While a thousand Americans die each day from Covid-19, Trump continues to make war this week on protesters in Portland using what the Oregon governor said were secret police-style tactics intentionally adding fuel to a fire. Paramilitary-like camouflaged-clad federal agents used tear gas on protesters as well as other crowd-control munitions such as stun grenades and rubber bullets. Even the mayor of Portland suffered from being gassed in the streets.
The administration then threatens to send in more armed federal forces from Homeland Security ICE and CBP to other cities including Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York City, and Milwaukee. These are all Democrat-led and Democrat-voting cities with large percentages of Black Americans who have serious grievances with how they have been treated. To restore his poll numbers Trump is desperately trying to be the law and order president, despite running the most above the law and out of order administration in modern times. His Russian handlers must be very proud of their boy. He has his conservative press claiming that protesters are anarchists and fascists who hate America, creating carnage and burning cities. And angry mobs rioting in a war zone are insurrectionists who want to secede from the country. These pundits are the fascists fueling insurrection and seeding the next civil war. It is obvious to nearly all that Trump is just trying to distract the country from all of his failures and turn Americans against each other in a wag-the-dog sequel, as so many other aspiring autocrats have done before him.
Yet, none of the concerns about federal troops battling protestors on the streets or the need for policing reforms stopped Trump’s Senate Republicans from blocking a bipartisan attempt to halt the transfer of surplus military-grade weaponry from the DoD to police departments around the country. Democrats as well as some Republicans argued that weapons of war do not belong in community policing and our cities are not battlefields where the American people are enemy combatants. Trump from his actions and statements obviously thinks otherwise. His supporters follow their fear-mongering dear leader and are said to be responsible for record purchases of guns by Americans so far this year, despite much of the county in a lockdown.
To the surprise of no one, in a national TV interview on Fox News President Trump would not commit to accepting an election loss. He said he would “have to see” and “no, I am not just going to say yes.” Yes. He. Said. That. This was followed within the week when he suggested the idea of postponing the fall Presidential elections. Yes. He. Said. That. Too. This was an act too far for even some of his most loyal sycophants in Congress who said that the elections would go on as they have never been delayed in our country’s history.
In the same interview the President boasted of his mental acuity and said that a cognitive test was very easy, reminding us all of the time he called himself a very “stable genius.” He then went on to disparage Joe Biden saying he should take the same test because “something’s going on.” And of course he lied about numerous things including the economy, testing, fatality rates, the wall, travel restrictions, poll results, military pay raises, and who supports defunding the police. Those were even too much for the Fox News interviewer Chris Wallace who finally challenged the President on many of his misstatements and lies.
With an average daily fatality count of 1,000 the country closes in on 150,000 deaths from the pandemic. The day-after-day bad news may actually be sinking in on the President. In the first virus task force press briefing to be held in months, a lone President Trump stood before reporters and cameras to admit the pandemic is getting worse across the country and that it will get even more worse before it is better and finally over. He even went so far to endorse mask wearing and pulled one out of his pocket. Yet he could not bring himself to tell all Americans to wear masks. This is such a simple sacrifice we should all be willing to make to fight a war on the virus, especially compared to the sacrifices made by our ancestors who were drafted into military service and then died fighting wars against other enemies.
During the briefing the President congratulated himself on his handling of the crisis saying we have made a lot of progress. He also admitted no mistakes were made, ignoring his own denials and slow start followed by encouraging governors to open up their states prematurely and edging on protests of restrictions. While the country suffers, he did find time to wish Ghislaine Maxwell well, the companion of the late Jeffery Epstein who killed himself while being held for sexual abuse of minors. In this briefing he did not appear with any members of he Pandemic Task Force as before, likely because his White House has started to blame and disparage most of them or the agencies they represent for the mess in which he finds himself.
Former Vice President Biden responded to the President’s pathetic pandemic performance by commenting succinctly: “you know, he’s quit on you, and he’s quit on the country.” I would add that Trump never was working for us or the country. It was always about him. Read more about President Pandemic’s response this week at https://bearingwitnessheartland.com/2020/07/28/bearing-witness-to-the-pandemic-july-2020/.
Not to let an international crisis simmer too long without throwing in more fuel, the US ordered the Chinese Consulate in Houston, one of only six, to close as part of punitive measures. The Chinese immediately responded by closing our Chengdu consulate in China. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then accused the Chinese of lying, stealing, and cheating their way to prosperity. Of all places he did this in a speech at the Presidential Library of Richard Nixon who opened up relations with Communist China 50 years ago. As Trump’s Troops battled protesters in the streets of Portland, Pompeo was lecturing the Chinese about the free world, rule of law, oppression, and tyranny. China did not due anything to us that capitalists and consumers in the USA did allow to happen by happily buying cheaper products made in China that were outsourced by thousands of American companies to inflate their stock prices and pay dividends to wealthy Americans.
In another example of how far the party has fallen, the highest ranking Republican woman in Washington, Liz Cheney, came under attack this week from her own party for coming to the defense of Dr. Fauci after he was attacked by the Trump administration. Cheney had only said in a retweet what many Americans are thinking, that Fauci was one of the finest public servants that nation has ever had and went on to tweet a photo of her father Dick Cheney, wearing a mask. She is said to be one of the most conservative and combative Republicans, but then again there is nothing conservative about Trump and his supporters. Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci has said he and his family have come under increasing personal safety threats and his security detail has been strengthened. Only in America, folks. What must the rest of the world think of us.
In more signs of a divided Republican Party, The RNC plans to host a coronation of the President in Jacksonville, Florida as part of the GOP convention were scrapped this week. Perhaps they realized that the election might be very close and they did not want to infect thousands of their voters who might end up dying before they could vote.
The President was reported to have asked his ambassador to England, Robert Johnson, to land the British Open tournament for his Turnberry Golf Club in Scotland. Mr. Johnson, like many other Trump appointees, was rewarded with his plush foreign assignment post for being a billionaire sports team owners who supported Trump during the 2016 election. Trump denied he had asked Johnson for help, but Johnson would not deny that Trump did as he had previously told multiple people within the State Department of the President’s request.
Roger Stone, friend and advisor to the President whom Trump just pardoned before going to jail, used a racial slur about a Black radio talk show host. Apparently, Stone took exception to interviewer asserting that his sentence was commuted because of his relationship with the President. He must believe American people are as gullible as Trump does.
A federal judge ordered the release of Michael Cohen from prison this week saying the Justice Department was retaliating against him for writing a book that was critical to the President. The Justice Department, likely acting on the wishes of the President, previously had the former personal attorney to Trump ordered back to prison allegedly to keep him from publishing his tell-all book before the election. It looks like the President had AG Barr keep a loyal friend, Roger Stone, out of jail and then had his department jail a disloyal enemy. That would make Trump a (a) patriot (b) constitutional scholar or (c) aspiring dictator?
Attorney Generals of 20 states sued the administration this week for violating the Clean Water Act by trying to weaken EPA rules that regulate and protect waters of the US. Trump had previously issued an executive order that make it more difficult for states to review and block projects.
It is not normal to live in a developed country like ours when week after week, month after month, and now year after year, there is so much chaos, conflict, and crisis after crisis coming from its Executive Branch and Office of the President. We are not suffering from just the Coronavirus, but a Trumpvirus that seems to have infected us all one way or the other. An editorial writer repeated this week what many of us are thinking, that this is exactly what the Russians wanted to see Trump do as president; sow chaos. We as a nation are suffering if not disintegrating more than if the Russians had physically attacked us with their armed forces.
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 image is a screen shot of a photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez in an Associated Press news story https://apnews.com/c09fce178cee3633456ac88bc6d971ad printed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on July 26, 2020.