by Bob Cesca
Dateline: end of February. I was in the middle of a cross-country move from Santa Rosa, California to Washington, DC that week, but I didn’t miss any of the harrowing Trump news that’s dropped during my downtime. In fact, I kept notes of all the things. Here’s my list, exactly as I kept it throughout that week:
- Hope Hicks resigned. (All previous comms: Jason Miller, Spicy, Michael Dubke, Spicy again, Scaramucci, Hope Hicks)
- The deputy communications director resigned.
- Trump said he’d like to get the guns then have “due process” later.
- The NRA said it convinced Trump to back down.
- Trump proposes a trade war with tariffs on steel and aluminum.
- Dow loses 420 points after Trump’s tariff threat.
- Carl Icahn sold $31 million in steel stocks days before Trump’s tariff announcement.
- The FBI is investigating Ivanka’s role in the financing of Trump Hotel and Tower in Vancouver.
- Jared Kushner sold access and administration posts in exchange for half-a-billion in loans.
- Jared appealed to Qatar for financial assistance linked to his disastrous 666 Fifth Avenue building.
- Mueller investigating Kushner’s patronage.
- Jared lost his security clearance.
- Four nations discussed manipulating Jared Kushner.
- HR McMaster might be on his way out.
- Gary Cohn might be on his way out.
- Republicans from the House Intel Committee might’ve leaked Mark Warner’s text messages.
- Putin rolls out nukes that can evade missile defense systems.
- Mueller investigating Trump’s attempt to fire Jeff Sessions.
- Mueller investigating what Trump knew about DNC emails.
- Trump apparently stole my joke – calls Jeff Sessions “Mr. Magoo.” (No Magoo! No Magoo! You’re the Magoo.)
- John Kelly said his job was a punishment from God.
- Ben Carson’s HUD spent $165,000 on lounge furniture and $31,000 on a dining room set for Carson’s office.
- Gates is fully cooperating with Mueller in exchange for dropped charges.
- Brad Parscale will run Trump’s 2020 campaign.
- Russians compromised elections systems in 7 states before the election.
- Alex Jones videos removed by YouTube. InfoWars goons whine and threaten civil war.
- Iowa passes gun permits for the blind.
- Trump’s Panama hotel fracas.
- Trump attacks someone named “Alex Baldwin” and misspells “dying.”
- Trump endorses capital execution for drug dealers, similar to Duterte’s policy.
That was from Monday the 26th through Friday the 2nd. It doesn’t even include the brain-melting series of events from this week.
As I write this, I’m numb from another week of blisteringly ceaseless news. On Tuesday of alone, seven administration officials resigned or were fired in what I’m calling the Tuesday Morning Massacre, including the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary of State, as well as the president’s personal aide. By the way, rumor has it they’re the first of many. The day before, meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee inexplicably concluded its Trump-Russia investigation, stunning and surprising the Democrats on the committee. Hell, later in the day, when the president said he’d like to build a militarized “Space Force,” followed by a tweet in which he commended the “Marine Core” (sic) it barely registered on my radar given the earlier onslaught of events.
In normal times, any single one of these stories not only would’ve carried a news cycle for weeks on end, but some of the items would’ve precipitated a presidency-ending debacle. These aren’t normal times. Indeed, these are the most abnormal times since perhaps the American Civil War.
Saying it out loud helps: The Trump administration is a super-colossal threat to national security. The party that practically branded patriotism and “keeping us safe” in the months and years following 9/11 has elevated a desperately compromised agent of a hostile foreign government and, with him, a roster of easily duped goons who not only enable the president’s treason, but who are themselves turnkeys for every foreign government seeking to knock America down several pegs.
The Jared Kushner loan story by itself should’ve ended with either Kushner resigning or the president being censured or both. Kushner’s successful attempts to trade favorable administration gigs in exchange for, on the low end, half-a-billion dollars in loans, in normal times would’ve erupted in an unprecedented national scandal with the blood-spatter blanketing the entire Trump family. Couple this story with the news that Kushner is easily “manipulable” — a conclusion reached by officials in four nations, including China and Mexico. The latter nation, by the way, is hosting Kushner as a guest today. What could possibly go wrong?
Our election process is on desperately shaky ground because of Trump and his fealty to Vladimir Putin. Trump’s henchmen, including Carter Page, Mike Flynn and Erik Prince, promised Russia they’d undo the array of sanctions passed in the wake of Putin’s shenanigans in Ukraine, and Trump appears to be making good on that pledge, refusing to implement a new series of sanctions Trump inexplicably signed into law. What else has Trump given away to Putin, and who will pay the price? We will. Both parties, and the Constitution itself — the very fabric of our democracy is at risk here.
Meanwhile, the Trump State Department has been gutted. $120 million in anti-cyberattack funds have gone unspent by the outgoing Rex Tillerson, who, as it turns out, was personally approved by the Kremlin, while Trump’s first choice for State, Mitt Romney, was summarily rejected. Oh, and Trump thinks he’s capable of personally handling diplomacy. Trump. The man who accused “Alex Baldwin” of having a “dieing” career.
We also know exactly who’ll be harmed by Trump’s kneejerk pledge to add punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, yanking the idea out of his ass like always, while simultaneously yanking the rug out from under the Dow and, eventually, spiking prices of consumer goods including cars and new homes. Get used to the notion of inflation, and you can fully expect Fox News to blame it on Obama despite the fact that few Republicans on the Hill support Trump’s folly here. Beyond inflation, we can expect import nations to add tariffs to American exports in retaliation, undermining job security for potentially millions of us. It’s the perfect chaser to the roll-back of Dodd-Frank that was just passed in the Senate with, by the way, 17 Democratic votes.
Ultimately, though, it’s the attack on facts and reality that’s truly undermining American national security. None of the threats we’ve listed here would’ve emerged had it not been for the unprecedented right-wing media war against the truth, both internally and externally.
Around 40 percent of the voting public thinks everything we’re talking about today is fake news. Not in the “oh, you just haven’t heard the full story” sense. Nope. They believe it’s all fiction invented by liberal elites who hate Trump because something-something-something. The Trumper myopia, rocket-propelled by 85 percent of Republicans who still approve of Trump’s Three-Stooges-Fixing-The-Plumbing performance so far, waters down the urgency of the threats, serving as a handy anchor weighing down the will of Congress and the volume level of the public outrage. It’s a gap wide enough to fit a million Russia trolls and bots. After all, why should Congress do a damn thing when the GOP base enables the infuriating congressional apathy and party-over-nation stubbornness? There are millions of voting Americans who have no idea about most of the stories we Normals discuss every day.
I wish I had better news for you today, but there’s nothing good to report. Our two silver linings, the forthcoming results of both the midterms and the Special Counsel, remain to be seen. The best we can do right now is to continue spreading the truth about the biggest national security threat to ever step foot in the Oval Office. Even better: let’s never forget what a normal presidency looks like and, for the sake of the republic, we should only ever elevate competent, serious men and women to that post. Trumpism has to end with Trump or the American experiment will die by suicide.
As a Banter Member, you helped pay for the creation of this article. Thank you!