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Comments on the President

An "attorney for 37 years" writes to the Times:

Then consider a ruling [on Trump's travel ban] against the "so called" president. He has shown himself to be entirely unhinged, and divorced from reality. I don't believe it is farfetched at this point to consider that he might impose martial law, should the Supreme Court rule against him. Such an action would certainly be consistent with his threatening, authoritarian behavior, and would have no Congressional challenge.
- Zatari, Comment on ADAM LIPTAK, Court Refuses to Reinstate Travel Ban, Dealing Trump Another Legal Loss, NYT, FEB. 9, 2017


“The difficulty is that Trump has a lot of crazy ideas in his head — like we should steal Iraq’s oil... or we need to ban Muslims from coming here,” said Max Boot, a military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations. “And I’m sure someone like [National Security Advisor H. R.] McMaster, like [Defense Secretary Jim] Mattis, understands how crackpot these ideas are.

“So can you say to the president, ‘Hey, Sir, you’re full” of it? Mr. Boot continued. “Or do you have to sugarcoat it and handle him with kid gloves? I suspect it’s the latter, and that’s not been H. R.’s approach. We’ll see if Trump is man enough to take it.”
- PETER BAKER, Will Trump Take ‘Brutally Forthright’ Advice From McMaster?, NYT, FEB. 25, 2017



George Lakoff argues that Trump's rhetoric is carefully designed to be effective:

Everything Trump does is purposeful. ... People think he's kind of nuts and so on. No. Everything, every tweet has a purpose. ... There are four types of tweets. Every one is strategic. Type 1 is what I'll call pre-emptive framing. He gets out there and frames the issue first, before anyone else can. ... Also, another thing, part of the tweet is a trial balloon, to see if people buy it.... Then, the other part of what he does with tweets is take the press away from real issues.... So... there's a diversion.... There's also... what is called a deflection, which is attack the messenger. ... So you have four types. You have pre-emptive framing, trial balloons, diversions, and deflections. ... He knows exactly what he's doing.
- George Lakoff, Trump’s Political Discourse and Linguistic Resistance with Professor George Lakoff, interview on KPFA, Feb. 21. 2017



An opposing view:

Geert Wilders, far-right icon, is one of Europe’s unusual politicians.... ...
“He’s the most strategic, smartest politician out there,” said Sarah de Lange, a political science professor at the University of Amsterdam. “He’s very skilled. He’s a very good debater. He has media savvy. Internationally, he’s compared to Trump. But with Wilders every tweet is thought through, calculated. With Trump it’s emotional.”
- ALISSA J. RUBIN, Geert Wilders, Reclusive Provocateur, Rises Before Dutch Vote, NYT, FEB. 27, 2017


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