Trump had big plans for Week #107, big plans indeed. He was going to turn around his faltering presidency and unite the country with his State of The Union Address, giving out Reality TV-style teasers about “surprises” in his speech, and promoting a new theme of unity and bipartisan cooperation. Not that his plans extended beyond his usual self-promotion and media manipulation, since a newly well-informed and brilliantly engaged Trump did not emerge during the State of The Union speech, but at least the thought did cross his mind, however briefly.
No major legislation was proposed and no grand vision for the second half of his term was mentioned, simply a slightly more articulate version of his petty obsessions, insane delusions and racist ignorance. Apparently President Trump did not spend his month-long government shutdown catching up on all the things he does not know about America and being President; studying policy points, global strategy, morality and presidential history, since the only thing that was new about his speech was that he mostly stuck to the teleprompter and kept his inane ad libs to a minimum.
The week began on Friday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcing that America has declared a new Cold War when he informed us that the USA is withdrawing from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Missile Treaty with Russia, just like Putin has wanted for years (his government’s formulaic and transparent protestations to the contrary), possibly signaling a new arms race and introducing a new generation of children to the terrors of hiding under their school desks, not only from the active shooters Trump refuses to do anything about, but nuclear annihilation. Baby Boomers nationwide hoped that modern school desks are made from sterner stuff than their flimsy old plywood desks.
On that terrifying note, Trump promptly left town, finally getting to play golf at Mar A Lago, hang out with his wealthy pals and send out demented Tweets all weekend again after his holiday plans were cancelled by his own shutdown.
On Monday he returned to reality and the hostile environment he created in Washington D.C. as the Senate expressed concern with all the unfilled job vacancies in Trump’s government that put our government’s proper operation in peril, his inaugural committee was ordered to hand over financial documents to Federal Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York who are investigating alleged money laundering and illegal Russia donations, and the House of Representatives announced it was launching its own multiple investigations into his Administration, including getting a peek at his thus far well-hidden tax returns.
Before his big speech on Tuesday, Trump did manage one bit of government business when he nominated acting Secretary David Bernhardt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency on a permanent basis, a former lobbyist for energy companies whose previous career consisted of actively undermining the EPA, providing a smooth transition from the last guy to hold the job, Scott Pruitt, a man on a mission to destroy the agency along with the environment.
Then came Trump’s big moment, the pomp and spectacle of the annual State of the Union Address, delayed a month when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi refused to host the president during his government shutdown. Many have speculated that the only reason he reopened the government for 3 weeks was so he would not be denied this forum for addressing the nation and the greater world beyond so we can benefit from his statesmanship, his grand vision for America, and his silver-tongued oratory.
At least that was the plan. The execution? Not so much…
After making his grand entrance and rudely dismissing the usual formal introduction by Speaker Pelosi, Trump launched right into the speech his team had spent months crafting. To be sure, Trump’s Public Relations people did their homework, securing as his guests a cancer-stricken young girl, a Black woman who is a former drug-dealer turned minister whose prison sentence he commuted, plus several Holocaust Survivors and WW 2 veterans (guaranteed sympathy getters), all of whom he would betray before the night was over.
Fully a quarter of his long speech was dedicated to demeaning and demonizing immigrants, describing “lawless borderlands” more reflective of bad old Hollywood Western movies than any current reality (to be fair, recognizing and dealing with reality has never been Trump’s strength), complete with invented caravans of sexual predators, human traffickers, (!) terrorists, murderers, drug dealers and MS13 gang members streaming across our southern border like a stampede of rabid wolverines in a bad mood.
All that doomsday slander is in stark contrast to the actual refugees themselves, who are nice, unassuming people who, along with their children, are fleeing mortal danger in their homelands for the chance of a better life in America (pretty much the whole backstory of this country).
Trump insisted again and again on his Medieval solution of building a wall to meet his invented “border emergency,” once again holding out the possibility of declaring a National Emergency that would allow him to grab the money to build this useless monument to himself from the military budget, a move that would be immediately challenged by Congress (as well as private citizens and organizations like the ACLU) and tied up in court for years.
He also announced that he has singlehandedly (!) saved America from nuclear annihilation via a war with North Korea, was responsible for the record number of women in the new Congress (who ran only to oppose his anti-woman agenda, so perhaps he did have a hand in their elections) and promised he was going to (!!) cure AIDs within a decade after having gutted medical research into the disease and betrayed the LGBTQ community repeatedly.
As far as fulfilling one of his other big campaign promises, to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure, he mentioned in passing that he is requesting $1.5 trillion to be earmarked for infrastructure, with exactly no specifics outside of the dollar amount, even though Congress has received no proposals whatsoever from Trump, so maybe the idea is to pave our roads with coins and build dams and bridges out of stacks of Benjamins.
He did made certain to kiss Evangelical ass by attacking Roe v Wade, determined to placate the only remaining group in America that doesn’t hate his guts, those nominal “Christians” who use Jesus and grossly misinterpreted Bible verses to justify their racism and excuse their support of an immoral agnostic by claiming (in a masterful exercise in understatement) that “Jesus has chosen an imperfect man to do his work.“
His little rhyming call for an end to the investigations of him and his administration fell flat as he paused for a cheer that never came, and inspired Nancy Pelosi to spontaneously invent sarcastic applause, while bragging that his Administration has repealed more regulations than every other president combined (a stupid lie and a tacit admission of his own destructive tendencies). Then the man who handed out billions of dollars in free money to farmers loudly declared that “America will never be a Socialist Country.”
What he did not mention in the State of The Union speech was Climate Change as the result of Manmade Global Warming, the biggest crisis to hit humanity since humanity became a thing, a very real emergency that Trump claims was (!) invented by the Chinese in order to gain a competitive advantage. He also failed to mention that one of his golf courses in Scotland has petitioned the government of Scotland to allow them to build a sea wall to protect his property from the rising sea levels triggered by manmade global warming.
Also unmentioned were his children’s concentration camps, which are now being used as Foster Care Agencies, putting up the captive children for adoption since the Federal Government declared it was too traumatic to reunite these children with their parents after they forgot to write down whose child was whose when they kidnapped them and deported their Moms and Dads. “Too traumatic” for whom, we are left to wonder. Certainly not the children about to get inserted into someone else’s family when they already have a perfectly good family of their own someplace, no one is quite sure where.
The fact that the private company of Secretary of Eduction Betsy De Vos is somehow involved in stealing these children and selling them to foster parents sort of puts the spotlight back on the Human Trafficking that Trump has so vociferously condemned when undertaken by others. You know, people who don’t work for Trump, people of the brown-skinned variety.
The day after the speech, Nancy Pelosi responded to Trump’s threats against continuing the “partisan investigations” into him and his administration by launching an investigation “over whether Russia and other foreign powers may be exercising influence over President Trump.” (Translation: looking into whether or not our president is an active Russian agent. *SPOILER ALERT: yes he is.).
Also that day, the Supreme Court blocked an abortion law in Louisiana designed to please Trump’s dwindling Evangelical base by leaving Louisiana women with almost no options. Chief Justice John Roberts put the kibosh on that one by voting against the conservative Justices Trump thought he could rely on to further his bizarre scorched earth agenda.
On Thursday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team argued in court that convicted Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort lied to Congress in the hope of getting a presidential pardon, and has kept in touch with suspected Russian and Ukrainian criminals (and suspects in stealing the 2016 election) since being arrested, in violation of his plea agreement to spill the beans about what he knows about Trump and Russia and to cease all of his shady covert political activities.
It was also announced that former Trump lawyer, “fixer” and bagman Michael Cohen’s testimony before Congress was being postponed yet again “so as not to interfere with the ongoing investigation,” meaning there was new and damaging information on Trump in the hands of Mr. Mueller that he does not want revealed just yet.
And finally, speaking of investigations into all things Trump (and when are we not?), his former ally in covering up his alleged sexual crimes (and well-documented sexual indiscretions), publisher David Pecker of the National Inquirer, was granted immunity by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in exchange for information and testimony, with the speculation being that Mr. Pecker’s fabled “vault” is stuffed with compromising information not only about Donald Trump, but his family members and close associates, while the noose slowly tightens as Trump’s former friends and allies decide to save their own skin.
In short, the State of our Union is “besieged, but fighting back.”