Home Donald Trump Donald Trump’s Leadership Strategy: Malign. Divide. Deflect. Conquer. Repeat.

Donald Trump’s Leadership Strategy: Malign. Divide. Deflect. Conquer. Repeat.


by Shannon Fisher, cross posted from Thoughts & Musings on Politics & the Universe

When even the Richard Nixon Political Library distances itself from the Trump Administration’s actions, it is clear Trump’s America has taken a dark turn.  The firing of (now former) F.B.I. Director James Comey  has drawn swift and sharp criticism from both sides of the aisle, though the criticism has very little to do with unwavering support for Director Comey. The root of this public and legislative outcry is concern for the preservation of the integrity of the Trump Russia investigation.  The very fabric of the method by which those in power are held accountable for their actions is at stake, and the perpetuation of our republic has reached a crisis point.

The safeguards put into place by the United States Constitution to prevent absolute power in the hands of the Executive Branch are being threatened. Checks and balances do not work if the President claims the power to eliminate anyone who dares to challenge or question him. This is not how we conduct ourselves in America, at least not until the 45th POTUS took office.

President Donald Trump rules by intimidation, which may be an effective tactic in business, but this approach to governing undermines the separation of powers set forth by our Founding Fathers. Trump’s strategy is straight from the KGB playbook: malign, divide, deflect, conquer, repeat. He applies this strategy to the media, his political opposition, and anyone who challenges his authority.


Trump was rebuked by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit for making personal attacks meant to intimidate Seattle District Court Judge James L. Robart and anyone who might agree with his blocking of the President’s first executive order banning travel from certain countries.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed dismay that that a judge on “an island in the pacific” (referencing the state of Hawaii) could block the President’s executive order. The Justice Department and Judicial Branch are separate for a reason: those who enforce laws and those who interpret them should not work in tandem to preserve the sovereignty of the Courts.

At the core of the maligning strategy is a long list of insults and personal attacks against anyone who dares to oppose Donald Trump in business, entertainment, politics, and as President.  He is not hesitant to take low blows and ridicule others in a very personal way to make himself appear to have the upper hand.


Trump is a master at perpetuating an already present us vs. them philosophy – to the point that his divisive rhetoric threatens international human rights safeguards by fueling hate and intolerance.

He created a rift between the media and the public by calling them an “enemy of the people” following a constant barrage of “fake news” claims toward reporting that questions his positions or highlights inconsistencies in his campaign promises and policy decisions.

Trump seized on growing open expressions of racism, sexism and xenophobia in America and geared his campaigning toward empowering these sentiments.


Trump tweeted that he is trying to “bring back the spirit and prestige of the FBI” by firing Comey, and the purported reasoning behind the dismissal is that he chose to fire Comey over his mishandling of the Clinton email investigation. To deflect anything back to emails at this point would be to admit it was not the real reason for Comey’s dismissal.  Perhaps this will put to rest the ubiquitous, “But Hillary’s emails…” response to any criticism of the President.

In the immediate wake of the firing of F.B.I. Director Comey, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders intimated it is “time to move on” from the Trump Russia investigation, saying, “There is no there there!” when grand jury subpoenas to Flynn associates and additional funds being requested for the investigation clearly indicate otherwise.

Also the same evening as Comey’s dismissal, Kellyanne Conway tried to turn the conversation to Trump’s election victory in the state of Michigan in response to video clips of the President’s repeated praise of Director Comey and his handling of the email investigation.


President Trump threatened members of the Republican Party with primary challenges if they did not vote for the second iteration of the AHCA. This was a successful tactic that ultimately persuaded enough GOP House members to successfully pass the bill to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, a bill that still has to pass the Senate in some form, be reconciled between the two houses, and signed by the President to become law.

He supported changing the rules of the Senate to allow confirmation of his Supreme Court appointees by simple majority ( a tactic first used by Harry Reid, which opened the door to the power being misused by the legislative branch using the “nuclear option”).

He fired F.B.I. Director James Comey, who was leading the investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.


Each time these actions are repeated by another member (or former member) of the trump administration, it’s almost as if he is trolling us to see how much he and his team can put past Americans before they are stopped.

Kissinger.  Kushner. Page. Flynn. Manafort. Sessions (who recused himself from the Russa investigation but played a role in firing its lead investigator). The GOP platformRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. And POTUS himself admitting a relationship with Vladmir Putin in 2013.

We are in “unpresidented” waters. We must decide whether to sink or swim as a nation, and true patriots will undoubtedly have enough love of Country to save it. The USA must be set solidly afloat before she drowns. We are the safeguards for protecting our own government from ridicule, shame, and ruin. Grab your angel wings and life vests; we have a rescue mission to conduct. Better a rescue mission than a recovery.


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