Trump Embarrasses Himself and Our Country
Early signs of what the Trump administration may look like: A man associated with white supremacy and misogyny will be White House chief strategist; a man rejected for a judgeship because of alleged racism will be attorney general; and an Islamophobe who has taken money from Moscow will be national security adviser.
No, this is not satire.
I’ve repeatedly noted that my side lost this election, that elections have consequences, and that President-Elect Donald Trump should be given a chance. He seems intent on blowing that chance.
The announcement that Trump has recruited Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser is particularly alarming. Flynn is smart and knows the world very well, but he was fired from his last government job for incompetence. Worse, he today is regarded by many Republican and Democratic foreign policy specialists as a kook.
It’s all complicated. Flynn had a brilliant military career and did an outstanding job in Iraq and Afghanistan. Five years ago, he was widely admired as the best intelligence officer of his generation.
Then President Obama nominated Flynn to become director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and he began to unravel. He turned out to be a catastrophic manager. Colin Powell, former secretary of state, explained in hacked emails why Flynn was fired: “abusive with staff, didn’t listen, worked against policy, bad management.” Powell added that ever since, Flynn has been “right-wing nutty.”
后来奥巴马总统任命弗林担任国防情报局(Defense Intelligence Agency)局长，他的失败就开始了。原来他是个灾难性的管理者。前国务卿科林·鲍威尔(Colin Powell)在被黑客披露的电子邮件中解释弗林何以遭到解雇：“辱骂工作人员，不听劝，违反政策，管理不善。”此外鲍威尔还说，从那以后弗林就成了“右翼的疯子。”
Flynn was proved right on one important point: His argument that the Obama administration was too passive about Islamic militants after the killing of Osama bin Laden. But Flynn’s former fans have been bewildered at his raging denunciation of Islam, including calling it a “cancer.” In February, Flynn also tweeted and asked others to forward a viciously bigoted video that argued that there could be no such thing as Islamophobia.
弗林在一个重要问题上被证明是对的：他认为奥巴马政府在杀死奥萨马·本·拉登(Osama bin Laden)之后，在伊斯兰激进分子的应对上太过被动。但是弗林对伊斯兰教进行肆意谴责，称之为“癌症”，令曾经对他青睐有加的人大惑不解。二月，弗林还发推要求其他人转发一个充满恶意偏见的视频，其中声称根本没有恐伊斯兰这回事。
“Fearing Islam, which wants 80 percent of humanity enslaved or exterminated, is totally rational and hence cannot possibly be called a phobia,” the video declares.
Indeed, for an intelligence officer, Flynn seems to have trouble distinguishing truth from falsehood. Earlier this month, he tweeted an obviously fake story claiming that the police had found emails linking Hillary Clinton to sex crimes with children. When he was in government, subordinates had a special name for his delusions: “Flynn facts.”
Another problem is Flynn’s ties to foreign governments. He took money from Russia to attend an event in Moscow, sitting near President Vladimir Putin. He also appears to have taken money from Turkish interests and, without publicly disclosing the money, wrote an op-ed shilling for Turkey.
For his chief of staff, Flynn chose his son, who is a looney on social media, calling President Obama a fascist, tweeting racially insensitive comments and sharing absurd conspiracy theories.
The national security adviser not only guides the president on foreign policy but also coordinates across all the agencies. That requires a good listener with diplomatic and management skills — and Flynn is missing that gene.
The pick of Flynn comes on top of other problematic appointments. Trump offered the job of attorney general to Senator Jeff Sessions, who was rejected for a federal judgeship in 1986 by a Republican-dominated Senate because of a history of racially charged statements. For example, he had said that he had thought members of the Ku Klux Klan “were O.K. until I found out they smoked pot” (he explained that he had been joking). His nomination was only the second in 48 years to be rejected for a judgeship by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As attorney general, Sessions will be in charge of enforcing civil rights laws.
Then there’s Steve Bannon, the designated White House chief strategist, who at Breitbart was at the center of white supremacist, Islamophobic misogyny. One Breitbart headline: “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.”
In fairness, Trump has also appointed normal conservatives: Reince Priebus as chief of staff and Mike Pompeo to lead the C.I.A. I don’t agree much with either, but both are intelligent and qualified.
公平地说，特朗普也任命了正常的保守派：雷恩斯·普利巴斯(Reince Priebus)担任幕僚长，迈克·庞皮欧(Mike Pompeo)领导中情局，虽然两人我都不甚认可，但他们都是聪明而且够格的。
Other signals are also troubling, such as a Trump surrogate speaking of instituting a registry of Muslims — and citing the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II as a precedent. Really?
George Takei, the actor whose family was interned, wrote eloquently in The Washington Post about the risks “when, in an atmosphere of fear or mistrust, one group is singled out and vilified, as Japanese Americans were during World War II and as Muslim Americans are today. How terrible it is to contemplate, once again, that the government itself might once more be the very instrument of terror and division. That cannot happen again.”
演员乔治·竹井(George Takei)的家人曾在当时遭到拘留，他在《华盛顿邮报》(The Washington Post)上发表的一篇雄文指出，危险的是，“在恐惧或不信任的气氛中，一个群体被挑选出来，遭到诋毁，就像 二战期间的日裔美国人和今天的美国穆斯林。想到政府本身可能再度成为恐怖和分裂的工具，这是多么可怕。这种事不能再发生。”
Plenty of smart, experienced Republicans are available for Trump administration slots. But so far, too many are being stiffed.
Eliot Cohen is a thoughtful, experienced conservative who worked in the Bush administration and, despite his own distaste for Trump, had urged others to work for him. But after his interactions with a Trump transition team that he described as arrogant, he tweeted, “changed my recommendation: stay away.”
Look, Trump has been elected, he will be our president and he has the right to choose conservatives. But instead of turning to the many principled Republicans available, he seems drawn to hotheads and bigots, embarrassing himself and our nation.