The best photographs of Week #96 of The Trump Era were of the 92 year-old Queen of England, Elizabeth II; small and frail, but standing resolute in the pouring rain, an umbrella in one hand, wiping away a tear with the other, and the 85 year-old  Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also small and frail, returning to work (and the gym!) the day after breaking 3 ribs. Why do these photos stand out? Read on and find out.

With his endless campaign rallies over and a House of Congress lost, the cheers were over for Trump, the specter of multiple Congressional investigations suddenly hanging over his head on top of the investigation into Russian collusion by the quiet but relentless Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump took his resentment and his tired MAGA act overseas.

Unfortunately for America’s dignity, he took himself at his Trumpiest and most provocative to a solemn ceremony marking 100 years since the end of World War I, honoring the memories of tens of thousands of fallen Americans buried in France alongside a half million dead from a dozen nations. This was to be a gathering of the heads of state of former allies and bitter enemies, gathered in solidarity to reaffirm their commitment to peace. You know, the kind of gathering that Trump always ruins by making it all about himself by saying and doing crude, stupid things. 

International political organizations like NATO, The United Nations and the European Union have created a Europe at peace for 70 mutually prosperous years, after centuries of large-scale warfare in a land mass roughly the size of the USA. World War 1, called The Great War until eclipsed by WW2, was the first mechanized and completely industrialized war, and killed more people in one war that ever before, with 100,000 casualties in a single day on more than one occasion.

Here was a chance for Trump to reverse his global reputation as an incompetent and ignorant bully eager to sow seeds of discord, and to rise to this somber occasion as a true leader and statesman, making this Hundredth Memorial Day one to remember.

Well, that he did half that much, anyway, the memorable part. Of course, being Trump, it will be for all the wrong reasons. Who can forget the image of a 92 year-old Queen standing in the rain that Donald Trump (not small and frail) avoided when he skipped the main ceremony, making it all about himself by being a No-Show. 

We’ll never know what, if any, thoughts crossed his mind other than preserving his silly yellow drag queen combover at all costs, but the moment he landed in Paris he doubled down on the vicious cray-cray by insulting his host, French President Emmanuel Macron, who soon emerged as the eloquent voice of leadership in Europe as Angela Merkel’s retirement approaches.

Macron’s passionate condemnation of Nationalism was a pointed rebuke to Trump’s declaring himself a Nationalist prior to his European trip, and Macron informed him personally (in better English than Trump’s own), ”I do not conduct diplomacy on Twitter.” Boom.

All weekend Trump was either a No-Show, making excuses, or, when he did show up to scheduled events, making people wish he skipped that one too as he managed to insult every one of the assembled nations. Except Russia of course. Trump’s sneering scowl turned to a welcoming smile for only one other world leader, Vladimir Putin.

The damage done, he returned from France and began attacking Macron and our European allies all over again, bashing NATO and questioning its very existence, while renewing the completely bogus claim that NATO members are in arrears on their membership payments and being carried financially by the USA.

It’s almost as if Trump was speaking on behalf of someone whose side had lost the Cold War that NATO spearheaded. Then, as if to reassure us that these were indeed the president’s own words, he confused the Baltic Nations with the Balkans, two very different regions of Europe, with two very different historical narratives. No foreign leader could possibly be that genuinely clueless about European history, geography or recent events, nor would any of them have spoken so confidently of things about which they know very little.

Finished for the moment being a global laughingstock, Trump took aim at his fellow Americans and would not shut up about about two reporters with whom he is obsessed, and then blamed the recent string of severe stock market losses on “the prospect of presidential harassment” by Democrats, preemptively blaming Democrats for anything negative that may occur.

Trump saved his worst verbal assault, however, for 40 million Americans when he threw California under a bus on top of the other bus they were already under. With wild fires ravaging both ends of the state, death and destruction mounting, the resources to contain these fires and the available firefighting personnel stretched to their limits, their president accused them of being fuckups by “mismanaging their forests” and threatened to withhold Federal aid when in fact it is the US government that owns and manages most of California’s forests. You know, the outfit that Trump runs, even if he doesn’t know all that much about it.

The nation’s horrified reaction to Trump’s vicious attack on a stricken California of course got the White House Alternate Reality Task Force busy releasing more reasonable and compassionate official statements that did not stint on the Thoughts & Prayers for Californians, 600 of whom remain missing as the fires continue to rage, praise for the brave firefighters and promises of increased Federal help as California has finally been declared a National Disaster Area. None of which, however, could unring the clarion bell of Trump’s unprecedented presidential attacks on one of our States of the Union as its lay suffering.

With more Congressional races going to Democrats in the wake of the later returns in the Midterm elections, Trump picked Veterans Day to call for a halt to Florida counting their Mail-In ballots, effectively nullifying the votes of active duty military personnel to vote by mail in Florida.

Trump gained one surprising ally this week when his wife Melania had Deputy National Security Advisor Mira Ricardel fired for refusing to fork over National Security budget funds to subsidize the First Lady’s staff. If nothing else, she has learned to use her clout to produce a negative impact in as openly divisive and destructive a way as is possible, like a true Trump.

Trump’s interim Attorney General Matthew Whitaker also seems to be producing dividends for Trump as the president apparently claimed to know the “inside workings” of the Special Council’s investigation, saying “Mueller’s team has gone nuts” (meaning it looks like they have the goods on him). Being that Whitaker is now privy to everything the Russian Collusion investigation is doing, it looks like Obstruction of Justice is another new norm we swore to never embrace.

Lawsuits and subpoenas are flying, the president is finally answering Mueller’s questions in writing in “my own words” (meaning of course that his lawyers are writing them for him), it looks like that young rightwing internet troll who tried to frame Robert Mueller but got reported to the FBI for his troubles is now framing Stormy Daniels’ lawyer for domestic assault, House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is saying that now that the election is over, we were only kidding about not cutting your Social Security and Medicare, and surely people will understand that protecting health insurance coverage for those with preexisting conditions was only a suggestion and that Republicans will be trying to yank it away before the Democratic Congress is seated in January since, as we all know, the ultra-wealthy paying little to no taxes is the top priority of every American who cares about American Exceptionalism, and little Billy and Granny will just have to suck it up and take one for the team instead of asking insurance companies to pay for expensive treatments and surgeries and then they die anyway.

Add Betsy DeVos trying to make sexual assault in our nations schools more predator friendly, along with Wikileaks’ Julian Assange getting indicted by Mueller and possibly extradited to the United States for his part in there Russian theft of our 2016 election on behalf of Donald Trump, and we have your typical whirlwind Trump Week abruptly grinding to a halt while the rest of us are left wondering what the hell just happened and what it all means, and when the hell will somebody make it stop.

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