President Donald Trump announced yesterday that he plans to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While this is left most pundits perplexed, the reasoning is clear. Trump wants to divert attention from Robert Mueller’s investigation. It is no coincidence that the day after the news broke that Deutsche Bank has received subpoenas for information on the Trump family’s assets, that this Jerusalem decision was announced. What could be a bigger news story than getting this information? A blow up in the Middle East.
Look at the reaction world leaders have had to this announcement. American allies throughout the Middle East and Europe have asked Trump not to do this and have stressed how dangerous a statement this is. US News and World Report put this out today:
“The mere consideration of Trump changing the status quo sparked a renewed U.S. security warning on Tuesday. America’s consulate in Jerusalem ordered U.S. personnel and their families to avoid visiting Jerusalem’s Old City or the West Bank, and urged American citizens in general to avoid places with increased police or military presence.”
It is worth noting that while Trump will formally announce that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, there is no movement underway to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv. In fact, he has signed an order to delay that decision for another six months. This move is necessary due to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which mandated the embassy be moved. It also allowed the president to delay that by six months and every president since that act became law has done so this way.
The Atlantic has even compared this decision to Trump “wagging the dog,” a reference to a movie where a U.S. president goes to war with Albania to take the public’s attention away from his own scandals involving a mistress. The film was viewed as a parody of President Bill Clinton’s military actions in Afghanistan and Sudan after he acknowledged an affair with Monica Lewinsky.
While whether or not Clinton attacked other countries to distract the nation from his actions with Lewinsky may be a point that is up for debate, it is clear that Trump likes to do things to distract the public’s attention. Catherine Rampell wrote about this tactic late last year in the Washington Post. She wrote:
“Welcome to 2017, the ouroboros of distractions, where every terrible thing is a head-fake for a ruse for a diversion for a misdirection from something else much, much worse.”
Trump makes announcements, sends tweets and says things without any thought to the real world consequences that follow. Experts in the Middle East fear that the Jerusalem announcement will lead to real deaths. Many people worry that his thoughtless and impetuous tweets will lead to a nuclear war. His thoughtless comments confuse and enrage many.
By making such a move, for such purely personal reasons, Trump is proving, once again, that he is not fit to be president of a condo association, much less of the United States.
Featured image by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.