The Trump leak saga continues

Axios published a story that recounts the president meeting with his communications staff after the inappropriate McCain comments were leaked.[1] At the meeting, his staff accused each other of being a leaker and the story leaked.[2] None of this is new. None of this is surprising.

Trump wants this drama. He encourages the leaks, the infighting, the intrigue. He knows they keep attention on him. Trump is the man who isn’t a president in real life, but he plays one on TV. He lives in a reverse Truman show where only he knows the script and everyone else is being manipulated.

We know that Trump leaks. He talks to reporters regularly. He loves the power that comes from the fact that everyone wants access to him. They will do anything for it and once they have it they will do anything to keep it. Trump insults a reporter yet they continue to gain access and desire access. They know he sells their product. Trump loves this type of power, yet, he does not understand political power. He understands how to create group loyalty to give him the appearance of personal power but cannot translate that into institutional power. By contrast, Lyndon Johnson was less interested in group loyalty as he was in political power, the institutional power that makes him effective.

Like Trump, Johnson wanted to be the center of attention. He craved public acceptance and most importantly the acceptance of the DC elite. Like Trump, he was considered crude and ill manner. There is an important difference though. Johnson wanted to wield political power. He wanted to change the country and he succeeded. He reshaped the country in his image by giving the people what they needed for he had lived as they had. He had grown up poor. He was not there to serve his supporters, his political party, or himself, he was there to serve America. He knew that his legacy would be the common good that he created. Trump, lacks both the vision and understanding as he pursues a private good that rewards his family first, then his business associates and finally, his supporters.

Trump’s greatest success, his tax plan, came more from what Congress wanted than he directed. The event was stage managed as companies who received billions in tax relief giving thousand-dollar bonuses to their employees. The tax benefits are best for Trump’s immediate supporters but only for the common good indirectly. He has not remade the country so much as re-mortgaged it.

Trump wants the leaks and most importantly the *stories* about the leaks to keep his supporters engaged. Their group identity is reinforced with each tweet. They believe there is a deep state conspiracy[3] behind the leaks with the media trying to destroy Trump even though he courts them, talks to them, and most importantly leaks to them.[4]

Johnson never confused the game[5] for the goal. Trump has. America is poorer for it but Trump and the media makes billions from it.[6]


[1] Here is the story about the meeting to discuss the leaked story. Here is the meeting about the leak that leaked. this was based on leaked comments by Kelly Sadler who made an inappropriate remark about Senator McCain.

[2] It is rather curious that Trump left the Oval Office door open during the meeting.

[3] Trump encourages this belief.

[4] Trump is the first WWE president.

[5] Johnson understood the media and courted it aggressively. Here he is smooth talking Katharine Graham of the Washington Post. As well as other media figures.


About lawrence serewicz

An American living and working in the UK trying to understand the American idea and explain it to others. The views in this blog are my own for better or worse.
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