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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Trump flips from 'fire and fury' to topsy-turvy on several issues

First lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump

First lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump on Tuesday with U.S. military personnel aboard the USS Wasp at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Credit: Bloomberg News/Kiyoshi Ota

President Donald Trump gave a hint of what would be his upside-down messaging this week when he told U.S. troops on his weekend visit to Japan: "Happy Memorial Day."

Since it was a somber holiday honoring America's war dead, "happy" tends to clash with the occasion's spirit.

But we are marking Trump Topsy-turvy Week in bigger ways than just a small word choice.

Even as Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator who Trump once dubbed "Rocket Man," launches weapons again, the president giddily endorses Kim's slurring of the former American Vice President Joe Biden as "a fool of low IQ."

Trump also flipped normal behavior on its head by failing to stand up for fellow American John Bolton — his own national security adviser — against Kim's latest jeers. As translated, Kim called Bolton a "war maniac" with a “different mental structure from ordinary people.”

Bolton had said Kim's latest missile launches clearly violate a UN resolution backed by the U.S. But Trump, the one-time wielder of "fire and fury" threats against Pyongyang, shrank back from supporting Bolton.

That's especially topsy-turvy since presidents and their top Cabinet officials usually maintain at least some public linkage with each other — for purposes of national solidarity, consistent messaging, clear communication, leadership, and all that.

Trump offered a bit of head-over-heels rhetoric on the domestic front as well.

He blasted Biden's support of a bipartisan 1994 crime bill as permanently alienating the former Delaware senator from African-American voters. The president bragged that he signed a reform measure that reverses incarcerations in minority communities.

That flips reality in a few cynical ways.

Barely 10 days ago, presidential surrogate Rudy Giuliani tweeted: "The 1994 Crime Bill passed by Pres. Clinton and Speaker Gingrich, with Biden & Schumer as the leaders in Senate and House, helped me and the NYPD reduce murder from 1,900 a year to 500 and then under Mayor Bloomberg to 350.

"That’s over 20,000 lives saved."

Back in the high-crime era, Trump advocated the death penalty in the famous Central Park jogger case — for defendants who were later cleared.

The prison and sentencing reforms he touts as his own gained consensus in Congress before 2017. They were partly delayed by opposition from Trump's first attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

Trump's latest Iran statements sound inverted, too.

“We’re not looking for regime change. I want to make that clear,” Trump said at a news conference Monday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “We’re looking for no nuclear weapons.”

Barely a week earlier Trump, several of whose advisers have openly supported regime change, did a bit of a "fire-and-fury" reprise by declaring: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran."

What else will this Trump topsy-turvy week bring?

Flags ordered to fly upside-down as a sign of distress?

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