I'm actually trying not to write about Donald Trump every day, which is why I've occasionally tossed in some folderol in the mornings instead. But I'd be lying if I said it was easy to avoid it. Easy would be to write every day throughout the day about the latest outrage that had just occurred. (I see over on my pal Mark Evanier's site that he just said the same thing.) But I'd wear out my fingers and other people's patience. Yet there he goes again, and again, and like Old Man River he just keeps rolling his Panzer division along, causing worldwide devastation in his path and leaving destruction in his wake for other to pick up the pieces and fix.
And so, though I had planned to just post something light-hearted this morning, I think my head would explode if I did that and didn't refer to yesterday's incredible collapse in foreign policy.
I'm talking about Trump actually telling the President of our next-door neighbor and friend Mexico that he might send U.S. troops across the border.
And also bizarrely insulting the Prime Minister of our extremely close ally Australia before then hanging up on the phone call a mere 25 minutes into a planned one-hour conversation.
And the administration's National Security Advisor holding a press conference at which he inexplicably swaggered to somehow put Iran "on notice."
To be very clear, these aren't monumentally horrible and dangerous actions that he and his administration have done during the course of his 12-day presidency, but what he did YESTERDAY.
A few things must be noted.
The first is that no one seems to know what putting Iran "on notice" even means. This includes the administration spokesman, who was befuddled, as well as military officials in the area who were caught totally off-guard. It's really not a good thing when no one knows what you're talking about when it comes to threatening a country, especially when it's about a matter of nuclear capability.
The second is that in a very dangerous world, where war is such a dreadful option, and nuclear war is an unthinkable reality, and terrorism lurks in most everyone's minds...the last thing you want to do is push your friends away. You want as many countries to surround and support you. Even when we did something as disastrous as go into war against Iraq, we only did so when we had put together a coalition of our friends. And fortunately, we had friends. And when you're fighting worldwide terrorism, you not only want, but need close alliances to help with the flow of life-critical information.
The third is that Australia is not just "an ally," it's one of our closest allies, and has been for a very long time. When the Vietnam War was tearing the United States apart, Australia nonetheless stood by the U.S. and sent its own troops to war in order to support us and our soldiers.
And again, this isn't what we're dealing with in only the first 12 days of the Trump administration, this is what we had to deal with yesterday.
And it doesn't even take into consideration yesterday the ghastly words Trump offered about Black History Month. Whining about the press. Drifting cluelessly about Frederick Douglas. Praising his supporter "Darrell" and Ben Carson. Rambling repeatedly about Paris Dennard on CNN. And slamming the media. Seriously?? Seriously???!! And including Thomas Jefferson? Much as I deeply admire Jefferson, a slave owner who fathered children with his slaves is probably not someone you want to single-out when celebrating Black history. And then even criticizing the inner-cities. This is how he honors Black History Month?????! If Trump was ever really wondering what Black people had to lose by voting for him, as he famously pondered, he just explained it all yesterday. (I can't do it justice, so you should read a transcript of his full comments here.)
All of this was -- yesterday.
There is some positive news. As my friend Ron Lux pointed out, at least Trump mentioned black people when talking about Black History Month, as opposed to ignoring Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
This is a clueless, empty man. (I'll leave out all the other adjectives for today, as a kindness to readers.) And he's surrounded himself by far too many people with no business to be in their jobs. All of which means he has pretty much no way to dig himself out of this hole and nowhere to go but down. Which is a tough thing to do when you're starting with a 36% during your 12-day honeymoon.
Happy Groundhog Day. I have no idea whether Punxsutawney Phil will do today. But if he does go back into his hut, it won't necessarily be because he saw his shadow, but probably because he saw that Donald Trump was president.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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