Last Saturday, the New York Times published a bombshell report detailing the numerous sexual harassment suits filed against Bill O'Reilly over the past 15 years. Within days, Donald Trump had come to his defense, claiming the Fox News host was a "good person" who should never have paid his settlements. Paul Krugman believes this is all you need to know about the 45th president of the United States. In his latest piece, the New York Times columnist takes aim at both the innumerable failures of the Trump administration and the voters who continue to support his agenda.
As far as Krugman can tell, the only thing that distinguishes this presidency from any other Republican's is its utter incompetence. Trump's health care bill was a bust, his tax plan is unlikely to get very far off the ground, and his infrastructure plan is virtually incoherent (Krugman makes no mention of Trump's foreign policy, but his column was written before the administration launched an airstrike against Assad's forces in Syria.)
"So Trumpist governance in practice so far is turning out to be just Republican governance with (much) worse management," he writes. "Which brings me back to the original question: Does the appalling character of the man on top matter?"
Krugman believes it does. He argues that Trump's appeal is rooted not in the substance of his politics but in his crude personality, which gives "outright, unapologetic voice to racism, sexism, contempt for 'losers' and so on—feelings that have always been an important source of conservative support, but have long been things you weren’t supposed to talk about openly."
"One way to think about Fox News in general, and Mr. O’Reilly in particular, is that they provide a safe space for people who want an affirmation that their uglier impulses are, in fact, justified and perfectly O.K.," he continues. "And one way to think about the Trump White House is that it’s attempting to expand that safe space to include the nation as a whole."
Read Paul Krugman's column at the New York Times.