Quote of The Week: “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s full of losers!” ~ US Commander in Chief at Belleau Wood, where 1,811 US Marines are buried
Quote #2 of The Week: “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” ~ The President of the United States to the father of a US Marine killed in combat at his son’s gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery
Yes, we’ve reached the part of the Presidential Campaign of 2020 where we find personal portraits and anecdotes from their past of each candidate from both sides, the sort of profiles where voters get to know the man behind the politics, who he is as a person and what makes him tick. Unfortunately, however, for Republicans, their man is the incumbent President Donald Trump, and any new revelations about him are never humanizing and endearing, mostly of the “he was always a greedy psycho prick” variety, but with the revelations of Week #190, Donald Trump did something we no longer thought possible, he surprised us.
Surprised in a revolted and infuriated way, but still!
The Week began on Friday, the 57th Anniversary of the March on Washington, with another March on Washington by people of color, once again pleading their case before the nation that their lives matter, at a time when our President has demonstrated again and again that no life matters to him but his own, not even those of his faithful loyalists who attended all the non-Covid Compliant events at the previous week’s Republican National Convention. Thirty RNC-related Covid cases were reported so far, just a few days after opening night.
In response to criticism that his acceptance speech had been wooden and “un-Trumpian,” the President hit the campaign trail, where he told a local Republican official “Tonight, I’m in New Hampshire and we can wing it.” And just to prove it, he accused the Vice Presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris of being incompetent, which, to be fair, is par for the course in electoral politics and nothing out of the ordinary. Other candidates say derogatory things all the time about their opponents and their running mates.
Other candidates, on the other hand (and here’s where it gets Trump creepy), stop short of proposing their own daughter as a replacement for his opponent’s Vice Presidential choice, and don’t claim that the rank and file of the opposing party are clamoring for his daughter. In this particular case, the only one “clamoring” for Ivanka Trump is her father, who said about Democrats; “they’re all saying we want Ivanka!” Given the overwrought history of this particular father and daughter, one need not be Sigmund Freud to see exactly who wants Ivanka.
On Saturday, Trump’s emasculation of the Intelligence community paid another dividend when his new Director of Nation Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, informed Congressional leadership that they would get no more personal briefings on election security. This was in response to the Senate announcement that Russia stole the last election for Trump and is planning to heist this one too.
Trump traveled to Louisiana on Saturday, recently devastated by Hurricane Laura, where he promised “to rebuild quickly,” then pivoted to claiming he stopped the election briefings because of “leaks.” Apparently, the Administration takes these charges of election fraud very seriously, and Trump is very angry. That we found out about it. Then he announced he would be visiting Kenosha Wisconsin on Tuesday, the site of the attempted murder of Jacob Blake by police a few days before, which sparked both demonstrations and riots.
Trump had no plans to visit the Blake family, meet with members of the Black Community or make even a cosmetic attempt to help heal the Kenosha’s wounds, but is attracted instead to fanning the flames, and holding a “town hall” meeting with whoever would have him, since both the Mayor of Kenosha and the Governor of Wisconsin publicly pleaded with Trump to stay away. Their pleas fell on the deaf ears of an arsonist with time on his hands and a spare can of gasoline. Trump also lied about “speaking to the Blake family Minister” when no such person exists (Blake’s father is Muslim).
On the Deja Vu front, we keep reliving the Russiagate scandal with “Groundhog Day” sameness, as today’s headlines about John Ratcliffe shrouding intelligence reports in secrecy appear to be just one more instance of a Trump official squashing legitimate criminal investigations into their boss. This day we found out that even before the Mueller investigation began, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein shut down all investigations into Trump’s business empire’s past financial dealings and previous ties to Russia, hamstringing Mueller’s team.
Mueller assumed that part of the prosecution would be led by another office in the Department of Justice, but the fact remains that law enforcement never fully investigated Mr. Trump’s relationship with Russia, even as career F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators decided that Trump potentially posed a serious national security threat. Those kinds of things led to the DOJ taking the extraordinary step of opening an FBI inquiry into them. Within days, Rosenstein curtailed the investigation without telling the Bureau, ensuring it would go nowhere.
Then Sunday night a demonstrator was shot and killed by counter-demonstrator (yes, you do need a scorecard sometimes) in Portland, Oregon. Unlike the double murder in Kenosha the previous week by a right wing extremist, this time it was a left wing extremist doing the shooting, killing a pro-Trump man who was part of a convoy featuring Patriot Prayer (whatever that is) members shooting paint guns and pepper spray from the flatbeds of pickup trucks at counter protestors.
If this seems like a good time for a President to start a national dialogue between opposing factions to find common ground and a way to heal a nation in peril, then you haven’t been paying attention. For the bazillionth time, that guy ain’t president no more.
On Monday, as police searched for the Portland Shooter, Trump defended his supporters’ use of paint ball guns and pepper spray, saying in a Tweet “the big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected,” and that “they are not deadly weapons.” Same guy who declared he was creating a law all by himself to lock up anyone who sprayed paint on public statues to 10 years on prison. Shooting Liberals with paint balls, not a prob!
He also defended the double murderer in Wisconsin, claiming the man “would probably have been killed,” and was “only defending himself,” even though all the videos of the events in question show otherwise. The fact that he was driven to the scene of his crime by his pistol-packing Mommy, who was also his getaway driver, paints a disturbingly dysfunctional picture of his home life, with profound mental illness factoring in. Normally, Presidents refrain from commenting on such sensitive ongoing investigations or making pronouncements of innocence about accused murderers, but again, see above…
Scott Atlas, Doctor Herd Immunity and Trump’s new head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, a Doctor of Radiology with (!) no experience in contagious diseases, opened his yap with the herd immunity fantasy again, unfortunately being taken seriously by people who don’t mind killing millions of people just so that they don’t have to wear a mask. Doctor Atlas unwittingly jumped aboard the GOP Both Ways Express as Republicans who once greeted proposals for Social Programs by saying “We’re not Sweden,” suddenly doing a 180º on Covid-19 with a rousing chorus of “Let’s Be Sweden!
If, for some arcane reason, that’s not enough crazy in one day for your blood, perhaps you might be eager to hear about the (!) March on the Reichstag in Berlin by (!!) Covid-19 Deniers and … wait for it … (!!!) Q-Anon that day. Retail stores across Europe sold out of aluminum foil for this mass gathering of the crème de la crème of crazy-ass conspiracy theorists.
Getting into the infectiously giddy spirit of his comrades in Berlin, Trump decided to Re-Tweet the Flavor of The Day Conspiracy, this one claiming that (!) 94% of the reported Covid deaths were actually caused by “other factors.” You know, in the same way that bullets are other factors only accelerating the certain eventual deaths of the people they hit.
As nuts as that sounds, it produced legions of instant Social Media medical experts declaring the New Democratic Hoax, only leaving out the part of exactly how the Democrats managed to do away with those other 170,000 souls without getting caught redhanded even once. It didn’t help the President’s case very much that the actual Coronavirus Task Force Report was released that day, completely contradicting the White House message on every vital point. Whoops!
While the House Oversight Committee prepared to issue a subpoena for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over his election sabotage, Joe Biden made a brilliant campaign appearance, his demeanor showcasing his intellect, broad knowledge, empathy, integrity and vision, a humble, decent and very normal man, the antithesis of Trump.
Of course that meant Trump had to set up an immediate “press conference” later that day as a direct Trump rebuttal to Biden, which only reinforced the mental image of Man versus Boy as Trump pouted like a whiny brat, insisting on going to Kenosha even after the mean old Mayor and Governor said to stay home.
Another endearing personal anecdote about Trump emerged that day, about the time his first Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey on the flimsy grounds that they hadn’t committed any crimes, infuriating Trump. Trump then tried to prosecute them (!) himself, as President, an early glimpse into his frightening ignorance of basic Civics to go along with an obsessive need for vengeance.
Speaking of Original Trump Cabinet members and how Civics actually work, the US Appellate court once again refused to allow the Department of Justice drop the case against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, what with Flynn having having confessed twice in open court and been duly convicted and all.
Trump thought this would be a good night for a Fox News ratings boost for his falling campaign numbers when he sat for an interview with Trump-friendly host Laura Ingraham. Should have been a slam-dunk for Trump.
Should have been, that is. Instead, he went into what many people are saying is classic Late Trump Era Covid Meltdown mode, when he left reality in the dust with “At some point, I will not be President. Hopefully, that will be in five years from now, but I will not be President. And they’re going to die, they’re all going to die,” out of the blue, with no setup or explanation of who “they” are or why they need to die, along with a stream of consciousness rant full of lies, insults, conspiracies, boasts and crazy accusations.
The cherry on top was this tidbit, that exactly no one else ever heard of, the kind of disjointed raving that usually results in paramedics taking you to the pyche ward for observation: “People that you’ve never heard of, people that are in the dark shadows. No, people you haven’t heard of. We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in that plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that. They’re on a plane, I’ll tell you sometime but it’s under investigation right now, but they came from a certain city, and this person was coming to the RNC and there were like, seven people on the plane like this person and then a lot of people were on the plane to do big damage. They were coming!”
This was the man who declined that day to join the global search for a Covid-19 vaccine because it was sponsored by the World Health Organization, the Obama of organizations for Trump, an all purpose bogeyman responsible for the catastrophic results of all his own boneheaded decisions. And speaking of organizations, back in the news is the Trump Inaugural Committee, which if memory serves, collected about $50 million more in donations than it spent, and was accused of selling influence to shady characters. It seems that Inaugural Committee Chairman Elliot Broidy has been arrested, not for the creative bookkeeping of Trump’s Inauguration (which is just so 2017, a million scandals ago!) but instead for wrongful foreign lobbying charges and influence peddling.
Which can only mean one thing, that suddenly Trump will not be able to recall ever meeting Elliot Broidy. After all, many people take pictures with the President.
A hundred times.
The Intelligence community was not finished making headlines for the week, albeit retroactively in this case as we learned on Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security withheld an intelligence bulletin back in July, warning of a Russian plot to spread misinformation regarding Biden’s mental health. Perhaps they did not make a big fuss since this very material was being repeated word for word by President Trump, which was technically still releasing it to the public, sort of, if looked at in a certain way.
Trump was in North Carolina Wednesday, boasting about his crowds, gibbering his usual blather and gathering unmasked people in dangerous proximity, when he expanded on his personal election sabotage campaign by urging his supporters to (!!) vote twice, once by mail and once in person, which happens to be a felony punishable by prison time, to say nothing of mail fraud.
And speaking of mail fraud, it was announced that the United States Postal Service has paid about $286 million over the past seven years to XPO Logistics, the former company of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who is also a major stockholder in Fed Ex, a Post Office competitor whose stock price would skyrocket if DeJoy was successful in doing half the damage he is attempting to inflict on the Post Office.
Then suddenly Trump revealed that he has finally compromised the Centers for Disease Control when they issued a directive that directly contradicted everything they had said up to that point, relaxing the stringent testing rules that the CDC had been calling for with this: ”If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.”
This was met with such horror and universal rebuke by the scientific and medical community that the CDC almost immediately rescinded the relaxed guidelines and returned to their previous data-driven positions on testing, but the damage was done and the fools and potential mega-spreaders were given one more excuse to act irresponsibly.
And speaking of acting irresponsibly, Trump was making good on his repeated threats to “punish Democrat-led cities” and “abandon them to their fate” when he directed Federal officials to find ways to cut funding to a string of cities controlled by Democrats, including the money to disinfect the crucial New York City subways and buses and the many NY Metro Area commuter lines, relied upon by 3 million Americans daily, claimed falsely that crime was rising only in Democratic-led cities when it is in fact rising in a uniformly bipartisan way, just as neutral as its partner in misery, Coronavirus. Providing unsafe trains and buses isn’t anyone’s idea of reopening society and schools safely, but how better to punish Blue States for electing Democrats than paying with their lives?
On the same day his Justice Department announced a big splashy Anti-Trust Suit against Google, his first piece of regular Attorney General business not directly related to President Trump’s personal interests, Attorney General William Barr decided to give an interview where he called into question once again what he represents, the US government or President Trump.
On the hypersensitive topic of racially motivated police killings, Barr denied there are 2 justice systems for Whites and Minorities, or at least 2 standards of justice for rich and poor, or that police are “in the midst of an of epidemic killing Black Men,” the dozens of prominent cases that spring to mind notwithstanding. He continued “I think there are some situations where statistics would suggest that they are treated differently. But I don’t think that that’s necessarily racism. It is very rare that an unarmed Black man is killed by police.” Same guy who led an Anonymous Amy into battle against peaceful demonstrators in Lafayette Park who were protesting the kind of racist police killings he just denied exist.
The moderators for the Presidential Debates were announced on Wednesday, beginning on September 29th with Chris Wallace, the Fox News host who raked Trump over the coals in a recent interview. To make matters worse, Joe Biden, in an underhanded tactic, asked for fact-checking news crawl across the bottom of the screen in real time for all 3 debates, a blatant attempt to give Trump a heart attack.
Biden traveled to Kenosha on Thursday, and met with the Blake family and community leaders, sowing the seeds of American reconciliation under steady leadership after his election, while the Stock Market took a nosedive the day after Trump bragged about how phenomenally well the rich were doing in contrast to the growing destitution among the working class, while NATO and many American leaders voiced their concern that a second Trump term would bring about the destruction of NATO.
The fact that NATO leaders were at the moment calling for additional sanctions on Russia over Vladimir Putin’s poisoning of another political rival was lost on Trump, who never mentioned the attack on Alexei Navalny, who now lies comatose in a German hospital with Putin’s trademark neurotoxin in his system.
Then Trump once again attacked mail-in voting, this time claiming that former President Jimmy Carter agreed in a 15 year-old study, to which the 95 year-old Carter instantly replied: “I approve the use of absentee ballots and have been using them for more than five years. Where safeguards for ballot integrity are in place there was little evidence of voter fraud.”
Speaking of Voter Fraud, Trump tore a page out his sponsor Vlad Putin’s book when he ordered all 50 States and 7 US territories to set up a network to vaccinate the population for Covid-19 on November 1, two days before the election, something to which every scientist on Earth responded to with “As if!” With no vaccine anywhere near the broad testing required before seeking FDA approval, never mind reporting their results, Trump’s pronouncement was met with the derision it deserved, but is certain to create more Anti-Vaxers.
Add Trump attacking Joe Biden as “a weak man” for wearing a mask and not subjecting his supporters to life-threatening crowded gatherings in the midst of a pandemic to this final day of Week #190, when Trump asked a reporter to take off his mask so he could be heard, but the reporter said he could talk louder instead, to which the President responded: “Oh OK, you want to be politically correct.” You know, the usual phony, disrespectful, unhinged and plain harmful mouthfuls of garbage we have become uncomfortably accustomed to hearing from our President on a daily basis, no cause for any more alarm than usual.
Then a magazine article by journalist Jeff Goldberg was published in The Atlantic, and the defecation hit the ventilation device big time. It was centered in part on Trump’s State Visit to France in 2018 to commemorate the fallen Americans buried in France from the First World War, 100 years after it ended, and his controversial No-Show at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, where 1,811 US Marines are buried, casualties of the Battle of Belleau Wood that turned back a German offensive on Paris itself and turned the tide of World War 1.
Rain was pouring the day of the somber ceremony, but it was still well-attended by word leaders, minus the American one, the one whose nation’s heroic fallen were being honored that day. Even though Trump alternately blamed his helicopter for being grounded (it wasn’t) and the Secret Service for being unable to drive him to the cemetery (They most certainly could have. It’s France, with fine roads aplenty, not Tierra del Fuego), the fact was that Trump was unwilling to risk getting his elaborately engineered combover messed up in the rain, especially not for such “losers” as guys who died serving their country in combat. It was reported Trump told his entourage “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s full of losers!”
There were a great many other incendiary and outrageous remarks made by Trump and quoted in Goldberg’s articles, statements so very sensational, controversial and unbelievably hateful (even for him) that it was stunning, and would be hard to believe if not for the many reliable news sources and former Trump Administration officials that almost immediately corroborated Goldberg’s story as completely authentic.
Apparently many people were privy to these outbursts, and relieved that they are now finally public property. Dozens of corroborating quotes were immediately circulated, including Trump asking about World War 1, (!) “Who were the good guys?“ and (!!) “Why did we intervene on the Allies side?”
Then there was his planning sessions for his grand military parades that never happened, when he insisted that there be “no amputees involved” because (!) “nobody wants to see that,” and his reaction to lowering the flag to half mast to honor Senator John McCain while his body lies in state in the Capitol Building. “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral. What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser!”
Trump of course responded with the furious denial of the words so many people heard him say. At least when he asked “What animal would say such a thing?” no reporter was callous enough to hold up a mirror.
And so we end Week #190 of the Trump Era, with 187,000 Americans dead of Covid-19 and our reopened schools rapidly shutting back down after massive new outbreaks, while our President denies that he is a callous sociopath for calling our fallen heroes suckers and losers, and wondering why we bother to look for those missing in action. Other than that, though, everything’s fine.