Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM radio’s daily program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @DeanObeidallah. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion articles on CNN.
President Donald Trump, while often unpredictable, has been entirely consistent in two ways. First, he loves to claim credit for anything good that happens. And, second, he will not only refuse to accept responsibility for anything that goes wrong, he will blame others for it.
And it appears Trump is staying true to form in response to the unfolding Ukraine scandal. The Washington Post, citing three federal officials, reported on Sunday that on the President’s call with Republican House members on Friday, Trump claimed he made the controversial July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the urging of Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. It confirms Axios reporting that came out on Saturday.
In a statement, Perry’s spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said, “Secretary Perry absolutely supported and encouraged the President to speak to the new President of Ukraine to discuss matters related to their energy security and economic development.”
Nevertheless, the Axios reporting inspired the hashtag “PerryMadeMeDoIt” to trend on Twitter on Sunday as people called out Trump’s blaming of Perry for the very phone call that triggered the House impeachment inquiry. One of the funnier tweets came from frequent Trump critic George Conway, the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, who wrote, “I didn’t clean up after my dogs at the park this morning and it was Rick Perry who made me do it #PerryMadeMeDoIt.”
Is there any doubt, given Trump’s history, that he will blame any and everyone else for the Ukraine scandal? Blaming others is one of Trump’s favorite hobbies – after tweeting, of course.
For example, on Wednesday, when the stock market saw a big drop, Trump took to Twitter to blame the Democrats, writing, “All of this impeachment nonsense, which is going nowhere, is driving the Stock Market, and your 401K’s, down.” Come Friday, when the stock market had made up almost all of its losses from earlier in the week, not a peep from Trump on the issue.
In August, the day after the stock market dropped 800 points, Trump blamed the media for the slowing economy, tweeting, “The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election.” And, over the last few months, Trump has constantly slammed the Federal Reserve chair he handpicked, Jerome Powell, for not swiftly slashing interest rates.
In reality, numerous economists have noted that the economic worries we are seeing are due, in part, to Trump’s trade war with China that has resulted in tariffs on American products, hurting some US businesses and workers. Trump, though, has not publicly acknowledged that his trade war has hurt our economy.
But that is par for the course with Trump. This is the same person who, after the Democrats won the House in 2018 by flipping 40 seats, refused to take any responsibility for that loss, despite midterm elections being traditionally viewed as a referendum on the President. Instead, after the GOP lost the House, Trump not only refused to acknowledge his unpopularity contributed to this result, he instead blamed the losses on the media and even some Republicans for refusing to embrace him during the 2018 campaign.
Trump even blamed others when it came to a 2017 US military raid in Yemen that he personally greenlit as commander in chief, which resulted in the tragic death of Navy Seal William Ryan Owens. After the military action, Trump took to Fox News and said, “Well, this was a mission that was started before I got here.” (Trump actually approved the mission, after the Obama administration had paused plans to pursue.) Trump then appeared to blame his own generals, “This was something that was, you know, just they wanted to do. They came to see me they explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected.”
Of course, when it comes to anything good, Trump not only touts the success, but demands all the credit. We’ve seen that over and over with his claims about the US economy being an “economic miracle” due to his policies. And, in January, Trump claimed he “had the most successful first two years of any president,” while often boasting he’s the most popular Republican president ever.
Former President Harry Truman famously parked a sign on his desk in the Oval Office that read, “The Buck Stops Here,” making it clear that he was the one ultimately responsible for his decisions as President. Trump should have a sign on his desk that reads, “At some point, I’ll be throwing you under the bus.” In fact, if you work in the White House, I’d recommend you start putting on some padding because you may soon be seeing the underside of a Washington DC metrobus.