Chalk up another record number for President Donald J. Trump in Week #109. He has now caused the most Google Searches in history that come up “No Results Found,” an astounding achievement in imagination and alternative narrative, the poor man’s Tolkien if you will, minus a hero or any noble intentions of course. Numbers like nobody’s seen before.
Literally. Trump has numbers no one has ever seen before because he makes them up on the spot out of thin air, then gets angry when people point out there is no proof. Trump knows “so-called proof” is for Liberals, and has indeed declared Fact Checkers the #2 Enemies of The People, right behind the #1 Public Enemies in mainstream media that they aid and abet on a daily basis.
Trump’s reasoning is (what else?) simple, that none of these “so-called fake fact checkers” have been able to verify any of the claims their president makes (don’t make me pull out my beautiful Electoral College map!). You know those pronouncements containing no facts for anyone to check? Yeah, those.
This President stumps the fact checkers every time, so how smart can they be? Just like Trump has (!) sources of information unavailable to the CIA, he alone is in possession of the facts he boasts about, and the numbers he invents. Okaythen!
Trump kicked off Week #109 by going to the doctor on Friday. After the Dr. Ronnie Jackson controversy of least year that saw the good Admiral/Doctor accused of drinking on the job while dispensing handfuls of opioid pills to White House Staff members like a zookeeper throwing fish into the mouths of barking seals (and thus earning a promotion from Trump), Trump reported to his new White House physician on Friday, Naval Commander Dr. Sean Conley, to perform the President’s Annual Physical.
For fans of Groundhog Day, Dr. Conley’s report was once again, just like Dr. Ronnie’s and Trump’s very odd Manhattan MD, Dr. Harold Bornstein’s before him, a rerun of a rosy letter of praise like no doctor other than Trump’s doctors has ever written. Medical reports are universally dry lists of short explanations, measurements and test results, not an obsequious Emcee’s introduction to the guest of honor at a testimonial dinner, once again fictionalizing his weight and even (why, of all things?) his height.
Or maybe this is no surprise from a president who spends significant time directing subordinates to photoshop longer fingers on photographs showing his hands and to give him a trimmer figure, and who just installed a golf simulator in the White House for those odd days he doesn’t sneak away for a round of golf somewhere. Some have pointed out that Trump spending 80% of his time either goofing off, golfing or eating is actually a good thing for the country, and encourage his subordinates to find more diversions for their boss so he can do no harm.
This was also a day when low tax refunds, no tax refunds and reports of millions of Trump supporters owing money to the IRS began grabbing headlines as the true results of Trump’s “big tax cut” (being taxed again on the taxes they already paid on their properties, no longer deductible) began hitting home, so no doubt the reports of an extraordinarily healthy President who just might be immortal will be an enduring comfort in a lean year, their money worries all but forgotten.
On Saturday President Trump (yawn…) broke another law when he violated the Magnitsky Act, requiring presidents to respond in writing within 120 days to any Congressional requests for information. The information in question is the CIA report on whether or not the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince ordered the murder of Washington Post Reporter Jamal Khashoggi or not (*Spoiler Alert: he did), prompting allegations that the President is covering up the murder because he owes the Saudis big time (*Spoiler Alerts: he is and he does).
There are also rumors that Trump’s new Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney wants out, apparently having missed the memo that working for Trump is like baby-sitting a maladjusted adolescent rattlesnake. The odd thing is that he wishes to become (!) Secretary of Commerce rather than quit outright, perhaps needing a few more months service for his pension to kick in, or more time to write his tell-all book, hard to tell with this newbie.
Sunday was all about talk of another government shutdown as the deadline neared for keeping our government at least minimally functional, with more references to the wall than a Pink Floyd chat room, as both Houses of Congress neared agreement on a spending bill that included 55 miles of border fencing, but zero inches of wall. Trump immediately started to do his teaser dance and would keep it up all week, with one Reality TV cliffhanger after the other, “Will I/Won’t I sign it?” and “Will I declare a National Emergency to build my wall?” Stay tuned to Me-TV!
He took time out from this Hamlet act to attack Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota for not mistaking weather for climate by announcing her candidacy for President in a snowstorm on Sunday. He was gently chastised by the Senator (Minnesotans are far to polite for open hostility), who used the dirty tactic of citing “Science,” and left he rest of us wondering what Trump doesn’t get about the words “February” and “Minnesota,” and what is likely to happen when you combine the two.
Monday brought a tentative spending agreement in both Houses of Congress, but Trump was oblivious to his job as he was 1,000 miles away from Washington and in his natural element at that moment, holding a political rally in El Paso to promote his wall and, for at least those couple of hours, beyond the reach of “fake fact checkers” and critics (and the El Paso municipal government, which refuted his every claim about their city including his announced attendance numbers) blissfully in the arms of 35,000 imaginary fans (there were actually only 6,500 in attendance, and Beto O’Rourke outdrew him by 6,000 in a counter rally down the street says El Paso), telling over 50 lies, stealing Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan (Stronger Together) and claiming “the wall is already being built.”
There was one Hallmark Memory for Trump in El Paso, however, that no killjoy fact checker can ever take away from him, that magic moment when his supporters physically attacked a cameraman from BBC News, conjuring images of his glory days on the campaign trail chanting “Lock her up” and ”knock the crap out of ‘em!”
Ah, but that was before all these lofty campaign promises actually had to be kept, and the hard work to deliver them expected to be done. Done by someone else, as it turns out, not by an attention span-deprived megalomaniac incapable of learning anything new who has thus far come up with exactly no detailed plans for rebuilding America’s aging infrastructure, revamping our immigration policy, formulating a consistent foreign policy, or even locking up his political opponents, since he’s the one under perpetual investigation, not them.
His previous efforts to squirm out of his promise to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it have earned him nothing but scorn from the nation’s policy team at Fox News, and his close associates are falling like dead trees in an unraked forest to indictments, guilty pleas and prison, so the chaos and distraction of declaring a National Emergency started looking better and better to Trump.
Wednesday was no help either, when Judge Amy Jackson decided Trump’s Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort voided his plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller by lying to Federal Prosecutors, to her Court and to Congress, with Manafort now accused of withholding incriminating information on Donald Trump in the hopes of obtaining a Presidential Pardon. This means that either Manafort provides that smoking gun, or dies in prison, end of options. Even if Trump were to pardon him on the Federal charges and risk the wrath of his party, Manafort is facing serious State criminal charges in Virginia and New York, well beyond the reach of a presidential pardon.
This was also the day the Senate curbed Trump’s war powers in regard to Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war in Yemen, completely cutting off US military participation in that slaughter as a rebuke to Trump for covering up the Crown Prince’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
And speaking of Muslims (and female legislators giving Trump fits), a newly elected Democratic Representative, Ilhan Omar, one of two of the first female Muslims elected to Congress, publicly apologized for what were deemed remarks insensitive to Jews. Even though the apology was not directed at Trump (who thinks everything is about him), he refused to accept the Congresswoman’s apology and attacked her as a racist in one of his usual exercises in Pot/Kettle demagoguery.
She replied to him perfectly with “You have trafficked in hate your whole life – against Jews, Muslims, Indigenous, immigrants, black people and more. I learned from people impacted by my words. When will you?” (a rhetorical question of course since we all know he will never learn)
Also on Wednesday, after doing a bang-up job responding to Hurricane Harvey in Texas early in the Trump administration (and earning the president’s wrath for getting more camera time than him), the FEMA head rolled after the Inspectors General of his agency accused him of using Federal vehicles as his family’s personal motor pool.
You might want to say FEMA head Brock Long resigned in disgrace, but that’s a quaint notion lingering from past presidencies, reminiscent of a more genteel age, one that ended abruptly 2 years ago (it only seems like ages and ages ago). Let’s just say he made a Trumpian exit and leave it that.
Besides, it’s hard to say if his disastrous botch-jobs during Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the wildfires in California were more the result or presidential interference to punish those stricken areas for, respectively, racist and political reasons, or his own personal incompetence.
Again, the standards of competence, accountability and integrity are far more flexible these days, and achievement is measured in TV ratings rather than actual accomplishments. After all, never before has there been even a hint of suspicion that any other president purposely compromised rescue efforts during a National Disaster for political reasons, resulting in uncounted preventable deaths he then callously dismissed as trifles and “Fake News.” Trump truly has broken new ground here once again.
Back to the Manafort debacle, in a seemingly unrelated case, lobbyist Sam Patten pleaded guilty to funneling millions of dollars in (highly illegal) foreign money to the Trump Inaugural Committee, which even though it happened after Manafort exited the Trump’s Campaign, involved the same shady operatives with whom Manafort has been associated for decades, including Patten himself and one or more Ukrainian and Russian bazillionaires known to be closely associated with Putin’s Kremlin, whose names keep popping up again and again in association with Trump campaign and Administration figures. Either coincidences proliferate in this administration like measles in an anti-vaccination day care center, or there’s a huge legal bonfire blazing, judging from all the smoke.
On Thursday William Bar was confirmed as Trump’s new Attorney General and immediately given his oath of office in the White House. Barr proved instantly that he would fit right in with the Trump Administration when it was revealed that his Son-in-Law would be leaving his own Justice Department job for a position on Trump’s legal team, advising him on matters certain to touch on the Russian Collusion investigation his Father-in-law would overseeing as of that moment. Nothing to see here, ladies and gents, nothing to see, move along now…
Back to FEMA, the week ended with Trump’s plans for signing the budget into law while simultaneously declaring a National Emergency requiring the building of a wall, and in Trump’s fantasy scenario, guess who’s paying for the wall? Nope, not Mexicans, but a lots and lots of other Spanish speaking people (same dif, no?) – Puerto Ricans and Californians, stealing the FEMA money earmarked for rebuilding stricken areas in those localities.
And so we look to Day One of Week #110 for the melodrama we have come to count on from America’s government these days, when a madman tries to impose his will on a nation once again by forcing us to build a 2,000 mile-long White Elephant so he won’t look silly to Ann Coulter. As if!