Week #33 of the Trump Era finds the president bowing to reality for once, asking Congress for billions in immediate aid for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, a tacit admission that Big Government is the only effective remedy for Big Disaster.
His lucid moments faded swiftly, of course, as the news hit the fan that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has obtained as evidence the original White House draft of a letter written by Trump about his reasons for firing James Comey, setting Trump off on another of his patented Twitter meltdowns, again offering bizarre alternative explanations (creepy lies) about Comey’s firing and the Russian Collusion Scandal.
On Saturday Trump returned to Texas, where he said this about an event that took over 50 lives and destroyed property on an epic scale:
“It’s been really nice. It’s been a wonderful thing. As tough as this was it’s been a wonderful thing. I think even for the country to watch and for the world to watch, it’s been beautiful. Have a good time everybody, I’m going to be doing a little help over here.”
Then after touring a shelter filled with people who had lost everything they own, he left them with “Have a good time, everybody!”
Obsessed with undoing Obama’s work, Trump tried to tease us with one of his patented Reality TV cliffhangers regarding the Dreamer Act, which of course we all knew meant he was going to kill the program and squander a generation’s worth of talent and hard work for pure spite, denying hard working individuals and this nation the benefits of their educations, their skills and their ideas.
And kill it he did, leaving in legal limbo 800,000 youngsters who grew up in the USA since early childhood and know no other country. Trump gave Congress 6 months to to come up with a solution to avoid the spectacle of a massive roundup and deportation of a targeted ethnic group on a scale not seen since the salad days of the Third Reich.
He also reserved the right to change his mind about DACA and act unilaterally again if Congress fails to act in the allotted time, depending on the circumstances. Presumably, one criterion has to be whether the nation can round up enough trains to accommodate them all in just 6 months time.
Trump also said he was also ”seriously considering” halting US trade with any nation doing business with North Korea, something his aides patiently explained to him is an impossibility without impoverishing America.
Undaunted, he lashed out angrily at (!) South Korea too, threatening our mutually lucrative trade agreements with this loyal ally, just for the hell of it. Apparently, carefully considering things is not among the skills Trump brought to the White House, as evidenced from just about everything he says and does.
Proof of this is manifestly apparent in his efforts to change the Department of Labor to the Department of Management by his proposal to cut the Department’s budget by 40% and arguing against workers getting paid overtime. This is in direct contradiction to his campaign promise to champion American workers, and on Labor Day weekend of all times.
One positive aspect of the week was Trump’s realization (along with embarrassed Republican members of Congress) that only Big Government is equipped to handle destructive natural disasters (so long as their socialist solutions are called something else). Trump requested $14.5 billion for immediate recovery from Hurricane Harvey, with more multibillion dollar expenditures planned as the grim realities unfold in Texas.
Before the floods receded in Texas, however, another catastrophic storm was doing horrific damage to Caribbean islands, the Category 5 Hurricane Irma, threatening to severely batter the entire state of Florida starting on Friday.
A storm was also brewing in Congress over America’s Debt Ceiling, an issue weaponized by Republicans against Democratic presidents, and something GOP Senators and Congressmen were hoping to force Trump into making concessions to their frustrated agenda before they approve emergency aid to Texas and soon for Florida.
Instead of caving in to Speaker of the House Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Trump did some horsetrading with (!) Democrats led by Senator Chuck Schumer, who was only too happy to help drive another wedge between Trump and his own party while avoiding catastrophic dismantling of the government they all swore an oath to serve.
Republicans felt so betrayed by Trump colluding with Democrats, they drowned their sorrows in Russian caviar and vodka, with some even voting against helping Texas flood victims feeling “entitled” to free federal money just because they’re hip deep in water.
As the week wore down, the president’s son Donald Junior gave closed door testimony to investigators for the Senate Judiciary Committee about his active role in the Russian Collusion Scandal, presenting President Trump with another agonizing dilemma; how to throw his own son under the bus without it looking like he’s throwing his own son under the bus.
This was the Week #33 – intrigue, betrayal, deceit and destructive tempests. In other words, another Trump week at the Oval Office.