The countdown in a return to reality and sanity continues; now only three weeks left having to chronicle the Trump lunacy week after week after week.
We no longer expect Trump to graciously, or even ungraciously, concede his election loss. We don’t expect him to invite the Bidens to the White House as most out-going presidents have done over the years. We don’t expect him to put the security of the country above his own fragile ego in cooperating with the transition of power during perilous times. We don’t expect him to put the safety of Americans as a priority in his few remaining weeks by ensuring vaccines are distributed and administered as if a national war-time effort. We don’t expect and now don’t want a damn thing from this man, ever again. I just hope Putin will reward him for a job well done with gifting Donald and Melania a far-away kingdom of their very own to rule over; perhaps a former Soviet-block country in need of a law and order autocrat who does not like to work very hard at it.
While Trump has spent most of his time out of the public eye in hiding, complaining about nonexistent election fraud, and blaming his justice department for not doing more to assure his reign, he did find plenty of time to dole out more pardons and acts of clemency. And did he ever as no president in modern history has abused their power to pardon like Trump has. The list is long, over 50 now with 20 days of selling left, and nearly all of them have in common a direct personal or political connection to the President. Whereas previous presidents handed out pardons to Americans of all walks of life whom they felt had done their time or were unfairly prosecuted, Trump, on the other hand, used this for his loyalists, former campaign staff and advisers, fellow Republicans, and even those who pleaded guilty as part of the Russian investigation. So much for the law and order, drain the swamp president. Oh, I take that back. His justice department is on a tear to execute more federal prisoners before he leaves office. So there is indeed law and order served on the serfs of his kingdom, but just not for members of the royal court.
There was even a pardon for the father of son-in-law Jared Kushner. The elder Kushner had pleaded guilty to tax evasion and witness tampering from having hired a prostitute then using a hidden camera to intimidate his own brother-in-law from testifying to a grand jury. But wait there’s more! The most shocking pardon was that of four private security contract workers found guilty of a war-crime killing of 14 Iraqi citizens, including a child, in a Baghdad traffic circle during 2007.
At the end of the week Trump vetoed the annual defense policy bill. He had nothing against funding more glorious defense programs, but he was pouting because the bill did not include limits on social media companies who he says are biased against him, and it forced name changes for military bases named after Confederate heroes who fought against their own country. Trump is likely just holding out for a future US base to be named after him, as Poland promised to do last year. Or perhaps he thought it was the annual defense of Trump bill, not defense of the country.
Meanwhile in Afghanistan, another international disaster created by conflict-hungry war-mongering Republicans, the Taliban continue to lodge more attacks on Afghan cities and US bases. This after the Trump administration signed a very big peace deal with them a few months ago.
It has been reported that Trump has raised over $200 million from mostly small donors to help contest the election that he claims was fraudulent, rigged, and stolen from him. Yet it is said he has spent less than $10 million, even after 50 legal claims, nearly all which he lost. The con man can’t help himself from taking advantage of his rubes one more time before leaving the stage. Barr said that just was not possible.
The day before Attorney General Barr was to leave the administration he received the wrath of the President when he declared there was no basis to appoint special investigators to pursue election fraud or the business dealings of President-elect Biden’s son Hunter. It was reported that Trump’s other personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, had been urging the outgoing AG to to seize voting machines from some states to create yet more chaos and doubt.
At least Barr had the decency to claim it was the Russians who likely had orchestrated one of the largest hacks into the federal government, something Trump has still yet to do least he upset his Moscow handlers. Trump continues to downplay the hack, saying the fake news media made it out to be much bigger than it actually was. But then again, Trump said the same thing about Coronavirus late last winter. How did that work out for the country? More than 40 US agencies were said to have been compromised by the breach, including Homeland Security. The Chief of Staff for incoming President Biden said what we all knew, Trump has a blind spot when it comes to Russia. Republican Mitt Romney used the same words to express his dismay. Biden, after being briefed on the hack, said it constituted a grave risk to national security and he would hold the Russians accountable. How about holding Trump accountable for yet again failing to protect the country?
Trump will leave office without ever calling out the Russians for anything. We all remember that on a stage in Helsinki he defended Putin, taking his word over that of his own US intelligence agencies. He then attacked fellow Americans and the US media with the whole world watching. Trump and his campaign aides asked for Russia’s help with uncovering Clinton’s emails. He, his campaign staff, and family members lied about meetings and conversations with Russian operatives which sent some of them to jail. He sided with the Russians in dealing with Ukraine and used military aid as a bargaining chip with Ukraine to get dirt on political opponents. He disclosed classified material to Russian’s foreign minister in a White House meeting in the Oval Office. He gave the Russians a gift by pulling out of Syria after he failed to counter Russian aggressions toward US ground forces. He said nothing after reports surfaced of Russians paying bounties to the Taliban for killing American soldiers. This list goes on and on. Where is the outrage for the once-proud Republican Party, now left in disarray by Trump?
Congress finally agreed to a long-awaited $900B pandemic relief bill just three days before Christmas. The bill will deliver financial aid to individuals, the unemployed, hard-hit businesses, public health agencies, food stamp recipients, renters facing eviction, and more. However, nothing good can happen in Washington DC without a narcissistic President hosing it up. Trump left Washington for his Florida resort without signing the bill, stunning members of his own party. He had been conspicuously absent from participating or much less leading the effort to get a deal done, but once it was agreed to by Congress Trump jumped in to say it is defective. The President demanded the bill should include $2,000 instead of $600 for every American, after which most of his fellow Republicans gulped or went into hiding after being blindsided. Most see what this is as just another ego-driven pathetic attempt to sow more chaos all while thousands of Americans die each day, millions remain unemployed, tens of thousands of businesses are suffering, and 8 million more have fallen into poverty.
In Palm Beach for a gala Christmas holiday, Trump plays golf and tweets out more lies while blaming others, rarely saying a word about the misery the country is experiencing. Without the President’s signature on the bill it is reported that more than 10 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits, more small businesses will close for good, and millions will face eviction from their homes. Additionally, the federal government will face a shutdown since the COVID relief bill was tied to a interim funding bill for the entire government. Read more about the President’s acts of malfeasance this month during the pandemic crisis at Pandemic – Bearing + Witness + Heartland.
On Christmas morning a bomb planted in a parked recreational vehicle blasts downtown Nashville, Tennessee, injuring at least three people. The perpetrator – no the domestic terrorist – is said to be a 63 old white male who perished in the blast. But not a word from the President who was just too busy in Palm Beach vacationing, tweeting, pouting, and golfing.
The above news items have been taken from a number of local, regional, national and international news media including print, broadcast, and digital sources, but no social media. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.