Week #40 of The Trump Era highlights the sheer ugliness and emptiness of Donald Trump’s character, an embarrassing exercise in malice, spite, ignorance, incompetence and insensitivity.
It began with Trump doing what he does best, dominating the headlines and making trouble just because he can. Not that there were any accomplishments being reported, mainly boasting of the damage he is doing to America and calling smarter people losers, the usual.
Then came the news that four American soldiers were killed in combat in the country of Niger 2 weeks earlier, something the president neglected to mention for a dozen days, or explain to the American people what our soldiers were doing in Niger.
When he did finally mention it, he made a colossal mess of things by lying about former presidents’ failure to contact the families of our fallen soldiers, politicizing the private pain of his own Chief of Staff by exploiting General Kelly’s son’s death in combat, then making incredibly callous remarks to the widow of one of the dead soldiers.
All of which created another of Trump’s patented political cyclones, an attention-grabbing torrent of criticism of the president from all sides that threatened to do the unthinkable; knock Trump out of the headlines, leaving him no choice but to double down on his lies.
Even General Kelly got in on the act, saying terrible things about Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, blatantly lying about her alleged boast about getting money out of the Federal government to build an FBI building in her state, something that happened before she was a member of Congress.
Trump’s outrageous and stupid attack on his predecessors, his attempt to use dead soldiers as stage props for his Twitter Wars, and his venomous attacks on friends, foes and the free press were repeated, prompting his two most recent predecessors, Presidents Obama and Bush, to break their traditional silence on a sitting president in powerful speeches condemning everything Trump stands for.
As per usual in the Trump Era, the attention-grabbing displays of childish petulance overshadowed these developments:
•Trump attempted to “fix” health care by destroying it via Executive Order.
• Overtime pay was put in danger as new labor rules were proposed.
• Robert Mueller interrogated Former Trump confidantes Preibus and Spicer.
• The rumored feud between Congressional Republicans and Trump was confirmed when Trump and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell got together for the most transparently hostile “friendly lunch” ever.
• The Senate approved a budget that would make Ebenezer Scrooge and the Sheriff of Nottingham swell with pride, taking trillions of dollars from the poor and giving it to the richest among us.
• Trump’s latest travel ban was blocked by a Federal Judge before it could be implemented, making him 0-for-travel bans.
• Trump had to withdraw the name of his proposed Drug Czar Tom Marino from consideration when it was revealed he shielded Big Pharma from prosecution for flooding the nation with addictive opioids when he worked for the Justice Department.
• Senators from both parties cobbled together a bill to restore the Health Care Subsidies Trump eliminated a few days before in an effort to prevent their constituents from dying off in droves.
• Secretary of State Tillerson was forced to say in public that he had not been castrated by Trump in response to a Republican Senator’s remarks to that effect.
• 85% of Americans in Puerto Rico are still without electricity and reliable sources of drinking water, while Trump gave himself an A+ for his response to Hurricane Maria on the island.
• White House spokespeople were tripping over themselves trying to translate Trump’s vicious words into the responsible and caring statements he surely meant to make.
The topics of gun control, infrastructure repair and Climate Change were never mentioned.
To almost quote Charles Dickens, it was the worst of times.