The Khan Trap

No-one doubts that Captain Humayun Khan who lost his life fighting in Iraq was a brave US soldier. There are however few such American Muslims among the ca. 4,000 US military casualties from that conflict.  That the Clinton campaign for President chose to highlight Cpt. Khan’s parents in one of their presentations was clearly an attempt to make a point against Donald Trump, who has appeared to be anti-Muslim in his declarations about restricting the entry of all Muslims to the USA if he were elected President.  Of course, Trump responded to their provocation, as they expected, and he walked right into their trap.

Trump has come across during his campaign as boastful, narcissistic and self-righteous and seems to think he can do no wrong.  In responding to this Clinton provocation by insulting this “Gold Star” family and comparing his “sacrifice” (building buildings and making jobs) to theirs, he exposed himself as a thoughtless and insensitive bully.  He showed a flawed lack of understanding of the nuances of the situation.  He could have acknowledged their sacrifice, but still have reiterated his policy towards Muslim immigrants.  Instead he counter-attacked, which is his manner, and got himself into all sorts of trouble.  Now his poll numbers have plummeted.  He was 5 points ahead of Clinton after the two conventions, but now he is 9 points behind (a net loss of 14 points), and going down.

Also, the payment of m$400 in cash to Iran by the Obama Administration is a legitimate target for Trump to criticize Obama (and Clinton by association).  But, he claimed to have seen a video of the money being delivered in Iran.   However, no such video has surfaced and he probably remembered the video of the American hostages being delivered to Geneva instead.  But, even though no such video has been found, instead of admitting “OK, I may have made a mistake,” instead he insisted that he had seen such a video, although later he retracted his statment.  But, he turned what could have been a valid political point for him into a question once again of his credibility and his character.

Candidates for President (or PM or dictator) are often boastful and narcissistic.  It comes with the territory.  There have been many such “imperial” Presidents, including LBJ and Richard Nixon, not to mention other flawed Presidents, such as JFK and Jimmy Carter.  Just think of Mussolini prancing around and Hitler with his carefully rehearsed mannerisms.  I am not, heaven forbid, comparing Trump with these terrible and murderous dictators. But, it does seem likely that there are certain psychological traits that drive a man to the top, to take the most powerful job in the world (and that applies to Clinton too), and the question we have to ask ourselves is does this candidate (Trump) have any of the redeeming features in his personality to counterpoise against this  tendency.

 

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