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WEEK #83 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY, 8/10/18 TO THURSDAY, 8/16/18

We’re in “Even for him!” territory again. The Trump Era weeks keep getting stranger and stranger, and this one ratcheted up the crazy more than a few notches. You know, the nonstop barrage of daily insanity we all swore we would never allow ourselves to be normalized.

Well, guess again. The human instinct for self-preservation is a powerful impetus, and after a year and a half of this runaway crazy train, it takes some monumental lunacy to get our attention, from both The Lunatic In Chief and one or more of his odious hand-picked minions. In what has become a War on Truth, the strange, the infuriating and the incomprehensible are now relative terms, so we respond only to the most outrageous and sensational aberrations. 

Enter Omarosa Manigault-Newman, the former Reality Game Show TV star hired four times by Trump, the final time for an undefined job in the White House as Trump’s token Black “advisor” on his staff. What advice Omarosa ever gave Trump, and what work she did on behalf of the American people is unclear, but what is clear is that she was unceremoniously fired by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly when he took that job and cleaned house of the inept and the superfluous.

The acrimony attached to her firing made headlines and caused rampant speculation at the time, but that too died down as Trump kept up the withering barrage of crazier things than that relatively tame episode (tame by Trumpian standards anyway). 

Died down until this week, that is, when Omarosa came roaring back with a tell-all book about her days in the Trump Administration, and released an audio tape she had secretly recorded of John Kelly not only firing her, but offering her the bribe of a lucrative job in the private sector coupled with a veiled threat to ruin her reputation if she did not go quietly.

No worries there, since Omarosa never had a good reputation to ruin in the first place, and “going quietly” is not in her skill set. Trump’s predictably furious responses only fueled her vengeance, and she revealed she had other recordings of Trump and his staff, including a second one she has already released to the media of Eric Trump’s wife Lara fleshing out Kelly’s job bribe, promising to match her $180,000 annual salary. How his daughter-in-law came to be an accomplice to this skullduggery is unexplained, and leaves only Trump’s 12 year-old son Barron and his semi-estranged daughter Tiffany as the only Trumps not yet involved in this freak show or implicated in potentially criminal acts.

Bear in mind that Omarosa is every bit as dishonest, sneaky and repulsive a person as Trump, so she was naturally suspicious of anything that comes out of the mouth of anyone connected to the Trump Administration.

But at least this particular repugnant liar has tapes, one of which she claims has the President using the N-word and calling his son Eric a “a retard.” Everyone who’s been paying even middling attention to Trump already knows he is a vicious racist, and few would dispute his assessment of Eric Trump, but not with that crude and vulgar epithet. 

“Crude and vulgar,” however, are twin cornerstones of Trump’s character (such as it is), along with delusional, incompetent, ignorant, petty and cruel. So naturally he went on one of his patented Tweet binges, lashing out like a wounded animal. He even demanded Omarosa be arrested, even though she committed no crime. Calling a Black woman “a “lowlife and a dog” certainly did nothing to support his claim of being “the least racist person you ever met,” nor did it elevate the level of dialogue to the higher plane normally expected from a president.

It turns out the Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) he had all White House staffers sign are, according to his White House counsel, “unenforceable and put in place only to placate Donald Trump.” Apparently Trump thought he could run the American government like his business and his TV Show, controlling what information is disseminated while being secretive on the negative aspects. 

Such a man-child is enraged upon hearing the word “no” (and he is never very far from rage even on his best days), and Week #83 was certainly not the Best of Times for President Trump.

He began the week on Friday by doubling the tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Turkey, while federal prosecutors were wrapping up their case against his campaign manager Paul Manafort by tying his financial crimes to the Trump election campaign.

Even more curious, Manafort’s legal team mounted no case for the defense, but rested without calling a single witness or introducing any evidence at all on behalf of their client, leaving us wondering if their legal strategy was just throwing up their hands and hoping for a Presidential pardon.

Still on a “working vacation” at his New Jersey golf resort, he had ample time on his hands to give his insanity free reign on Twitter, with samples like “My numbers are better by far than Obama’s” which is not borne out by looking at the facts, unless of course you count his #45, which is clearly a higher number than Obama’s #44.

On Tuesday he briefly left his golfing and Tweeting to make an appearance at Fort Drum Army Base in New York, and spoke at length about a defense spending bill he was about to sign, a bill named for one of its authors, Senator John McCain, the war hero who is nearing death from brain cancer and a frequent target of Trump’s vicious slander. He spoke about the bill for half an hour without once mentioning John McCain’s name, an exercise in pettiness worthy of a spoiled child. 

Trump’s lead criminal defense attorney Rudy Giuliani continued his bizarre Change The Story Tour of any TV show that would have him, this time denying that Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey not to pursue the FBI’s investigation into his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, first saying he didn’t mention Flynn at all, then in the next breath saying he only requested that Comey “go light on him.” 

Rudy also vociferously denied Omarosa’s biggest bombshell, that the president knew about the theft of Hillary Clinton’s emails by Russians before the information went public, implicating Trump in several serious crimes. Trump also denied the allegation, alternately blaming Hillary Clinton and throwing his own son Donald Junior under the bus yet again.

If it is any comfort to America, Rudy did not say these things with a straight face, that being the one facial expression of which he seems incapable as he alternates between bug-eyed wonder, grimacing outrage and cartoonish faux outrage.

So here is America trying to separate the wheat from the chaff with this Gang of Liars, with no one here to root for, and no one we are sure we can believe.  

Nope, the guy you can trust is the one who had his Security Clearance revoked by Trump, former CIA Director John Brennan, a man of impeccable integrity and professionalism. Former Intelligence Agency Directors have always been a vital asset to the nation, retaining their Security Clearance even after they leave office so they can readily be consulted on sensitive matters they handled when active, and provide valuable strategic insights to the current occupiers of these offices. 

Brennan became Trump’s enemy for publicly lambasting him for what Brennan considered Trump’s treasonous behavior vis a vis Russia, his wrecking-ball mentality towards NATO, and his bizarre behavior and unceasing lies, all of which not only diminish America and make us a global laughingstock, but put our country in dire peril. 

Trump blindsided his own National Security staff, all of whom opposed this action, then went on to author perhaps his strangest and most self-revealing tweets to date about John Brennan, and where we again enter “Even for him!” territory. 

His Tweets about his rationale for yanking Brennan’s clearance were the most accurate description of Trump himself imaginable, claiming Brennan was engaging in the following:

• Wild outbursts on the Internet and television

• Erratic conduct and behavior

• Monetizing his official position

• Repeatedly telling lies

Sound familiar, fellow citizens?

He also claimed Brennan was guilty of starting the “Russian Witch Hunt,” and for good measure attacked several other well-respected former American Intelligence and Law Enforcement officials, calling them “duplicitous” (a surprisingly adult word for Trump), and “not good people” (more his speed). This prompted over a dozen other former prominent Intelligence leaders to sign a joint letter of protest to the President, condemning his attack on their contemporaries, as pushback against Trump becomes something of a National Pastime.

Then in an unprecedented action in American history, 350 newsrooms, led by the Boston Globe, conducted a joint editorial campaign condemning Trump’s unceasing attacks of the First Amendment and our Free Press, and his dangerous and abhorrent labeling of the news media as “enemies of the people.” Trump responded with more attacks on the press and yet another bizarre Tweet that was so insane and incomprehensible you have to wonder if Vice President Pence is intensely studying the details of the 25th Amendment. Behold:

“There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. The fact is that the Press is FREE to write and say anything it wants, but much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people. HONESTY WINS!”

Then to (mercifully) end this Week #83 that began with the Trump Administration seriously considering replacing 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan with Eric Prince’s mercenaries (the same ones convicted of committing a massacre of civilians there a decade ago), Trump announced on Thursday that the Pentagon was cancelling its planned military parade in November (spuriously insinuating it was their idea and not his) because the projected cost ballooned to $91 million, three times the original estimate. He did, however, find a convenient scapegoat when he laid much of the blame on (!) Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who embodies the perfect target for Trump, being both a Democrat and a Black woman.

And this was a week where Trump was on vacation. Worst of all, we lost one of our great sources of comfort and joy, Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul is gone, but she leaves us her example and her inspiration as we fight for America’s soul.

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