By Howard Fineman
The HuffPost (8/16/17)
WASHINGTON — Let’s be clear about what President Donald Trump was up to Tuesday during his press conference in Trump Tower, and what his longer-range plan is for surviving, if not prospering, in the White House for at least four years.
Speaking publicly in the family fortress in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, he wasn’t trying to convince anyone of the facts. There could be no dispute about them if you saw, say, the Vice video of hideous neo-Nazis, KKK members, generic white supremacists and rancid anti-Semites in the streets carrying torches and chanting “Jews will not replace.”
No, the president was doing something else: trolling the media, deliberately goading reporters he knew were waiting for him in his echoing marble lobby. He basked in their urgent outrage and determined focus on Charlottesville. He had scripted himself as the alt-right’s Daniel in a “fake news” lion’s den of his own devising.
Was he upset by the resulting headline and denunciations from the likes of the former presidents Bush, father and son? Hardly. He had sought them. In fact, word on Wednesday was that Trump had been in a good, almost celebratory, mood Tuesday after the confrontation he’d created. He had unleashed himself, perhaps once and for all. He was in the fight, and the fight is all.
Divide & discredit
More broadly and big-picture, look for more of the same. Having risen to power by dividing the country, his party leadership and even, at times, his own campaign team, his aim now is to divide or discredit any institution, tradition or group in his way.
Donald Trump seems perfectly willing to destroy the country to maintain his own power. He is racing to undermine the federal political system — if not all American public life — before still-independent forces (for now, the federal courts, the press and Congress) undermine him.
Poll Finds 62% Say Trump Driving People Apart In The Divided, Squabbling States Of America
By David Smith
The Guardian (8/24/17)
Donald Trump’s divided states of America have been laid bare by a new survey and a fresh volley of tweets in which the president attacked fellow Republicansand depicted himself replacing Barack Obama in a “solar eclipse”.
Quinnipiac University poll finds president has negative 35%-59% overall approval rating as he tweets picture of himself replacing Obama in ‘eclipse’.
The president is doing more to fuel divisions, according to 62% of voters, compared with 31% who say he is doing more to bring the country together, his worst score thus far on this question, a national poll by Quinnipiac University found.
The polarisation was vividly illustrated by an open-ended question. When 1,514 voters were asked for the first word that came to mind when they thought of Trump, 64 said “strong” and 59 said “idiot”. Another 58 said “incompetent”, 50 said “liar” and 49 said “president”. …