The Trump Watch – September 2018 (part 1 of 2)

Today we look at recent actions and pronouncements that feed suspicion that Trump aspires to be a monarch, not a president.

The Man Who Would Be King

Politico reports that Agent Orange thinks his subjects, er, the American people, should show more respect when he speaks:

President Donald Trump said Friday that he wants “my people” to “sit up at attention” the way North Koreans do for dictator Kim Jong Un.

The comment came during an impromptu interview with Fox News on the White House’s North Lawn, days after Trump met with Kim in Singapore as part of an effort to reach a denuclearization deal with Pyongyang. When asked about whether Kim would be visiting the White House any time soon, Trump responded “it could happen.” He then went on to praise the dictator for being a strong leader.

“He’s the head of a country and I mean he is the strong head,” Trump said to Fox. “Don’t let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

Seriously.

In other dictator-wannabe news, Trump decided to interject himself into the matter of how NBC news treated Ronan Farrow’s investigation of Harvey Weinstein, concluding a tweet about NBC by suggesting “Look at their license?”  That’s strictly out of the dictator playbook:  if you don’t like how a news outlet reports about you, threaten its existence.

Speaking of threatening existence, Agent Orange this week suggested that three companies he now considers unfriendly to him – Google, Amazon, and Facebook – may be in a “very antitrust situation.”  All of them may very well be, but that’s not a call presidents get to make.

Threatening these companies in this manner is an unmistakable way of attempting to stifle dissent from these companies for their “crimes”:  Google for allegedly hiding Trump’s first state-of-the-union address in web searches about state-of-the-union addresses – a preposterous allegation; Amazon because it’s owned by the same guy who owns the Washington Post, which dares publish articles reporting on the failings of the president and his administration; and Facebook because it’s clamping down on the propagandists who helped put him in the White House.

All three allegations are groundless:  Google would show child porn if it could get away with it because all it’s interested in these days is making money and it’s certainly not going to use its search algorithms to stop people from finding the content they want, reducing its much-valued page clicks in the process; Amazon because Jeff Bezos doesn’t write the articles and when reporters write about the failures of the president and his administration, they’re reporting on actual failures of the president and his administration and not making them up; and Facebook because clamping down on “fake news” is exactly what Trump wants in all other areas but he wants it to continue on Facebook because his kind of fake news helped propel him to the presidency.

“…With Liberty and Justice for… Some”

What else to think after Trump complained about the indictment of two Republican members of Congress for corruption?  As reported by the Associated Press,

Showing his disregard for the Justice Department’s independence, President Donald Trump tweeted that federal indictments against two Republican congressmen placed the GOP in midterm election jeopardy.

Trump again attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the tweet suggesting that the Justice Department consider politics when making decisions: “Obama era investigations, of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff……”

The president is apparently quite comfortable with the idea of tipping the scales of justice in favor of his friends

Besides being ridiculous, Trump’s displeasure is yet another sign of a man who would be dictator: viewing law enforcement as a means toward achieving his own political ends – regardless of the legality or propriety of the actions he seeks.  A crime is a crime and needs to be pursued regardless of the political party of those who stand accused.  What would he have the Justice Department do:  know all it knows about these two congressmen and wait until AFTER the election to indict them?

And surely he would react differently if the two congressmen in question had been, heaven forbid, Democrats.

Speaking of Law Enforcement…

We know how unhappy Cadet Bone Spurs is with the Mueller investigation:  really, really unhappy.  By all appearances, he seems to believe that anything he does is automatically beyond the reach of the law.

Now it’s starting to look as if he’s extending that attitude to anything done by anyone in the executive branch of government he leads when he’s not inhaling Big Macs or channel-surfing or playing with his putter.

As explained by a news release issued by the office of Senator Claire McCaskill:

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today released a report documenting the Administration’s proposed funding cuts in the upcoming fiscal year for Inspectors General (IGs)—nonpartisan and independent watchdogs who play a vital role in uncovering and preventing waste, fraud, and abuse at federal agencies. The report showed cuts to IG budgets at several agencies—including some where the Administration slashed IG funding even as proposed spending at those agencies increased overall, causing concern among IGs that they would not have enough resources to conduct proper oversight.

We’ve seen that Trump believes he should be out of the reach of any kind of formal scrutiny and it appears he believes the rest of his administration should enjoy a similar privilege – and now, he’s acting on his desire to make that happen by cutting funding for the people whose job is to provide that scrutiny.

This is what they call letting the fox guard the hen house, is it not?

A New Approach to Suppressing Dissent?

Making it…illegal?

That’s what Trump hinted at the other day in response to protests at the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  He told an interviewer from the Daily Caller that

I don’t know why they don’t take care of a situation like that.  I think it’s embarrassing for the country to allow protesters.

Trump’s dream scenario?

Which kind of hints that he thinks protesting should be against the law.

Of course, it appears he thinks it once was:  he also told the Daily Caller that

In the old days, we used to throw them out. Today, I guess they just keep screaming.

Even implying that mere protesting should be illegal suggests that Trump wants to be Vladimir Putin – or perhaps Joseph Stalin – when he grows up.

(more tomorrow)

Post script:

We awoke this morning to a new Trump tweet that, at least in The Curmudgeon’s mind, reinforces the notion that the president would rather be a dictator:

Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!

“Turn him/her over to government at once”?  For what?  Prosecution?  Persecution?  Execution?  “Reveal this person’s identity” would be fine, but “turn him/her over to the government at once”? There are no “National Security purposes” involved here:  it’s nothing more than an emperor who is furious at the subject who has revealed that he wears no clothes.

 

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