In delivering a bland, conventional address to Congress Tuesday night, Donald Trump was probably hoping to buy a few days of good press, and a break from the steady stream of troubling reports casting a dark shadow over his young presidency. Instead, with the bombshell revelation that Jeff Sessions lied under oath to the U.S. Senate regarding his communications with Russia, Trump is on the defensive more than ever.
As is typical with Trump when he feels cornered, Trump has now entered “attack and deflect” mode. That is, he has gone on the offensive, publicly targeting those who have criticized him, while at the same time saying something so outrageous that the press cannot help but report on it, thus drawing attention away from the criticism Trump himself is facing.
Now, however, his latest attempt to deflect has a disturbing undercurrent of paranoia. In a string of tweets on Saturday, Trump, with zero evidence or support, accused Barrack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign. Tweeted Trump:
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!
I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
Again, Trump offered no evidence to support his Twitter rant. The Washington Post theorizes that Trump’s source was a radio segment produced by fringe site Breitbart: “Trump offered no citations nor did he point to any credible news report to back up his accusation, but he may have been referring to commentary on Breitbart and conservative talk radio suggesting that Obama and his administration used “police state” tactics last fall to monitor the Trump team.”
The seeming paranoia exhibited by Trump’s tweets invite comparisons between Trump and former president Richard Nixon. If investigations into the relationship between Trump, his aides, and Russia are allowed to continue, Trump may find himself compared to Nixon for another reason.