President Trump is being attacked from all sides. On Nov.18, Air Force General John Hyten, commander of the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), told an audience at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia, Canada, that he would resist President Donald Trump if he ordered an “illegal” launch of nuclear weapons. It’s up to the general to decide if the order is legal or illegal! This is an extraordinary statement coming from a top official on active service! And it does not look like the general is going to resign or retire. It means he can afford it with no consequences to face. The statement came after Senate held the first congressional hearing in more than four decades on the president’s authority to launch a nuclear strike.
Some senators want legislation to alter the nuclear authority of the US president. Questions were raised about Trump’s authority to wage war, use nuclear weapons and enter into or end international agreements after he made threats to strike North Korea. The president’s taunting tweets aimed at Pyongyang have sparked concerns primarily among congressional Democrats that he may be inciting a war. "We are concerned that the President of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with US national security interests," said US Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut.
It’s timing that is important. The next day after the hearings took place (Nov.14), a group of six House Democrats led by Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tennessee, introduced five articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The articles include obstruction of justice, violations of both the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses, undermining the federal judiciary and undermining the freedom of the press.
Right now, the move is unlikely to succeed as Republicans control both the House and the Senate but some Republicans, such as Senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, have begun to openly attack the president.
In August, Donald Trump had to sign into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, widely perceived as an encroachment on his foreign policy prerogatives. The law requires congressional approval before the president can ease or lift sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea.
The media has launched an assault on the president. Almost every day something happens to make President Trump come under criticism. Just a few innocent remarks about Russia are enough to make him a target of unprecedented attacks. For instance, putting into doubt the unconfirmed reports about alleged Russia’s interference into US elections triggered accusations of high treason on the part of mainstream media. “It is a striking declaration, a betrayal of American trust and interests that is almost treasonous in its own right”, writes Charles M. Blow in his New York Times article. “The truth here is that we are seeing in real time how the president’s personal paranoia impedes our national policy and our national interests. The uncomfortable fact here is that Trump is pursuing his own interest, not American interests. And, on the question of Russia attacking our elections, Trump and Putin’s interest align against the facts and against America” the author states.
The Washington Post is not lagging behind, calling the president “a dangerous fool”, manipulated by Russia. “President Trump’s authoritarianism, narcissism and racism threaten our democracy, but his gullibility threatens our national security,” writes Jennifer Rubin in the article called Russia’s Mark: a Dangerous Fool for a President. Evidently, the war on Trump reaches new heights. No coherent administration’s policy on Russia is possible under the conditions.
The recent wave of sex scandals has hit the US hard. There is a long list of well-known people involved. The campaign did not spare even former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Nobody has immunity. Evidently, many of stories going around are fake ones but they tarnish the reputation of those whose names hit media headlines. The atmosphere is right to accuse President Trump of harassment.
Actually, the offensive has already been launched. The article titled “The Weinstein Moment and the Trump Presidency” by David Remnick published on Nov. 20 by The New Yorker is the first salvo in the smear campaign that has just been commenced. According to Mr. Remnick, “Trump has indulged in more scandalous behavior than is easy to recount. For some reason, his record of misogyny, in both language and acts, his running compendium of self-satisfied creepiness, the accumulated complaints against him of sexual harassment and assault (all denied, of course), have attracted only modest attention, one defamation lawsuit, and no congressional interest.” There is no doubt other media outlets will soon chime in.
Any pretext to get rid of Trump will do. Naïve? His biography excludes it. Incompetent? Does not know much about the world he lives in? Wait a minute, he had travelled across half or the planet before his election. Perhaps, only Nixon and George H. W. Bush knew more about international affairs before presidency. Trump has seasoned advisers: Henry Kissinger and Rex Tillerson. Russia’s influence? Does Trump want to do something running contrary to national interests? No US president has ever denied the fact that cooperation with Russia in certain areas is a matter of crucial importance. And, finally, there is nothing wrong with Trump’s desire to make his country a nation state again.
Does the president have a chance to survive trying to fend off the creeping coup d’état? Yes, he has. Trump has a trump card – economy. For an average American, the internal situation is a priority. Hovering around 2% growth during Obama tenure, the economic growth hit 3% under Trump. The stock market is up more that 30 percent since his election. Trump takes credit for over 2 million jobs. Earnings have also grown. Markets are up; unemployment is down from 4.6 to 4.2 percent. Trump claims the highest business enthusiasm in years. Like it or not, one has to give the devil his due – the economic outlook under Trump is positive and that’s an undeniable fact.
The president’s support has largely remained durable with a core group of his backers. The continued decline in support for both political parties works to Trump's advantage. The appearance of a major third-party candidate on the 2020 ballot to divide the anti-Trump vote will increase the incumbent president’s chances. Under the circumstances, some voters may be reluctant to admit that they are pro-Trump.
With economy on the rise and the US not dragged into a costly military conflict, President Trump has a good chance at winning a second term in the 2020 presidential election, sending hostile political operatives and the critical news media into a meltdown.