Donald Trump is a bully, and he’s used the tactic of bullying over the years to work deals in his favor, to not pay vendors, as well as to twist press coverage to his favor. Having lived in the NYC area for nearly 30 years, Trump’s antics haven’t changed.
Trump has a dilemma. He’s in Washington DC now, and people there are used to much more sophisticated forms of bullying than his schoolyard antics. The president thought he could work his magic with James Comey when on May 12, he tweeted the following:
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
The president may be a dolt, but he’s not stupid. He didn’t definitively state there are recordings of his conversations, but he certainly suggested it. Naturally, his defenders are all asking, “Did Trump say he had tapes??” It’s a convenient way to deflect attention away from what he did say.
Trump’s tweet is a perfect example of his propensity to retreat into self-aggrandizing behavior, thinking James Comey would shrink like a wilted flower at the very possibility tapes of their conversations existed. During Comey’s testimony, he threw water on Trump’s empty threat when Comey said he hoped there are tapes and had no problem with a public release of their contents.
So the question remains: Are there tapes or not?
Jonathan Karl attempted to ask President Trump about the tapes, and the president gave a strange answer:
Why couldn’t he answer yes or no? Because he likely knows he’s in hot water for even suggesting his conversations were recorded and threatening to release them. So President Trump will have to confer with his attorneys as to the best way to weasel out of his empty threat. Of course, for all of the fanboy talk of Trump being the tough guy alpha male, he’s going to hide behind his lawyers instead of just saying, “There are no tapes.”
The other possibility — and the one that has consequences far greater than being caught in a lie — is that there are tapes of the conversations and what those recordings will do is confirm Comey’s versions of events. Such a possibility is unlikely as Trump indicated to Karl, his answer on the tapes will be disappointing.
Why wait, Mr. President? Put your cards on the table, sir.