Admitting you were wrong is hard for anyone.
It’s hard for Republican leaders, who five months into the Trump administration have grown weary of the almost daily messes he creates.
It’s becoming harder for the 90 percent of Trump supporters who are trying to stand by their man come hail or high water. Many are starting to ask, is he worth it?
The questioners’ ranks increase with each new pratfall by President Trump, the latest being his admission that he shared secret information with Russian envoys because as president he had the “absolute right” to do it.
If you think that sounds petulant, you would be right. And petulance is not a good trait in any adult, especially a president expected to provide intellectually guided leadership in even the most stressful situations.
The Washington Post first reported Trump’s blabbing to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and ambassador Sergey Kislyak about information reportedly obtained by Israeli intelligence concerning Islamic State’s ability to evade security to place sophisticated explosives aboard aircraft.
Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, was put in the awkward position of trying to explain the president’s behavior, insisting Tuesday that Trump “in no way compromised any sources or methods” during last week’s meeting with the Russians.
Asked why White House officials felt compelled to immediately alert the CIA and National Security Agency to Trump’s disclosure, McMaster suggested that was an overreaction. He said, “the president wasn’t even aware of where this information came from.”
Trump defended his behavior in tweets, his favorite form of communication. “As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and flight safety,” he said.
The president further explained that he decided to share the intelligence because, “I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS and terrorism.”
Trump keeps singing that song, but the Russians, accompanied by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Iranian ayatollahs, are playing a much different tune, one that begs the president to take more care in choosing his friends.
The latest sign of Trump’s infatuation with all things Russian has pushed Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to the edge. “I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so that we can focus on our agenda,” he said.
But the drama isn’t likely to end anytime soon, not with this president, who treats each day like another episode of a TV reality show.
McConnell and other Republicans in Congress, who obviously felt they could put up with Trump’s foibles if it meant adding the White House to their trophy case, have to be wondering if he will bring the whole thing crashing down.
Trump doesn’t listen to them, or anyone else, it seems. Ultimately it will be up to the American people to get Trump’s undivided attention, and let him know they need him to either be a real president or be gone.