Trump can’t shut up about ‘collusion’. First it was “no collusion” and now he insists “collusion is not a crime.” I’ll bet he uses the word ‘collusion’ several dozen times a day in both public forums and private conversations. That’s not normal.
Trump and his ever more unhinged lawyer Rudy Giuliani are correct: collusion is not a crime. It is, however, the perfect means to commit a number of crimes. People with actual legal expertise have enumerated the many, many crimes that may be committed via collusion, so I won’t rehash them here. But it looks pretty likely that Trump, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and quite a few others colluded with Russia. The only question is whether the collusion resulted in crimes and whether the crimes can be proved.
What I’m stuck on, however, is not the act of collusion, it’s the constant use of the word. Watch one season of Law & Order and you know that silence is almost always the best option. Anything you say may be held against you. It’s true in the court of law and it’s true in the court of public opinion.
Trump gloms onto words and phrase and uses them over and over again. He’s still calling the media the Enemy of the People. And, of course, there’s always FAKE NEWS. He loves that one. It whips his supporters into a rage-filled, spit-flying frenzy. In recent days he accused the press of being “dangerous and sick.”
He loves to call people “dumb” and “foolish.” His latest attack is leveled at LeBron James, who is using his wealth to help kids get a great education. Trump has never used his own inherited wealth to do good, so perhaps he doesn’t understand the philanthropic instinct.
The thing is, when people make repeated, unfounded, ridiculous claims against others, you can bet they are actually talking about themselves. It’s a classic middle school deflection tactic. If I point the finger at someone else, maybe no one will notice that I’m at fault.
What Trump is telling us—daily—is that he definitely colluded with Russia, he is the enemy of the people, he is delivering fake news, he is dumb and foolish, he is sick and dangerous. His rhetoric is escalating in ways that seem designed to incite violence. Every day he sounds more like the brutal dictators he admires. And those who dismiss his speech as “just words” are both shortsighted and complicit.
Trump is telling us who he is. It’s time we took him at his word.