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Mark Alexander / Feb. 7, 2017

Stop Saying Stupid S—t … Please

Trump’s comparison of U.S. and Russian foreign policy is flat wrong.

In an off-the-record remark to his adoring media on an Air Force One junket two years ago, Barack Obama summarized his foreign policy: “Don’t do stupid s—t.” This past weekend, in an interview with Bill O'Reilly, Donald Trump’s mind-numbing response to a foreign policy question took the bar for careless and stupid remarks to a new low.

Referencing questions about Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin, O'Reilly remarked that Putin is a “killer.” Trump’s response was mystifying: “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?” Giving Trump time to think about what he was saying, O'Reilly rebutted, “I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers.” But it wasn’t enough time… Trump shot back, “Well, take a look at what we’ve done, too. We made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.” O'Reilly again tried to intervene: “Yes, mistakes are different than…” But Trump interjected, “We made a lot of mistakes, OK, but a lot of people were killed. So, a lot of killers around, believe me.”

According to fellow Tennessean David French, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and an astute foreign policy analyst, “[Trump] is not only obscuring the truth, he’s injecting nonsensical moral relativism into American foreign policy — a relativism that can undermine national resolve in the face of an increasing Russian threat.”

Yes, Trump is new to the office and doesn’t have an ounce of political polish, which can be one of his more attractive attributes. And his administration nominees rival the pedigrees of those nominated by even Ronald Reagan. But Trump is most assuredly not the “great communicator” President Reagan was.

Will Trump stop the endless loop of stupid remarks and social media posts before he self destructs? Its as if he believes he can control the “Make America Great Again” script like he controlled his successful reality-TV show scripts.

During his campaign, Trump’s plethora of unforced gaffes sent all of his handlers and backers into damage control mode, parsing whatever was said — and the frequency of his self-destructive tweets has only accelerated since his election. Trump, arguably, has some pathological propensity for being his own worst enemy. His now infamously absurd, sophomoric and boorish social media posts betray everyone who has supported his campaign and now his presidential agenda.

As political observer Salena Zito advised last year regarding some of Trump’s remarks and social media posts, “take him seriously, but not literally.” But some of his remarks are so literally absurd that it is too much to ask that even his most ardent supporters take such assertions seriously. Trump’s domestic and foreign policy initiatives will be far more substantive than the feckless charades of Barack Obama, but only if he stops saying “stupid s—t.”

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