Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

For Trump, the only issue is Trump

After the FBI's harsh and justified criticism of her email security failures, Hillary Clinton's campaign strategists would love nothing more than to shift the campaign spotlight back to Donald Trump.

And oddly enough, Trump is just as eager for that as they are. With Clinton hitting a rough patch in her campaign this week, Trump decided to make news of his own by launching a bizarre defense of Saddam Hussein's terror-fighting abilities.

“He had a perfect opportunity to shame every Democrat for standing blindly beside a completely untrustworthy candidate," one frustrated GOP operative complained to The Hill. "Instead of demanding they answer for her total lack of integrity, he’s praising Saddam Hussein. It’s embarrassing. He has no regard for down-ballot Republicans.”

No, he doesn't. But the only surprise in that is that people continue to be surprised by it, and continue to act as if somehow that is going to change. It won't. He can't. In a speech last night in Ohio, Trump again spent just a few minutes on "Crooked Hillary", dutifully reading off a script, before repeating his Hussein statements and segueing into a long, heartfelt diatribe about how unfairly he is being treated by the media.

Because, why talk about her -- "Boring!" -- when he can talk about him? If the conversation isn't about him, he'll invent something controversial to say to make it about him again. That's the dynamic in which he's comfortable, so that's the dynamic that he creates, time and time again.  We all live in a me-centric world to some degree, but I've never seen anybody in public or private life as obsessed by himself as Trump.

For example, Trump's warm-up act at last night's speech in Ohio was Newt Gingrich. Knowing the way to the great man's heart, Gingrich was highly laudatory, slathering on the praise, which Trump clearly enjoyed.

"We like Newt, and I'll tell you why," Trump told the crowd later. ".... In one form or another, Newt is going to be involved in our government. He's smart, he's tough.  He gets it. And he says that I'm the biggest thing he's ever seen in the history of politics."

Like I said, Newt knows his audience.



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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.