WASHINGTON – With all the documentation of Russian collusion piling up, President Donald Trump’s best excuse may be that his people were too incompetent to organize a conspiracy. Luckily for him, an innocent-by-reason-of-stupidity defense has the virtue of being plausible.
For example, there is clear and compelling evidence that Donald Trump Jr. is dumb as a post.
This week brings word that the Trump campaign was in direct contact with WikiLeaks, described by Trump’s own CIA director as “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” And who was the point of contact? D'oh! Donald Junior – asking privately for information from WikiLeaks, which at one point suggested an action that the candidate took, in part, just minutes later.
This follows the discovery in July that Junior met with Russians during the campaign. He first claimed the meeting concerned adoption, then admitted it was to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, then said nothing was untoward because the information provided by the Russians “wasn’t helpful.” This, as Jimmy Kimmel pointed out, was like saying “I tried to rob the bank but I forgot they weren’t open on Sundays.”
A tweet pinned to the top of Junior’s Twitter page says, “Life is hard; it’s even harder when you’re stupid.” And Junior should know. Some of his colleagues on the Trump campaign mocked him as “Fredo,” the weak son in “The Godfather.” Trump surrogate Chris Christie euphemistically described Junior as “by no means a sophisticated political actor.”
On Election Day in Virginia last week, Junior issued two tweets, hours apart, urging people to vote – “tomorrow,” the day after the election. The previous week, Junior tweeted that he would take away half his daughter’s Halloween candy because “it’s never to [sic] early to teach her about socialism.” (He seemed not to grasp that trick-or-treating involves handouts.) This was Junior’s second candy-related mishap; he previously shared a tweet likening Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles, asking if “I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful?”
This week, as CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski noticed, irony eluded Junior when he “liked” a tweet discrediting one of Roy Moore’s accusers – because she “has had three divorces” and “filed for bankruptcy three times.”
The 39-year-old Trump once tried to make it on his own, but after a couple of his ventures fizzled, he signed on with Dad, whom Junior has been “helping” ever since. Such as in September 2016, when he posted an image featuring Pepe the Frog, a white-supremacist emblem. Junior pleaded ignorance: “I thought it was a frog in a wig.”
A number of Junior’s tweets over the years call people “morons” and “idiots” for their “unintelligible grammar” and poor spelling. Unfortunately, he routinely makes the same errors himself, sometimes in the tweets labeling others morons. When called on this, he explains, “I just let spelling and grammar go” or “spelling has never been a strong point.”
What has been his strong point? Speaking up for the “moral teaching of the Bible” even though he previously boasted that he had some sexual “hookups I don’t remember.” Telling the public that “if ur a boob guy this whole lactation thing is amazing the sports bra the wife is wearing is losing the containment battle!!!”
His Twitter feed skews Low Playground, with vulgar words, jokes about bestiality and sexual assault and a quip about pretending to be gay so he can put his hands up women’s skirts. When he ventures into big-boy topics, he gets in big trouble. On Twitter and in an interview at the time of former FBI director James B. Comey’s testimony, he inadvertently confirmed one of Comey’s main points. In a campaign interview, Junior spoke of reporters “warming up the gas chamber” for Republicans.
In 2011, he tweeted about Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) wearing a cowboy hat but confused her for another black woman, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), which he spelled “Watters.” He wrote: “Easier 2 take u seriously when u dont 1 / 8sic 3 / 8 look like a stripper.”
And sometimes the misfires are literal. After safari photos emerged of him in 2012 holding a knife and the tail of a dead elephant, Junior explained, “I HUNT & EAT game.” This year, he observed Earth Day by shooting prairie dogs, which are not widely consumed.
In September, Junior raised a ruckus when he said he didn’t want Secret Service protection. Security experts warned against this, and his protection has since been restored, but maybe Junior was safe all along. Those who want to harm America might conclude that they would do more damage leaving Junior right where he is.
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter @Milbank.