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Politics, Trump Week in Review

WEEK #85 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY, 8/24/18 TO THURSDAY, 8/30/18

Week #85 started off lousy and then got worse, and Trump’s personal behavior (even for him) hit new lows. Other than that, though… 

First on Friday we got the news that Allen Weisselberg, Trump’s long time accountant, CFO of the Trump organization and the man who prepares Trump’s tax returns, has been granted immunity by Robert Mueller in exchange for his testimony. Bad news indeed for Trump, since Weisselberg is the man who knows where every nickel goes and who cuts every check, from payroll to bills to porn star hush money payments, and who-knows-what other dirty deeds and dubious deals. 

Since Trump himself brought up Al Capone in relation to the trial of Paul Manafort, it is worth noting that flipping Al Capone’s accountant was how the Feds nailed him for tax evasion.

Also on Friday Trump was forced to acknowledge that his Kim Jong-Un adventure was a waste of time as he cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s fourth North Korean trip due to lack of progress on anything at all. He did manage to send along his “warmest regards” to Kim, something he neglected to do for Senator John McCain, who announced he was discontinuing treatment for the brain cancer he has been battling for a year, a signal his death was imminent. 

Then his personal lawyer and professional banshee Rudy Giuliani publicly chided Trump about his comments that “flipping” should be illegal, referring to witnesses cooperating with prosecutors, a sentiment endorsed only by mob bosses, corrupt corporate executives and crooked politicians, explaining “the president is not a lawyer.” Do tell

Small wonder Trump escaped to his reliable safe space, a political rally in Columbus at the Ohio Republican Party state dinner. Once again he failed to mention John McCain, instead politicizing a young woman’s murder, demonizing an Ohio Democratic candidate, revisiting his filthy character attacks on Senator Elizabeth Warren for being 1/32 Cherokee by again calling her “Pocahontas,” and boasting how his “big win in Ohio” would translate into a Red Wave for the upcoming Midterms, an opinion shared by exactly none of his fellow Republicans, who are publicly admitting they are in for a major defeat and hoping they can hang on to their majority in at least one House of Congress.

Saturday began on an amusing note when Trump’s most bizarre child weighed in with an almost Giuliani-esque statement when Eric Trump declared that his father tunes out the mountains of criticism leveled at the president “so he doesn’t kill himself.” Wow. Don’t tease us, Eric!

Trump responded with his lifelong habit of completely ignoring Eric, instead ramping up his cruel attacks on his own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who had the temerity a few days before to respond forcefully to Trump’s constant taunts by insisting that the Justice Department will remain firmly under his control and unaffected by political considerations (a self-serving lie, but a good counterpunch to the president’s insistence that the Justice Department serve as his political tool). 

Then disaster struck. Trump had his headlines cruelly ripped away from him when John McCain died, riveting the nation’s attention on something other than Trump, Trump and more Trump 24/7, a completely unacceptable and disastrous turn of events for our Narcissist In Chief. The rest of the week would be one exercise in futility after another as Trump tried his best but failed to recapture “his” headlines” from a dead hero.

And speaking of heroism, Trump explicitly did not, and his official statement to the press regarding Senator McCain’s death was a watered down version of the text prepared for him by the White House staff, releasing only a generic two sentences of thoughts-and-prayers, the kind of thing Trump usually reserves for the families of mass shooting victims and people who are waist-deep in water after a natural disaster destroyed their homes.

Trump’s deep-seated hatred for McCain was based not on politics (he blamed McCain personally for the failure of Congress to repeal the nation’s only Health Care Plan), but instead on the almost universal and bipartisan respect John McCain commanded, something Trump will never experience.

McCain was former POW who endured over 5 years of torture, refusing an early release unless his fellow prisoners were released as well, and Donald Trump (Captain Bonespurs himself) saw fit to ridicule his captivity and deny the man’s courage, and kept it up for years, eventually convincing many of his imbecilic supporters to accuse McCain of treachery and treason while in captivity, viscous slander Trump never discouraged, unlike McCain, who famously corrected a supporter who accused Barack Obama of being a foreign-born Muslim during his campaign for the presidency, telling her and the world that Obama was a good man and a patriot with whom he had political disagreements, at a time when Trump was making his political bones by fueling the racist Birther Movement and dispatching his own private investigators to Hawaii to expose Obama as a Kenyan Muslim imposter.

McCain was a man who overcame catastrophic injuries and the scarring experience of captivity and torture to become a leading statesman of the Republican party, their Presidential candidate in 2008 and, in many respects, the last Republican, a man of integrity, personal decency and a willingness to embrace new ideas based on their merit, not their source. 

John McCain was a complex man with many flaws (his horse’s ass politics, mainly) who was not afraid to make enemies and had his share of critics, but he was also a voice of morality, personal integrity and bipartisanship whose death prompted mourning and deep condolences not only from every corner of America, but from all over the world. 

Small wonder Trump hated him, a living reminder of everything he is not, now an even bigger reminder in death, especially since McCain will be honored by Lying in State both in his home State of Arizona and at the Capitol Building in Washington, a funeral Trump was barred from attending by McCain himself.

The eulogies were instead delivered by his lifelong friend and political opposite, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former Presidents Barack Obama and George Bush. You know, normal people who know how to praise and honor someone other than themselves, and conduct themselves with the dignity befitting a solemn occasion.

Trump, who would claim how well he handled McCain’s death later that week, handled it horribly, beginning with his bland generic statement about his death, through ordering the White House flag hoisted back to full staff prematurely, then grudgingly ordering it back to half-mast until the burial following a near-unanimous national gripe, then refusing to answer reporters’ questions about the passing of McCain. Never has a smaller man tried to steal the thunder of a popular hero, even at the time of his death.

Nothing he could do, however, would steal John McCain’s thunder in Week #85, or win back the media’s undivided attention. 

Not for lack of trying, though. On Monday he announced a surprise US-Mexico trade deal, supposedly to replace NAFTA, even though Congress immediately reminded him that America is still bound by the NAFTA treaty and Canada is our good friend so stop fucking with our neighbor, or words to that effect.

Still the focus remained on John McCain. 

He upped the ante on Tuesday when he pleaded with Evangelical pastors to prepare their flocks for (!) “the threats violence from the left” if the Democrats win back either House of Congress, something exactly no one else predicted except the Russian hackers who made it up and the shock-politics webcast numbskulls who ran with it (turns out Trump is now taking advice from the granddaddy of them all, the insane and vicious Alex Jones).

Later that day the President reminded Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that “I remember Pearl Harbor,” an event that took place almost 5 years before Trump was born. That’s one amazing memory, Mr. President.

Wednesday he grasped at the straw of claiming “we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico,” as a report was filed putting the death toll at almost 3,000 deaths as a result of Hurricane Maria, more people than perished on 9/11 or during Hurricane Katrina, many of them preventable deaths due to the feeble emergency response from FEMA and Washington. 

Trump does have bitter memories of Hurricane Maria, not because of the loss of life or his embarrassing statement about speaking with “the President of Puerto Rico” (that would be him), but for the catastrophic loss of attention for Trump. 

It was a week of bizarre frenetic Tweeting for Trump, not all that unusual for the hyperactive oaf, but one of them prompted an immediate correction from the FBI when he claimed “Hillary Clinton’s Emails, many of which are Classified Information, got hacked by China.”

To which the FBI replied there was “No evidence to suggest the servers she used as Secretary of State were ever infiltrated.”

Then in defense of his purge of the Justice Department of those deemed insufficiently loyal to Trump, he said Bruce Ohr’s wife “speaks Russian” so they must have been part of the Russian Collusion by the Democrats, so… Deep State, Crooked Hillary, Lock Her Up, etc, you know the rest. Oh, and no collusion!

Trump also felt compelled to defend himself against charges that his revolving-door White House is chaotic and amateurish by claiming that his administration is “a smooth running machine.” Wellokaythen! Must be run on some of that clean coal we hear so much about.

Speaking of smooth running machines, White House Counsel and suspected flipper Donald McGhan got canned (he of the 30 hours of interviews as “a cooperating witness” with Robert Mueller and the guy who kept talking Trump out of firing Jeff Sessions), so the skids are being greased for Sessions too, amid reports that Trump’s handbag designer daughter and real estate salesman son-in-law want the Attorney General of the United States “pushed out” because he’s not the right sort of contestant for this reality show. Smooth indeed.

Rudy Giuliani chimed in with another Orwellian pronouncement when he expanded on his “Truth Isn’t Truth” gem of last week with this beauty: “Trump is honest because (!) facts are in the eye of the beholder.”

Then just for shits and giggles Trump picked a fight with Carl Bernstein, one of the reporters who blew the Watergate Scandal wide open in 1972,  calling him “sloppy” and “a degenerate fool.” Bernstein responded by reminding Trump that getting at the truth is what a reporter does for a living, showing no interest in getting into a personal social media war, probably figuring that their respective records will speak for themselves.

Still the attention remained on John McCain and not Donald Trump, a headline drought lasting even longer than a hurricane. On that score, Michael Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis helped out, but not quite in the way Trump was hoping for, when he announced that Cohen was flipping all the way and would be providing evidence to Mueller that Trump knew about and participated in the collusion with Russia to steal the election. 

Trump took this horrible news out on his employees. All of them, as it turns out, when he canceled scheduled pay raises for Federal workers, citing “poor economic conditions” and saying “federal budgets could not stand the strain.” This, after spending the past year bragging about his fantastic economy and how workers would be the beneficiaries of his “great numbers never seen before,” leaving us to wonder which side of his mouth gets tired first as workers watched the 1% grab over 90% of the tax cut while their measly 20 dollar bill got erased by higher gasoline prices and skyrocketing housing costs. Like Tom Waits said, “the large print giveth, and the small print taketh away.”

Speaking of taking stuff away from people in need, Trump pulled American funding from a United Nations Refugee Fund administering to the needs of 5 million Palestinian refugees, throwing gasoline on the inferno that is the Middle East just because he could.

Then he closed out the week at yet another political rally, this one in Indiana. Trump and his audience never seem to tire of the repetitious shtick; how reporters are the enemy of the people, how pollsters are evil manipulators except when the poll is in my favor, boasting about how he always “screams fake news” (then screaming fake news again), accusing the other side of doing all those bad Russia things, no collusion, Lock Her Up, zzzz…

One irony of Week #85 is that John McCain is one of the authors of the Campaign Finance Reform Bill, the law that both Cohen and Weisselberg  are suspected of breaking, a law carrying stiff enough jail sentences to flip both these deep insiders in the Trump Organization. McCain may have the last laugh yet.

Week #85 of the Trump Era was McCain’s, and all the leaders and statesmen from both sides of the aisle who paid him tribute, while Trump was the only kid in the class not allowed to go on the field trip. Phew, n’shit.

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