Is Anyone in Charge?

Josh Marshall points out that Trump has, apparently, rolled on some issues.

Just in the last 24 hours he appears to have been rolled so many times that one imagines his rough edges might start to be worn down until he becomes something more like a clumpy and perhaps oblong ball.

Examples? One, he meekly agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping that the United States would maintain the One China policy. The White House press release on this matter actually said, “The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our ‘one China’ policy.” Whether the SPOTUS understood what he agreed to, we can only guess.

Then this happened yesterday:

Then this afternoon EU foreign policy chief (in effect, the EU foreign minister) Federica Mogherini said that she had been assured in her meetings with top administration officials that the Trump administration intended to “stick to the full implementation of the [Iran nuclear] agreement.”

Of course, in this administration “top administration officials” are the equivalent of little boys who get sucked into grown-up meetings when they aren’t squirting glue into the White House light sockets or short sheeting the bed in the Lincoln bedroom.

But Trump on the campaign trail had promised over and over to undo the deal. It was the worst deal he ever saw. And if history is our guide, he may change his mind again. And a few more times.

In the past 24 hours or so, the White House has changed direction several times on the travel ban. Yesterday the Washington Post issued news alerts 30 minutes apart, one saying that Trump would not further appeal the restraining order, and the other saying he would. Both alerts were based on White House statements. A wag on twitter referred to “Schrodinger’s Executive Order: both being appealed and not being appealed.”

More recently, Trump himself announced he would issue a new, revised travel ban next week. Probably. But all options are still on the table. And, of course, this morning he tweeted that “Our legal system is broken!”

Can we say Trump is flailing? I think so.

Trump also is still obsessing over losing the popular vote. Just two days ago he started ranting about it again in a closed door lunch with ten senators, Politico reports.

On Thursday, during a meeting with 10 senators that was billed as a listening session about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, the president went off on a familiar tangent, suggesting again that he was a victim of widespread voter fraud, despite the fact that he won the presidential election.

As soon as the door closed and the reporters allowed to observe for a few minutes had been ushered out, Trump began to talk about the election, participants said, triggered by the presence of former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who lost her reelection bid in November and is now working for Trump as a Capitol Hill liaison, or “Sherpa,” on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch.

The president claimed that he and Ayotte both would have been victorious in the Granite State if not for the “thousands” of people who were “brought in on buses” from neighboring Massachusetts to “illegally” vote in New Hampshire.

According to one participant who described the meeting, “an uncomfortable silence” momentarily overtook the room.

Friday, FEC Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub asked Trump to cough up his evidence.

“The scheme the President of the United States alleges would constitute thousands of felony criminal offences under New Hampshire law,” FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said in a statement. (

And so on.

As we say in the Ozarks, the boy ain’t right. So the question is, how long before he completely melts down?

The capitulations on China and Iran — which I hope stand — suggest to me that Trump is becoming increasingly mentally confused, or else he’s just exhausted. Becoming POTUS must be like walking into a buzzsaw, and if one is mentally and emotionally wobbly to begin with, one is likely to fly to pieces.

10 thoughts on “Is Anyone in Charge?

  1. Many speculate it is a insidious plot to condition the masses to expect a post-factual authoritarian State. I think he’s just f_cked in the head. He’s always been dull witted, but, his behavior strongly suggests dull witted AND nutso to me.

    And, honestly, a bunch in his close circle are not simply evil or incompetent — they are more than a few cards short, too. Bannon? Lynch? Gonna venture to disagree? Sure, others, like Putzder, Pence, and Mnich, are probably “just” evil.

  2. On the same theme, Nikki Haley, who is the high-mucky-muck to the UN assertted strongly that the sanctions against Russia would not come down while they criminally and militarily occupy Crimea. This is consistent with the GOP position but doesn’t lay the groundwork for the State Department, as an extension of Exon, to partner with Russia in oil drilling. So, I have to agree – does anyone know what future policy is?

  3. Tom_b: lying or crazy? I call this the “crook-or-fool dilemma”. The resolution is that it makes no difference. Everyone lies to crooks, so they become fools; all fools lie to themselves, so they become crooks.

  4. I think the boy is just getting bored. He has to entertain the Japanese president this W/E and all he wants to do is play golf and watch TV and tweet. Do the Japanese play golf? And Melania looked really uncomfortable getting on the plane. He also bragged about giving the guy a big hug and I’m pretty sure the Japanese are not comfortable with hugs. They like bows. I do wonder who is really in charge if anyone. To be continued……………

  5. I don’t really care if t-RUMPLE-Thin-Skin is ready to fly to pieces.

    It’s that he takes peace to fly with him, and not caring about the ramifications of his own decisions, and where those “Peace-keepers” land!

    “F-U, you losers.
    Look at me.
    ‘I’m on top-of-the-world,’ Pa!!! ”


  6. @paradoctor –
    Good point. But there is a memorable line on this subject in Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, concerning financial bubbles: “Every fool aspired to be a knave.”

    (By Charles Mackay, 1841. Still a good read after 176 years, and not just the famous chapter on financial bubbles, but good stuff on Crusades, witchcraft, and all.)

  7. “Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds,” does sound like a good read, thanks.

    A couple of tangential things are on my mind, (I know, “highly unusual “for my train of thought to switch to the wrong track.) First, North Carolina finally has a documented case of voter fraud, followed by a conviction! The sweet irony being that the voter in question voted both during early voting and on election day, for Trump. So, I guess it doesn’t count. Our own foul blister, patrick McHenry, also has a dodgy vote history. He evidently won his first primary by a VERY slim margin. But, he had the foresight to have all his campaign workers “move” into his house and register to vote accordingly.

    Secondly, I remember a big hubbub from the right when they found concrete evidence of Obama’s narcissism. He used the pronoun “I” more times than a Kenyan usurper should be allowed, while addressing the public. A quick analysis of an address by an opponent, revealed a higher “I” count, but, the meme of Obama as narcissist was planted. Trump seems unable to avoid making everything about himself, so much so, that just a short jog into his administration, the self-promotion has already become wallpaper. But, the other day I heard him remark that he “understands things, sometimes, better than anyone else.” This is classic Dunning-Kruger Effect, in some ways, but, I still have to ask myself, on some level, does he really believe, has he genuinely convinced himself that it is true? It seems more likely that for the narcissistic sociopath, the difference between truth and deception becomes completely inconsequential as compared with the end goal of winning more political or financial power.

    I suppose if I were granted one question that I might as Dear Leader, it would be about his belief that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. Since he “understands better than anyone else,” I would love to see the body of evidence that provides for this conclusion.

  8. “I’m like, a smart person.”

    That’s the problem. We have a fool of a man in a position of tremendous power and reach, unaware of his ignorance and surrounded by extremists, cowards and incompetents, ruled by his ego driven whims. Case in point:

    “Trump to Dems: ‘Pocahontas is now the face of your party”

    In a meeting to win over democratic senators to your supreme court nominee, you repeatedly insult an acknowledged leader of the opposition who’s support you will need, embarrassing everyone in the room. And teh response is the same: stunned silence. I’m just waiting, hoping, for someone in a position of power on the left, in one of these gatherings, to find some balls, abandon “tradition” and give the media something to report on by responding to this clown the way Al Pacino responded to Kevin Spacey in Glengarry Glen Ross:

    Ruled by petty slights fueled by a fragile ego, Trump is simply incapable of grasping the concept of democratic government, let alone the Constitution and And republican and in some cases media efforts at “normalization” just kicks the can down the road. All this stuff is going to come to a head, one way or another. It can’t be left up to the media and “the people,” democratic leaders have to start making some headlines.

  9. I never met a sociopathic type who was actually very competent at whatever is was they loudly proclaimed to be ‘the best’ at. Their skillset is in self-promotion and political combat, not technical problem solving. They’ll proclaim their cutting the Gordian knot was a stroke of their own genius, while hiding the fact they don’t even know how to tie their own shoes.

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