Douglas Brinkley: ‘Bully’ Trump Represents a ‘Dark Underbelly of America’

Monday on CSPAN’s “Washington Journal,” historian Doug Brinkley described President Donald Trump as a “bully” who represented “kind of a dark underbelly of America.”

Brinkley said, “He’s a bully. He misuses cyber in a way to divide us. What is there to want your children to learn from? That there are no rules? Break them all? Dangle a foot over the line of what’s moral and immoral? So yes, he is not a moral leader.”

He added, “Donald Trump represents kind of a dark underbelly of America. He has put together a coalition of people who do not like otherness.”

On the border wall, Brinkley said, “Donald Trump has been using so called DACA as a wedge issue on immigration,  now tying it to the building of this wall. The wall is just an idiotic idea. I mean anybody who goes down and travels the border, with the Rio Grande, with the canyons—I mean I guess you’re looking at border fencing, some patches of additional border fencing. The whole thing just became just a giant metaphor, the wall, for anti-immigration and an anti-Mexican sentiment. It’s not a pretty chapter in our nation’s history. ”

He continued, “He’s the Babe Ruth of lying. There’s no president that can even come close. He’s in a category unto himself. Whether people find that’s okay, that’s the new norm. ‘If he can get jobs back and I can get some tax cuts, I’m okay with this as a symbol of what the United States is.’ I’m not. I find it problematic to have a president that routinely doesn’t tell the truth. I’m not talking about white lies and an occasional blooper. We’re talking about a systematic disrespect for reality.”

He added, “We need to make sure—above all—that a president has a sanity to them overall. And there are times when Donald Trump swings pretty far off what we call the zone of normalcy. He goes off into very weird tangents that can be disturbing.”

After a Trump supporter called in, Brinkley said, “We’ve had a number of callers, and you can feel the civility that we have at CSPAN, and then you get a caller like that, just like raging. Like a Tasmanian devil coming on the air and just saying all sorts of things. That’s what we’re talking about. That kind of always having to be incendiary and putting logic and reason and compassion and intelligence—back-burning those. And instead, a sense of rage. I find that that has been the formula that’s worked for Trump and has brought in his supporters.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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