“I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. It’s certainly a terrible thing.”
— Trump when asked “whether white nationalists were a growing threat”.
“Time and time again, this president has embraced and emboldened white supremacists — and instead of condemning racist terrorists, he covers for them. “This isn’t normal or acceptable. We have to be better than this.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) tweet in response to Trump.
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (3/18/19)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Trump is not normal, not acceptable. There are things Trump refuses to denounce – Putin and white nationalists are two that come to mind. Following the murder of 50 Muslims by a white nationalist citing Trump as inspiration in New Zealand, Trump fails to offer a clear and resounding denouncement of white nationalists. This is not new, in 2016 Trump tried to justify his Muslim travel ban, “Islam hates us.” Trump will always be remembered for his “some very fine people” remark following the deadly white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017.
Given Trump’s behavior, how many despicable labels can be applied? Last edition we focused on Kleptocracy – here we can add authoritarian.
“President Donald Trump sparked controversy in a Breitbart interview during which he touted the toughness of his supporters.
“In his chat with the Breitbart News Network, Trump said: “I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.””
Ego-driven & coldly transactional
Trump’s white nationalism, kleptocracy and authoritarianism reduce all relationships to a coldly transactional calculation. One example is with the US Federal Aviation Administration which has been regarded as a primary authority on airline safety. But after the deaths of 100s of people following the crashes of Boeing 737 Max aircraft we learn that “FAA oversight of 737 Max was flawed”:
“In one of the most detailed descriptions yet of the relationship between Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration during the 737 Max’s certification process, the Seattle Times reported Sunday that the U.S. regulator delegated much of the safety assessment to Boeing and that the analysis the planemaker in turn delivered to the authorities had crucial flaws.”
That was not the only bad news about Trump’s sacrifice of oversight for cronyism; Trump’s ego-driven government shutdown over Wall funding left travelers at risk: Wall Street Journal: Software Fix To Boeing 737 Max 8 Planes Delayed In Part By Government Shutdown.
“US officials say the recent government shutdown played a part in the delay of Boeing’s software update for its 737 Max aircraft, which has been grounded by airlines and countries around the world after two deadly accidents in the past five months, the Wall Street Journal reported.”
Trump is the problem, but he’s also a part of problem within the enabling support of the Republican party. Author and never-Trumper Max Boot warms to the task of describing GOP enabling complicity with this allegorical exchange:
“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.
“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”
“That famous exchange from Ernest Hemingway’s novel “The Sun Also Rises” comes to mind when contemplating the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party.”
Boot warms to the challenge and delivers this denouncement of a GOP party that does not even care to defend the US Consititution:
“That was the day that 41 of 53 Republican senators voted to ratify President Trump’s blatantly unconstitutional and transparently cynical declaration of a national emergency so that he can spend money for a border wall that Congress refuses to appropriate. This comes 16 days after 182 out of 195 House Republicans votedthe same way. Only 13 Republicans in the House and 12 in the Senate dared to block this flagrant assault on the Constitution.
“So only 10 percent of Republicans in Congress have any — any — principles left. By an interesting coincidence, that’s also the percentage of Republican voters who disapprove of Trump. The party of Lincoln — the party that freed the slaves and helped to win the Cold War — is now devoted exclusively to feeding Trump’s insatiable ego and pandering to his endless lust for power.”
Trump presides over an administration that operates with a moral compass that prioritizes illegally barring teenage immigrant women who are rape victims from legal access to abortions while intentionally mismanaging immigrant families resulting in possible permanent separation of children from parents. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported on Trump’s head of refuge resettlement Scott Lloyd and his tracking of teen pregnancies:
“This is the federal government with your tax dollars keeping an individualized record of pregnant teenage girls menstrual cycles, whether they’ve had a positive pregnancy test, what the government knows about how they believe the girls got pregnant, how they believe this individual girl got pregnant and whether this girl has requested an abortion and then the last column, the last column is of course what the federal government is doing about it. And this record was being kept for the express purpose of subverting any of these girls’ ability to get an abortion. This was a spreadsheet designed to facilitate action to block these girls for getting an abortion they might want, given the circumstances described in these cold, hard spreadsheet cells. When you look through this 28-page document.”
Trump’s inhumane treatment of so many doesn’t tell the entire story. Let’s juxtapose the horrors of Trump, the Trump administration and the GOP against the self-centered banality of the Trump West Wing ‘reality show’: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Were “reckless” And “omnipresesent” In White HOuse Says Former Trump Legal Spokesman.
That’s right, while Rome is set on fire by Trump, “President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, both senior White House aides” float about keeping tabs on their personal standing and possible legal exposure:
“Ivanka Trump and Kushner seemed to be perennially interfering with the president’s meetings. Ward wrote that Corallo believed the pair failed to grasp the seriousness of the Russia investigation.
““Corallo explained to me that Kushner and Ivanka appeared not to have any understanding of the difference between a regular PR issue and a federal criminal investigation, and how you cannot get between the president and his lawyers without becoming witnesses and ruining the privilege of the conversations. ‘They were reckless,’ said Corallo. ‘They were omnipresent,'” the extract reads.
““The lawyers noticed that the couple, one or the other of them, mostly Ivanka, interrupted pretty much every meeting they had with the president. One member of the group said Ivanka would just ‘mysteriously’ happen by for every meeting. ‘We’d just be sitting there awkwardly, like, Okay, well, we can’t really talk until she leaves,’” Ward wrote.
“Another anonymous source told Ward that the pair were difficult to deal with because of their privileged upbringings. “They talk to you as if they grew up in an ivory tower, which they did—but they have no idea how normal people perceive, understand, intuit,” an unnamed individual close to Trump’s legal team told Ward.”
But no grift is too small, no indecency too insignificant. Trump promised, “I’ll only choose the best people”. It turns out the best people meant anyone willing to pony up the dollars for a pay-to-play government. “Trump donor, (who) once owned a massage parlor where the New England Patriots owner was recently arrested in a prostitution sting, Cindy Yang is the perfect latest poster-child:
“The Republican National Committee promised an “evening reception with Donald J. Trump” last March at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.
“A contribution of $2,700 toward the president’s re-election would get you in the door. Two seats for dinner were on offer for $25,000. And there was a third option: for $50,000, dinner for two and a photo with Mr. Trump.
“Cindy Yang was determined to get the photo.”
Of course, “a spokesman for the Republican National Committee denied “any wrongdoing”. Keep moving along, nothing to look at here.
Paying any price
Writing for the Washington Post, Michael Gerson sets out to answer his own question for how “GOP partisans seem to have accepted the idea that President Trump is their guy”, while…
“…He (Trump) remains defiantly nativist, instinctually divisive, habitually offensive. A significant portion of the voting public has gone from ambivalence about Trump to alarm, hostility and disdain.
“So, in the 2018 midterm elections, Trump tried to nationalize the election on issues that motivate his party — appealing to those voters who are excited by exclusion. And GOP partisans responded by turning out in large numbers. But it was not nearly enough to counteract greater public fears.
“In other words, the politics of partisan mobilization works only if you don’t scare the rest of America to death.”
Gerson says “Trump is a populist demagogue who gains permission for his brand of politics by giving favored groups certain ideological benefits…”
Trump’s “deception, indecency, racism, viciousness and lawlessness” underscore a GOP deal with the devil. The only question that remains is how much we’ll all suffer as Trump seeks “obeisance” while inflicting human suffering.
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link toe www.thecommonercall.org )