Shortly after Donald Trump was elected, I was speaking with a despondent friend who despaired for the future of our country. I agreed that he was a repulsive and repugnant human being, but we should see what he does in office before making a judgment. He is much worse than I thought imaginable.
It seems that every week is described as the worst one in his presidency, but it will be difficult to surpass this last one – although I have no doubt he will. When the week ends with a report from the Wall Street Journal that your personal attorney paid $130,000 to a porn star to buy her silence a month before the election, and that is not even in the top three of negative stories, you have had a bad week.
It began, I guess predictably, with an effort to address the prior week’s top disaster, the Michael Wolff book describing our President as an unstable, lazy, ignoramus. After Trump declared he was a “stable genius,” his staff convinced him to do a televised meeting with Congressional leaders to negotiate a fix to the DACA issue. The need for this was occasioned by another of his disasters, his decision to repeal DACA, giving Congress six months to clean up the mess he created.
Immigration issues are, of course, his signature issue, and one that undoubtedly propelled him to the presidency. While the purpose of televising the negotiations was to convey an image of the leader in full control, it displayed the opposite. He clearly had no idea what he was talking about. At one point he agreed on an approach with a Democratic senator until one of the Congressional Republicans corrected him. The White House staff then displayed their Kremlinesque skills by deleting his agreement from the transcript they released.
Then we had the President tweeting his opposition to a bill in Congress that was his bill. While he is the chief executive for 16 national security agencies, he apparently derives his “intelligence” from the morning broadcast of Fox and Friends, or, as Esquire’s Charlie Pierce calls them, “Three Dolts on a Divan.”
The bill was a reauthorization of a section of the FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which, according to reports, is the source for much of the President’s Daily Intelligence Briefing – that is, if he ever decided to attend that. Panicked Republicans in Congress were finally able to get through to him to correct this mistake.
All of this paled – if you will excuse the expression – to his follow-up meeting on DACA in which he described African countries as “shitholes,” and said legislation should not permit Africans or Haitians in the country. He thought our immigration efforts should focus on countries like Norway. How is one of these not like the others? That’s kind of obvious, isn’t it?
Way too much of the ensuing media coverage focused on the President’s use of the word “shithole.” Two senators, Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham confirmed he said it. Two Republicans at first could not recall whether he said it, but miraculously later remembered he said “shithouse.” Your guess is as good as mine as to why they thought this distinction somehow aided the President, whose vulgarity has never been in doubt.
It doesn’t matter whether he said either word, or no offensive term at all. What matters is that the President of the United States stated his objective for an immigration policy that supports those from predominantly white countries while opposing immigrants from predominantly black countries.
If this were a one-time blip, it could perhaps be excused. But it continues a decades-long career of making negative comments about blacks, Latinos, Muslims, women, the disabled and anyone who dares question his judgment or policies (to the extent he has any).
Trump has said on several occasions that he is the “least racist” person you could ever meet. Setting aside the absurdity of such a claim – from anyone, not just this obvious bigot – it does not matter. His policies are bigoted and racist. It is not a coincidence that his neglect, and that of his Administration, “oversees” hundreds of thousands of American citizens on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands who have been without power for months since Hurricane Maria. He has spent more time fretting about football players protesting unequal treatment than doing anything about the suffering of our fellow citizens.
Yes, I was willing to give him a chance, but this presidency is the worst in my lifetime, if not in our nation’s history.
Today’s big story is the indictment of a Donald Trump campaign chairperson for a range of alleged offenses by the United States Special Counsel, Robert Mueller III. An indictment is serious, of course, but defendants Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are presumed innocent. No longer presumed innocent, however, is George Papadopoulos who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Papadopoulos was a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign. He has acknowledged colluding with the Russian government to assist the campaign of his boss. Stop me if you heard this one before, but the Russians gained access to Papadopoulos by promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
While there will undoubtedly be a concerted effort to minimize the importance of Papadopoulos by Trump and his surrogates, the campaign identified him as one of five foreign policy advisors to The Washington Post in March, 2016. He also kept senior campaign officials, including one Donald J. Trump, apprised of his contacts with representatives of the Russian government.
This is the first conviction resulting from Mueller’s investigation – at least that we know of – but there must be a bevy of nervous people who foolishly signed up for the Grifter-in-Chief’s con game. In Papadopoulos’ acknowledgement of guilt, he identified a “Campaign Supervisor,” “Senior Policy Advisor,” and “High-Ranking Campaign Official” as being aware of – indeed, encouraging – his frequent contacts with representatives of the Russian government.
Keep in mind that these are no longer allegations. They are included in a sworn statement he and his attorney signed on October 5. But they should not come as a surprise to those in the Trump Administration. He made many of the same statements on his Facebook account. Seriously. He talked about colluding with the Russians on Facebook and then lied to the FBI about it.
This might be understandable for the president of a high school student council. This is someone who has the nuclear codes. How much more can he embarrass us?
I have been restraining myself from saying what I think about the person elected by 47% of Americans to be our president. There have been so many instances where he has demonstrated his complete incompetence and lack of humanity to lead our country. This time, once again, he has passed the bar of human decency.
He said that Barack Obama did not call the families of Americans killed in contact. Anyone who pays attention, of course, knows that anything out of his mouth is probably a lie. Once again, that is a lie.
It’s one thing to admit a mistake, which Trump never does. This time, he invoked the name of his Chief of Staff, John Kelly, to support this lie. Kelly was honored by the Obama White House for his son’s sacrifice. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/obama-john-kelly-son-gold-star-breakfast
We have a president for whom no lie is inappropriate to attempt a justification of his deplorable behavior.
If you knew someone who engaged in this behavior, you would not hesitate to call him “scum.”
It’s hard to know where to begin with a week that marked the eight-month anniversary of the Trump Administration. Really. It has only been eight months.
Friday’s headline news was the resignation of Tom Price, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, for his staggering use of government funds to charter private jets, including one to take him to Philadelphia from Washington, D.C. Price, who had railed against such abuse when he was a Congressman and criticizing Democrats, attempted to deflect widespread outrage by offering to pay for the cost of “his seat” – not the total cost of the flight – but the gambit did not work.
The President accepted the resignation, but has yet to offer any comment on other Administration flyboys such as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, each of whom has resorted to private jets or military aircraft for their personal convenience and enjoyment.
One of the rallying cries at Trump rallies was “Drain the swamp” – you know, kind of like “Lock her up” for using personal email accounts – because of the candidate’s professed desire to rid Washington of those who used government for personal gain. As one wag observed, the Trump appointees are flying in private jets over the swamp.
Price, it should be noted, oversaw the federal agencies responsible for programs that are frequent targets of Republican budget-cutters, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, federally-funded public assistance and public health programs.
Joining Price and the other flyboys in the clueless department is Gary Cohn, Chair of the President’s National Economic Council. In defending the President’s tax cut plan, he said that the middle income taxpayer – who, after all, is the group the President claims to be helping – makes about $100,000 per year, and should expect a tax break of about $1,000 from the proposal. He said that would enable the family to “buy a new car” or “remodel their kitchen.” I had fortunately brought my car to a stop, because my laughter would have made driving unsafe.
Cohn reportedly received a severance of $285 million when he left Goldman Sachs, and one wonders if he ever (1) bought a car, or (2) needed to pay attention to bills he received for home renovations. Renovating a kitchen for $1,000. It was mindful of Trump once saying “No one knew how complicated health care could be.” I thought at the time he had never seen a bill for health care services, although given his casual approach to other financial obligations, it may not matter.
Then we have the President saying that his tax bill would not “benefit me, believe me.” In fairness, this is probably as true as most other things he says. But the notion that a bill benefitting the wealthy, including elimination of the estate tax and alternative minimum tax, would not benefit him is ludicrous on its face.
To cap off a week he began by playing the race card ended in the same place. Saturday morning he issued a policy proclamation – i.e. a tweet – saying that Puerto Ricans “want everything to be done for them.” This, of course, is a standard racist meme. But making this your response to 3.5 million American citizens literally facing the possibility of death is actually beyond clueless. It is the type of cruel, inhumane comments he so often makes.
Nothing is more predictable following a disaster or tragedy than political “leaders” saying it would be inappropriate to have a discussion on a possible cause of the event.
The mass murder in Las Vegas, therefore, meant we could not have a discussion on the effectiveness of the nation’s gun laws. Hurricanes wreaking devastation in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands precluded a discussion on climate change. And let’s not forget the effectiveness of environmental regulations on the impacts possibly caused by lax regulation and enforcement in the Houston area.
So here is a proposal that allows us to avoid discussing matters that may offend sensibilities. When there is the next mass murder accomplished by guns, let’s have a robust discussion on climate change. When extreme weather happens – the annual “100-year storm” – let’s talk about gun violence.
Of course it’s not going to happen when we have a Congress controlled by the National Rifle Association and the oil and gas industries. After all, if the murder of 20 children in an elementary school doesn’t compel a discussion on the availability of guns, nothing will.