Here we go again. A White House insider leaks a piece of media catnip; this time it’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling President Trump a moron. The media jumps all over it. Pundits plumb its significance from every angle.
Trump reportedly is furious. Tillerson, the former CEO of one of the largest companies on earth, is treated like a naughty school boy. He’s summoned to the White House, holds a humiliating press conference -- the equivalent of writing on the white board 100 times “My teacher is very smart.”
Rumors of Tillerson’s sacking or resignation grow in intensity. The story has legs. Trump dangles a new shiny object -- a last minute call to reporters to come to a photo op with Trump and Melania posing with the top military brass and their wives.
This may be the calm before the storm, he says cryptically, repeating it again. What storm? the reporters yell.
“You’ll find out,” says Trump with a smirk.
Fade to black. Tune in next time. The world bites its nails.
It's a familiar pattern. Anyone who’s ever dealt with a toddler knows the power of distraction. Yet, it’s another self-inflicted wound detracting attention from legislative issues and creating global uncertainty.
Now suppose Trump handled these incidents differently. A reporter bates him with “Tillerson reportedly called you a moron.”
Trump responds with a bemused chuckle. “He did? Well that’s why I sought out strong, powerful people to serve in my cabinet. Strong people don’t always agree and pop off once in a while. I certainly do. You should hear some of the things I’ve called Rex and some others.”
Smiling, he moves on. The air goes out of the balloon. Trump gets credit for having some perspective and humor. The media refocuses attention on the truly important stories like the devastation in Puerto Rico or infrastructure. All would be right with the world.
But that scenario is too sane. That's not the world we live in any more. Sad.
Cecelia Blalock is a business freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles covering key
business and governmental issues over the past 30 years. She is based in Savage, MD.