The Florida Fraudster and the Russian ‘Killer’

When I covered George H.W. Bush’s presidential campaign in 1988, he was so eager to wrap himself in the American flag that he took us to a New Jersey flag factory. That way, he could claim that the G.O.P. was “on the American side” while caressing pieces of striped, red-and-white nylon.

At the time, it seemed like a cynical move by Republicans, trying to bogart patriotism. But at least they respected our country enough to try to monopolize its symbol.

That vanishing breed of Republican pledged allegiance to the American flag. Now Republicans pledge allegiance to Donald Trump’s ego. He has to be bigger than everything — even America itself.

“Bush wrapped himself in the American flag,” David Axelrod said. “Trump wants to wrap himself in the Mar-a-Lago flag.”

Just as Trump has remade the Republican Party in his own nasty and selfish image, he wants to remake America in his own nasty and selfish image.

Trump doesn’t seem to subscribe to any of the verities about this country. He doesn’t believe America is exceptional. He only believes that Trump is exceptional — an exception to all the rules that the rest of us live by.

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