WILL TRUMP REALLY ALLOW COMEY TO TESTIFY? I SAY NO. HERE’S WHY
I think I have a sense about how Trump functions. I am, after all, a licensed clinical psychologist and I have met and worked with many, how shall I put it, “disturbed” (to be delicate) individuals. I have never personally met Donald Trump and I am in no position to offer a diagnosis of him. I just know that he is not functioning as a mentally healthy person ought to function. I guess if you want a diagnosis, I will offer what my friend Norm would label Trump: he’s a #neuromesuhgenah!
But I think I understand what pushes his buttons and some of the choices he is likely to make. I admit I was wrong about my prediction that he would decide at the last minute to cancel his first overseas trip. But I was not wrong in believing that he was weighing this possibility. There are plenty of stories in the media that noted that Trump was complaining to his associates that he thought the trip was too long and he wanted to shorten it. But the Saudis knew what makes him tick and they plastered his image on huge billboards. That juiced up his ego and kept him going for a few more days as other Muslim leaders fawned over him and Netanyahu praised him effusively despite his refusal to go to Masada and spent such a brief amount of time in Yad Vashem and wrote the most insipid and self-involved note in the sign-in book.
In any case, here is my take on Trump. He loves playing the role of President. His conception of that role is that the President is the King of the United States and his word is law. But more importantly, he sees every day as another episode of a TV series “The Once and Future President Trump.” He promotes that series to increase his ratings. He creates drama. He wants to keep people in suspense: what will King President do next? Even with his Paris Climate Change accord decision he had to create a media event to promote his show. He announced that he would hold a special event in the Rose Garden where he would announce his decision at 3PM. Stay tuned!
So, do you really believe that he will allow James Comey to testify in front of the Senate Committee and have Comey be the center of attention rather than Trump? My instincts tell me no! I think Trump has set this up in his typical Trumpian way. First, he created suspense by saying he was considering his decision about whether to exert executive privilege to prevent Comey from testifying. He knew that at the upcoming press conference (which he permitted to be televised) a reporter would ask whether he would exert his executive privilege. And, of course a reporter did ask this question. And then he had Sara Huckabee Sanders give the response he ordered her to give that he would not exert executive privilege. Perfect. He set up the public. Now all the TV talking heads were endlessly proclaiming what must see TV the Thursday hearing would be. That was what he wanted.
Now, just wait for the next move. Sometime, early Thursday morning, Trump will announce, or preferably tweet that he has reconsidered his decision and will invoke Executive privilege. That will of course dominate all the Breaking News banners on Cable TV. Of course, it will be too late to make the print newspaper headlines. And of course, there will be a made scramble to get experts to talk about whether he can do this. There may even be court actions to prevent him from exercising this privilege. And the Thursday Comey show will be rained out. And once again Trump will have changed the focus and taken the place of a rival as the center of attention.