President Trump either needs to sleep in, or throw his Twitter account out one of the gilded windows in his Florida estate. If he doesn’t it’s America that will be tossing and turning.
The president unleashed a flurry of tweets early Saturday morning, and as long as he was criticizing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s performance on “The Celebrity Apprentice” (the actor got fired from his former show, Trump said) it appeared Trump was again mired in unpresidential silliness. Surely even Trump supporters — and probably some staffers — wonder how the leader of the free world is able to give even a split-second to a show-business quibble. (Except, of course, that Trump, who was proud of his ratings on the show, sees Schwarzenegger’s less-than-stellar performance as a boost to Trump’s own ego.)
A president, after all, has a multitude of better things, and certainly more important things, to do — steering foreign policy, formulating trade deals, seeing that the economy stays steady, protecting civil rights, upholding the Constitution. And in Trump’s case, there’s the matter of allegations of Russian interference in the presidential election of 2016. The intelligence community believes the Russians hacked Democratic campaign emails to give Trump the edge. The then-candidate didn’t help himself when he appeared, at one point, to be hoping the Russians were hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails.
But on Saturday, the president found even a new extreme for his tweeting. He accused President Obama of wiretapping his phones. And he did so without any evidence. He just made the accusation and even compared it to Watergate.
Even for Trump, this was a breathtaking step. And some Democrats wondered if he was trying to deflect attention from a serious crisis in his administration: heated interest in the nature of contacts his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, had with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign in which Sessions, then a U.S. senator, was a Trump adviser.
Trump’s harmful tweet storm about Obama isn’t going to help Sessions, but Trump is perhaps naive enough about Washington and politics to think that it will.
Instead, accusing a president of illegal wiretapping is harmful to Trump and to the country. First, he had no evidence of it, other than alleged inferences from right-wing radio broadcasts and the Breitbart News Network, from which his senior adviser Steve Bannon came to the White House. Trump just threw the accusation to the wind, another instance of monumental recklessness that is going to make it difficult for even his allies on Capitol Hill to take him seriously.