Trump finally kept a promise in Week #102 of the Trump Era. He promised he would run our government like he runs his businesses, and on Friday he delivered when he shut down the US Government like it was a casino in New Jersey serving Trump Steaks and Trump Vodka.
On National television two weeks before the shutdown, Trump vowed to Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer that he “would be proud” to take responsibility for shutting down the government if Congress refused to give him $5 billion for his wall, playing the second-to-last refuge of a scoundrel, the National Security Card.
Of course within 24 hours he was blaming the Democrats (the classic abuser’s line, “look what you made me do!”), and making more of his bizarre claims as the week wore on, publicly refusing to budge on the 5 bil, but privately asking Congress for $1.6 billion to break ground on this boondoggle monument to himself.
This way he would have something to show the Fox News commentators who shamed him into breaking his promise to Congress to sign the new spending bill without any wall money. No way does the welfare of the United States come before looking at least as manly as Ann Coulter, so Trump refused to sign and the joint shut down, the government he swore an oath serve and protect.
Meanwhile, the Stock Market (our unofficial Political Stability Index) bounced up and down like a yoyo all week. Trump, never at a loss for others to blame for the chaos in his wake, of course found a handy scapegoat when he loudly inquired if he can fire Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve (turns out he can’t) for having the nerve to do his job responsibly. Trump hates guys who are on the level.
Such was the national atmosphere of civil and financial uncertainty that Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin took the unprecedented step of calling the heads of the nation’s 6 largest banks on a Sunday to ask them pointblank if they are on verge of collapse, leaving the rest of us wondering what the hell the Trump Administration knows that we don’t.
Also on Sunday, Trump sent out a ‘U Mad, Bro?’ Tweet at Russia, Iran and Syria because “they will now have to fight ISIS alone,” the same ISIS he said was defeated when he announced our retreat from Syria.
Because of his shutdown, Trump cancelled his planned 16-day Holiday vacation at Mar A Lago, as miserable as Ebeneezer Scrooge in Act I, so miserable that on Christmas Eve this was The President of the United States’ 2018 Christmas message to the nation:
“It’s a disgrace, what’s happening in our country. But other than that, I wish everybody a very Merry Christmas.”
Then the old prick tried to ruin Santa Claus for a 7 year-old girl, his penchant for inflicting traumatic damage on vulnerable females not limited by tender age.
On Monday, as Trump was throwing yet another Twitter Pity Party for himself for being “all alone in the White House on Christmas Eve” (ouch! said Melania) and petulantly claiming that, thanks to him “America was respected again,” while the stock market experienced its worst Christmas Eve since (ouch! said America) the Great Depression, the Dow dropping 653 points in a single day.
Then (speaking of being shamed into something,) Trump surprised everyone by making an unannounced visit to Iraq with the First Lady to visit the troops on Christmas day, the first time he has done so.
What was less surprising is that Trump turned his Christmas address to the troops into just one more dumbass political rally, complete with vicious accusations against political rivals, attacks on foreigners and asinine claims that he defeated ISIS.
What took the cake, though, was his crazy and rambling set of lies (you know, that part of every Trump rally program) about him deciding to raise the pay of the military all by himself (only Congress can spend a penny) by (!) 10% because they haven’t had a raise in 10 years, when in fact they have gotten pay raises every year for the past decade, and are due for a 2.6% increase in January, not the 10% figure Trump pulled out of his combover.
You can only figure Trump was Jonesing for the ego fix that only a political rally can give him, so you can expect a lot of outrageous boasts and lies, but in his enthusiasm for feel good Photo Ops, the President may have compromised the identities and the lives of several SEAL team members.
This wasn’t Kansas anymore, Dorothy, this was deadly serious business and you were addressing the US Military, our best and brightest young men and women representing a branch of government that no democracy can allow to become politicized. No American President has ever addressed combat troops overseas by demonizing their fellow Americans back home and belittling the laws of the country they are all serving, never mind telling them they have defeated an enemy these soldiers know damned well is not defeated. The Jingo Bells were ringing loud and clear in Iraq on Christmas.
Back home in Washington, it was back to the hot seat in the Oval Office as a New York Times article exposed numerous instances of Trump committing fraud and tax evasion in the 1990s to avoid paying taxes on $423 million his father gave him, with documentation to prove it, while the rest of the media was having a ball with Patrick Shanahan, Trump’s pick to replace James Mattis as Secretary of Defense, an aircraft manufacturing executive with no military or foreign policy experience, and very little time in government service.
It wasn’t so much that Trump nominated a man completely unsuited to the position, that’s his usual practice, but rather the things this man said, in effect saying that he would do his best to accommodate Trump’s whims and have the US military do whatever cockamamie shit pops into Trump’s fevered brain, saying that the Defense Department was not “The Department of No,” even making suspiciously loony references to (may The Force help us all) Space Force.
We remain thankful that no dramatic blast of music accompanies the phrase “Space Force.” Space… ♫Tum Tum♫Tum Tum!… Force!
It was also a week for noticing the toxic results of the Trump rollback of environmental safeguards (“Obama Regulations”), complete with human death tolls, our lands and waterways being earnestly poisoned, and the creeping return of the air pollution that killed so many Americans as recently as the 1970s.
Trumps’ response to all this calamitous news? First by claiming that most federal workers “want the wall and have communicated that to me” (Exactly how Joe who runs the loading dock at the IRS gets in touch with the president was left unclear. Is there a huge Federal Intercom system or online group chats?), then he turned around and claimed that most of the Federal employees who are out of work without pay were Democrats.
That sequence sort of explains why he never presents proof of his wacky claims, since you never know when he will claim the exact opposite. It could be 15 minutes later, depending on which TV show he just watched, what person praised him, or who pissed him off.
But what the heck, it keeps the alternately hilarious and frightening Rudy Giuliani gainfully employed, twisting Trump’s crazy and hateful words into humorous (and frequently incriminating) balloon animals.
Here’s one claim to close out the week that is not so wacky, Robert Mueller’s assertion that Michael Cohen was indeed at a Prague meeting with Russian operatives linked to the Kremlin at the time he was working for the Trump Campaign. After swearing up and down he had never been in Prague, his cell phone location gave him away (Doesn’t he ever watch “Forensic Files” or spy movies for crying our loud? Get a “burner!”) and the ramifications for the Russian Collusion investigation are staggering.
So we head into Week #103 with our government shut down, the Stock Market bouncing up and down like a Jack-In-The-Box, a confident Robert Mueller putting the finishing touches on his investigation, and Democrats poised to take over the House of Representatives and put the brakes on Trump’s brainstorms. Pass the popcorn and the Bromo.