News & Politics

Krugman: Republicans Love 'Personal Responsibility' Yet Won't Hold Trump Accountable

This administration is suffering from an "epidemic of infallibility."

Photo Credit: YouTube Screengrab

America is suffering from a national disease, Paul Krugman warns in Monday's column, and it's far beyond what current medicine can fix, unless Big Pharma is hiding the cure for narcissism. It is, he writes, "an epidemic of infallibility," a congenital failure ever to take responsibility for mistakes, admit wrongdoing, or god forbid, apologize. 

It didn't start with Donald Trump. Krugman warned us years ago of the perils of the Bush administration's "mensch gap," as he dubbed it, the lack of "an upstanding person" who would own his actions and apologize for and fix wrongdoing. "Nobody in that administration," Krugman writes, "ever seemed willing to accept responsibility for policy failures, whether it was the bungled occupation of Iraq or the botched response to Hurricane Katrina." 

Now Bush looks positively statesman-like compared to our current president, who not only accused his predecessor of wiretapping Trump Tower, but also said in all seriousness that the GCHQ, Britain's National Security Agency counterpart, helped him do it. Trump has produced no evidence to support his claim. As Krugman writes, "Nothing the president says is wrong, whether it’s his false claim that he won the popular vote or his assertion that the historically low murder rate is at a record high. No error is ever admitted. And there is never anything to apologize for."

Always passing the buck, Trump told the media with a straight face, "All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind,” who just happened to be a commentator for his favorite Fox News. 

According to Krugman, "what’s going on with Mr. Trump and his inner circle seems to have less to do with ideology than with fragile egos. To admit having been wrong about anything, they seem to imagine, would brand them as losers and make them look small."

Our current commander in chief, Krugman reminds us, "is a man you wouldn’t trust to park your car or feed your cat." The best we can hope for is that "watching Mr. Trump in action will be a learning experience—not for him, because he never learns anything, but for the body politic. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll eventually put a responsible adult back in the White House." From Krugman's lips to god's ears. 

Read Paul Krugman's entire column

Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.

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