It was driving me crazy. Donald J. Trump, our president, was reminding me of someone.
Not in an ideological or “political” way, but in his very being as president. It had been gnawing me since he took office but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then things started to escalate.
Trump lambasted a federal judge who dared rule against his “Not-A-Muslim” ban, labeling him a “so-called judge” who would “put our country in peril.”
He smeared a U.S. senator who dared reveal the president’s own Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, had called Trump’s comments about the federal judge and court “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”
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He ran to Twitter to scream, in all caps, “SEE YOU IN COURT” when a three-judge federal panel dared side with the first judge about the ban.
Never mind the judge who first ruled against Trump was duly appointed by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Never mind the comments of nominee Gorsuch revealed by Democrat Richard Blumenthal were confirmed emphatically by Republican Senator Ben Sasse. Never mind the three-judge panel that upheld the initial ruling did so unanimously and included another George W. Bush appointee.
Never mind any fact, truth, or reality. These judges and senators dared cross Trump and he let ’em have it. The media that reported it got theirs, too. It all seemed so familiar, yet I just couldn’t place it. Until Nordstrom.
Donald J. Trump this time ran not only to his personal Twitter account, but also the official POTUS account to rag the retailer for daring to drop his daughter Ivanka’s clothing line.
Never mind Nordstrom had reached its decision based on sales of Ivanka Trump products. Never mind the company had informed her of its decision personally and privately weeks earlier. Never mind Nordstrom is a business that made a business decision, which is what businesses are supposed to do.
Nordstrom, too, had crossed the Business Man President whose catch-phrase was “You’re Fired!” before deciding “Make America Great” had more legs. He then thought it perfectly proper to use his presidency to attack the company that crossed his daughter. That’s when it clicked.
In my home town there was a politician who never thought twice about railing individual judges or anyone else. Who thought personal disparagement was a bona fide management strategy. Who considered it perfectly proper to use his office to benefit his kids, once even saying, “If you can’t help your family, who can you help?”
Richard J. Daley was the hotheaded, notoriously nepotistic mayor of Chicago; the authoritarian basher if not destroyer of all who dared cross him. Daley was a Democrat, and his is the name Republicans and conservatives still drop to conjure the image of political ruthlessness and control. And if you think “Daley,” “Democrat,” and “Chicago” mean his politics were “liberal,” think again. Daley’s ideology was purely personal.
Donald J. Trump is uncannily, scarily, like Richard J. Daley. Except Daley didn’t have Twitter.
I may have to start calling Trump, “Hizzoner, Da Prez.”
Observer contributor Keith Larson can be heard weekdays from 9-11 a.m. on TheLarsonPage.com
An editorial on Tuesday misspelled the last name of UNC professor Charles Kurzman.