The Quote of the Week for Week # 134 of the Trump Era is a beaut from The Mourner in Chief when he barred the press from his hospital visit to the surviving victims of the mass shooting in Dayton Ohio on Wednesday: ”We don’t want this to be a Photo Op.”
Nope, what the President and his retinue wanted was to make a campaign promo video with grievously wounded shooting victims as props, hauling a film crew into the ICU along with a dozen actresses dressed as nurses. You know, just in case the real nurses were too stressed from the ordeal of helping save and treat multiple gunshot victims for 48 hours straight to be smiley and enthusiastic enough for a Trump video, where once again, it’s suddenly all about him and not the 9 dead and 26 wounded. Small wonder the surviving wounded in El Paso turned down the same opportunity to become video stars, and refused any visits from Trump.
This was a week defined by 14 hours, from 10:37 on Saturday morning until 1:09 AM on Sunday, when 2 horrific mass shootings took place, the first in El Paso, Texas, specifically targeting Mexicans in a Walmart, and the other in Dayton, Ohio, targeting victims (including his own sister) for unknown reasons in a crowd outside a popular nightclub. The reactions to these insane acts of slaughter also defined the week, the outcries of a nation finally getting the government’s attention that they need to finally do something about our murder culture already and change the gun laws, for once drowning out the platitudes and handwringing emanating from Congress after every mass shooting for the past 25 years.
This week reeked of a toxic mix of guns, racism, grief and finger-pointing, one of those traumatic moments when the President needed to step up and lead his people in our time of grief and confusion, and speak to our collective heart with healing words of unity and resolve to do better.
Unfortunately, that guy’s not President anymore.
Instead, Trump is, who poured salt in our nation’s wounds, engaged in unforgivable hypocrisy, blamed the mentally ill (generally our most powerless and vulnerable people) for America’s violent temper, lied shamelessly about a U.S. Senator from Ohio and the Mayor of Dayton, backed down to a warning from the NRA, and offered only the tepid and undefined solution of “intelligent background checks.”
Trump’s initial reaction was to play golf and attend a disco party at his golf resort on Saturday, issuing only his standard Thoughts & Prayers dismissal after the El Paso massacre, and it was not until he woke up on Sunday to a second mass slaughter in Dayton did he realize he would have to pretend to give a shit about gun violence for a few days. Towards that temporary end, his people wrote out a speech for him that he woodenly delivered on Monday with all the passion of an electronic GPS voice with a nasal drip, condemning everything he has stood for over the past 3 years before putting it right back into practice moments later, giving us a fine illustration of the Nixonian rationalization that it is not divisiveness and racism when the President does it.
Then Trump tried suggesting that Congress should “marry” immigration reform with gun control into one piece of legislation, revealing his complete ignorance of how his own government works, and his callous indifference to suffering experienced by people other than himself that reassured us that yes, his speech meant nothing and Trump has not changed one bit from the shallow and ignorant racist that his shallow and ignorant racist base expects to see on display 24/7/365. He even revisited his “fine people on both sides” of the Nazi equation statement for emphasis. He also tried to blame “violent video games” for the slaughter, ignoring the fact that the entire world plays these same video games, yet only America has a murder culture marked by regular mass shootings.
Indeed, the more hours that pass since the shooting, the less ardent for gun reform Trump becomes, finally admitting that (!) “the gun-strong concerns of the NRA would be taken into account” by Congress and himself. In other words, Thoughts & Prayers on Steroids, and America will continue to do nothing about the gun violence that claims 30,000 lives every year.
The head of the NRA himself, Wayne La Pierre, personally warned Trump in a phone call against paying anything but lip service to gun reform, reminding him of their power to turn his base against him if he crosses them by taking any reasonable actions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the ink still wet on the $1.25 million NRA check written to his Senate reelection campaign, echoed the president’s “not so fast” approach to stopping the mass shootings which, after all, have been traditionally very good business for gun and ammunition manufacturers when they run their “Scare Them Into Buying More” sales campaigns following every horrific mass killing. Think of all those armaments factory jobs and all the overtime pay for doctors and nurses, to say nothing of the profits to make made on the aftercare of the paralyzed and permanently disabled. Those wheelchairs and portable oxygen rigs mean good jobs!
On the non-mass shooting front, Trump responded to the anti-Latino massacre by ordering the roundup of 680 allegedly illegal immigrants by ICE Agents in 5 Mississippi meat packing plants later in the week, this time adding the new twist of not rounding up their children to lock them away in concentration camps, but instead simply abandoning them to their fate, toddlers left alone to fend for themselves.
Also on Saturday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development delayed delivering the funds to Puerto Rico that Congress ordered they be paid to repair the still-lingering damage wrought by Hurricane Maria, just in case anyone mistakenly thought that the anti-Latino campaign of the Trump Administration did not extend to American citizens.
On Sunday we learned that former Trump campaign aide and partner of Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, is set to testify in a number of criminal trials and investigative hearings about what he knows about Russian collusion and Wikileaks before he is sentenced to prison for Conspiracy against the United States.
On the Trade War front, China devalued its currency to try and offset Trump’s tariffs by lowering the price of Chinese-made consumer goods in the USA, prompting Trump to label China “a currency manipulator,” to which China responded by suspending all agriculture purchases from the USA, a devastating blow to our farmers already reeling from lost Chinese markets.
On Tuesday Trump attacked America’s most popular information search engine when he attacked Google, saying he will be “watching them very closely” after Fox erroneously claimed Google is biased against Trump. They do have a point, in a bizarre kid of way, since people use search engines to find facts, and facts are Number 1 on Trump’s Enemies List.
That was also the day North Korea sent East Asia more love notes in the form of more ballistic missile tests, and a thumb in the eye to Trump, who has long been insisting that Kim Jong Un would cut this crap out and play nice with the rest of the world. So, Trump decided to sue. Not North Korea or his BFF Kim Jong Un, of course, but the State of California, for the crime of passing a law requiring candidates for public office to release their tax returns publicly before appearing on a California ballot. For good measure he had his lawyers sue the State of New York to prevent them from sharing his N.Y. State Tax Returns with Congress.
Wednesday was when he visited Dayton and El Paso, even though the authorities in El Paso did not want him there and instead insisted that the Trump Reelection Campaign pays them the half a million dollars it still owes the city for a political rally he held there months ago. He was greeted by angry protesters in both cities, calling Trump out for both his racism and lack of leadership on gun reform.
This was also the day when the 680 immigrants were rounded up, adding an exclamation point to his vigorously renewed racist rhetoric, which he claimed “brought people together.” Sure it does. Trump’s inflammatory racist rhetoric has brought Nazis, Klansmen, White Supremacists and American racist imbeciles from all walks of life together in one giant MAGA circle jerk, leaving the other 80% of the country labeled as “haters” and “the real racists” for having the temerity to point out the obvious.
This was a good distraction from the news that the Congressional Committees investigating Trump were now in receipt of hundreds of thousands of financial documents detailing the Trump Organization’s deep ties to Russian money supplied by oligarchs and gangsters, detailed records given to the Feds by the banks with whom Trump did business or defaulted on their loans to him. So much for “I have no ties to Russia, zero business dealings!” Turns out the figure is somewhat north of zero, to the tune of billions of dirty dollars and all sorts of laws broken.
The week ended on Thursday with Elizabeth Warren jumping on the Point Out The Obvious Bandwagon by labeling Trump a White Supremacist, and the courts in Mississippi quietly releasing 300 of the 680 people arrested for being illegal immigrants the day before as it became obvious that the Gestapo, er… that is to say, ICE Agents, were somewhat overzealous in the arresting part and under-zealous in the investigation part of who is illegal and who is an American citizen. Apparently, it takes committing a more serious offense than having brown skin and being fluent in Spanish to qualify for Trump’s Concentration camps. Very unfair to him!