Don’t Fall for Trump’s Latest Distraction

A master tactician at work. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Once again, America has fallen hook, line, and sinker for Donald Trump’s distractions. He needed the media to stop focusing on his myriad scandals and poor handling of the coronavirus, so what did do? He went and lost the election to Joe Biden by 7 million votes, then fomented a riot that led to his second impeachment, and has now left the White House with attention-grabbingly terrible approval ratings. Guess what we’re not talking about instead: COVID, Trump’s shady Russia ties, his multitude of legal problems, take your pick. Instead, it’s all “That storming of the Capitol was really pretty crazy” and “Can you believe he isn’t president anymore?” With his latest brilliant feints, Trump has once again proven himself a savant of misdirection. While the rest of us were playing checkers, he long ago mastered political Jenga.

What’s so unfortunate is that we should have seen this coming. After all, it’s been proven that just about everything Trump did over the course of his presidency was a very calculated diversion from something else. Impeachment? In the end, a distraction from the coronavirus. Threatening to delay the election? Obviously, a tactic to redirect attention away from the faltering economy. His daily rage tweets? They might have seemed impulsive but were in fact carefully calibrated to throw everyone off the scent of his IRL outrages. (Getting banned from Twitter was all part of the plan, of course.)

But tracing all the distractions back to their sources can be challenging. For instance, killing Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was a distraction from the Ukraine scandal. That, in turn, was a distraction from the Mueller-report fallout, which was a distraction from the child-separation policy, which was a distraction from the failed Obamacare repeal, which was a distraction from Charlottesville, which was a distraction from the Muslim ban, which was a distraction from the underwhelming inaugural crowd size, which was a distraction from losing the popular vote, which was a distraction from concealed tax returns, which was a distraction from various business failures, which, believe it or not, were distractions from his poor academic record. Breaking down the entire chain from there becomes complicated, but it turns out that every shocking thing Trump has done since 1963 was ultimately a distraction from the time he got caught smoking at military school. Yep, that’s how far back this goes.

In no way was the stream of deranged remarks and actions Trump produced every day for the past five-plus years simply the product of an impetuous narcissist who is incapable of thinking more than seven minutes into the future. Rather, it was the cunning maneuvering of a coldly disciplined strategist. Anyone who tells you different just doesn’t understand politics. Trump’s political legacy may be in serious danger with Biden in office. But what if I told you the merciless rollback of Trump’s achievements is actually — you guessed it! — yet another distraction? (From all the other distractions.) He got us again!

Damn, he’s good.

Don’t Fall for Trump’s Latest Distraction