Sometimes it's easy to see patterns. It's not because you have any insight spotting clues but rather because a person has drawn them Really Big in brightly-colored crayons and then tell you about it.
As I noted here, the other week Trump enthusiastically praised China's dictator Xi Jinping for ending presidential term limits. And then added, "He's now president for life. President for life. And he's great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll give that a shot some day"
And then just yesterday, he was at it again, trying to copy yet another of his favorite dictators, this time the brutal Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte, who has a policy of killing drug dealers. All drug dealers, any drug dealer, the drug dealer on the street corner, whatever, and if they get it wrong, well, that's the way it goes. Which you can do when you're a dictator, something Trump seems to like. And so he supported the policy --
“That means if we catch a drug dealer, death penalty. And they don’t have a problem."
Actually, just to clarify, they do have a problem, and it's a huge one -- it's the mass killing of drug dealers, often without due process which has ended up killing innocent people and small drug users, who are referred to in The Philippines as collateral damage.
(Soon after the statement, ace Republican senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin was asked about whether he agrees with the "kill all drug dealers" suggestion. He forthrightly responded, “I’m not sure it would be applicable to drug offenses.” He's not sure??? Man, how utterly, teeth-gnashingly irresponsible. Again. After all, just a few weeks ago, it was Sen. Johnson whose hair was on fire because of a text between FBI agents about what he claimed was an FBI secret society -- only to have to back off a day later when it turned out to be a joke about an after-work party.)
And no, this isn't just some Trump Quip (tm) that will be tossed off as "He was just joking" by his staff. This is already being discussed as actual policy. On "Fox News" today, for instance, their pundit Randy Zelin said, almost droolingly in anticipation of even executing children -- which, may I add, since it appears necessary we don't do in the United States -- " It’s all about deterrence. It’s all about letting someone know — perhaps even at a young age — that if you do this, it’s not going to get you the Mercedes and the Rolex and the house and all of the fun stuff. It’s going to get a needle in your arm.”
To be clear, it's not just the "kill all drug dealers" policy that Trump likes, but dictator Duterte himself. Last year, the transcript of a phone call between the mean was leaked, and Trump was reported to be heard saying to the dictator, “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem. Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”
The sad reality is that we know Trump loves dictators. He's of course lavished praise on Vladimir Putin, China's Xi and the vicious Tayyip Erogan of Turkey -- for whom a dozen security guards attacked protesters in Washington, D.C. last year, without much of a peep from Trump, though they were all indicted.
It's one thing though to know Trump personally likes dictators and praises them -- it's something else entirely for him to praise specific dictatorial actions which are not only virulently illegal in the U.S. but sickeningly anathema to American culture.
But oh, that Trump. He's just quite the guy. As far was would-be banana republic dictators go.
And you don't even need anyone to point out the hidden patterns for you. He happily, openly has done it all by himself. He's a Connect-the-Dots guy who connected them all for you first, long ago, and then colored the picture in so you couldn't miss it.
Maya Angelou famously said that when people tell you who they are, believe them.
Usually after saying the sort of thing that repulses people, his staff tries to dismiss it was "just a joke." Clearly, we've gotten past the point where that alone describes Trump. The Killer Clown.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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