One feature of populists is that they express a special loathing for the devices of conventional politicians. Not for the populist the weasely dodging of journalists’ questions or the tricks of media management. What you see with Donald Trump is what you get. Straight answers to questions, even from the crooked media, and even if liberal America is horrified by his telling it like it is. And direct, unfiltered communication, straight from the great man’s Twitter account.
So President Trump’s supporters ought to feel a little uncomfortable, then, that the great unspun leader has resorted to one of the oldest tricks in the public-relations book: using a big event to distract from news he wants to bury.
As Hurricane Harvey whirled into Texas and America held its breath for literal breaking news, the President got on with the business of confirming yet again his unfitness for office. Not mentioned on Mr Trump’s personal Twitter account yesterday was a direction issued by the White House instructing the US military to maintain the ban on recruiting transgender people. And then, in a the middle of a stream of tweets about hurricane preparedness late last night the President said: “I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full pardon to 85-year-old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He kept Arizona safe!”
Each of these is a regrettable decision. The Obama administration had been working on a policy of allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the military. Yesterday’s memorandum directs the military not to go ahead with the plan, and bans the Department of Defense from…
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