrid approval ratings by citing facts, Trump and his die-hard supporters shift the conversation to unknowable things. For example, how much worse off we would be had his campaign opponent, Hillary Clinton, become president. With respect, Mr. President, that argument isn’t just misleading — it’s entirely beside the point.
Trump’s Still Scared of “Crooked Hillary”
North Korea’s fear-mongering dictator Kim Jong Un should be proud of himself. In earning the pet name “Little Rocket Man,” he’s joined a short list of Trump enemies that include “little” Marco Rubio, “leakin’” James Comey and, of course, “crooked” Hillary Clinton. Is anyone else disturbed that our president acts like a poorly cast Al Capone in a terrible noir film?
Every one of those people, save for Kim, is American. Trump is putting more time and energy into smearing those he perceives as having wronged him in the U.S. than he is into conducting the responsibilities of president properly.
As recently as November 2017 — one full year after the 2016 election that saw Trump win over Clinton — Trump took to social media to attack Clinton to distract his base from potentially damaging realities. These days, Clinton is little more than a commentator. She poses no real threat to Trump, though she has pointed out flaws in a number of his policy decisions.
Nobody’s Perfect, Donald
Maybe it’s all-too-timely that Clinton should become Trump’s scapegoat at a moment when society is stripping away the protective layer of lies that have safeguarded rape culture for so long.
Those who have eyes to see know that while Clinton may not have been the perfect candidate, her tact and experience would have been welcome alternatives to the conceit and bigotry that has defined this administration. Many believe Clinton is a misunderstood and misrepresented politician to begin with, which likely ties back to twisted gender expectations.
Candy Crowley, award-winning journalist and former chief political correspondent for CNN, has called Clinton a survivor. Crowley interviewed Clinton at length and believes she simply does what she can to protect herself as a female politician who has been “hurt to the core of her heart” in the public space.
Indeed, women in the public eye are often attacked undeservingly for not keeping quiet, and Clinton is just this moment’s woman who will not shut up and sit down, as many would like her to do.
The Time to Move on Has Come and Passed
It is a fact that the president of the United States does not have to answer to his former campaign opponents. Not once did you hear Barack Obama make a statement about how things would be different had John McCain or Mitt Romney become president. There was no reason to make such statements.
Donald Trump doesn’t have to answer to Hillary Clinton — he has to answer to the American people. His penchant for bringing up Hillary when things get difficult likely comes from Trump’s need to feed his own ego — it’s a motive that seems much closer to his core values than delivering actual progress for the people of the United States.
Yet, at the end of the day, what Hillary may or may not have done does not excuse the actions of you, Donald, our current actual president. Hmm, casting negative attention and blame away from a man and onto a woman… sound like an eerily familiar theme? Hello, rape culture?
Even when Clinton was Trump’s opponent, it seemed that all Trump could focus on was the poorly understood political football that Benghazi has become and Clinton’s emails. Well, the emails have been investigated, and Hillary is scot-free. We’ll see if President Trump fares so well in his own federal investigation.
Is Trump Goading Hillary Into a 2020 Bid?
Some people believe Trump wants to keep Clinton feeling relevant so she will choose to run against him in 2020. Having defeated Hillary once — the story goes — Trump likes his odds against the former Secretary of State and First Lady.
That’s a sweet story if you believe, as some do, that Trump is a master tactician clothed in deceptively poor-fitting suits. However, Clinton has already gone through two presidential campaigns, and the Democratic Party has observed that while she may have the qualifications, her relationship with Americans is too awkward to make her a compelling candidate.
With names like Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders eying a spot on the ticket, Trump is running a fool’s errand if he thinks he’ll frustrate Clinton into running. Even if he did, she would face considerable challenges in the primaries against candidates that can defeat Trump.
No, Clinton may never enjoy the power that Trump does as president. But when an American president is so self-absorbed as to use the highest post in the country just to remind people of the way he beat Hillary Clinton because the thought of being critiqued by a capable female leader rattles him to his core… well, perhaps that’s a win of some kind.