During the last year I’ve written about the sad 2016 presidential election that gave us two horrible candidates from which to choose. I also wrote about the way confirmation bias was influencing President Trump’s supporters and keeping them from viewing reality objectively. I criticized President Trump for surrounding himself with sycophants who were unwilling to tell him the truth. And finally, I asked readers to defend President Trump after I tried to clearly provide the reasons I believed he was betraying those who voted him into office and why I thought he was unfit for the Presidency (nobody was willing to do so).
A year later it is pretty clear that the Trump administration is a mess and is one of the most undisciplined and chaotic administrations in history. We can never predict what news will come from the White House each day.
Here are a few of the news stories just from the last week:
- One day after testifying before Congress that she occasionally lies for President Trump, Hope Hicks, White House Communications Director, resigned. She was the fourth Director in that position to resign since Trump took office. This is someone who had been working for Trump long before he was elected President. During the last year 1/3 of President Trump’s advisers have left their jobs, an unprecedented departure rate. Expect more departures. Possibly many more. Remember former Trump Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci? He was quoted as saying that White House morale is terrible, and “The reason why morale is terrible is that the rule by fear and intimidation does not work in a civilian environment”. He said “people are afraid to talk to each other”.
- President Trump said he would have rushed in to the Florida high school unarmed to take on the fellow shooting students with an AR-15. This from a man who took five deferments to avoid military service because of “bone spurs” although he was otherwise able to play football, tennis, and other sports.
- A real estate firm owned by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, was awarded a loan of $184 million to build a skyscraper after one of the founders of the lending company met with Kuschner several times in the White House. That in itself is unethical if not illegal. Of course this was a couple of days after Kushner’s security clearance was downgraded. And, by the way, this was not the only such loan secured through contacts in the White House. Kushner’s company may have secured up to $500 million in this fashion.
- President Trump attacked his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, because he was not playing by the President’s preferred rules. He has attacked Sessions on several occasions previously. By the way, Sessions replied that “as long as I am the Attorney General, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this Department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution.”
- Mike Rogers, President Trump’s National Security Agency Chief and head of U.S. Cyber Command, told the Senate that President Trump had not authorized him to pursue strategies to stop Russian interference in America’s electoral processes. Rogers said that Russia continues cyber attacks on America and that we are not doing what is necessary to stop those attacks.
- Without consulting other officials President Trump announced extremely high tariffs on imported steel and aluminum causing the U.S. stock market to drop 400 points. Our major trading partners, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, then announced that they will likely impose retaliatory tariffs on goods we ship to those partners. You may expect to pay more for stuff. Consumers will suffer.
- Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager, plead not guilty to an array of additional federal charges including money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent (he had lobbied for the pro-Russian Ukrainian government), bank fraud, and more. Of course Manafort’s former partner, Rick Gates, plead guilty to similar charges last week and the special prosecutor then dropped the charges against Gates who will almost certainly be testifying against Manafort. My crystal ball tells me that Manafort will spend a lot of years in prison unless President Trump pardons him.
- And then there was the $31,000 dining set bought for Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s office. The budget allowed $5,000 and one HUD employee was reportedly demoted when she tried to follow the appropriate limit. Don’t conservatives normally complain about government wasting tax dollars? I know I certainly do.
- And finally, there was President Trump totally opposing his Republican colleagues on the gun control issue. That didn’t go over well with the party and the NRA. We’ve seen this movie before, however, when he held the meeting on DACA at which he expressed support for programs which he then opposed the next day. It is reasonable to expect the same backtracking on the gun control issue.
That is just the last few days. Want to go back a month? Examples:
- President Trump ordered the Pentagon to plan a military parade, an order even one of the hosts on Fox and Friends (President Trump’s largest cheering section) called a “waste of money”.
- President Trump’s personal lawyer admitted paying a porn star $130,000 but said it was his own money. This is the woman with whom Trump reportedly had an affair while married to his current wife. The payment was made a month before the 2016 presidential election. I’m sure the timing was just a coincidence.
- The White House had a difficult time getting its story straight when staffer Rob Porter resigned after his two ex wives came forward with abuse claims supported by photographic evidence. The White House defended Porter as a “man of integrity”.
- Even after his Justice Department and FBI asked the President to keep a controversial memo confidential he released it to the public. The memo has been largely discredited as incomplete and misleading.
If you pay attention to the daily news you know I’m just scratching the surface. The chaos in the White House is obvious. And, by the way, the Russia issue remains what BBC calls the “cloud” over the Trump White House. It isn’t going away and it is pretty obvious the special prosecutor has a strategy to move up the food chain till he determines who knew what and when they knew it. It is also pretty obvious that he is investigating President Trump for obstructing justice for firing James Comey who initially investigated the Russia issue.
And while our executive administration is in disarray, Russian President Vladimir Putin essentially threatened nuclear war this week by bragging about Russia’s new “doomsday” nuclear weapons and publicly presenting a video depicting a nuclear attack on Florida.
And President Trump criticizes Alec Baldwin for his Saturday Night Live skits. He says nothing about Putin.
And all the other issues facing our country and people are largely ignored.
What a mess.
I still promise to post any civil responses defending President Trump. I really want to hear such a defense.