Donald Trump, desperate and miserable in the wake of his Tulsa rally embarrassment, has clutched at one of his political security blankets: attacking former President Barack Obama. In an interview with CBN News, Trump went so far as to falsely accuse Obama of treason.
Trump is going back—again—to his insistence that the Obama administration spied on his 2016 campaign, which is false to begin with and also not treason. But “It’s treason,” he said. “Look, when I came out a long time ago, I said they’ve been spying on my campaign. I said they’ve been taping, and that was in quotes, meaning a modern day version of taping, it’s all the same thing. But a modern day version. But they’ve been spying on my campaign.”
Maybe Trump has treason on the brain because of the Confederate monuments he’s been so aggressively defending, or maybe we should again be worried about his recent conversations with world leaders, but Obama certainly never did anything that came close to fitting the Constitution’s definition of treason: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
Trump surrounded himself with shady people and has had a multiyear temper tantrum that investigations into those shady people sometimes touched the edges of his campaign. Even if Obama or someone in his administration had looked at those intersections of shadiness and the Trump campaign and decided to launch an investigation into the campaign, it still wouldn’t have been treason. Donald Trump is not the United States of America. Though he clearly thinks he, personally, is more important than the United States of America or any of its laws or institutions.
With this latest attack on Obama, Trump may be reaching for the white backlash he needs that is not appearing. Or he may just be an unappetizing cross between a wounded animal lashing out and an exhausted, tantruming toddler clutching that security blanket. Either way, as disgusting and heartbreaking as it is that the person currently occupying the Oval Office is behaving this way, the good news is that it’s not helping him win in November.