Tom McCarthy's Jan 28 Guardian piece is a good peek into President Donald Trump's jealous-toddler view of the world and what drives his policy moves, which are best understood as tantrums. What's most terrifying is that his triggers for his despicable acts rest so trivially, and even randomly, on perceived personal slights and disrespect (does the trajectory of Trump's weeklong tear have anything to do with media having dissed his tiny little inauguration crowd?).
Maybe it is ever thus with tyrants. But Trump does seem a wicked prototype for the pasty postindustrial piggycrat. He is eerily reminiscent of Dune's Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (below), right down to the first name and the iridescent hair. Call him King Twitter Thumbs. The tub of lard and lies whose tweets kill people.
Here is an excerpt from McCarthy's piece on this week of atrocities from His Grand Petulance:
Donald Trump's first week: carnage, both real and imagined
What started with an ominous inauguration speech has ended with executive orders on everything from immigration to banning refugees and reigniting the fossil fuel industry. What does it mean for his presidency?The crowd was small, the weather was bad and the speech, which described “American carnage”, was dire. For the tens of millions who voted against him and countless concerned others, Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States felt ominous, no matter how widely Barack Obama smiled and no matter how gracefully he and Michelle Obama made the transition from hosts to departing guests.The feeling of foreboding did not last. It was overtaken within hours by the realization, at the arrival of the first of the new president’s executive actions, that the most outrageous campaign promises Trump had made to the smallest core of his supporters were now official US policy, or about to be.Within a week, the rally chant “build the wall!” had morphed into a phrase published on White House stationery: “impassable physical barrier”. A proposed ban on Muslim immigrants took shape as a suspension of visa programs from countries that, as Trump put it, “have tremendous terror”. Grumbling about excessive government regulation had become, in one document, an exhortation to bureaucrats to help an oil company skip the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.“He’s delivering the goods to his core constituency in a really visible way,” said John T Woolley, head of the American presidency project at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “But there are a lot of things that he’s raising that may be above what he truly has the ability to do.”Seven days into his presidency, the accumulation of Trump’s official actions, at the rate of as many as five a day, has created a new national reality on central policy concerns from the environment to voting rights to international commitments to immigration, healthcare and trade.“You have to consider this a pretty aggressive use of executive power early on,” said Julian E Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “Using it not only on one marquee issue, which presidents often do, but on a series of major campaign issues, all within just a few days.“So it’s rapid-fire, but more importantly, each one is a pretty significant decision.”More difficult to assess than the new president’s official actions, but for many Americans just as significant, has been the impact on the public of Trump’s simple presence in office – the finally inescapable fact, as it were, of Donald Trump as president.During the campaign, Trump’s lies about the fake scourge of voter fraud, his vain obsession with the size of his crowds (and his hands), and his explosions of bile and irrelevance on Twitter could be semi-ignored as the faults of a mercurial political figure who was quite likely, at least, to lose.Now Trump is in the Oval Office and his lies are voiced by a press secretary standing behind the White House seal in the Brady briefing room. It was there that Trump’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, falsely declared on the day after the swearing-in that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period”. Trump’s audience was in fact significantly smaller than Obama’s 2009 crowd, but members of the media who tried to brandish evidence of the fact were shouted down.Spicer rolled out another whopper days later, informing the country that the president still (wrongly) believed millions of votes had been illegally cast in November. As supporting evidence, he pointed to a 2012 research report on voter fraud, prompting the author of the report to categorically deny that the report said any such thing.“Of those votes cast, none of them come to me,” Trump told ABC News a day later, embroidering his fantasy. “They would all be for the other side. None of them come to me.”For Americans who doubt his leadership, just as disturbing as Trump’s new freedom to spout untruths with significantly inflated authority were early reports on his conduct behind the scenes, as he made his first decisions as the most powerful individual on Earth.Repeatedly, Trump threw thunderbolts from his Twitter account – threatening to “send in the Feds!” to stop violence in Chicago and impugning Chelsea Manning – immediately following negative coverage of those topics on Fox News, which Trump told the New York Times he watches morning and night.It was TV coverage of his small inauguration crowd that prompted Trump to trot out Spicer. The bad press had not allowed the president to “enjoy” his first weekend in the White House as he felt he deserved, the Associated Press quoted “one person who has spoken with him” as saying. Trump’s decision to act on voter fraud was inspired, Trump told members of Congress, by a conversation with a German golfer.If Trump’s character is immutable, however, his executive actions may not be. His orders have the power to guide the conduct of federal agencies and officials, but cannot contravene existing law.Woolley said: “The question always is – and this is a real question for Trump – whether the president is going beyond the scope of the law, whether he’s infringing on congressional power, and whether he’s infringing on the divides between national, state and local power.“There’s going to be a festival of lawsuits about almost every controversial action that he takes.”Next week, Trump is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress and announce a nominee to fill the vacancy on the supreme court.Here’s what he got done on week one.(McCarthy's entire piece is here.)