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.