The Atlantic’s David A. Graham took to Twitter today to pose an important question.
Is there an American Deep State, and if so, is it out to get Trump?
What a wonderful narrative Graham, Glenn Greenwald, Eli Lake, and other conspiracy journalists have crafted to provide Trump the talking points needed to extricate himself from the conversation about whether or not he’s been deeply compromised by anti-American interests.
Following the shock resignation of Trump’s national security advisor Michael Flynn over his connections to Russia, Bloomberg View published an editorial claiming he had been the victim of a “political assassination.” “There does appear to be a well orchestrated effort to attack Flynn and others in the administration," Republican Rep. Devin Nunes told Eli Lake. "From the leaking of phone calls between the president and foreign leaders to what appears to be high-level FISA Court information, to the leaking of American citizens being denied security clearances, it looks like a pattern."
Nunes couldn’t possibly have any reason to defend the sitting Republican president, could he?
Donald Trump, the candidate who would not release tax returns. The xenophobe and racist. The Trump who praises Putin and other quasi-fascist leaders at every turn. The pussy-grabbing, lawsuit-laden, probably-blackmailed Trump who says and does whatever he wants, both to enter the White House and to hold his position within it. A Trump who has only been truly challenged by the federal courts of this country — courts he is openly maligning on Twitter (his crass but preferred manner of addressing the American people). It couldn’t be true, could it?
Let’s give Trump — bloated slumlord-cum-alt-right puppet — the chance to wiggle towards another half-truth he can spray like cheap tanning oil on the citizenry of this country.
This is Trump’s ideal narrative, in fact. It bathes him in the light of a gladiator, squaring off against the entrenched and corrupt intelligence community (and by extension, the establishment swamp he claims to drain while making more fetid). “They didn’t want me here from the start,” you can imagine him grunting on social media. The theater heightened by a hidden adversary. The CIA. The FBI. The NSA.
This is Trump’s ideal narrative. It bathes him in the light of a gladiator.
Certainly those organizations are no heroes to the public, but the suggestion (or insistence in some cases) that Trump is not being undone by his own brazen, sloppy, and dangerous choices but by a council of Star Chamber devotees is not just laughable. It’s dangerous.
There has never been a greater threat to the stability and safety of this country than the one posed by Trump and his coterie of puppet-masters. A man who loosely suggests the banning of entire religions, threatens to throw his opponents in jail, lauds the actions of a Russian kleptocrat, and casually offers a single-state solution to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict should not be given the benefit of your doubt. If your desire for a more creative narrative overwhelms your ability to see raw fact, perhaps you’re in the wrong business. There is not much nuance with which to wrestle here.
Trump has proven himself time and again to be a shortsighted bully with an agenda that serves only his inner-circle. I don’t believe we're seeing a nefarious government plan unfold to unseat the president and capture power. I believe sloppy businessmen make lots of mistakes, choose bad people to place in their Cabinet, and find themselves in compromising positions. Trump’s threat to democracy is real. We’ve watched it play out, for real, for 26 days now. It doesn’t require a “deep state” actor to understand this. The surprise is not that leaks have begun to emerge from our intelligence agencies — the surprise is that no one was paying attention until now.
Let’s stop pretending there’s a counter-narrative where the foundations of our democracy are at risk. There is only one narrative: Trump is the risk.