On Monday and Tuesday, Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy appeared as a guest on a couple of major TV programs to drop this political bombshell: His good friend, President Donald Trump, was considering firing the newly appointed special prosecutor, Robert Mueller. Mueller is leading an FBI investigation into Russian interference with our 2016 election, and the possible collusion of members of the Trump campaign – including Mr. Trump, himself.
Christopher Ruddy and Trump have been good friends for a long time. It would seem unlikely that Ruddy was idly speculating about whether the president would be considering firing the special prosecutor. Clearly, Mr. Trump used his friend to send a message.
What’s that message, and to whom is it being sent? I would guess that there are three separate messages being sent to three different parties.
The first recipient, obviously, is Robert Mueller. It’s the same message the president delivered multiple times to FBI Director James Comey: Go easy on me with this Russian investigation – or else. What makes this message really strange is that Mueller has barely gotten started, and Trump is already sending him a very public warning. Compounding the strangeness is that just a few weeks ago, Trump was considering Mueller to once again become FBI Director.
The second party Ruddy’s message is aimed at is President Trump’s political base: I’m mad, and I’m not going to take it anymore! I’m in charge, and I’m going to stay in charge.
Now, let’s move on to the third party, which is Trump, himself. Just as he has an apparent need for almost constant reassurance that he really did win the election, he needs to tell himself that he’s going to fight off any attempt to remove him from office.
Interestingly, Christopher Ruddy has managed to deliver a mixed message. He, personally, does not think it would be a good idea for the president to fire Robert Mueller. So we are to believe that this patriotic American took it upon himself to inform the nation that his good friend, the president, was considering this ill-advised firing.
What is so amazing about this whole business is that the president would resort to such a transparent means to deliver his message. It’s one thing to use deception to fool others, but quite another when it’s used to fool yourself.
Steve Slavin has a PhD in economics from NYU, and taught for over thirty years at Brooklyn College, New York Institute of Technology, and New Jersey’s Union County College. He has written sixteen math and economics books including a widely used introductory economics textbook now in its eleventh edition (McGraw-Hill) and The Great American Economy (Prometheus Books) due out in August.