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更新时间:2017-5-18 19:40:48 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

President Trump’s King Lear Moment

Donald Trump is looking a bit like King Lear these days.


In the wake of reports that he shared classified intelligence with Russian officials and allegations that he asked James Comey to stop the investigation into Michael Flynn, the president’s mood “has become sour and dark, and he has turned against most of his aides — even his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — describing them in a fury as ‘incompetent,’” Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman reported at The Times.

媒体报道他与俄罗斯官员分享机密情报,指他曾要求詹姆斯·科米(James Comey)停止对迈克尔·弗林(Michael Flynn)的调查,此后总统的心情“变得阴郁黑暗,他对大部分助手冷眼相向——甚至连他的女婿贾里德·库什纳(Jared Kushner)也不例外——怒气冲冲地说他们‘无能,’”格伦·思拉什(Glenn Thrush)和玛吉·哈伯曼(Maggie Haberman)在《纽约时报》上描写道。

On Wednesday, he told United States Coast Guard Academy graduates, “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.”


It’s not hard to imagine President Trump railing against the heavens, orange pate standing in for Lear’s “white head,” proclaiming himself “a man more sinn’d against than sinning.” Even the language of news reports has a Learian feel: “President Donald Trump, amid his own swirling controversies”; “the maelstrom raged around the staff”; “the tempest in Washington.”


Of course, Mr. Trump’s storm, unlike Lear’s, is of his own creation. And he doesn’t have Lear’s way with words — or, perhaps, he has a different one.


On Tuesday morning, he tweeted, “I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community,” then trailed off with an ominous ellipsis. His only tweets since then have been anodyne, or at least anodyne for President Trump: a link to a story about industrial production and a video of his speech welcoming President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

星期二上午,他发推说:“我从任期一开始就要求科米局长和其他人在情报界中找到泄露者”,然后缀上了一个有如不祥之兆的省略号。自那之后,他发表的几条推文都显得平淡乏味——至少以特朗普总统的标准而言——一则关于工业生产的报道链接,以及他欢迎土耳其总统雷杰普·塔伊普·埃尔多安(Recep Tayyip Erdogan)时的演讲视频。

His aides must be relieved. “We are hoping the president doesn’t tweet,” one told Politico on Tuesday night. “Fingers crossed.”


During their break from doing Twitter damage control, Mr. Trump’s staff has been busy preparing him for his first trip abroad as president. They are giving him lots of charts, graphs and photos and inserting his name at regular intervals in briefing materials “because he keeps reading if he’s mentioned,” according to a Reuters report.


Meanwhile, NATO is telling heads of state to keep their remarks at a May 25 summit under four minutes to accommodate the president’s attention span, according to Foreign Policy. “It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child — someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing,” a source with knowledge of the preparations told Foreign Policy.

与此同时,根据《外交政策》(Foreign Policy)上的一篇文章,北约告诫各国元首,在5月25日的首脑会议上把自己的发言保持在四分钟之内,以此适应特朗普的注意力持续时长。“这就像他们正在准备和一个孩子打交道——一个不能长时间保持注意力、情绪急躁的人,他对北约一无所知,对深入的政策问题没有兴趣,什么都没有,”一个了解特朗普出访准备情况的知情人士告诉《外交政策》。

At this point, regardless of what happens with Mr. Comey, the Russians and anything else that comes out of the White House in the next few days, it’s hard to see how Mr. Trump can function as the president. Reports cast him as someone who cannot be trusted to perform the core duties of his office. Before the Inauguration, some speculated that Mr. Trump might operate as a head of state, flying around the world and meeting dignitaries while leaving the day-to-day workings of government to his vice president. It now appears he cannot even manage that: Mr. Thrush and Ms. Haberman report that some of his advisers “fear leaving him alone in meetings with foreign leaders out of concern he might speak out of turn.”


Calls for impeachment have begun, but they will only gain traction if enough Republicans decide to back them. In the meantime, what does the country do with a president who can’t do his job?


The president is unlike King Lear in many respects, but in this perhaps most of all: He seems to lack a Cordelia who will speak to him honestly. Instead, Mr. Trump has been Regan and Goneriled all the way to the presidency, flattered and coddled by his advisers, the Republican establishment and his family to the point where flattery and coddling are useless and no amount of careful management can keep him from revealing state secrets and then bragging about it on Twitter.


It’s not clear whether someone who refuses to lie, flatter or curry favor would have much influence with Mr. Trump, so surrounded is he by people willing to do all of those things. But someone like that, especially from within the Republican Party, could have a great influence on the country right now. Without such voices, we’re all at the mercy of the storm.