Much ink and many hours of airtime have already been spent on the subject of how Donald Trump is different, and not in a good way, from presidents who have preceded him. But Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer’s take on that well-worn topic contrasts from the pundits’ chorus that can be heard nonstop on cable news channels. From where Scheer sits, what makes Trump stand out—not only from a lineup of onetime Oval Office occupants, but from many other political figures closely orbiting the White House—is more superficial, in a sense, than the president’s growing coterie of foes on Capitol Hill might care to admit.

“I basically think this is a comedy of manners,” Scheer tells The Real News Network’s Paul Jay in an on-air interview that ranged from the president’s plan for the Afghanistan war to ongoing calls for his removal from office. Pointing to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s recent show of alarmed indignation about Trump’s ability to pull the nuclear trigger, Scheer and Jay both noted the hypocrisy of Clapper’s righteous display, considering the former intelligence chief’s own track record on trustworthiness.

“What is offensive to these people like Clapper about Trump is style,” Scheer says. As for Trump’s Afghanistan plan, Scheer adds, “He goes off-script, but if you think about the script itself, it’s been absurd since Day One.” On matters like how to keep selling nonsensical wars to the American public, Scheer suggests that Trump’s big-tent act represents the main difference between the current commander-in-chief and the Clappers and Bushes of the world, who struck poses more acceptable to their peers than those Trump bothers to include in his repertoire.

Here’s another question Scheer has for members of the D.C. establishment: “Why did they suffer this fool, and indeed create this fool, all these years?”

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