The Trump Watch – end of June (part 1 of 2)

Math is Apparently Not His Strong Point

When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico and people complained about the slow, inadequate response to providing aid, Agent Orange was telling quite a different story:  he said the U.S. should be “very proud” of the low death toll, which his administration placed at around 64 people.

In recent weeks, though, we learned that the official count was off.

“Uh oh, the counting is getting harder.”

Just a little.

According to a recent Harvard study, at least 4645 people died as a result of that hurricane and its aftermath.

Which is a lot more than 64.

Or History, Either

Or so one might conclude after Trump cited Canada – Canada! – as a potential national security threat by asking Canada’s Prime Minster, Justin Trudeau,

Didn’t you guys burn down the White House? 

No, actually, they didn’t.  Trump was referring to the War of 1812, where the U.S. was fighting the British.

Not Canada.

He was president for 16 years? Who knew?

Boasting about his efforts to cut federal regulations, AP reports him saying that

We’ve eliminated record numbers of job-killing regulations … we’ve cut more regulation than any other president in the history of our country whether it’s four years, eight years or in one case 16 years, we’ve cut more regulations in 500 days than any president. Even our 16-year president.” – remarks Wednesday at Duluth rally.

Um, 16 years?  Someone was president for 16 years?

The AP clarifies:

Trump gets his history wrong, repeating a claim that a U.S. president once served 16 years. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the country’s longest-serving president, died after serving 12 years in office from 1933 to 1945.

SOMEBODY was snoozing through American history class.

Pre-emptive Excuses

The mid-term elections are coming up in a few months amid “expert” sentiment that Republicans are going to do poorly and Democrats could take control of both the House and Senate.  The Curmudgeon is skeptical, but then, he’s not one of the experts.

But Kim Jong-Trump isn’t taking any chances; he’s already auditioning excuses, just in case.

Excuse number one: special counsel Robert Mueller will meddle in the elections, as he explained in this tweet:

The 13 Angry Democrats (plus people who worked 8 years for Obama) working on the rigged Russia Witch Hunt, will be MEDDLING with the mid-term elections, especially now that Republicans (stay tough!) are taking the lead in Polls.

Say what you want about Mueller, but the manner in which he has conducted himself throughout his inquiry has been exemplary:  no public threats, no leaks, no giving in to the temptation to fire back every time his integrity, or that of his team, has been questioned or impugned. He’s been a true gentleman.

As for the guy in the White House…

He Just Can’t Resist

Trump must think Mueller is closing in on him, or, more likely, members of his family and staff, and he’s fighting back the only way he knows:  with attacks on Mueller, such as this tweet:

Is the Special Counsel/Justice Department leaking my lawyers letters to the Fake News Media?

Again, the degree to which Mueller has conducted himself during this whole investigation has been absolutely honorable.  The Curmudgeon can’t recall even a single leak that’s been traced to Mueller or his team – or even suspected of coming from them.

While the Trump administration continues to leak like a sieve, as it has since day one in office.

Celebrity Pardons

So now we know what it takes to get a pardon from the Trump administration:  Republican credentials, celebrity status, or the support of celebrities.

That’s what got Scooter Libby pardoned.  He’s a big-deal Republican.

And Dinesh D’Souza, a big-time conservative and campaign contributor who was convicted of violating campaign finance laws.

And Alice Johnson, who had Kim Kardashian – someone Trump respects and admires – in her corner.

And Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of contempt of court.

Fellow members of the hair club for men

And Jack Johnson, the boxer, who really needed the pardon inasmuch as he’s been dead since shortly after the end of World War II.

And now, Trump’s offering the prospect of pardons for more celebrities and friends of the rich and famous, including Martha Stewart and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich(a Democrat, yes, but more important, a Celebrity Apprentice alumnus).

He even suggested he might pardon the late boxer Muhammad Ali – an offer Ali’s family quickly declined, inasmuch as Ali was never convicted of a crime.

And he even made a blanket offer to players in the National Football League to send him the names of their friends and relatives who might be in need of a pardon.

Yet to be determined: how many of his henchmen – Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Donald Jr., Jared Kushner – he may end up pardoning.

Lies

CNN counted 35 falsehoods – lies – uttered by the Prevaricator in Chief during his recent Nashville rally for Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s Senate campaign.

“What, me lie?”

Among them:

  • He said the individual insurance mandate in Obamacare was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court, which is the only body empowered to decide such questions, said it’s not.
  • He said the Senate’s failure to kill Obamacare would cost a trillion dollars over the next decade. Actually, it would save more than $300 billion.
  • He said that wages went up last year for the first time in “many, many years.” Actually, they went up during the late years of the Obama administration.
  • He suggested that the 3.3 million jobs created during the 18 months between his election and April of this year was unprecedented. Actually, 3.9 jobs were created during the 18 months before his election.
  • He said San Diegans came to him to ask for the wall. They didn’t:  city officials voted to oppose the wall – including the city’s Republican mayor – and fewer than half the city’s residents want it.
  • To boast of American ingenuity, he said the Empire State Building went up in less than a year. It didn’t.  Why lie about something like this?

The Associated Press found an interesting lie on the immigration issue.

Trump said:

And ultimately, we have to have a real border – not judges. Thousands and thousands of judges they want to hire. Who are these people? When we vet a single federal judge, it goes through a big process. Now we’re hiring thousands and thousands. … And it got so crazy that all of these thousands – we now have thousands of judges – border judges – thousands and thousands. 

 The reality: the U.S. has about 335 administrative judges across the country to work on these cases and a budget that would accommodate about 150 more. 

 In other words, not thousands; just a few hundred.

More Lies

You may recall that when it was revealed that Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, and Reince Priebus met during the campaign with Russians who said their government supported Trump’s candidacy and wanted to provide information to help with his campaign, Donald Jr. issued a public statement about the nature of that meeting and how it had nothing to do with the campaign: it was all about adoption issues.

Because the candidate’s son, the head of the party, and the head of the campaign are always interested in talking to Russians about adoption issues.

In the middle of a presidential campaign.

“But my dad always did my homework for me.”

Anyhow, word quickly leaked out of the ever-so-leaky White House that it was Donald Senior, not Donald Junior, who actually wrote that statement.

Which Donald Senior vehemently denied.

Until now.

Now, he admits he wrote it – and is absolutely unapologetic about lying that he didn’t.

As reported by the Huffington Post:

“That’s not a statement to a high tribunal of judges,” Trump continued Friday, as he spoke to reporters on the White House lawn. “That’s a statement to the phony New York Times. In fact, frankly, you shouldn’t even speak to The New York Times because they only write phony stories, anyway.”

Which apparently makes the lying acceptable.

In fact, Trump’s lawyers made that very argument in a letter to Robert Mueller’s staff, writing that

This subject is a private matter with the New York Times.The President is not required to answer to the Office of the Special Counsel, or anyone else, for his private affairs with his children. In any event, the President’s son, son-in-law, and White House advisors and staff have made a full disclosure on these events to both your office and the congressional committees.

Even More Lies

In his never-ending attempt to cast aspersions on non-Christians and people of color, Trump helpfully pointed out that crime is on the rise in Germany, ostensibly because of an influx of Muslim immigrants.

Only it ain’t so.

Germany’s crime rate is actually the lowest it’s been in a quarter of century.

But Agent Orange has no time for facts.

Lies:  North Korea Special Edition

Upon returning home from his meeting with Kim Jong-Un, Trump told his cabinet that

The big thing is, it will be a total denuclearization, which has already started taking place.

 Afterward, one of those cabinet members, Defense Secretary James Mattis, confirmed that U.S. intelligence has not detected any signs of denuclearization.   None at all.

Then, at a rally in Minnesota, Trump declared that

We got back our great fallen heroes, the remains sent back today, already 200 have been sent back.

Actually, no remains have been returned.  Not 200.  Not 100.  Not 1. None.  Zero.

(more tomorrow)

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