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Viewpoint: Between The Lines

If you really want to know where to find a person, look between the lines of their lives. Watch their personal patterns. What’s done and how is more revealing than what’s said or intended.

Patterns of behavior are like fingerprints. They identify us when we think we are anonymous, when no one is supposed to be watching and when what we thought no one would find out comes unavoidably to light.

So last weekend as President Donald Trump did a most creative meltdown in the White House you couldn’t help noticing how consistent his pattern of self destruction is and will continue to be. My fear is, at some point, a perfect storm of circumstance and intent will combine to show the world how unstable he is.

His most recent string of false allegations and wild speculation involving Former President Barack Obama confirms our worst expectations. Suddenly, from out of no where, Trump accuses President Obama of having his phones tapped, of authorizing wire taps that by law only Federal Judges can order. Then he demands a Congressional investigation.

Remember, he offers no proof. No evidence, just speculation rooted in the paranoid thought processes of right-wing radio talk show host Mark Levin. There’s a perverse sense of privilege at play in the fact Trump and Levin think the allegation alone is enough to send Congress scurrying.

Actually, the President is doing himself the kind of harm that could take him from the White House to a padded cell in a maximum security outhouse. What concerns me is by reacting as he is, Trump is telling us more than he probably should.

The very accusation that his phones were being tapped indicates he fears there could be evidence on tape tying him to inappropriate contact with Russian leaders during the Presidential election.

He’s trumpeting potential incrimination by trying to criminalize what he and his brain trust should have known was happening. There are no conversations between Russian officials at the highest levels that U.S. Intelligence does not record. If a Presidential Candidate or staff member is talking to a Russian President, Diplomat or anyone of significance the call is being taped. That truth has nothing to do with who’s in the White House. It has everything to do with protecting U.S. Interests against Russian influences.

Common sense dictates that once you qualify for Secret Service Protection you don’t have any more secrets. Everything he does is subject to scrutiny. In fact everything he’s done in the presence of or around anyone connected to Vladimir Putin has been recorded. By now Putin has seen it and has plans for it.

Seems he can’t see the problem with his own pattern. A brief review is appropriate.

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We begin with his “Birtherism” declaration. Trump promoted the idea that President Obama wasn’t born in the United State. It’s been proven untrue. Trump is forced to abandon the claim during the Presidential Campaign.

Then comes Trump’s “voter fraud” allegation: “In addition to winning the Electoral College, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” Again there is no evidence backing his claim.

Then comes a declaration that his Electoral College win is the biggest since 1984. Not according to USA TODAY. Turns out Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton (twice) and Obama (two times) “won higher percentages of the Electoral College vote than Trump.”

Next up is his belief a ban is needed to stop dangerous people from entering the United States. Homeland Security begs to differ. Seems its experts say “Most foreign-born U.S. based violent extremists radicalized after entering Homeland.”

Add that to his erroneous claim that the media have a lower approval rating than Congress and the pattern of instability is undeniable.

The beat and the list go on. Unfortunately the rhythm of Trump’s myopic view of our world amplifies an ignorance, that between the lines, shows the world just how dangerous he is and can become.

Dennis Edwards is an Emmy Award Winning Investigative Television Journalist who’s worked in Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis, Richmond and as a Freelance Correspondent for CNN. He’s a graduate of Virginia Union University and its Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology.

By Dennis Edwards
Editorial Page Columnist

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