Donald Trump's opponents are outraged -- as they should be. But Trump is the Master of Distraction. One outrage is rapidly followed by another. He constantly shifts the focus of his critics. Jonathan Freedland writes:
If Trump succeeds in moving past Charlottesville, it won’t only be thanks to an unavoidable process of attrition that has worn liberals down. I’m afraid Trump’s opponents made a tactical error. He wanted to change the subject to the question of Confederate statues – and they let him. Days after those violent clashes had seen an antiracist protester murdered, the national conversation centred not on that act of terrorism but on which historical figures should be remembered, and how.
Make no mistake, that’s an important argument. But it is inevitably a nuanced one that, as we have seen in Britain too, divides liberal opinion. Two people, equally fervent in their loathing of racism, might disagree on whether it’s better to remove a monument, or keep it as a reminder of a shaming past. And there will never be an easy consensus on where to draw the line. If owning slaves is the key criterion, should the statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson come down too?
Trump’s opponents have spent much of the past two weeks talking about Confederate generals and US history, when they should have maintained a laser focus on the key and shocking point: that an American president spoke with sympathy and admiration for neo-Nazis; that he put these fascists on a moral par with those who oppose them; and that he was more animated in condemning what he called the alt-left than he ever was in lambasting those who parroted the slogans of the KKK, who brandished the symbols of white supremacism and who chanted: “Jews will not replace us.”
I doubt that this is a conscious strategy on Trump's part. His brain is simply too chaotic to arrive at such a strategy on its own. But it's that chaotic brain which has enabled him to survive and to shift responsibility for his actions on to others.
Trump's latest outrage is issuing a pardon for Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The implications for the rule of law in the United States are ominous.
All of the outrages add up to one indisputable conclusion. Trump has no respect -- for the law, for history, for those he claims to represent. So now it is time to focus on one objective -- removing them from office.