Trump’s wiretap claim shows president’s defensive posturing



President Donald Trump steps off of Air Force One at Orlando International Airport for a visit to St. Andrew Catholic School on Friday. Columnist Isabella Winkler claims that Trump fighting back through his tweets is an unneeded and unpresidential move.

By Matt Silich

The hole that President Donald Trump is digging for himself seems to be getting bigger with every tweet.

Since he can’t ignore any piece of criticism thrown at him, his deflections come in the form of tweets, and they don’t exactly help his cause.

The president tweeted Saturday morning that former President Barack Obama had Trump’s “wires tapped” during the election.

He compared Obama’s alleged surveillance to McCarthyism, which is ironic given Trump’s endless unsubstantiated accusations (such as this one).

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The president risked incriminating himself by tweeting about his alleged wire-tapping, which some of his aides found out about with the rest of the country. He apparently originally discovered the conspiracy in a Breitbart article.

It is highly unlikely that a president would order such surveillance, given there are laws in place that prevent it. And if Trump has evidence that his Trump Tower office was being surveilled without a FISA warrant, why is he withholding it?

The possibility that the feds were investigating Trump during his campaign reveals more about Trump than Obama’s alleged agenda. If there was a FISA warrant to surveil Trump’s phone calls, then there would be probable cause to do so, meaning Trump’s alleged ties to Russia were raising enough eyebrows to warrant surveillance.

In the wake of the White House’s scandal regarding Attorney General Jeff Sessions lying under oath about communication with Russia during the election, it seems like a timely deflection on Trump’s part to shift the attention to Obama. But suggesting that his predecessor committed a crime and is a “sick guy” without offering any sort of evidence is a new low for the president.

For someone whose immediate response to any criticism is to shout “fake news,” Trump is the one who most often makes allegations without substantial evidence. Along with his trusty friend Steve Bannon, who once lead Breitbart News — infamous for misleading and inflammatory stories — the administration doesn’t practice what it preaches.

Trump uses his Twitter account as a megaphone for his own personal vendettas, which is abnormal for someone entrusted with running the country. But given that his supporters latch on to every conspiracy he tweets, it is unlikely that his tweets are just word vomit. In fact, they seem strategic.

And he learned from the best — Kellyanne Conway has become an absolute nightmare for TV hosts and interviewers. Tip-toeing around questions and twisting them to discuss “Crooked Hillary” or “Fake News” sets the precedent for the administration: They are always on the defense.

Diverting attention away from your own scandals and mirroring them onto someone else is an asset in politics, and the Trump administration has mastered it. But their defense tactics have proved to be irresponsible, unethical and pathetically paranoid.

Isabella is a sophomore in ACES.

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