Is the Trump White House evil or just stupid? The answer to that burning question is, well, both. In Monday’s column, Paul Krugman takes as his subject the incompetence piece, which is evident in matters both large and seemingly trivial.
Though when you can’t be bothered to learn how you should address the Prime Minister of Japan, or the relatively simple fact that in Asia, the order of names is reversed, it seems more than a little representative of a certain incurious attitude. Trump addressed Abe Shinzo as Prime Minister Shinzo, the equivalent of calling Trump President Donald. “Trivial?”
Krugman asks. “Well, it would be if it were an isolated instance. But it isn’t.” In fact it appears that for both the Republican-led Congress and the clowns in the White House, ignorance is seen as a kind of strength.
Examples abound, per Krugman.
We see this on legal matters: In a widely quoted analysis, the legal expert Benjamin Wittes described the infamous executive order on refugees as “malevolence tempered by incompetence,” and noted that the order reads “as if it was not reviewed by competent counsel at all” — which is a good way to lose in court . . .
We see it on national security matters, where the president continues to rely on a chief adviser who, suspicious closeness to the Kremlin aside, appears to get his strategic information from right-wing conspiracy theorists . . .
We see it on education, where the hearings for Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, revealed her to be completely ignorant about even the most elementary issues . . . We see it on diplomacy. How hard is it to ask someone from the State Department to make sure that the White House gets foreign leaders’ names right?
Too hard, apparently: Before the Abe flub, the official agenda for the state visit by Theresa May, the British prime minister, repeatedly misspelled her name.
Read more: Paul Krugman dissects the staggering ignorance of the Trump White House - Salon.com