Donald Trump’s morning tweets accusing Barack Obama (personally) of tapping his phones “during the very sacred election process” is not about his phones. It’s about Russia.
Trump successfully steered the narrative of his short presidency in a more positive direction after his address to Congress only to see it take a hard turn off the rails with stories emerging on Thursday about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his contacts with Russia during the campaign.
Donald Trump has crossed a new line in modern American politics: personally attacking his predecessor. Any indication that he might be trying to strike a more presidential tone or find a more statesmanlike persona to achieve his legislative agenda is now no longer in question. There has long been a tradition of presidents graciously handing over the executive branch to the next president and some warm relationships have developed between former presidents.
If Donald Trump has evidence that there was illegal wiretapping in Trump Tower before the election or at any time then he should produce it. If he has no evidence then we should proceed with the investigations of Trump’s ties to Russia along with the appearance of collaboration between his campaign surrogates and Russian intelligence officials. In fact, pressure for Trump to release his taxes is increasing as questions about his financial connections to Russia swirl around Washington. The tweets this morning are a distraction and an attempt to shift attention away from at least four things:
- The ongoing questions about Trump and his campaign surrogates’ connections to Russia.
- The fact that two of his appointees, who were loyal to Trump throughout the campaign, have run aground. As a businessman Trump has a record of rewarding loyalty over competence and integrity.
- His administration is still failing to provide leadership on Obamacare and the repeal and/or replace debate continues to plague GOP leaders in Congress.
- As the list of Trump surrogates who have been dishonest about their ties to Russia continues to grow, the call for Trump to release his taxes increases.
Hopefully these tweets will not be the subject of questions on the Sunday news shows – the media needs to focus not on a fabricated assertion but on Trump’s record and the real issues that have arisen throughout the week. We can add wiretapping in Trump Tower to the long list of assertions that Trump has made with no evidence to support them and for which he is accountable.