So, how was your weekend. Anything of note happen?
Given how Trump keeps saying (again) that Vladimir Putin told him he didn't meddle, and that Trump (while on foreign soil, in China) told China that he doesn't blame them either for (as he earlier said) "raping" the U.S. but instead blames previous administrations -- I dearly hope that journalists will FINALLY be BLUNT in future questions at press conference, and throw off normal decorum. Because as should be very clear by now there is absolutely nothing "normal" about this presidency.
Speaking of which, it was fascinating on Sunday to hear Trump the very next day backtracking as fast as possible and not being truthful about his "I believe Putin" comments from the day before. First, in his "explanation," Trump is lying about what he previously announced. No, he had not said merely that "I believe Putin believes he didn't meddle in the U.S. elections." He had said quite clearly, we all heard it, "I believe him." Second, when making his backtrack explanation, saying how well he works with our intelligence agencies, Trump left out that he had called the intelligence heads "political hacks." Mainly, though, his attempt to fast-backtrack shows he is deeply scared by the widespread, horrified response to his remarks.
By the way, for anyone not keeping a scorecard, this is likely what Rex Tillerson meant when he called Trump a "f*ing moron." What I'm wondering though is if he also had said, "...and a danger" and it just didn't get reported.
All of which gave further rise to a thought I've had for a while, and have seen others voice, but it's now bubbled all the way up to the surface for me.
I am now at the point where, as aghast as I am about Trump and his ongoing dangerous irresponsibility, I don't think this is about Trump anymore. There is now nine months of evidence of his actions, of his support of white supremacists and neo-Nazis raising racial tensions, his ongoing attempts to diminish faith in the free press, his efforts to undercut the U.S. judiciary and demean trust in intelligence services, his twitter fights over nuclear missiles with North Korea, his pulling the United States out of the Paris Accords on Climate Change -- months before three Category 5 hurricanes hit landfall for the first time in history, the risk he is putting the country in and more and more that this is now not on Trump but on the elected officials of the Republican Party.
Trump is the leader of their Republican Party, and as long as they continue to acquiesce to whatever Trump does, then as an equal branch of the United States government by the Constitution, they accept full responsibility.
I have seen a handful of Republicans expressing distress at GOP officials in Alabama who defend a child molester rather than vote for a Satanic Democrat, and saying in their outrage of such a thing, "This isn't my party" -- and that sounds wonderful and proper on the surface, except...where on earth do they think this defense of voting for pedophiles came from? That it's "all of a sudden"? From out of nowhere?? This is what the GOP has been building to for the past 35 years and turning into an art form the past decade, trying to paint Barack Obama as a Kenyan Nazi socialist agent of Satan. (And no, I'm not exaggerating.) And making liberals -- "the L world" from their conservative god Ronald Reagan -- complicit in it all . I'm sorry to you outraged Republican -- be outraged, but accept that It is your party. And if you are sickened by it, great -- then change it. Or get out of it. Because otherwise you will be defined by YOUR party.
A poll just was released in which a plurality, 37 percent of "evangelical Christians," the foundational base of the Republican Party, said that after stories of his child molestation came to light they were now more likely to vote for Roy Moore than before. That is compared to only 28 percent of these GOP Family Values voters who said they were now less-likely to vote for him. That is "your" Republican Party.
After last Tuesday's crushing loss in the elections, as shell-shocked Republican officials tried to address their options to reconnect with the American public, who would have guessed "child molestation" was what they'd go for? Did anyone have that in the office pool?
And as the mass shooting deaths of 28 Americans in Texas followed the mass shooting deaths of 59 Americans in Las Vegas, all of which follow mass shooting deaths in Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Orlando, Lafayette, Umpqua Community College, Charleston AME Church and ever on -- and all the Republican Party can offer is "thoughts and prayers" (tm) and "Now is not the time to talk about it" -- this is the Republican Party.
For what it's worth, if "prayer works," as the most reverend Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) insists it does, then, speaking only for myself, Roy Moore will go down to massive defeat, and all the Republicans who didn't come forward to flat-out denounce him will not only lose when they next run for office but will meet him to discuss their losses in hell. And besides, Republicans, if you're going to limit your action to sending thoughts and prayers, because they really do work, then why don't you make your prayers be that there aren't any more mass shooting deaths??!
Just today, Trump -- who as you know campaigned on "draining the swamp" not only nominated as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services a former Big Pharma executive, but about who he actually tried to insist to a gullible public will "lower drug prices". The nominee awaits Senate approval.
Just last week, Trump nominated for a federal judge lifetime appointment a man who has been practicing law for only three years and has never tried a case. He too awaits Senate approval.
After Trump sent out a petulant tweet on Saturday that North Korea's leader is "short and fat," ratcheting up nuclear tension, the U.S. chief of staff said he doesn't follow Trump's tweets. That would make him one of the few Americans who doesn't pay attention to them, and the person who probably most should.
Over the weekend, Republican Senate Majority leader said he "misspoke" when previously stating that Trump's tax cut bill won't raises taxes on some middle-Americans, acknowledging that it will -- while lowering taxes for the richest Americans and increasing the deficit by $1.5 trillion, passage of which rests on approval by the Senate and House.
The general who oversees recovery efforts of the American territory of Puerto Rico, which still has no clean water for much of the country and no power for 58% of the country, is being pulled out by the administration and brought home.
A new FBI report says that hate crimes rose 5% over 2016.
And ALL of this within just the past few days. And more during that same period. Telling the Chinese that they're not to blame for "raping" (Trump's word) the U.S., but it's rather our own fault. Saying he believes Putin about not meddling in U.S. elections despite what the "political hacks" (Trump's words) who head the four U.S. intelligence agencies say. Not to mention everything else we have seen regurgitate out from the Oval Office over the past nine months. All with acceptance and tacit approval by Republicans in the Senate and House.that it's all normal,that it's supported behavior and can continue. The free hand that permits a country to dangerously spiral out of control. Only two Republican senators I'm aware of having withdrawn their endorsement of a child molester running for the U.S. Senate. (And what were they doing endorsing him in the first place, for all his enumerated galling transgressions??!!)
And I repeat what I wrote the other day -- that I would love journalists to ask Trump at a press conference or ask the press secretary this question: if the four heads of the intelligence service came to him and said that Russia had just launched nuclear missiles at the U.S and they were due to hit in 15 minutes -- and Trump called Putin who told him, "Oh, no, we didn't launch any nuclear missiles," would Trump believe Putin or the four "political hacks" who run U.S. intelligence?
That's what's at risk.
To all Republicans outraged by all of this, or any of this, that's lovely, but this is your Republican Party. It's your party's responsibility. Trump is Trump. And his a would-be despot, who's a misogynistic, racist, sociopathic, egomaniacal, congenital liar. But that's Trump. If not one in the Republican Party followed him, he would be a crazy lone wolf baying at the moon. But Republicans do follow him...so it is on them.
Trump is egregiously a horror, with a 33% approval rating after only nine months in office. But this is no longer about him. This is about the Republican Party. It is on them.
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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