With a nation in one crisis after another, President Trump spends the Memorial Day holiday weekend tweeting insults and playing golf. Instead of helping America to pay tribute to and heal from the loss of over 100,000 deaths due to the pandemic, he mostly ignores the tragedy. (Read more about bearing witness to the pandemic this last week at https://bearingwitnessheartland.com/2020/06/03/bearing-witness-to-the-pandemic-may-24-31-2020/) Instead, he tweets or retweets attacks on Nancy Pelosi that claimed she is a boozer, accuses MSNBC news host Joe Scarborough using a conspiracy that he murdered an aide in 2001, body shames Democrat Stacey Abrams, insulted Hillary Clinton with a foul name, accused the “fake and totally” corrupt news media, lies about the risk from mail-in voting, bullies former V.P. Joe Biden for wearing a mask, and abuses his former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The man is so toxic to our society that the cabinet needs to invoke the 25th amendment to remove him from office.
Finally, later in the week the President expressed his condolences for the victims of the pandemic. But he could not help himself from making it all about him. He said that if he had not done such a good job then we would have lost 1-2 million people instead of just 100,000. Geeze, thank you POTUS. It seems because he has done such a good job, the crisis is all over, that he has also decided not to participate in any more pandemic task force briefings. The other members must be beyond themselves with relief.
Another 2 million filed for unemployment this week bringing the total to a staggering 41 million jobs lost. I suppose we should thank the president for such a swell job that it is not 100 million jobs. Despite the grim economic news and depression-level unemployment the stock market continues to climb and has soared 35% since the bottom two months ago. This just proves there are two economies in an increasingly unequal disparate America. One for the investor class where their money works for them, and the other is of the working class who have to work for their money, when they have jobs that is.
This past week Twitter started fact-checking and marking Trump’s tweets with warnings. This week Trump retaliates by signing an executive order directing federal agencies and his Attorney General to crack down on social media companies who he claims are biased against conservatives and must be reined in. Trump has the audacity to say he is doing this to “defend free speech” for Americans. Yeah, right, from the lying mouth of the man who constantly attacks, bullies, and disparages the nation’s free press. The irony is that if he revokes the Communications Decency Act which protects social media companies with immunity from liability claims, they will have the go-ahead to remove inflammatory or untruthful posts from their platform. And that will include the majority of the president’s tweets.
Trump even takes his anger out on Fox News when he tweets they are doing nothing to help Republicans and himself get reelected. Yes, that is his expectation of the role of the press, just like other aspiring dictators.
The administration continues to blame China for the pandemic to turn attention away from their own slow response. Yet, this is the same president that not long ago claimed how good the U.S. relationship with China is, and that President Xi is a good man and a friend who he likes a lot. Now China is enacting national security legislation that will give it more control over Hong Kong. Trump then threatens the loss of Hong Kong’s favored trading partner status to which China responds that the US’s strategy is doomed to fail. Trump just can’t admit he has been suckered by China just like he has been played by North Korea.
After Germany’s Andrea Merkel says she will not attend the G7 summit in the U.S. this summer, Trump tries to save face by saying he was the one who decided to postpone it to the fall, perhaps after the elections. But we all fear the elections will not be settled for a long time after we vote as Trump will likely contest them should he lose the electoral vote and the country will be thrown into yet another crisis.
Despite bipartisan congressional objections, the administration is proceeding with plans to sell Saudi Arabia nearly half a billion dollars of missiles. The President is hoping to bypass Congress by declaring the arms sale an emergency. Just one more checkmark of an aspiring autocrat ignoring the constitutional powers of a legislative branch of government.
Trump threatens to move the Republican Convention out of North Carolina if they do not move faster in reopening their economy and allow a full-capacity gathering for his coronation. We know the man is obsessed with always having the largest crowds. But he will lie about it even if they are not so what does it matter if the state allows a full house or not?
The week ends with nationwide protests and civic unrest due to the murder of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands and knees of four Minneapolis police officers. How can any American deny the injustice being perpetrated time after time to people of color? This topic rightfully deserves its own bearing witness testimony. Largely peaceful protests became violent at night and the National Guard is called up across the country with many cities setting curfews for the first time since the civil rights protests of the 1960s. The White House was even under siege at one time and it was reported that the President and his family was taken into the secure bunker for his protection. Trump responds as expected with no empathy for what the Floyd family or America as a whole is witnessing. He tweets that protesters will be met with “most vicious dogs and most ominous weapons I have ever seen.” Thousands across the country are arrested and many are hurt on both sides in scenes I thought were relegated to the 1960s of my youth. We all hold our breath for what Trump will do in the coming weeks to exploit the unrest for his own political gain and further divide the country. He threatened that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
The 40th month of the Trump administration ends with the country now embroiled in a pandemic crisis, an economic crisis, an unemployment crisis, a public health and healthcare crisis, a growing wealth inequality crisis, a racism crisis, a gun violence crisis, multiple international trade crises, a sustainability crisis, a looming climate change crisis, and now more obvious than ever a leadership crisis that will likely precipitate a test of our democracy with an electoral and constitutional crisis this fall. All this while Trump tweets and pours fuel into the burning fires and open wounds of a hurting country and broken world. The man truly acts like a terrorist intent on destructing the country and planet we all love.
It is no surprise that a survey of Americans by the Census Bureau reports nearly a third of us are suffering from depression and anxiety. A previous study by Kaiser Foundation reported that nearly half of all Americans say that the coronavirus pandemic has impaired their mental health. We all have to find our own individual way thru the darkness that has overcome our country and threatens our planet. I find my relief in publicly bearing witness to what many of us are experiencing and feeling, whether anyone ever sees or reads this news chronicle or not.
The above news items have been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources including print, digital, and broadcast. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.
(Featured photo credit, exclusive of title: Phil Pasquini / Shutterstock.com)