The Trump Watch: Mid-September

While The Curmudgeon was away The Donald did play.

There Will Be No Apology

… from Agent Orange for his unsubstantiated, pulled-out-of-his ass accusation that the Obama administration wiretapped him at Trump Tower. After investigating the fabrication, the Justice Department has concluded that it was just that: a fabrication.

That is, a lie.

But we’re getting used to that, aren’t we?

Killing the Messenger

“Wow, what a crowd, what a crowd,” Agent Orange declared when he addressed a recent rally in Phoenix. (He doesn’t make appearances or speeches; he just does rallies.)

He also declared that “You know I’d love it if the cameras could show this crowd, because it is rather incredible. It is incredible.”

That may be what he was saying but it wasn’t what he was thinking.

What he was thinking was “What a lousy crowd.”

We know that now because after the rally, Trump fired the guy who was responsible for the logistics of the event – a guy who was one of his longest-serving aides.

Because it was the guy’s fault that Phoenix didn’t turn out for the fading president and because with this president, loyalty is always – always – a one-way street.

Speaking of Lack of Loyalty…

 Sunday’s Washington Post had some interesting observations on Trump and the subject of loyalty:

 In agreeing to tie Harvey aid to a three-month extension of the debt ceiling and government funding, Trump burned the people who are ostensibly his allies. The president was an unpredictable – and, some would say, untrustworthy – negotiating partner with not only congressional Republicans but also with his Cabinet members and top aides. Trump saw a deal that he thought rf4was good for him – and he seized it.

 The move should come as no surprise to students of Trump’s long history of broken alliances and agreements. In business, his personal life, his campaign and now his presidency, Trump has sprung surprises on his allies with gusto. His dealings are frequently defined by freewheeling spontaneity, impulsive decisions and a desire to keep everyone guessing – especially those who assume they can control him.

 He also repeatedly demonstrates that, while he demands absolute loyalty from others, he is ultimately loyal to no one but himself.

“It makes all of their normalizing and ‘Trumpsplaining’ look silly and hollow,” said Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist sharply critical of Trump, referring to his party’s congressional leaders. “Trump betrays everyone: wives, business associates, contractors, bankers and now, the leaders of the House and Senate in his own party. They can’t explain this away as [a] 15-dimensional Trump chess game. It’s a dishonest person behaving according to his long-established pattern.”

It’s gonna be a looonnnng four years, folks.

With This President, Size Matters

The Donald’s sensitivity about the size of his hands didn’t begin during the 2016 presidential campaign. Newsweek magazine – really, Newsweek is still around? – explained earlier this month:

[Current Vanity Fair editor Graydon] Carter threw his first punch in 1984, when he described Trump’s hands as “small and neatly groomed” in a GQ cover story. But the fight really began four years later, when Carter called out Trump as a “short-fingered vulgarian” in the now-defunct Spy magazine, which Carter co-founded with Kurt Andersen. That one phrase ripped open a wound that’s lasted decades: Trump’s insecurity about the size of his hands.

“You see? All this talk about my hands is ridiculous.”

And there’s more:

In 2015, Carter addressed Trump’s decades-long obsession in an editor’s letter titled “Steel Traps and Short Fingers”: “To this day, I receive the occasional envelope from Trump. There is always a photo of him—generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers. I almost feel sorry for the poor fellow because, to me, the fingers still look abnormally stubby.” Carter went on to explain that, right before Trump decided to run for president, he sent Carter yet another photo, circled his own hand and wrote in gold Sharpie, “See, not so short!”

That’s astonishingly juvenile, when you think about it: that a grown man would allow himself to be driven to distraction by such a silly (and apparently very little) thing.

But there’s more: you’d think that someone who has long been on the receiving end of mockery about his size would be reluctant to engage in such mockery himself.

Well, if you did, you’d be wrong. We all remember his references during the 2016 campaign to political opponent Marco Rubio as “Little Marco” (who, at five feet nine inches is, like The Curmudgeon, of exactly average height for an American male), and now, Trump has renewed these shenanigans with a new target. At the same Phoenix rally cited above, the president referred to a number of what he considers his enemies: the “failing New York Times,” “pathetic” CNN, and now, “little George Stephanopoulos.”

The guy is unbelievable.

The Wall

Agent Orange is all over Congress about failing to produce a budget that includes funding for his wall between the U.S. and Mexico, even threatening to shut down the federal government until he gets his money.

Like a kid threatening to take home his ball and bat unless he gets his way.

But then, if you stop and think about it for a second…

Didn’t he tell us that MEXICO would pay for the wall and not American taxpayers? So why do we need a budget with money for a wall that Mexico is paying for?

Charlottesville

What can you say? He might as well have been wearing a white hood when he talked about the blame being “on both sides.”

“Very Fine People”

Agent Orange thinks that among those marching in Charlottesville were some “very fine people.”  If so, the man has a very strange idea of what constitutes a “very fine person.”  There may be some way of justifying the presence of some “very fine people” at the event, but once its purpose became clear, once the crowd made its true feelings known, any “very fine people” who were in attendance would have walked away – quickly.  One suspects that if the president had been among them, he, too, would have walked – to the front of the crowd, to cheer it on.

Finding the Silver Lining in a (Thermonuclear) Cloud

North Korea is attempting to show the world its nuclear power and issued an explicit threat to Guam, a U.S. territory. So what does Agent Orange say to Guam’s governor? He finds a positive spin to put on the threat of nuclear annihilation. As reported by the (failing) New York Times:

Mr. Trump said: “I have to tell you, you have become extremely famous all over the world. They are talking about Guam; and they’re talking about you.” And when it comes to tourism, he added, “I can say this: You’re going to go up, like, tenfold with the expenditure of no money.”

Maybe Firing Comey was Only Plan B

We learned recently that candidate Trump viewed FBI director James Comey’s statement during last year’s campaign exonerating Hillary Clinton of any wrongdoing in the matter of her private server as proof that the system was “rigged.”

Which leads to an interesting question:  if Trump thought Comey had rigged the system, why didn’t he fire him the day he took office?

One curmudgeonly theory:  maybe Trump thought that once he was president, Comey would rig the Russia investigation in Trump’s favor.  That would have been Plan A.  And when Trump realized that Comey had no intention of sweeping the Russian connection to the Trump campaign under the rug, he had to resort to Plan B:  firing Comey.

Who Roots for the Hurricane?

Agent Orange, that’s who.  Here’s what he told reporters in Houston when he came to look at the damage Hurricane Harvey wrought.

It’s been really nice.  It’s been a wonderful thing. As tough as this was, it’s been a wonderful thing, I think even for the country to watch it and for the world to watch. It’s been beautiful.

And when he left town:

Have a good time, everybody.

Seriously. People were suffering unprecedented misery and he wished them a good time.

It’s All About Him

Trump’s visit to the area affected by Harvey began when his plane landed in Corpus Christi, which suffered little storm damage. It was a serious occasion, but he treated it like a campaign rally (because he doesn’t make appearances or speeches; he just does rallies).

Thank you everybody. What a crowd! What a turnout!

Because with hundreds of thousands of Texans suffering, it’s still all about him.

Taking Credit

Agent Orange appeared to act as if the magnitude of Hurricane Harvey somehow has something to do with him being president, as if things are bigger and badder because he’s the current occupant of the White House. So he tweeted that

Even experts have said they’ve never seen one like this!

And then, inexplicably, while sitting down in front of the press with the president of Finland:

It’s the biggest ever. They’re saying it’s the biggest ever. It’s historic. It’s like Texas. It’s really like Texas, if you think about it. But it is a historic amount of water.

As if that’s why the president of Finland flew nearly 5000 miles to meet with him.

State of Mind

The Washington Post published an interesting piece on the president’s state of mind and disposition.

It wasn’t pretty.

Behind the scenes during a summer of crisis, however, Trump appears to pine for the days when the Oval Office was a bustling hub of visitors and gossip, over which he presided as impresario. He fumes that he does not get the credit he thinks he deserves from the media, or the allegiance from fellow Republican leaders he says he is owed. He boasts about his presidency in superlatives, but confidants privately fret about his suddenly dark moods.

One can only wonder what he thinks he’s done for which he is being denied the credit he is due.

Does the ridiculous national conversation about Melania’s footwear count?

Also,

“He’s having a very hard time,” one friend who spoke with Trump this week said of the president. “He doesn’t like the way the media’s handling him. He doesn’t like how Kelly’s handling him. He’s turning on people that are very close to him.”

 Amazing Results, Achieved Single-Handedly

The U.S. apparently now has a nuclear capability that’s far superior to what we had nine months ago, and guess who’s claiming credit for it?

Last month Agent Orange tweeted that

My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before.

In just nine months! How did he do it? Did he (and Jared, perhaps?) design and build new nukes in their spare time? Is that what they were REALLY doing when they let us believe the president was goofing off on the golf course yet again?

The assertion, of course, is absurd. Yes, he DID direct his staff to review the country’s nuclear capabilities, but that review hasn’t even been finished yet, let alone acted upon. So today, those capabilities are the same as they were when he took office – although actually, a little less because a few intercontinental ballistic missiles have been decommissioned in recent months

But a true huckster is never going to let the truth get in the way of his boasts.

Passing the Buck

Attorney General Jefferson BEAUREGARD Sessions

Trump is usually all about taking the credit, whether it’s deserved or not, so it was conspicuous that when he ended the DACA program he made his attorney general, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, make the announcement.

For a guy who’s always talking tough, it was kind of gutless, don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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