Bearing Witness to Trump Month 41 June 7-13

A level of protests and unrest continues across the country in response to police brutality, and the need for reform, not seen since the civil rights movement and Vietnam War era of the 1960s. Trump mouths a few words of support that no one believes and still does not try to bring the country together in this time of so many crises. Then he goes off on a 75-year old peaceful protestor in Buffalo, New York, who was filmed being shoved to the ground by riot squads. They walk past the fallen protestor as he lay on the ground, seemingly unconscious, with his head bleeding. Trump tweets a conspiracy that the elderly protestor could have been a “set-up” coordinated by ANTIFA anti-fascists extremists. Yeah, right. When Republican congressional representatives and senators were asked what they thought of the President’s unhinged comments they had nothing to say or else said that they had not seen the tweet or incident themselves. Where is the courage and moral righteousness of the old Republican Party that while I may have disagreed with I once still respected? What a sad party of enabling sycophants they have become.

In another bizarre tweet President Trump claims that no president since Abraham Lincoln has done more for the Black community as he has. Really? He called Obama a Kenyan who was not really a US citizen. He told four congresswomen of color that they should go back to their home countries. He has solicited the support of white nationalists and supremist organizations saying there are good people on both sides.  He defended southern Confederate monuments as protected heritage. He attacked black NFL players who took a knee for black lives matter calling them sons of bitches. He stopped the use of consent decrees to reform police actions against minority populations. He gave out huge corporate tax breaks that will require cutting safety-net programs used by black families. He resisted changes to make voting easier. He destroyed ACA healthcare provisions that benefit the working poor. And the list goes on and on.

To demonstrate how utterly clueless Trump, his administration, and campaign staff are about the plight of black Americans, he announces a campaign rally on June 19 to be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He obviously had no idea about the importance of the Juneteenth day in our country’s history. Nor the white race riots, burnings, and vigilantes in Tulsa during 1921 that produced were the worse white-on-black killing spree in our country’s history. And hosting an indoor rally during a pandemic with almost 20,000 expected attendees present not observing social distancing is just criminal. The mayor of Tulsa has begged Trump to not host his rally in their city. Despite asking attendees to sign a liability waiver, Trump’s campaign should be prosecuted for careless endangerment of the lives of thousands of Americans. It shows just how massive Trump’s ego need is to be worshipped, compared to his miniscule concern about his fellow man.

Attorney General Barr disputed Trump’s claim that he was not ordered into the White House safe bunker by the Secret Service as protests raged around the White House a week ago. Trump previously claimed that he went there to conduct a brief inspection.

The Washington Post has been tracking false, misleading, and outright lies of the President and administration since he took office over 1,225 days ago. The count is now over 19,000, or nearly 16 falsehoods every day.

This week’s big parallel universe distortion occurred during Trump’s speech to graduates of West Point where he said that “what has historically made America unique is the durability of its institutions against the passions and prejudices of the moment.” This coming from the mouth of the man who continually destroys norms and attacks institutions to whip up passions and prejudices within his base.

The Army has opened an inquiry into the Pentagon ordering National Guard black hawk helicopters to harass and disperse peaceful protesters from the air during last week’s protest in Washington. It was reported that the U.S. military threatened to send in the 82nd airborne if National Guard troops did not handle the situation to the White House’s satisfaction. The photo of a helicopter blowing over protesters and their signs rivals the disgrace Trump brought to our country last week when troops surrounded the Lincoln Monument.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Army General Mark Milley confessed this week that he erred in judgement by accompanying the President along with AG Barr and DoD Chief Esper on a walk and photo op that required the clearing of Lafayette Park from peaceful protesters using riot police, flash bangs, and pepper spray. He said he thought the President was merely leaving the White House to inspect and thank the troops guarding it. Milley publicly denounced and apologized for his own actions saying that his “presence created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.” He was reported to even have considered resigning. Finally, a man of of character, courage, and commitment to the country and constitution whom we can all respect. If only there was someone with this same character in what is left of the Republican Party which Trump had made – no destroyed – in his own likeness.

Despite the calls for renaming 10 Army bases, like Fort Bragg and Fort Benning, that honor Confederate officers the President says this will not happen. Even his own Pentagon leaders and DoD Chief say it was time to change them. How in the world did we even allow them to be named for traitors and secessionists who divided and then fought against their own country and lost the war? Oh, I forgot. They may have lost the Civil War but in the decades thereafter they largely won back their racial separatist culture by suppressing the rights and disenfranchising the votes of African Americans through Jim Crow laws. Trump likely admires Confederates for their skill at dividing the country up into two halves as he has now done. He finds time to attack Senator Warren, once again calling her Pocahontas, for her proposed amendment to rename bases. I am sure Trump thinks no President has done more to help native Americans than he has.

Apparently, more Americans are finally waking up to what has happened to their country. A recent NBC survey reported that 80% of the voters polled believe that America under Trump is out of control. That’s still not quite right, as it is Trump that is out of control. Another recent poll shows that half of Americans are unhappy and that the country by large is the unhappiest it has been in the past 50 years.

This week it was announced that another 1.5 million filed for unemployment bringing the 13-week total to 45 million.  The Federal Reserve has said that it expects unemployment to still be near 10% at the end of the year. GDP in this the last year of the Trump calamity is expected to decrease by 6%. Predictably, Trump turns his ire on the Fed and says they will be wrong again as they often are.

Economists say that the U.S officially entered a recession as far back as February, even before the effects of the lockdown were being fully experienced. The stock market continues to swing widely between relief and panic. This week on one day alone the Dow Jones index lost nearly 7% as investors realized that the recovery was unlikely to be fast and furious as Trump has predicted. Some stocks in transportation and entertainment dropped by nearly 15% as reality finally set in.

In another sign of how far America’s moral leadership around the world has fallen under Trump, the President authorized economic and travel restrictions be sanctioned against workers of the International Criminal Court who are investigating war crimes and other atrocities such as torture that the US likely committed during 20 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United Nations has concluded that US and its allies had killed more civilians in Afghanistan than insurgents and legitimate combatants. State department diplomats are reporting it has become increasingly difficult to defend democracy and human rights abroad when we fail to set an example at home and have lost the moral authority.

Trump announces that he intends to withdraw nearly one third of U.S. troops stationed in Germany in retribution for Chancellor Merkel’s opposition to a G7 summit in Washington where is was reported he wanted to extend an invitation for Russia’s Putin to join the group. It was also said that Trump made the policy change without consulting the Germans, NATO or even his own senior national security advisors and military commanders in Europe who were surprised if not likely shocked by the pronouncement. Trump probably has no understanding that many of the bases in Germany serve to support our troops operating across the Middle East, including airbases and hospitals where the injured are taken as well as the dead on their way home.

Primary elections across Georgia were a mess this past week, foreshadowing what will likely occur in this fall’s presidential election. Trump is likely delighted to see all the chaos and long lines, some that required 5-6 hours of waiting to vote. I imagine he hopes that will dissuade Democrats from voting but if they do and elect Biden, he will argue that the election processes were faulty using Georgia as an example. Will Americans be willing to take to the streets to preserve their democracy if Trump fails to honor the results of the election? Maybe the recent weeks of protest are just warming the nation up to what will be required of us next.

Despite all the crises the country is facing, the Administration still finds time to dismantle more environmental and conservation protections. This time it was an order that allows commercial fishing off of New England in National Monument waters that is thought to be critical for right whales and other fragile marine life. Trump also weakened the power of federal agencies to conduct environmental reviews of infrastructure projects and change the manner in which the EPA conducts cost-benefit analyses. The latter is expected to reduce the economic benefits of some environmental protections used in rule making. These are just a few of the nearly 100 environmental rules the Trump administration has been busy dismantling. He must be clueless that the most vulnerable Americans to environmental pollution and climate degradation are our black and brown citizens for whom he says he has done so much to help.

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.

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