Quote of the week for Week #137 has to be these simultaneous words from Mr. & Ms. Everyone Everywhere:
“Now this is just getting silly.”
Some might wonder how this Trump Week is any sillier than any other Trump Week considering the countless instances of jaw dropping crazy behavior by President Manbaby over the past 2-1/2 years (calm down, it only seems like decades), but that was before Sharpiegate. Now Trump not only doubled down on unnecessary lies, but pulled out the visual aids (on camera, thank the comedy gods) to chide a Fox News reporter he had summoned into the Oval Office for his little Show & Tell presentation.
Others may ask why such silly childishness in the face of the grim life and death business of dealing with a mega storm bearing down on the Eastern Seaboard at any moment, having already devastated the Bahamas, also a pertinent question. Recent memories of too many catastrophic storms calls for real time 24/7 observation and immediate response by the Federal Government (unless it’s some Semi-American place surrounded by very deep water like Puerto Rico of course), with the heads of all the concerned Federal Agencies gathered to coordinate their plans.
One would think that, anyway. Turns out, Trump’s “Situation Room” for such operations has 18 holes, a green floor and is in Virginia.
Week #138 began on Friday with a bit of Trump nostalgia reminiscent of the Michael Wolf tell-all book days when one Madeleine Westerhout, a 28 year-old former campaign worker before becoming the holder of two exalted titles in Trump’s White House, Executive Assistant to The President and Director of Oval Office Operations, was fired for getting drunk and blabbing secrets about the First Family to enemies of the people or, as we know them, reporters.
Trump called her ”my beauty” (not exactly your average professional relationship), and her office was just outside the Oval Office. Ms Westerhout was considered the President’s Gatekeeper, an incredibly powerful and influential position, squandered on “Gorgeous Assistant” window dressing rather than hiring an experienced and savvy political professional.
It was said Trump only reluctantly fired the woman because the secrets she blabbed were only about his second-to-least favorite child (sorry, Eric), the Absent One, Tiffany, but he put Westerhout’s termination in the Reality Show perspective it deserves when his first response was this: “While Madeleine Westerhout has a fully enforceable confidentiality agreement, she is a very good person and I don’t think there would ever be reason to use it.” Today’s eliminated contestant is tomorrow’s potential liability.
In Friday morning’s Presidential Tweets (and how sad and embarrassing a term is “Presidential Tweets?”), Trump may have given away State Secrets when he Tweeted out a Top Secret photograph of an explosion on an Iranian missile launching pad, throwing suspicion on the United Stares for sabotaging Iranian military computers to cause this explosion. Next stop was of course denying American involvement, while defending his release of the sensitive photograph with his usual “I’m the President and can release whatever I want” explanation. It was not the first time Trump compromised our national security and/or the lives of American overseas intelligence operatives on Twitter.
Saturday brought us yet another installment of our new national pastime, Mass Shooting, striking Texas for the second time in less than 2 weeks. There were 8 dead and 25 wounded this time. Texas, being Texas after all, responded the next day by allowing firearms to be carried openly in libraries (thoughts) and churches (prayers).
Saturday also brought news from North Korea that Kim Jong Un considers the hope of any talks with the USA to be disappearing, what with all the other meetings between Trump and Kim producing zero results other than making Kim an international superstar while adding generously to Trump’s legend as the World’s Laughingstock. Then the President was briefed on the severity of Hurricane Dorian with its menacing potential of great loss of life and massive property damage.
So, with two fresh mass shootings at home, a diplomatic failure in Asia and a deadly storm threatening American lives, Trump took the bull by the horns and got busy, supporting rigid gun laws, directing his State Department to engage North Korea, and galvanizing FEMA and the Coast Guard to execute an effective rescue and cleanup operation for the victims of Hurricane Dorian.
Just kidding. We all know that guy’s not president anymore. Instead of doing his job, Trump spent the day golfing at his Virginia golf resort, then firing off a series of manic Tweets about (!) actress Debra Messing, the very popular Grace from “Will & Grace,” a petty personal peeve more apropos of a maladjusted adolescent than a president.
On Sunday, Trump got to claim for the fourth time in 2 years that ”I’m not sure that anyone ever heard of a Category 5 hurricane” (they have), either displaying the memory retention of a goldfish, or simply the result of a lifelong habit of declaring that “my numbers are numbers no one’s ever seen before.” Bigger, better, taller, shinier!
Trump spent Labor Day golfing and Tweeting at an almost record pace, attacking not only Ms. Messing, but his imaginary bogeyman James Comey, the news media, multiple Democrats, and a dozen other petty grievances of a lying, whiny complainer who thinks the world is out to get him. Isn’t it always the whole world that’s wrong, never these people?
Reluctantly back on the job Tuesday, Trump responded to the outcries for gun reform by saying he is waiting on Mitch McConnell and Congress to come up with a plan, while McConnell says he’s waiting for Trump to come up with something, while America looks forward to more sincere thoughts and prayers at the next slaughter of innocents.
Attorney General William Barr chimed by voicing his desire to expedite the Death Penalty process for mass shooters, and endorsing Trump’s call for “reopening the mental institutions,” this coming after the both of them signed off on a recent law that (!!) gave the mentally ill easy access to the sort of firearms routinely used in mass shootings.
Meanwhile, Vice President Pence visited Ireland on official business, where he stayed at Trump’s Doonbeg golf resort “at President Trump’s suggestion” (direct orders), 3 hours away from his scheduled meetings in Dublin. Pence was on a mini-European tour in place of Trump, who begged off so he had more time to deal with Hurricane Dorian and his putting game.
On the 80th Anniversary of the beginning of World War 2, however, Trump did remember to congratulate the Polish people for getting invaded by the Wehrmacht. Imagine their joy that he remembered.
This was also the day the Pentagon announced they were diverting funds from 127 military projects, including building a Middle School on a military base to replace a crumbling and overcrowded building, to build Trump’s wall, and the day Trump declared that “China will suffer,” from his tariffs, directly contradicting that same day’s reports from his own government stating that it is American households that will suffer, by paying between $500 and $1,000 more annually for consumer goods.
And speaking of consumer goods, on Wednesday Trump rolled back requirements for using energy-saving light bulbs, a move certain to contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. The new energy efficient bulbs have already produced a 6% savings in home energy costs and dramatically reduced blackout risks. Asked why he did this unnecessary and damaging thing, Trump said his people were (WTF?) “still working on an explanation of the reasoning behind this decision, but it will be a good one.”
Whatever reverse-engineered “logic” Trump’s people eventually manage to invent, the real explanation was much simpler, a huge problem with the signature at the bottom of this energy-saving policy; “Barack Obama.” Clearly, that had to go. Also, a large portion of that 6% in energy savings would be converted into billions in more energy spending, aka profits for fossil fuel interests and the wealthy.
And speaking of fossil fuels, we learned Wednesday that the State Department had bribed the captain of an Iranian oil tanker with $15 million to sail the tanker “somewhere where the US Navy could legally seize it,” as the Trump Administration upped the ante in trying to goad Iran into a war with the United States, a war of his very own, one with the Trump Brand on it.
That’s also when he made his original “Alabama threatened by Hurricane Dorian” Tweet, and was immediately contracted by the National Weather Service, which takes its responsibilities very seriously, and they were swift to allay any fears of the people of Alabama, not wishing to alarm a population frivolously, or to waste emergency funds where they are not needed, funds already depleted by FEMA, which, like the Pentagon, was forced to kick in millions from its budget for Trump’s thus-far imaginary wall.
On Thursday, The Trump Administration again promoted the fossil fuel industry when it was announced it is moving forward with a proposal to revoke part of California’s authority to set its own automobile gas mileage standards, a landmark decision by a State that saw America’s auto industry side with California to retain (there’s that NAME again!) President Obama’s fuel efficiency standards. When Trump ordered them lowered, the industry mutinied by pointing out that they would be dooming themselves into being uncompetitive with foreign auto manufacturers.
Trump also decided to privatize both Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, the 2 largest mortgage entities in the country, having mixed public and private ownership. This divestiture would eliminate more than $60 billion in annual income for the Federal Government, which will now become $60 billion in annual income for wealthy elites, but somehow the Federal government will still be on the hook to guarantee the mortgages if the companies screw up again like they did in 2008. It’s the best of all worlds for the uber wealthy, bringing potential windfalls for hedge funds and big investors, while sticking Uncle Sam with all the risk if they get too greedy and collapse everything again.
To close out the week on Thursday, Trump ordered Fox News correspondent John Roberts into the Oval Office to argue he wasn’t wrong about his Alabama warning when he showed him a national Weather Service storm projection map that Trump had bizarrely (!) altered with a Sharpie to have Hurricane Dorian extend into a corner of Alabama.
Not only that, Trump personally directed his Homeland Security counter-terror advisor, Rear Admiral Peter Brown, to issue a statement that Trump was indeed shown a graphic with Dorian touching Alabama earlier in the week. How Homeland Security got involved in Trump’s crazy lie is anyone’s guess, and one guess is that Trump wastes no opportunity to humiliate his generals and admirals, using them as the kind of toadies and errand boys he is used to exploiting.
So here we are, 138 weeks in, with bimonthly mass shootings, a deadly storm on our doorstep, a trade war destroying American agriculture, billions in tariffs charged to America consumers, refugees and their children locked in concentration camps, our neglected infrastructure crumbling beneath our feet, an understaffed and incompetent administration barely able to function, and a climate warmed by the growing bonfire of fossil fuels, and the President of the United States has nothing better to do than pursuing petty vendettas against beloved actresses or defending silly lies to bewildered reporters.
Hell of a time to have an incompetent, peevish lout with a frivolous mind as president but, one supposes, these things happen…