The Trump Watch: Mid-October (part 1 of 2)

Remember the Helen Reddy song “You and Me Against the World”? As Agent Orange’s irrational escapades continue they bring to mind a line from that song:

Remember when the circus came to town

And you were frightened by the clown

Well, readers, the circus is definitely still in town.

No He Didn’t

Yes he did. Agent Orange retweeted a gif – doctored, of course – that shows him hitting a golf ball that strikes Hillary Clinton in the back and knocks her over.

Is this guy in kindergarten or what?

Speaking of Kindergarten…

Has it really come down to the ultimate in five-year-olds’ behavior: name-calling? What does Trump think he will accomplish by calling Kim Jong-un “rocket man” and “little rocket man”? What’s the endgame here – goading Kim into attacking the U.S.? Sure, the U.S. might eventually annihilate North Korea, but at what price if Kim’s first blow is nuclear? Japan? Hawaii? The west coast?

He Said it Again

Last month The Curmudgeon noted that when Trump was in Houston, checking out the hurricane damage from a safe distance, said “Have a good time, everybody” as he left town. It was a foolish and insensitive thing to say to people whose lives had been turned upside down by mother nature.

Surely someone brought this to his attention, right?

Apparently not.

The same thing happened in Puerto Rico: he met with some storm survivors, extended his hand, and said “Have a good time.”

Not True, Part 1

When the latest Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare failed, Trump told reporters they would have had the votes for repeal but one Republican senator was in the hospital and that was the only reason they fell short.

Just one problem: it wasn’t true. There were no Republican senators in the hospital and the reason the effort failed was because it was a bad bill that would have increased the deficit and bounced more than 20 million Americans out of their health insurance.

Not True, Part 2

It’s almost as if being president is getting in the way of his television watching

Late last month Trump tweeted that “Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel.”

Only it didn’t. What he saw was a news report about a failed Iran missile eight months ago.

We know he gets his news from television but the least he can do is pay attention when he watches.

Not True, Part 3

Late last month Agent Orange gave a speech in Indianapolis about his tax “reform” proposal. Politicians always play fast and loose with the facts when they’re unveiling proposals but this guy, a professional snake oil salesman, adds a whole new dimension to the concept of “playing fast and loose with the facts.”

He said he’d protect millions of small businesses and farmers from inheritance taxes; of course, he called them “death taxes.” Millions? Hardly. Out of nearly three million deaths in the U.S. so far in 2017, only about 5500 estates have to pay any inheritance tax at all and about half of those will pay only about nine percent. And of those 5500, only 80 involved farms and small businesses.

So whom does he think he’s protecting? Is this a 70-year-old guy thinking about Ivanka, Donnie Junior, and maybe even Eric?

He also complained about the complexity of the tax code, observing that more than 90 percent of Americans “…use assistance to prepare their taxes.”

Only if you count people who buy and use tax software, which generally costs about $50.

He harkened back to the Reagan tax cuts, describing their impact as “…a beautiful site to behold,” doing so conveniently without mentioning that he criticized those changes when they were implemented and then later bitterly blamed them for the S&L scandals of the 1980s and the 1990-1991 recession – and far worse, from his perspective, leading to tough times for his own business.

He said he wouldn’t benefit personally from his tax proposal. That’s hard to know, of course, because he won’t share his tax returns, but that claim seems unlikely because he’s calling for repeal of the alternative minimum tax. Trump himself is subject to the alternative minimum tax and from that one year of tax return data from him that we have seen, the alternative minimum tax cost him an additional $30 million.

Which means that on second thought, he actually would benefit from his own tax proposal.

Surely that comes as no surprise amid the country’s first for-profit presidency.

Not True, Part 4

So how often does Trump lie?

Surely you can’t put a number on a thing like that.

But it turns out that actually, yes, you can.

According to the Washington Post “Fact Checker,” Agent Orange has averaged five misleading claims a day through October 10, for a total of 1318 lies.

And he’s not learning from experience, either: he’s doing it even more often now than when he took office.

Emboldened, The Curmudgeon suspects, because his true supporters are still so blind that they either ignore the lies or reject that they’re lies.

“What, me lie?”

A few that stood out to the Post:

  • He said the tax cut he will propose would be the biggest in American history. It wouldn’t be.
  • He said the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the world and is the highest-taxed country. It’s not.
  • In his bizarre desire to having the bragging rights to holding office when the biggest hurricanes ever hit the country, he said Harvey and Irma hit the U.S. as category five storms. They didn’t: by the time they made landfall they were category four.
  • He lied about the progress of storm relief in Puerto Rico, lied about how many lives the Coast Guard saved during Hurricane Harvey, and lied about Hurricane Maria’s wind speeds.
  • He said the current protests by NFL players have nothing to do with race. We all know they have everything to do with race.
  • He said NFL players who do not stand during the national anthem are breaking a long-time league rule. Actually, there’s no such rule.
  • He said that as president, Bill Clinton was “outplayed” by North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Kim was 16 when Clinton left the White House; his grandfather was dictator during the Clinton administration. Maybe they all look alike to Trump.

Treating His Own People Poorly

We know how badly Trump has publicly treated his appalling attorney general, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, but apparently that’s nothing compared to the way he treats him in private.

As reported by the (failing) New York Times,

Shortly after learning in May that a special counsel had been appointed to investigate links between his campaign associates and Russia, President Trump berated Attorney General Jeff Sessions in an Oval Office meeting and said he should resign…

Also:

…Mr. Trump lobbed a volley of insults at Mr. Sessions, telling the attorney general it was his fault they were in the current situation. Mr. Trump told Mr. Sessions that choosing him to be attorney general was one of the worst decisions he had made, called him an “idiot,” and said that he should resign.

Nice when you get that kind of support from your boss, no?

Oh well, it could be worse: he could blame that poor senator who wasn’t even in the hospital.

The Bad Behavior Continues

As reported last week by the Washington Post:

Frustrated by his Cabinet and angry that he has not received enough credit for his handling of three successive hurricanes, President Trump is now lashing out, rupturing alliances and imperiling his legislative agenda, numerous White House officials and outside advisers said Monday.

In a matter of days, Trump has torched bridges all around him, nearly imploded an informal deal with Democrats to protect young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, and plunged himself into the culture wars on issues ranging from birth control to the national anthem.

 And then there’s this:

Trump in recent days has shown flashes of fury and left his aides, including White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, scrambling to manage his outbursts. He has been frustrated in particular with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was reported last week to have earlier called the president a “moron.” Trump’s Sunday morning Twitter tirade against Corker caught staffers by surprise, although the president had been brooding over the senator’s comment a few days earlier about Trump’s “chaos” endangering the nation.

 One Trump confidant likened the president to a whistling teapot, saying that when he does not blow off steam, he can turn into a pressure cooker and explode. “I think we are in pressure cooker territory,” said this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly.

And we entrusted this guy with the nuclear launch codes?

American Government 101, Anyone?

It would be nice if the president of the United States understood how the government of the United States works but it’s becoming increasingly clear that this isn’t likely in the foreseeable future.

How else to explain why the president of the United States suggested that the Senate Intelligence Committee look into the “fake news” he believes the television networks – except Fox News, of course – are reporting. In so doing, he revealed that he still doesn’t understand how Congress works, doesn’t understand the role of the Senate Intelligence Committee, doesn’t understand the first amendment of the constitution, and doesn’t understand that news he doesn’t like isn’t necessarily fake.

At the risk of seeming to belabor this point, this is the guy who now has the launch codes.

Wrong on the Home Front, Wrong Overseas

There are a lot of things wrong in North Korea: poverty, starvation, political oppression, and more.

And another, according to a recent Trump tweet:

Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!

Except that there aren’t long gas lines in Korea – not that Trump wasn’t hoping for them. He tried to persuade the U.N. to place an embargo on oil shipments to North Korea but that effort failed when China and Russia said nyet.

So maybe Trump wrote the tweet in anticipation of an embargo and then never updated it. He was wrong, though, and his tweet left people in North Korea shaking their heads and wondering what was going with the American president.

Why the disconnect between wishes and reality? We’re starting to learn that: the guy believes that if it’s in his head it must be true. If it’s not, it’s false – or fake.

(more on Wednesday)

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