By Bret Stephens
March 28, 2019
“President Trump speaking to the media after a summary of the Mueller report’s findings was released.
Tom Brenner for The New York Times
President Trump speaking to the media after a summary of the Mueller report’s findings was released.CreditCreditTom Brenner for The New York Times
Maybe we’ve had this all wrong.
Maybe Donald Trump isn’t just some two-bit con artist who lucked his way into the White House thanks to an overconfident opponent. Or a second-rate demagogue with a rat-like instinct for arousing his base’s baser emotions and his enemies’ knee-jerk reactions. Or a dimwit mistaken for an oracle, like some malignant version of Chauncey Gardiner from “Being There.”
Thanks to Robert Mueller, we know he isn’t Russia’s man inside, awaiting coded instruction from his handler in the Kremlin.
Maybe, in fact, Trump is the genius he claims to be, possessed — as he likes to boast — of a “very good brain.”
O.K., I don’t quite believe that. But going forward, it would be wise for all of his inveterate critics in the news media, including me, to treat it as our operating assumption. The alternative is to let him hand us our butts all over again, just as he did by winning the G.O.P. nomination and then the election, and then by presiding over years of robust economic growth.”