Trump Against the World

Trump Maladministration

On top of everything else, today the FBI arrested a young man in Oklahoma City who had planned to blow up a bank. The man is associated with a right-wing anti-government movement calling itself the Three Percenters, which has ties to Oath Keepers and the Bundy Militia. Can we now admit we have a problem with right-wing domestic terrorism, finally?

Someone seems to have been able to persuade Trump he needed to say something more about Charlottesville

After two days, blistering criticism from his own party and tougher anti-white-nationalist statements from the company that makes Tiki torches and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Trump dragged himself to the podium for a statement that specifically condemned white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other racists. He had to begin with some self-congratulations on the economy — because his accomplishments are what he really cares about. He told the country, “To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered.” He finally spit it out by calling racism “evil” and condemning the “KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups.”

He read from a teleprompter. Speaking from his heart would have been impossible, given his obvious lack of passion and willful blindness over the past couple of days. He did not mention the “alt-right,” nor did he announce he is firing Stephen K. Bannon, who once bragged he gave the alt-right a platform at Breitbart. He did not announce any specific policy measures. He did not apologize for his moral obtuseness. This was the weakest statement he could have gotten away with, 48 hours too late. Why did it have to come to this?

But he had already failed the Acting Like a Grown Up test earlier today. Kenneth Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck, withdrew from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council to protest Trump’s insipid response to Charlottesville. Frazier, who is African American, wrote,

 “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal. As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

So this morning Trump tweeted:

Amber Phillips in WaPo writes that Republicans, Republican senators especially, have been remarkably critical of Trump regarding Charlottesville.

A number of Senate Republicans criticized nothing less than the way Trump chose to be president Saturday. They publicly and directly condemned his words and actions. More specifically, they criticized his lack of words and actions to clearly and forcefully denounce the white supremacy roiling Charlottesville’s streets and seizing the nation’s attention. …

… There’s no nuance in those statements, no need to read between the lines. These Republicans think the president did a bad job being president in the midst of a violent, fraught crisis. Their criticism carries extra heft when you consider that these lawmakers mostly weren’t prodded by reporters, microphones thrust in their faces, to say any of this. Congress is on break, so wherever in the world these lawmakers were, they made the proactive decision Saturday to go on Twitter — or call up their staff to write a statement — and criticize the president.

But harshest by far is David Frum, who calls on his fellow Republicans to abandon Trump asap.

President Trump made two big political decisions over past half-week, and both are already proving disasters.

The first decision was to cut himself loose from the Republican leadership in Congress. Trump blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with a sequence of tweets fixing blame on McConnell—and thereby absolving himself—for the failure of Obamacare repeal.

The second decision was to issue a statement condemning “many sides” for the confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend—and adhering to that policy of pandering to white nationalism even after the ramming death of a counter-protester and the injury of many more.

Trump had wanted to stand apart from Republicans in Congress—and they have now obliged him. Former campaign rivals Ted Cruz and Marco RubioSenator Cory Gardner, who heads the Senate Republican campaign organization; President Pro Tempore of the Senate Orrin Hatch—all issued statements implicitly criticizing Trump’s response for its even-handedness between perpetrators and targets.

Republicans are in a terribly, um, delicate position here. Since the bleeping Nixon Administration — nay, since Goldwater’s presidential campaign — they’ve been dog whistling at white racists to get their votes. So Nixon talked about lawnorder and Reagan about welfare queens and George H.W. Bush’s campaign about Willie Horton, and everybody knew they were talking about race even if they didn’t come out and say it. But even though they’ve been winking and nodding at white supremacists all these years, they can’t afford to be seen with them in public, because they are really, really unpopular. And not just with nonwhite voters.

Trump is blowing their cover and forcing them to go on record as believing racism is bad. It’s extraordinary, really.

Frum goes on to say that Trump needs an excuse. Whining about Democratic obstructionism doesn’t really work if his own party controls both houses of Congress. The new paradigm must be that everyone in Washington is Trump’s enemy.

He’s put out a new campaign ad to that effect — seriously —

If you watch, you may notice that Trump’s enemies include a lot of news media.

Anyway, Frum continues …

It’s probably impossible for a man of Trump’s psychology to process how much legal jeopardy he and his family may be in—and how utterly he depends on Republicans in Congress to shield him. President Bill Clinton faced down scandal politics in his second term because his party united to support him, a decision politically vindicated by the strong Democratic showing in 1998, the best sixth-year election performance in modern history. Trump, by contrast, is doing his utmost to persuade congressional Republicans that it could well be less disastrous to face the voters in 2020 under Mike Pence than Donald Trump. Pence apparently thinks so, too. Pre-Charlottesville, that remained a tough sale. Post-Charlottesville, things look different.

IMO if the Senate could initiate articles of impeachment, Trump would be toast. The House will stick with him for a while, I suspect.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Swami  •  Aug 14, 2017 @7:35 pm

    Now Trump is talking about pardoning Joe Arpaio.. Just because he’s a good guy and doesn’t deserve it..Meaning his criminal contempt conviction.. You know, a good guy. Like Michael Flynn is a good guy. Just look the other way type of good guy.
    What’s the lesson that gets taken away in all this? I know what I’m seeing is a president with absolutely no respect for the law.
    I hoping that New York State is able to stick some serious ( prison worthy) financial charges against the Trump organization and its principals so that Trump can’t use the pardoning powers that have been granted him to effectuate an escape from justice.

  2. goatherd  •  Aug 15, 2017 @7:53 am

    “Trump is blowing their cover and forcing them to go on record as believing racism is bad. It’s extraordinary, really.”

    I think this is the crux of the whole matter and perhaps a test of the “Sarandon hypothesis.”

    I can’t remember the source, but, there was an historian who wrote about the stages of fascism. In the final stage, the raw, brutal power was put on display. This was to occur at a time when everyone either supported it or was habituated to it. It’s seems that they’ve “jumped the gun,” and hopefully, the shark as well. The crowd at Charlottesville was also far short of the six thousand that they hoped for.

    Have any of you been following Glen Greenwald’s posts at the intercept? I have definitely mixed feelings about those that I’ve read. The latest was about how we should be wary of siding with the “deep state,” which he more or less defines as the nefarious and secret elements of the intelligence community: CIA spooks and black opts, against Trump and his men.

    I don’t think anyone is denying that there have been some dreadful events fomented by the darker forces in out intelligence community. But, sometimes history draws the battle lines for you, and you have to choose a way forward, either the proverbial rock or hard place. History doesn’t offer the choice of a side that conforms to the sophistication and nuance of your political beliefs. To paraphrase Sartre, “you have to choose, and by choosing, create your essence.” Although, we will be dealing with the essence of our country and its future, rather than the essence of who we are as an individual.

    Anyway, it’s beyond me for the moment. I’d like to hear someone’s thoughts.

    I’m more at home with this guy:

    https://youtu.be/yhYiJ4z_v_c

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 15, 2017 @8:21 am

    goatherd,
    No one can top Liberal Redneck at what he does!

  4. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 15, 2017 @8:50 am

    Swami,
    Traditionally, a NY AG can indict a ham sandwich.

    And while I’m sure he’s trying, but indicting a guy who “dines” on well-done steak with ketchup, and eats Pizza Hut pizza, and KFC chicken, with a knife and a fork, … well, we’re talking about a man guilty of many, many crimes here – against good taste, and things that taste good (at least in another, non-fast-food form).

    I can sense that t-RUMPLE-THIN-sKKKin is neutering himself. He’s even losing some Republican Senators and Governors – even some House members. And even some in his base are starting to awaken from their Trump-en stupor.
    World leaders look at him as a sad and pathetic loser, and laugh behind his back – but they’re scared of him too. He’s obviously got more than a few screws loose in the ol’ main-frame.

    But this is also when he might be most dangerous.
    Or, close to it.
    If he feels a total embarrassment – no, a complete humiliation – coming, he’s liable to push a button or two, and see to it that the world will still “respect” him.
    Hey, to a narcissistic sociopath, any form of respect, is good respect.

    So, enjoy him slowly neutering himself for a while longer.
    But then, practice your “Duck & Cover” drills.

  5. bernie  •  Aug 15, 2017 @8:57 am

    What fear is the more sane one, or perhaps worded better, the least crazy.  For me and it seems many others the fear of grossly distorted elitists a.k.a. white supremacists is more intense than the fear of those they categorize into inferior and even sub-human categories.  Some of us even identify with one or more of their sub-human categories, which they cherish is abundance.  Some of us do not have a positive emotional reaction to their symbols.  We do not find security in having a half of a metric ton of ammo.  We worry about the neighbors of those that do, and the firemen who might be called in the unlikely event of a fire, more so than the unlikely event all that ammo might come in handy.  Some of us even question the wisdom of maintaining symbols in prominent places reminding us of a time when Americans could legally own other Americans. Some of us do not need a constant reminder of historical errors.  We are having enough problem dealing with our recent historical error that ended up in the white house.

  6. Ed  •  Aug 15, 2017 @9:35 am

    I sure hope that he can summon the political courage to pardon that poor turkey come Thanksgiving time.

  7. maha  •  Aug 15, 2017 @12:32 pm

    Knowing Trump, he’ll have the ceremony pardoning the turkey and then have it cooked for dinner. It’s just a dumb turkey, right? Nobody cares. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/trump-files-when-donald-destroyed-priceless-art-build-trump-tower/

  8. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 15, 2017 @4:57 pm

    maha,
    Yeah, he’ll order the turkey burned to a crisp, and then douse the poor noble bird with ketchup!
    Hell, he’ll probably have it stuffed with white bread soaked in ketchup!
    Cretin…

  9. Bonnie  •  Aug 15, 2017 @5:11 pm

    As trump continues to harass the news media as fake news, I often think that fake news is the only news when you have a fake president. He is a horrible human being. He is a misogynist and the most incompetent cretin to ever be president.

  10. Dickeylee  •  Aug 15, 2017 @6:52 pm

    So the president says there are many fine fine Nazis…daddy issues?

  11. Swami  •  Aug 15, 2017 @8:15 pm

    Maybe we should start a Bannon termination date pool. If you do, put me in for Friday. I heard a rumor that Kelly sent one of the White House aids down to the local supermarket to pick up a card board box for Bannon to put his stuff. I hope they get one big enough to a fit Bannon’s autographed copy of Deutschland Erwacht.

  12. uncledad  •  Aug 15, 2017 @10:26 pm

    Gosh I can’t believe Trump went and shit all over the talking points his handlers wrote for him just yesterday? Trump should have just stuck to denigrating the Negros nobody seemd to care, now that he’s thrown his hat in with the anti-Semites he’s gonna have to apologize again and soon. “He went rouge” they are saying! Good thing he’s got that Jewish son in law and Ivanka to fall back on! Is this where it all began way back in 1983, is this Trumps long lost Uncle?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65FUN-o8v4Q

  13. Ed  •  Aug 15, 2017 @10:40 pm

    Gee, you hire John Kelly to get your White House squared away and what do you get? The two worst weeks of your presidency, that’s what.

    I think that Trump should return Gen Kelly in his original packaging and demand his money back. He is entitled to a full refund if you ask me. This is all Kelly’s fault. He was supposed to prevent stuff like this from happening.

  14. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 16, 2017 @2:28 am

    I wish I’d said it first, but I’ve got to credit The Daily Show for the best comment about t-RUMPLE-THIN-sKKKIin and his white supremacist and Nazi pals:
    Today, Trump became President of the Confederacy.

    Somewhere in the deepest bowels of Hell, Satan is further torturing Hitler, Goering, and the rest of the Nazi leaders by showing them news clips of 21st Century American white supremacists and Nazi’s holding their version of a Nazi rally.
    And the real Nazi’s puke into the rivers of molten metals, because the American aren’t wearing spiffy, tight fitting uniforms, with polished black leather jack-boots – while marching in tight formations.
    No.
    Instead, they see a loose undisciplined mob, wearing Dockers, golf shirts, and sneakers – while screaming bigoted chants, and holding tiki torches.
    In unison, they ask:
    “TIKI TORCHES?!?!” Vas ist das tiki torch?
    NEIN!
    Ja?
    Du ist sheissing mir!
    Du istn’t sheissing mir?
    OCH!
    DEESE AMERIKANISHER SHEISSKOPF’S IST NAZI-ING WRONG!!!!!

    The real Nazi’s beg Satan to stop torturing them when they finally come to the realization that these Americans aren’t mocking them, but honoring them!

    The only way for these stupid, ignorant, and evil “American” assholes to avoid having the masses of normal people pointing, and laughing and openly mocking them, is to “thug-up”, and keep increasing the violence.
    This is just the beginning folks.
    Especially if their POTUS leaves for ANY reason, without finishing his 2nd term.
    There WILL be blood.

  15. Swami  •  Aug 16, 2017 @3:07 am

    Gosh I can’t believe Trump went and shit all over the talking points his handlers wrote for him just yesterday?

    Why can’t you believe it? It’s typical Trump. Actually, I thought he was going to bow to the pressure.. but evidently not.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLoYFvbR0XY

  16. bernie  •  Aug 16, 2017 @7:34 am

    Oh but he did bow to pressure, which came from the queen of right wing hate hags herself.  To whom is he most loyal, Putin or Coulter?  

  17. Doug  •  Aug 16, 2017 @11:15 am

    I have a question. Who is funding these groups? Somebody bought thousands of torches. Where did the funding come from? I know as an activist – this kind of assembly doesn’t happen overnight & costs a lot of money. Where did it come form? Follow the money is always a good tactic.

  18. maha  •  Aug 16, 2017 @1:24 pm

    Doug — very good question about the funding.

  19. Swami  •  Aug 16, 2017 @4:42 pm

    Doug, I suspect that whoever organised the torch light rally just suggested that participants invest in a Tiki Torch at their own expense to be in keeping with fellow participants and adding a sense of uniformity and cohesion. Tiki Torches are not a bad solution in providing a torch for a militant rally even if they do have a flavor of friendliness in their design. I would think that something more primitive in design would better suit the occasion. Maybe an oil soaked rag on a stick or perhaps straw like they used to storm Frankenstein castle.