Trump Just About to a T
At one time or another, Trump has attacked the judiciary, ridiculed the media, defended torture, condoned police brutality, urged supporters to rough up hecklers and — jokingly or not — equated mere policy disagreements with treason. He tried to undermine faith in America’s electoral process through a bogus advisory commission on voter integrity. He routinely vilifies federal law enforcement institutions. He libels immigrants and the countries from which they come. His words are so often at odds with the truth that they can appear ignorant, yet are in fact calculated to exacerbate religious, social and racial divisions.
That is almost exactly right. Trump is no doubt ignorant, but as Albright points out, he wasn't born yesterday.
He knows exactly what he's doing when he cuddles up to neo-Nazis or insults women, Hispanics, blacks and the disabled. If Trump was simply ignorant, there wouldn't be such a hideous consistency to his actions and behavior. And there's a reason for its expression.
Both Trump and Republicans know that a enormous number of Americans have few problems with a racist, sexist, and authoritarian leader. In fact, a distressingly large number of Americans actually want such a leader and crave the opportunity to revel vicariously in such a leader's downright maliciousness.
So yes, Trump's ignorant and impulsive, but the important point is that the expression of his ignorance and impulsiveness is calculated to appeal directly to these people.
And it works. Trump's approval rating among Republicans is 86%. Numbers that high rhat takes calculation. Not your kind of calculation, perhaps, but calculation nevertheless. That number is absolutely no accident and his rabid support among Republicans has been steady during this entire godawful presidency.