A week does not go by without multiple scandals that in normal times would result in the resignation of the President or members of the cabinet. This week it was reported the White House was warned earlier this year by national security agencies that the Russians had paid the Taliban a bounty to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. Trump denies ever being told while insiders say it was written up in a daily intelligence briefing for the President. Yet, we all know the President has no patience or interest in reading briefings or learning things he does not want to hear; like his patron Putin was paying others to kill Americans. But whether he knew then or not – though if he did not know it that also looks very bad for a president – he does now. So what does he do to the Russians? Nothing. Instead he goes on to attack the fake press for reporting it and his press secretary who should be working for Fox Newsless said the allegations were not credible and there was no consensus. Let’s not forget it was just a year ago that Trump stood next to Putin in Helsinki and in one of the most disgraceful humiliating acts of a US President he defended Russia and went on to disparage Americans back home while the whole world was watching. I cannot understand how do flag-waving Republicans put up with this man? But it does help me to understand how autocrats, dictators, and despots over the course of history rose to authoritarian power while so many around him remained silent.
In a new book “The Art of Her Deal” about Melania Trump the author Mary Jordan alleged that the reason the first lady and son Barron did not immediately move into the White House with her husband after inauguration was because she was forcing a renegotiation of their prenuptial agreement. That was a pretty shrewd move at a time she had maximum leverage after enduring a campaign with one indignity after another surfacing about her husband’s lewd behavior around women. It seems she and Donald may deserve each other after all.
The White House sues to block the publication of yet one more tell-all book, this time from the President’s niece Mary Trump titled “Too Much and Not Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” The author previously had written a clinical book on family dysfunctions and mental disorders, like schizophrenia, where she studied patients who were delusional and hallucinatory. She seems just about ideal to write about Uncle Donald.
That latest lawsuit falls a few weeks after the one to keep John Bolton’s book from being sold. According to the Washington Post, the President or his campaign, administration and White House have now sued or threatened to sue dozens of people and organizations. But I am sure it is not nearly as many as Trump has personally demeaned and disparaged over his 41 months in office. It is a very long list that includes numerous newspapers, TV networks, local stations, members of his former administration, porn stars, women he was said to have assaulted, entire nation states like China, his ex-attorneys, treaties and laws he did not like, former governors and senators, trade associations, sanctuary cities, private businesses, political operatives, columnists, bloggers, artists, critics, comedians, family members, authors, twitter users, deceased people, the FBI, federal prosecutors, unions, and the list goes on and on. Who is safe? Will someone like me, an unknown insignificant blogger bearing witness to this madness, be next?
The President continues to have his personal consigliere and newest fixer, Attorney General Barr, purge the Justice Department of anyone who is not loyal to dear leader. This time is was the firing of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman who refused to resign. Berman, himself a Trump administration appointee, had the responsibility of overseeing investigations of Trump’s confidants, advisors, and inner circle I imagine he was forced out so much to punish him for past transgressions against the Trump regime, but out of fear that when Trump is out of the White House criminal charges against him would likely come from this same federal court.
In more judicial interference, the federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky is reportedly ready to tell Congress that Trump’s ally and convicted felon Roger Stone was treated differently because he was a friend and confidant of the president. And that is why Barr overruled his own prosecutors to recommend that Stone – convicted of giving false testimony, obstruction and witness tampering – be given a much more lenient sentence. Barr also stood by to allow the case against Michael Flynn, who had already pled guilty to charges as part of the Mueller investigation, be dismissed by his own justice department, an extraordinary act with little precedence. Additionally, Barr had defended Trump’s purging of inspector generals across a number of federal agencies. As a result Congress has requested Barr to testify as the House becomes increasingly concerned about the politicization of the entire Justice Department. A case could be made for impeaching the Attorney General, not just deposing him.
More jumping off a sinking ship? The Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, Tomas Philipson, unexpectedly announced his departure this past week. What economist would want to be associated with Trump’s negligent handling of the pandemic which drove the country into a deep financial recession and the public into an emotional depression.
Trump continues to set the stage to contest the fall presidential elections should he lose. In his Phoenix rally this week – held all while Arizona faces skyrocketing Coronavirus cases – maskless Trump said that because of mail-in voting “this will be in my opinion the most corrupt election in the history of our country.” Earlier he had claimed that foreign governments would print up and flood America with millions of fake ballots making it the scandal of our times. We all know where this is headed. The year will end with an electoral crisis as bad as it has begun with a pandemic crisis followed by an economic crisis and reminder of a long simmering crisis of racism.
Despite the country in the grips of a public health tragedy that has claimed over 125,000 lives, causing many to lose their health insurance, the Trump administration this week formally asked the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act. The ACA has made health care accessible and affordable for millions of Americans by forbidding insurance companies from charging higher rates for those with preexisting conditions or denying coverage all together. Just imagine a country with tens of millions of positive COVID-19 cases and no insurance provider willing to insure them. The inhumanity and cruelty of this administration is beyond belief, as is all the Evangelical Christians who blindly support him.
With the country experiencing a renewed crisis in race relations the President does not bring us together but instead adds more fuel to the fire by retweeting images of a wealthy white couple in St. Louis supposedly defending their mansion from passing protesters by pointing an AR-15 and hand gun into the crowd. Trump does it once again by showing his approval to “white power” by retweeting a video from a pro-Trump parade in The Villages of Florida, a prominent bastion of retired Republicans. What a movie this will make in future years when future generations look back and ask what happened to America during Trumpism, and what did we do to resist such evil.
Read more about the Trump administration’s performance during the fifth month of the pandemic at https://bearingwitnessheartland.com/2020/07/05/bearing-witness-to-the-pandemic-june-1-6-2020/.
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.