For any other American President, a week like this would spell the end of his presidency, being run out of Washington in disgrace and humiliation.
But this is not any other American president, this is a walking, talking scandal in a boxy suit and impossibly long red tie who has been unabashedly corrupt since the moment he was inaugurated, and dangerously unstable his every waking moment.
So, Week #65 of The Trump Era finds shellshocked Americans trying to decipher a confusing jumble of words and events as Donald Trump pares down his White House staff to a skeleton crew, with only Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on hand to try to explain the inexplicable and describe the indescribable.
That could mean anything from denying hush money payments to Trump’s mistresses, deflecting questions about the accusation of him having a child out of wedlock with his housekeeper, explaining why he cancelled an important trip to South America, Trump’s defense of his corrupt EPA head Scott Pruitt, his personal lawyer’s office and home getting raided by the FBI, threatening more tariffs on China, trying to get back into the trade deals he pulled America out of while his Secretary of State nominee says he will “fix” the Iran nuclear deal, selling submarine technology to China’s sworn enemy Taiwan, then predicting China will play nice and back down in the trade war Trump started on a whim. Small wonder Ms Sanders has grown testier than than a drunk at a church tea party.
Trump kicked off the week on Friday by announcing the end of “catch and release” of illegal immigrants crossing our southern border, opting to criminally prosecute and imprison even first time offenders with no criminal records rather than simply deporting them, as National Guardsmen from Arizona and Texas reported to the Mexican border to act as a Human Wall.
In a purely cosmetic move designed to back up his lie about “nobody being tougher on Russia than me,” Trump pretended to get tough on Russian oligarchs by finally slapping serious sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s pals in response to the universal global outrage at Russia’s poisoning of a man and his daughter in the UK, multiple Kremlin insiders participating in American election interference with illegal campaign contributions and criminal influence-peddling, and Russia’s alleged complicity in Assad’s latest chemical attack on civilians in Syria.
These “sanctions,” however, gave the Oligarchs 60 days to move their money out of the USA before any punishment or asset forfeiture occurs, in essence a minor inconvenience at best.
Then Trump began bellowing about attacking Syria with cruise missiles to punish the Syrian military because his heart finally broke over children being killed (not American children slaughtered with guns of course, that’s the price of freedom, but Syrian children poisoned by their own president.). How bombing their nation will alleviate the suffering of children is anyone’s guess.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reacted to this unending chaos and instability by shouting at the top of his lungs and storming out of a meeting, vowing to quit his job, while new National Security Advisor John Bolton embraced and contributed to the madness by demanding the resignations of the few remaining levelheaded adults still advising the president on National Security matters.
On Monday, the CEO of the sinister new right wing propaganda conglomerate, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, showed up at the White House to assure Trump that “We are here to deliver your message, Mr. President.”
This was the week’s biggest surprise. Who knew Trump had a message?
Speaker of The House Paul Ryan also bailed on the dangerous administration he helped create, declaring he is “retiring from Congress” at age 48 because he had (!) accomplished all he set out to do (Translation: Getting out of Dodge before it burns to the ground, and gearing up to replace Trump in 2020 when he runs for president.).
Meanwhile, Ryan’s partner in crime, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, is trying to derail Congress from passing a law to protect Special Counsel Mueller’s job as Trump speaks openly of firing him again, along with his direct supervisor Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and refusing to be interviewed by Mueller.
None of this was helped by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress to apologize for allowing a company called Cambridge Analytica to steal the personal information of 87 million Facebook users for the express purpose of using their online profiles to influence them to elect Donald Trump in collusions with Russian hackers, sort of poking a hole in Trump’s “No Collusion” mantra.
Then, quick as a wink, Robert Mueller became Trump’s 2nd or 3rd most serious problem when it was reported that the FBI raid on Michael Cohen’s office yielded incriminating evidence (including video and audiotapes) about all sorts of bizarre and illegal behavior, the Republican National Committee’s main fundraiser Elliot Broidy resigning over his own hush money payment to his own Playboy Bunny mistress ($1.6 million, not a cheapskate like Trump), a former Trump Tower doorman revealed a $30,000 bribe from Michael Cohen to shut up about Trump’s love child, and James Comey’s book being released, with Comey accusing the president of being a perverted gangster (“a Mafia Don”) and a pathological liar who tried to convince Comey to pretend to debunk the Russian hookers pee story in order to placate his angry wife.
This of course provoked the predictable Trump Twitter Storm, calling Comey every name in the book, denying everything he ever did and said, or might do and say in the future, invoking the name of his favorite Straw Bogeyman Hillary Clinton, and scaring the bejabbers out of his remaining staffers.
This all happened in just one week, and no one is quite sure if these things occurred one after the other or all at once. It’s getting harder to process this tornado as its intensity and destructiveness increases. Time is rendered meaningless, the orderly unfolding of events but a hazy memory, and our very thought processes and ability to absorb information are severely compromised by the onslaught of a permanent vicious insanity with a life of its own.
Oh, for the carefree days of praising Nazis and arming schoolteachers.