Like so many whiny children in the backseat of the family car heading who-knows-where because Dad is drunk, hopelessly lost and refusing to pull over so Uncle Mike can drive (no matter how much Uncle Mike praises his driving to appease him), America let out a collective “Are we there, yet?” several times during Week #86, figuring it can’t possibly be much longer until a squad car finally pulls us over and makes this crazy ride stop.
The week began relatively quietly (for Trump) on Friday since Washington’s elite (not so fast, Donald!) and the nation’s media were still in full John McCain Funeral Mode, with eloquent presidential speeches being made praising the fallen war hero and statesman, with exactly none of these soothing words coming from our current president, who was banned from the funeral, a funeral that was still stealing his headlines, almost a week after McCain dropped dead!
He should have been grateful for the media inattention on Friday when lobbyist W. Samuel Patten pleaded guilty in Federal Court to funneling Russian money to the Trump Inaugural Committee and illegally giving tickets to the inauguration to covert Russian operatives. That’s the sort of news that clashes with Trump’s “No Collusion” mantra.
Sulking at yet another Trump golf resort in Virginia for the Labor Day weekend, Trump was forced to deal with something almost unprecedented during his presidency; being ignored. Unlike those other times when it was a hurricane or a mass shooting stealing his headlines (and he always made them all about him after the first day or two), this time a Who’s Who in American politics, journalism and popular culture were gathered in the nation’s capital together to praise and honor his headline thief, with not a word of praise for the best president ever and into the future too!
On the contrary, every single speaker managed to completely trash Trump and everything about him without once mentioning his name.
Small wonder he fell back on his favorite bully pulpit, Twitter, where he viciously attacked the free press, Canada, Federal courts, Hillary Clinton, Robert Mueller, Christopher Steele and Democrats. then told a pack of insane lies to cheer himself up, and capped off Labor Day by attacking a prominent American (!) Labor leader.
Also on Monday, Trump attacked his Attorney General again, this time ridiculing Sessions for doing his job when he charged two Republican Congressmen with crimes, because being arrested at this awkward time (!) damaged their chances to be reelected, violating the judicial process for the umpteenth time.
And speaking of violating the judicial process by interfering with ongoing investigations, later that week accused terrorist Sayfullo Saipov, charged with killing 8 people with a rented van on a bike path in Manhattan, used a Trump Tweet to try to avoid getting the death penalty on the grounds that Trump had made prejuducial comments about his case. It seems Trump had improperly commented on the investigation into his crime when he Tweeted that Saipov should get the death penalty, not the first time Trump has screwed up a case for the Department of Justice by making prejudicial public comments, so it’s not like he wasn’t warned that even suspected terrorists are entitled to due process and fair trials in this country.
And speaking of process, due or otherwise, the Supreme Court Nomination hearing of Brett Kavanaugh in the US Senate was anything but the routine and orderly process these things usually are, with Democrats loudly protesting underhanded tactics by the Trump Administration and demanding the hearing be postponed, Republicans shouting that the Democrats are out of order, and 70 people getting arrested for protesting Kavanaugh’s nomination for his well-documented anti-women, anti-minority and pro-presidents-are-above-the-law views.
It seems the White House had held back 100,000 Kavanaugh-authored documents from his 5 years working in the White House under George Bush The Younger, claiming Executive Privilege, then dumping 42,000 pages of them on the Senators the night before the hearings, making it impossible for any of them or their staffs to absorb them in the few hours before the hearing, assuming that none of them needed to sleep that night, hence the Democrats’ move to postpone.
But as we would see so clearly before the hearings passed their second contentious day, Republicans are intent to use this madman in the Oval Office for all he’s worth until he is finished, passing as much of their Elitist agenda as they can, so the Republicans in charge of the Senate Judicial Committee just forged ahead, hoping for a quick victory along party lines.
Trump’s reaction to all this was to suggest that we (!) outlaw protesting, then to have a bizarre phone chat with 2-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and best-selling author Bob Woodward, after which he demanded that Congress change our libel laws to include the dissemination of uncomfortable truths.
A week after mistaking Carl Bernstein, his old reporting partner in the Watergate scandal, for Woodward (and instinctively starting a Twitter fight with him,) Trump reached out personally to Woodward this time, to complain that he was not interviewed personally for the book Woodward just published. The White House had in fact turned down numerous requests from Woodward for an interview with the president. The conversation was taped with Trump’s permission, and was as disastrous, funny and frightening as the chaotic White House described in Woodward’s new book about Trump and the cyclone of White Trash surrounding him, called simply “Fear.” Trump began with cajoling, moved swiftly to lying, then denying, then blaming others, and then right to condemning the book, sight unseen as “a bad book,” before ending what had become a very hostile conversation with this standardized boast, “Nobody has ever done a better job than I did as president, that I can tell you.”
To be fair, however, every book is “a bad book” to Donald Trump, who hasn’t read one since the Nixon Administration, not even the ones he “wrote,” and the White House Staff should have acquired a copy of Bernstein’s explosive book before allowing Trump to expose himself as unprepared (again).
Which brings us to the White House Staff and “what else they should have done,” as opposed to what they are doing; sabotaging an elected president, a bombshell revelation not seen since the Watergate Days. The New York Times printed an article by “Anonymous,” obviously someone very close to the president called “The Anonymous Editorial,” spelling out how the scumbags surrounding Trump refuse to remove an obvious unstable madman legally but instead are conspiring to sabotage his plans, telling us, among other very disturbing things , that “The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” then reassuring us that there “are adults in the room.”
This is the point where your little brother starts vomiting out the window, your sisters are crying hysterically, Uncle Mike is flagging down passing police cars and you’re screaming at the top your lungs “stop this car, I wanna get out!” when you realize that people crazy enough to be appointed by Donald Trump have formed a shadow government to do their own crazy things in secret.
We are not reassured, Anonymous. Try “appalled, furious and flabbergasted” instead, and in complete disagreement about your openly discussed reluctance to pursue “the Constitutional remedy of the 25th Amendment.” No one elected Anonymous or his/her gang of faux Resistors.
So once again the shit hit the fan on both a national and global scale and Trump was once again the focus of every headline and lead story, only this time as an abject lesson in “careful what you wish for.”
The image of a madman in possession of the nuclear codes and a government filled with frightened functionaries hellbent on preventing him from blowing up the planet that was depicted in Woodward’s book and confirmed by at least one of his closest aides is taking the world by storm. There is fear and loathing, in Trump’s words, “the likes of which hasn’t been seen before.”
Naturally the White House went from their normal Holy Shit Now What Alert Status into Hyperspin Mode, alternately denying the authenticity of the Anonymous Editorial, threatening to force senior officials to submit to lie detector tests, or to at least sign sworn affidavits declaring that they were not Anonymous, and attacking the NY Times (a reflex action), with Trump himself writing his shortest Tweet yet: “TREASON?” and then this inexplicable Tweet: “Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims ‘unwavering faith in President Trump.’ Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!”
What? That’s about as reassuring as our new Shadow Government.
To add insult to debacle, Nike, the sports apparel company, unveiled its new face of their “Just Do it” campaign, Trump’s favorite race-baiting Bogeyman, Colin Kaepernich, the football star Trump had blackballed from the NFL because he protested the shooting deaths of so many young Black men by police by kneeling when the National Anthem is played. This of course prompted Trump’s loyal base to publicly burn their sneakers and sweat pants, giving them something negative and destructive to do instead of contemplating the incredibly disturbing truths revealed about their idol over the past 24 hours.
Trump’s only response to Anonymous in public so far was at a White House ceremony honoring law enforcement officers, where he had a frightening meltdown that seemed to confirm the week’s worst revelations about him. He shrieked about the New York Times, encouraged the assembled police officers to applaud his “reporters are the enemies of the people” remarks, then pulled a piece of paper from his pocket that he said were glowing economic reports “just released a few minutes ago” (that he just happened to have a printout of in his pocket), talking about how “we broke a 20-year record” (what sort of record he did not say) and then (!) bragging about 3.6 million hungry Americans being “lifted off Food Stamps” along with other brazen lies and bug-eyed accusations.
Now we have to wonder if he was serious about the White House Ghosts mentioned in Woodward’s book, and how the ghost of LBJ would “flick his ears and throw important papers all over the floor.” Presumably this is one of the incidents that got his team thinking about forming a Resistance Cell inside the White House itself.
Thankfully on Thursday Trump was able to get away to yet another political rally, this one in Montana, for some Republican candidate for something or other, it matters very little (“He’s very strong on Crime, Borders and the Second Amendment” and his opponent is “a loser who’s weak on Crime, Borders and the Second Amendment!”). All that matters is that he is in his safe space, drinking in the adulation that Washington refuses to give him, lashing out at the usual suspects and far, far away from the toxic and dysfunctional mess that is the Trump White House.
The Emperor is naked, stark raving mad and bellowing about his delusions, and almost everyone in the country wants this crazy ride to end. Are we there yet?