The year changed in Week #103 of the Trump Era, so Happy New Year. Your government is still shut down but it’s shut down with a different number on the year, 2019.
On just his second New Year’s Eve as our President, Donald Trump set a record, numbers like nobody has ever seen before. Nobody, believe me. This New year’s Eve there were more people wishing good riddance to 2018 than to any year ever in the history of presidents, famine and war included.
2018 put the “No” in nostalgia, a disturbingly psychodramatic year no one is getting misty about. It was a year where so many horrible things happened so often that you lost track of them (who remembers accusing (!) Montenegro of trying to incite Word War 3?), a year’s worth of outrageous scandals every week. It’s especially hard to collect your thoughts when some new outrage happens, like the heartbreaking deaths of two small children in Federal Custody, and the President dismissing it by saying “they where very sick when they came here,” which is not only something monstrous to say, it’s not even verifiable (the boy was there for 6 days).
Even if true, where are the medical personnel on staff? Kids get sick, especially when locked away in juvenile detainment camps “for their own good” (yeah, right, of course), accompanied only by other terrified small children, strangers to one another, to notice who is healthy or not, and to dare report it to their jailers who speak another language? Mothers know in a flash if their child is ill. But their mothers and fathers are locked away elsewhere in Trump’s America.
And speaking of immigrants, on Friday Trump, not content with shutting down the government, upped the ante on his blackmail demands and threatened to close the US-Mexico border completely, no traffic in or out, if Congress doesn’t give him the $5 billion to build his wall, potentially costing billions in commerce and having a disastrous impact on America’s food chain, potentially triggering a humanitarian crisis.
Trump was super angry that his bluff was called and he had to spend his Christmas vacation in the White House, especially at having to miss out on his annual New Year’s Eve soiree at Mar A Lago with his wealthy cronies (let’s not kid ourselves and call them his friends, always a tenuous and temporary status with Trump.). He took it out on non-military federal employees by cancelling their modest 2.1% raise due in January by executive order. Happy New Year.
On Saturday, to make amends for his callous remark about the deaths of 2 children, he humbly apologized. Just kidding. Nope, he blamed Democrats for the children’s deaths: “Any deaths of children or others at the border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. They can’t. If we had a wall, they wouldn’t even try!”
You know, “their” pathetic immigration policies, after 2 years of “your” side being in charge of everything of which there is to be in charge? That’s 4 sessions of Congress with a Republican majority in both Houses of Congress with nothing to show in the way of new immigration policy besides children’s prisons and a wall that will never be built now that there’s a new sheriff in town named Nancy Pelosi. It’s over a year past the time you can blame everything on your predecessor, but Trump mentions Obama’s name more than Melania’s and treats Democrats like his homework-eating dog.
Still speaking of Immigrants legal or otherwise, The Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey is being investigated for providing bogus US identification papers for illegal immigrant employees, with 2 of them being interviewed about their frequent interaction with Trump for many years, so we can assume these women were among “the decent people” Mexico sends us that the president so famously spoke about. You know, the ones who work cheap and don’t make waves.
On Tuesday, as the US Border patrol once again fired teargas grenades across the border into Mexico, Trump contradicted ousted Chief of Staff John Kelly’s claim that the administration “gave up the idea of a concrete wall early on in the administration.” In a practically bellowing Tweet, Trump proclaimed he “NEVER” gave up on his beloved concrete wall, but there were some points along the way where border guards want to see through, to keep an eye on things south of the border just in case the Zappatistas are feeling frisky again.
There was another dire threat to President Trump this week, nothing less than the media shifting its focus elsewhere but on him, to Nancy Pelosi and the incoming 116th Congress with its unprecedented hundred-plus women Representatives and insurmountable Demiocratic majority.
Alone in the White House over the holidays and with his government shut down, Trump did what Trump does best in a crisis, Tweeted insane messages and opened his yap to reporters, confirming he’s a complete lunatic with no grasp on reality.
Things like this: “If anybody but Donald Trump did what I did in Syria, which was an ISIS loaded mess when I became President, they would be a national hero.” (he hasn’t actually “done” anything yet but announced he is retreating from Syria in 30 days, then changed the timetable at Lindsey Graham’s insistence.)
And (!!) this: “Remember this. Throughout the ages some things NEVER get better and NEVER change. You have Walls and you have Wheels. It was ALWAYS that way and it will ALWAYS be that way!” What this means is anyone’s guess.
And this, a less than insightful revelation about life in the White House, how Secret Service agents carry “the nicest machine guns I’ve ever seen.” Seems there would be more to share with the world about living in the most famous house on Earth than nice machine guns.
Then there was his obsession with responding to criticism with vicious and immature insults. He responded to a Four-Star General like a vulgar thug to one of his flunkies when the retired General called our Trump on his haphazard leadership and his dishonesty when he Tweeted this: ” ‘General’ McChrystal got fired like a dog by Obama. Last assignment a total bust. Known for big, dumb mouth. Hillary lover!”
When Senator-elect Mitt Romney (yes, that Mitt Romney) pointed out the obvious by writing an Op-Ed piece in the Washington post criticizing Trump’s abhorrent behavior as president, Trump provided proof of same by engaging in a pissing contest with Romney (“I won big, and he didn’t!”)
He also lashed out at another General, his former Defense Secretary Mattis, once it dawned on Trump that Mattis’s later of resignation the previous week was an indictment of Trump’s ignorance and immaturity, so Trump confirmed that analysis as well by claiming he fired Mattis.
Trump met with the incoming Congress along with his entire cabinet on Wednesday where, speaking of being a general, Trump speculated out loud what a fine general he would have made (if he didn’t dodge the draft with phony “bone spurs” 5 times as we learned this week, when one of his father Fred Trump’s tenants, a foot doctor, did him a favor by getting his boy a draft deferment in exchange for a favorable rent.)
Also at that meeting he said, within the space of just s few moments, that he was (A) very unpopular in Europe, (B) he was the most popular person in Europe and (C) he could (!) get elected to any office in Europe if he wanted.
None of which had any bearing on the purpose of the meeting, to try to negotiate a settlement to the budget impasse so the country could reopen for business, but it certainly made for entertaining copy for the nation’s comedy writers and talk show hosts, especially the part about him not wanting to be “made to look foolish” if he does not build his stupid wall.
Nancy Pelosi was happy to point out that this was already the case, and to assure him that there will be no wall, now now, and not ever, and that the free ride by the House is over.
To Trump’s further outrage, the final day of Week #103 would belong to Pelosi and the incoming Congress, representing a sea change from the previous Rubber-Stamp committee that was Paul Ryan’s Republican Lickspittle Brigade of a Congress. It was a magnificent and breathtaking moment when Pelosi shared her historic second swearing-in as Speaker of the House with her grandchildren and all the children in the gallery, taking her oath of office with those whose lives will be most affected by the decisions made there.
The jealous and TV-Ratings-driven Trump held a competing press conference about border security and the wall at the same as Pelosi’s swearing in, but it was was all but ignored by almost everyone, and seen as the petty little oneupmanship it was.
The children remained on the dais through Pelosi administering the oaths of office to the Incoming Freshmen Representatives, then got right down to business placing bills on the floor for a vote.
And so we enter Week #104 with a completely altered political landscape, Wall Street waxing nostalgic and imitating the Great Depression, and only the notoriously unreliable loyalty of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell standing between Trump and the exit.