Enough is too much

For a while, Donald Trump was a firebrand, the outsider who rattled cages. Then he was the louche lothario who demeaned women. Next he floated through various guises from narcissist to boyish, from arrogant to brutish. He made his cabinet ministers fawn for the cameras. He stretched the truth and twisted the past to suit his future. Loyalty mattered, but only as it was lavished on him. As the first senator to support Trump the candidate, attorney-general Jeff Sessions got little loyalty in return.

Along with a lot of other people I endured all that, including his admiration for strong men like Vladimir Putin of Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Jaroslaw Kaczynski of Poland, none of whom respect democracy. Yet Trump wouldn’t even take the offered hand of Germany’s Angela Merkel during their meeting in the Oval Office. And there was his nonsensical belief that China was somehow going to put a lid on the madman plan by North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to blow up the world.

I have admired most U.S. presidents. Along with a small group of journalists, I interviewed George Herbert Walker Bush in the Roosevelt room in the White House. I tracked along with Bill Clinton as he and Al Gore campaigned in Florida and snagged an exclusive interview with Clinton simply by waiting until he’d shaken every hand at an outdoor rally. The rest of the media had long since boarded the bus. I’ve read all four volumes, more than 3,000 words, of Robert Caro’s stunning biography of Lyndon Johnson.

But from this day forward, I’m going to pay no attention whatsoever to Donald Trump, unless he causes World War III, which is entirely possible. His speech this week to the Boy Scouts jamboree in West Virginia was a braggadocio too far. He spoke to them as if they were red-neck supporters instead of impressionable young people. He bullied, he swore, he debased the office of President. It will matter not a whit to Trump that I am no longer paying attention, but it matters to me.


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