Op-Ed

Dick Morris: The Method Behind Trump's Madness

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Even Trump supporters sometimes have trouble justifying his tweets. Often contradictory, sometimes inflammatory, frequently laden with ad hominem attacks against enemies and even allies, they seem, at times, to come from another person than the on-the-record president himself.

Democrats use these tweets to sell the idea that President Donald Trump is mentally impaired as they pursue a fanciful vision of using the 25th Amendment to be free of him at last.

But, then there is the increasingly sterling record of accomplishment: The economy booming, the Islamic State group totally defeated, North Korea cowed into silence, illegal immigration down and government regulations slashed or dying entirely.

Trump has passed the most far-reaching change in our economic system and tax law in many decades. Its effects will reverberate for years. Already jobless claims are the lowest since 1973.

How to reconcile the two — his successful policies and his seemingly nutty tweets?

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The fact is that the very inconsistency, unpredictability and extreme rhetoric in his tweets are essential to Trump’s political and communications strategy.

Neither the North Koreans nor the Republicans in Washington know what to make of him. Where former President Barack Obama’s appeasement and weakness was very predictable, Trump’s explosions are not.

As president, Richard M. Nixon said that the president of the United States must “convince the General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party that he is crazy.” At Nixon’s urging, Secretary of State Kissinger would throw up his hands and bemoan the difficulty of serving a president whose next move was a total mystery, even to him.

Not knowing what Trump will do next baffles foreign adversaries.  Extreme statements keep Republicans and dissident Democrats off balance and go to show Trump’s base that he is roiling the pot and defying conventional Washington wisdom.

Do you think Trump is strategic in his use of social media to keep others off-balance?

His tweets serve to show that he has not “gone native” in Washington and is not fundamentally changed — or changed at all — by his new peer group on Capitol Hill.

His apparent irrationality is a key part of the negotiating strategy of a New York City real estate mogul. It’s how they fake out their adversaries and keep control of their partners.

Unusual in Washington, it is normal in New York.

His is a loud and clear voice, despite being often contradictory, and he cannot be ignored.

And it’s working.

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As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet: “Madness in great ones must not unwatch-ed go.”

Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, Rogue Spooks, was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.

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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, "50 Shades of Politics," was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.




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