“He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time.” Hunter S. Thompson
HST understood politicians like few others, especially Richard Nixon to whom this quote targeted. It could just as easily have been directed at Donald Trump, but given Thompson’s colorful grasp of the English language, I suspect his comments would be much more pointed and caustic. On a daily basis, Americans are witnessing the systematic dismantling of democracy like few times in our nation’s history, and yes, Trump is the architect of the dismantling. The past two weeks he has stooped far below the conventions of decency and normalcy. His latest foray into the bizarre is rooted in classical hatred and racism as he paints his political adversaries of color enemies of the state.
All Americans know the depths of depravity that Trump is more than willing to plumb depending on what his latest bitch du jour is on any given day. It’s currently racism. In the past it’s been immigrants and immigration laws, birtherism, kowtowing to political hardliners like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jon Un, Mohammad bin Salman, and Bebe Netanyahu to name a few, siding with and encouraging white nationalism, his denial of his colorful history of sexual misconduct while trafficking with accused sexual predators like Jeffrey Epstein and Alan Dershowitz, and the list goes on. Trump has done the seemingly impossible since taking office in 2017: He has nimbly browbeat the Republican Party into his bitch, subverted the rule of law, lied incessantly, and done more to destroy the foundation of our democracy than anyone in the history of the nation. And he’s not done.
As in the case with the Republican Party, he has had plenty of help to accomplish his goals. Most notably, his core constituency, the Hillary dubbed basket of deplorables, who are really the biggest mystery to come out of Trump’s presidency. It may be counter intuitive, even naive, not to acknowledge that 32 to 38 percent of Americans, depending on the poll numbers on any given day, harbor fear to the degree that they are willing to allow a con artist of Trump’s caliber to hijack our duly elected representative government and destroy America’s international goodwill. And for what purpose? To simply stroke his outsized ego for his own benefit however nefarious that might be.
Yesterday, Trump signed the extension of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. During the ceremony, he made several claims that many who know him find outright dubious.
Trump told the crowd of 9/11 first responders and their families that he was also at Ground Zero in the wake of the terror attacks, though he said he doesn’t consider himself a first responder.
“I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder,” Trump said. “But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you.” CNN
He has also stated other similar claims that either put him on the scene in a heroic setting or skewing his statements in his favor like falsely claiming after the Towers fell he would have the tallest building in Manhattan or that he predicted 911 or that he personally saw Arabs dancing in the streets in New Jersey celebrating the event. And nobody in his administration, party, or base calls him out for being a bald faced liar. I thought his base would take umbrage with statements like these, but not. These are supposedly iron clad Americans of the first degree who “love it or leave it” is a mantra that they are quick to chant on any given night at a Trump rally. The fact they would embrace such easily debunked lies is problematic and truly frightening. It smacks of willful stupidity, and a “us versus them” mentality that is willing to ignore facts and truth simply to hold on the little political power they have left.
Also, Dan Coats the highly respected Director of National Intelligence who’s job is to oversee the 17 departments and organizations that make up the American intelligence community finally decided he had had enough of the Trump circus. Trump announced his leaving via, how else, on Twitter. Coats, a longtime Indiana senator, ambassador to Germany, and one of the longest serving members of the Trump cabinet, was known for stating truth to power, often angered the president by not toeing the Trump party line. His departure effectively creates a vacuum within the administration which has a majority of Trump yes men in important positions of power without anyone with the cajones to stand up to him.
His replacement, Rep. John Ratcliffe, was elected to Congress in 2014 and was a former U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Texas. Before that, he held four terms as mayor of Heath, Texas population 7,000. Often proclaimed as the most conservative member of Congress, he came to power with the aid of the Tea Party and has become one of Trump’s most vocal lackeys.
When Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller testified before the House Judiciary Committee last week, his grilling of Mueller drew immediate attention simply for the partisan nature of his rant which was obviously meant to suck up to Trump who named him Coat’s replacement three days later. Storm clouds already hang over the Congressman’s confirmation hearings for misrepresenting his bona fides over his claims to have convicted several terrorists while on the job in East Texas. Court records show otherwise. Woefully unqualified, it will be interesting to see if the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will vote to put his confirmation before the Senate in coming weeks. More troublesome than his resume is the question on everyone’s mind will he simply be yet another parrot of Trump’s psychotic foreign policy or will he stand up to the man who nominated him. Time will tell.
Congress is set to go on summer vacation for the month of August offering a small respite from the shenanigans that have become part and parcel of life as America knows it in Washington. It’s a heavy load for Trump to bear, but he will surely not disappoint. Things to watch for might be an attack on Iran. Last Friday, the House passed an amendment that Trump cannot attack Iran without the House signing off on the act. Without the Congress in session, August would be a perfect time for an end around run by the president. Or maybe Trump will take the time off to visit one of his golf courses. Regardless, expect September to be filled with fireworks from impeachment inquiries to revelations about just who is in the Jeffrey Epstein sex tapes to god only knows what.
Tonight is the beginning of the second round of the Democratic debates. Thursday, Trump has a rally planned in Cincinnati where he will assuredly have plenty to say. Will racist chants headline the rally? Will he continue his attacks on Elijah Cummings? Stay tuned.