Can President Trump do NOTHING right? Is there really no bottom to his incompetent, venal responses to the three major crises facing our country today: a (still raging) pandemic; an economic depression; and civil unrest not seen since the 1960s? The president didn’t start these. But there is no thinking person who doesn’t believe Donald has exacerbated each of these crises exponentially. Between Inauguration Day and early this year, it has been postulated often that Trump has done no real damage yet because he has had no significant crisis to respond to. I disagree with the premise: Trump HAS caused major damage to American democracy and the country’s psyche by creating his own crises. But I wholly agree that now that major external crises have landed at his feet, the additional damage his responses have caused is enormous and increasing galactically. (scroll down for full article)
— RECENT HEADLINES –
“ECONOMY: WH Nixes Summer Economic Forecast, Which Has Been Issued for Decades” (5/28/2020)
“PROTESTS: Minneapolis Erupts in Violent Protests Over George Floyd Murder, Police Station Burned Down; 4 Cops Fired, None Charged; Protests Flare in Other Cities” (5/28/2020)
“PROTESTS: Trump Tweet Flagged by Twitter for ‘glorifying violence’: ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts’ Has Roots in 1960s Police Racism; Trump Threatens Twitter Shutdown” (5/28/2020)
“PROTESTS: 4th Night of Outraged Protests Across U.S., Some Violent” (5/28/2020)
“PROTESTS: 1 Cop Charged w/ 3rd Degree Murder, 2nd Degree Manslaughter” (5/29/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Trump Officially Severs Ties With WHO, Draws International Condemnation” (5/29/2020)
“Trump Will Stop Treating Hong Kong as Separate From China, Ends HK’s ‘Special Status’” (5/29/2020)
“Phone Transcripts Show Michael Flynn, Russian Amb. DID Discuss Sanctions in Late 2016” (5/29/2020)
“SCOTUS Says, 5-4, States Can Restrict Church Gatherings Due to Pandemic” (5/29/2020)
“SpaceX Launches 1st U.S. Manned Space Flight, Falcon 9, in 9 Years” (5/30/2020)
“PROTESTS: Trump Fans Violence, Tweet-Denounces ‘thugs,’ Makes No Other Comments” (5/30/2020)
“PROTESTS: George Floyd Protesters Rage in Front of White House for 2nd Night” (5/30/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Milestone: 6M Cases Worldwide” (5/31/2020)
“PROTESTS: 25 Cities Impose Curfews, 13 States Call out National Guard” (5/31/2020)
“PROTESTS: Violence Perpetrated by Wide Spectrum From White Supremacists to Antifa” (5/31/2020)
“PROTESTS: In all 50 States, More Night Violence; 40 Cities: Curfew; 26 States: Nat’l. Guard” (5/31/2020)
“PROTESTS: WH Debated Trump Address, Declined, Feared He Would Make Things Worse” (5/31/2020)
“PROTESTS: Trump Fans Fires: Says Nothing at Presser About Protests, Floyd Death, but Tweets ‘MAGA loves the black people,’ ‘MAGA Night at WH,’ Threatens ‘vicious dogs, ominous weapons’” (5/31/2020)
“PROTESTS: Call to Govs. He Knew Would Go Public: Trump Berates ‘weak’ Govs. As ‘jerks’” (6/1/2020)
“PROTESTS: Trump Makes 1st Nat’l Comments, Escalates Tensions, Threatens Heavy U.S. Military Force (Insurrection Act of 1807) if Govs. Don’t Crack Down, Stop Weakness, Issue Long Sentences” (6/1/2020)
“PROTESTS: AFTER BELLICOSE PRESS CONFERENCE, TRUMP CLEARS 100% PEACEFUL PROTESTERS FROM WH STREET W/ FEDS ON HORSEBACK, TEAR GAS, RUBBER BULLETS, PEPPER SPRAY, FLASH GUNS SO HE CAN WALK TO ST. JOHN’S CHURCH PHOTO OP, HOLD BIBLE OVER HIS HEAD; SAYS NOTHING” (6/1/2020)
“PROTESTS: 7th Day After George Floyd’s Police Murder, Protests Expand to 100+ Cities” (6/1/2020)
“PANDEMIC: WH Response Essentially Nonexistent, Task Force Mtgs. Near Zero” (6/1/2020)
“PROTESTS: Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Pelosi, Schumer Attack Trump Protest Response” (6/1/2020)
“PROTESTS: Trump Blames Amorphous ‘Antifa’ for Violence, but White Supremacists ID’ed” (6/1/2020)
“Hate Crimes Up 30% Over Pre-Trump Presidency Numbers” (6/1/2020)
“PROTESTS: Archbishop Gregory Slams Trump Visit to D.C. Shrine for Pope John Paul II” (6/2/2020)
“PROTESTS: Despite Repeated Trump Accusations, FBI Finds No Evidence of Antifa Violence” (6/2/2020)
“PROTESTS: Trump Says 1,000s of U.S. Troops Are Called, but No One Else Knows About It” (6/2/2020)
“PROTESTS: Military Helicopters Threaten D.C. Peaceful Protesters w/ Swoops to Ground” (6/2/2020)
“PROTESTS: DOD Under Secy., Others Resign Over Trump’s Use of Force for Photo Op” (6/2/2020)
“PROTESTS: Joe Biden Blasts Trump Response, Saying He Should Read Bible, Not Hoist It” (6/2/2020)
“PROTESTS: AG Barr Ordered WH Street Cleared of Peaceful Protesters for Trump Photo Op” (6/2/2020)
“PANDEMIC: 8 States Hold Primaries; Polls Cut by Up to 90% Due to Pandemic Fears” (6/2/2020)
“PROTESTS: Faith Leaders Across Spectrum Condemn Trump Using Bible, Church as Props” (6/2/2020)
“PROTESTS: Several Prominent Military, e.g., Gen. Mike Mullen, Condemn Trump Response” (6/2/2020)
“PROTESTS: 3 Cops Charged w/ ‘aiding and abetting’ Murder; 1st Cop Upped to 2nd Degree” (6/3/2020)
“PROTESTS: DOD Secy. Mark Esper Breaks w/ Trump, Opposes Military Troops for Protests” (6/3/2020)
“PROTESTS: FMR. DOD SECY., GEN. JIM MATTIS: SLAMS TRUMP FOR DIVIDING AMERICANS, DENOUNCES MILITARY FORCE, SIDES W/ PROTESTERS, PRAISES JUSTICE DEMANDS FOR GEORGE FLOYD” (6/3/2020)
“PROTESTS: Va. Governor Orders Removal of Robert E. Lee Statue in State Capital” (6/3/2020)
“PROTESTS: Fmr. Pres. Obama Speaks out on Protests, Makes U.S. Long for Real President” (6/3/2020)
“Trump Will Move GOP Convention Because NC Won’t Eliminate Pandemic Guidelines” (6/3/2020)
“PROTESTS: George Floyd Police Murder Protests Have Spanned 10 Days, 100 Cities” (6/4/2020)
“PANDEMIC: Many (Mostly S.) States Trending Up While WH Abandons Response Efforts” (6/4/2020)
“ECONOMY: May Unemployment Rate: 13.3%, Added 2.5M Jobs; Down From 14.7% in April” (6/4/2020)
“PANDEMIC: U.S./World: 1.9M/6.5M Cases; 107.2K/386.5K Deaths; 8:09 a.m. ET” (6/4/2020)
2/06/2020 — U.S.: 1 | World: 620
3/05/2020 — U.S.: 12 | World: 3,293
4/02/2020 — U.S.: 5,137 | World: 48,284
5/07/2020 — U.S.: 73,431 | World: 264,189
6/04/2020 — U.S.: 107,175 | World: 386,464
(COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University; approximately 8 a.m. each day)
Can President Trump do nothing right? Is there really no bottom to his incompetent, venal responses to the three major crises facing our country today: the worst (still raging) pandemic since 1918; the first U.S. depression since the 1930s; and civil unrest not seen since the 1960s?
Of course, the president didn’t start any of these. But there is no thinking person who doesn’t believe Donald has exacerbated each of these crises exponentially. Between Inauguration Day and early this year, it has been postulated often that Trump has done no real damage yet because he has had no significant crisis to respond to.
I disagree with the premise: Trump has caused major damage to American democracy and the country’s psyche by creating his own crises and blatantly violating the Constitution. But I wholly agree that now that major external crises have landed at his feet, the additional damage his responses have caused is enormous and increasing galactically.
On Memorial Day, Minneapolis resident George Floyd, a black man, was summarily executed by a city cop while three of his brethren stood by and watched. During what should have been a calm, low-key arrest for suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, Mr. Floyd, unarmed, was handcuffed and taken to the ground. Though he did not resist, an officer held a knee to his neck for almost nine (9) minutes.
During the first seven (7) minutes or so — while he was still conscious — George Floyd pleaded repeatedly, “I can’t breathe!” Twice before he lost consciousness, he called out for his deceased mother. During the last two (2) minutes or so, Mr. Floyd was “nonresponsive.” In fact, one of the three standing-by officers felt for a pulse when the “nonresponsiveness” manifested and announced he felt none. The knee remained on George’s neck during those last two (2) minutes of “nonresponsiveness,” until other units arrived. George Floyd was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
Donald Trump — Has No Clue
Since March, we’ve had a raging coronavirus pandemic and an accompanying economic depression. People are out of work. People have been sheltering in place. Racial tensions, already high and insufficiently addressed before the Trump era, have increased dramatically under this — and there’s no other applicable descriptor — racist president.
Now one more (caught-on-video) racist offense by police — the senseless, wanton murder of an unarmed, handcuffed, nonresistant African American man — has sparked massive protests, among all ethnicities, spanning 10 days and 100 American cities.
Granted, there have been multiple layers of violence, with looters looting and thugs thugging. Trump blames this all on the loosely organized antifa, the anti-fascist (“What’s wrong with being anti-fascist?” – thanks to Spinal Tap) hodgepodge of like-minded activists he has been using as a boogieman for several years. But the FBI has found no evidence of antifa involvement in the violence and looting accompanying some protests. Many cooler heads suspect it is white supremacist groups posing as protesters, attempting to assign false blame and do their standard incite-racial-tensions thing.
In any event, How did the United States president attempt to dissipate the tension, cool passions, lower the temperature, and bring the country together?
“When the Tweeting Starts, the ‘Stupid’ Starts. Thank You”
“When the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you.”
“[White House protesters could] have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.”
“Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???”
“We have our military ready, willing and able if [governors] ever want to call our military. We can have troops on the ground very quickly.”
“[The protests are being spread by] antifa and the violent left.”
“If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary … then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”
“I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism.”
“I want you governors to dominate the streets. … Too many of you are weak and jerks.”
(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; assorted tweets, statements; May 26-30, 2020.)
As one pundit put it, rather than reaching out, Trump has been thumping his chest. Then last Friday he was spirited to a safe room — a “bunker” — below the White House for about an hour, after protesters gathered along 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and nearby Lafayette Square. Then for a few days he became “Bunker Boy,” the narrative being Trump is weak and scared of a few protesters — while his Democratic presidential opponent, Joe Biden, joined protesters in solidarity.
On Monday, President Trump emerged to make his first public statements about the protests. Over the past few days, White House aides had debated the wisdom of a Trump address and decided against it, fearing he would make the situation worse. Donald changed course and read scripted “American Carnage” remarks in the Rose Garden that evening. His aides were right.
“Then the Chaos Began”
“Then the chaos began. Members of the National Guard knelt briefly to put on gas masks, before suddenly charging eastward down H Street, pushing protesters down toward 17th Street. Authorities shoved protesters down with their shields, fired rubber bullets directly at them, released tear gas and set off flash-bang shells in the middle of the crowd. Protesters began running, many still with their hands up, shouting, ‘Don’t shoot.’ Others were vomiting, coughing, and crying.
“As Trump began to speak, some protesters took a knee several blocks from the White House, again yelling, ‘Hands up! Don’t shoot!’ But they were never able to stay kneeling for more than a couple of minutes, because authorities kept pushing them forward, as a thick, yellow cloud of smoke hung over the crowd.”
(Parker, Ashley & Dawsey, Josh & Tan, Rebecca; “Inside the Push to Tear-Gas Protesters Ahead of a Trump Photo Op”; The Washington Post; 6/1/2020.)
Then Trump strolled down forcibly-cleared-by-federal-troops-on-horses-of-100%-peaceful-protesters H Street, past Lafayette Square, to the steps of iconic St. John’s Episcopal Church. He stood uncomfortably for several minutes, ultimately framed by a half-dozen or so top lieutenants. He offered no comments or prayers. He held an upside-down Bible over his head to consummate his would-be-cartoonish-if-not-so-damaging-to-the-country photo op.
“When Trump had returned safely to the White House less than an hour later, the verdict seemed clear: The president had staged an elaborate photo op, using a Bible awkwardly held aloft as a prop and a historic church that has long welcomed presidents and their families as a backdrop. In the process, protesters had been tear-gassed and attacked, and Trump had taken a raging conflagration and doused it with accelerant.
“‘We long ago lost sight of normal, but this was a singularly immoral act,’ said Brendan Buck, a longtime former Hill aide who is now a Republican operative. ‘The president used force against American citizens, not to protect property, but to soothe his own insecurities. We will all move on to the next outrage, but this was a true abuse of power and should not be forgotten.’”
(Ibid.: Parker, Dawsey, & Tan; 6/1/2020.)
The Right Reverend Mariann Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, responded for the nation:
“I am outraged. I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call, that they would be clearing [the area] with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop. … Everything [President Trump] has said and done is to inflame violence. We need moral leadership, and he’s done everything to divide us.”
(Budde, Mariann, Right Reverend, Episcopal bishop of Washington [D.C.]; telephone interview with The Washington Post; 6/1/2020.)
Wednesday night, former U.S. secretary of defense James Mattis, President Trump’s first Defense Department head, had finally had enough of the president’s corruption, incompetence, and amorality. Mattis left the administration at the end of 2018 in protest of Trump’s plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria. He also said in his resignation letter that he cannot agree with an administration that cozies up to dictators and disrespects our allies.
But Mr. Mattis has remained unwilling to criticize a sitting president and former superior. Many political leaders, including prominent anti-Trump Republicans and conservatives, have been calling on him to break his silence, even though it’s been reported widely that privately he thinks little of the president or his leadership. Secretary Mattis is universally loved and respected throughout the military as a retired charismatic four-star Marine Corp general who has served under Democratic and Republican presidents. Last night, the dam finally broke:
“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand — one that all of us should be able to get behind. …
“When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens — much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander in chief, with military leadership standing alongside. …
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.
“We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. … We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. Only by … returning to the original path of our founding ideals [ ] will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.”
(Mattis, James, former [Trump] secretary of defense, retired four-star Marine Corp general; as cited in Goldberg, Jeffrey; “James Mattis Denounces President Trump, Describes Him as a Threat to the Constitution”; The Atlantic; 6/3/2020.)
In other news last night, former president Barack Obama addressed the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (part of The Obama Foundation) and the nation with a plea of understanding and unity. In his address, he reminded the American people what a president looks like. ■
Trump Corruption Chronicles — We Must Never Forget