Tag Archives: trump watch

The Trump Watch – June

As Sonny and Cher once sang, the beat goes on…

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

In honor of one statistic – Agent Orange’s first 100 days in office – the online publication Politico detailed 100 of the biggest lies of his first 100 days.  A few that may have slipped below the radar:

He claimed credit for all of the jobs added to the economy in January – even though he only took the oath of office on January 20.

He said that claims that more than 20 million people gained health insurance under Obamacare were bogus because they didn’t account for all of the people who lost their insurance since Obamcare took effect.  Wrong:  20 million figure is the net increase, which means it absolutely does account for those who lost their insurance.

He said sanctuary cities “breed crime.”  Actually, research shows no discernible difference in violent crimes, rapes, and property claims between sanctuary and non-sanctuary cities.

He declared that a senator’s assertion that then-Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch told him that Agent Orange’s treatment of the federal courts was “disheartening and demoralizing” was a lie.  Both Gorsuch and another member of the Senate – a Republican – confirmed that the Supreme Court nominee said exactly that.

He said that half of the state of Tennessee had no insurers offering Obamacare health plans.  Actually, the entire state does.

He announced that Charter Communications, thanks to his leadership, made a commitment to invest $25 billion and create 20,000 jobs.  Charter actually did make such a commitment – but it made it before Trump was elected.

And the same is true of the $1.3 billion Toyota is investing in new facilities in Kentucky.

He blamed the Obama administration for failing to stem the tide of illegal immigrants who came together to form the MS-13 gang in Los Angeles.  Actually, those gangs have been around since the 1980s.

He said that nothing was built with the nearly $1 trillion spent on the Obama infrastructure bill.  Surely, dear readers, you remember driving through road repair zone after road repair zone where signs boldly proclaimed that the funding for those repairs came courtesy of…the Obama infrastructure bill.

Unless by “built” he means new luxury hotels.  Come to think of it, maybe that’s his beef with Obama:  $800 billion in government spending on bricks and mortar and he didn’t get a dime of it.

And those are just a few that flew under the radar; many of the others you already know.

Man-Crushes

The president appears to have man-crushes on political strongmen.  How else to explain why he’s always singing the praises of people like Vladimir Putin.

And Egyptian president Abdel ­Fatah al-Sisi, right after he had his political opponents gunned down in cold blood, thereby proving that this al-Sisi is no al-Sissy.

And Thailand prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, whose takeover of that country’s government and imprisonment of dissidents earned him an invitation to the White House.

And Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose erosion of basic freedoms in his country earned him, too, an invitation to the White House – a visit during which Erdogan’s own police beat the snot out of anti-Erdogan protesters in Washington, D.C. while Secret Service officers looked on and did nothing.

When he dines with the president, the big question will be “Regular or extra crispy?”

And Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, who’s running roughshod over basic civil and human rights in his country.  Agent Orange’s reaction:  he invited Duterte to visit Washington.

He called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a “smart cookie” and said he could see himself meeting with him.

When the Going Gets Tough…

…the not-so-tough turn tail and flee.

When ABC News’s David Muir sat down to interview Agent Orange and asked a few questions about the president’s allegation that former President Obama tapped his phone, Trump declined to answer, so Muir rephrased the question.  Trump refused to answer, so Muir again rephrased the question.  This time the president just turned away and ended the interview, kicking Muir out of the Oval Office.

A real profile in courage he is.

Speaking of Tapping Telephones…

It turns out that Agent Orange knows whereof he speaks, so when he suggested that he had tapes of his conversations with former FBI director James Comey, people who have worked with Trump were not at all surprised.  As the Washington Post reported,

Trump’s fascination with recording his conversations reaches back to the early years of his real estate career, when he installed in his 26th-story office in Trump Tower a “system for surreptitiously tape recording business meetings,” according to an eyewitness account in Harry Hurt’s 1993 biography, “Lost Tycoon.” And BuzzFeed News reported last year that Trump listened in on calls made by staff at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

A Persecution Complex

When politicians and celebrities of all sorts speak to college graduating classes, they usually talk about the future:  about fulfilling potential, about living good lives, about being good parents and neighbors and citizens and thinking of people other than themselves.

But Donald Trump, we know, is no ordinary politician or celebrity, so when he spoke to the graduating class of the Coast Guard Academy he spent a little time talking about duty and country but more time talking about his favorite subject.

Himself.

Among his observations:

Hey, what about me?

 No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.

The late Nelson Mandela, who spent twenty-seven years in jail because of his political beliefs, might have disagreed.

Off With Their Heads!

Well, maybe not “off with their heads” but send them to jail, send them directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Say what?

According to a news report, when Agent Orange asked FBI director James Comey to clamp down on White House leaks and Comey noted that getting information about who was doing the leaking from reporters might require threatening those reporters with jail, Trump said that putting reporters in jail was just fine with him.

Presidential Flash Cards

The education of a president

Remember flash cards?  They’re what your folks used to help you, or what you used to help your kids, to simplify learning and studying for children with short attention spans.

Now there’s a seventy-year-old with a short attention span in the White House and his aides have developed an adult version of flash cards to help Trump absorb his daily intelligence briefings.

As the Washington Post reports,

As they huddle around the desk, Trump likes to pore over visuals — maps, charts, pictures and videos, as well as “killer graphics,” as CIA Director Mike Pompeo phrased it.

According to Reuters, the National Security Agency employs another trick to keep the president’s attention:

National Security Council officials have strategically included Trump’s name in “as many paragraphs as we can because he keeps reading if he’s mentioned”…

Ladies and gentlemen, our president.

Who Knew?

In this latest installment of “who knew” we learn that just because you’re president doesn’t mean you understand how laws are passed.

In congressional circles, the term “nuclear option” is used to suggest that the party in the majority in the Senate do away with the filibuster so the minority party can’t prevent it from passing laws.  Usually the majority party doesn’t want to do this because today’s majority party knows it will be tomorrow’s minority party.

But it took a lot of people by surprise when Agent Orange suggested that the Senate invoke the nuclear option to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Why was it a surprise?  Because the kind of legislation needed to do this only requires a simple majority of fifty-one votes and not a filibuster-resistant sixty votes.

The president, however, didn’t know this.  He doesn’t understand how laws are passed in this country.

And isn’t that EXACTLY what we need in a president?

He Does Comedy, Too

On June 6 Agent Orange tweeted that

The FAKE MSM is working so hard trying to get me not to use Social Media. They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out.

Surely he jests:  the media, MSM or otherwise, fake or real, absolutely LOVES Trump using social media and would be devastated if he stopped.  He offers a rich vein of material to work with, he’s an easy story on a slow news day, and he’s nothing if not thoroughly entertaining even if it’s sometimes in an “I can’t believe we actually elected this doofus president” way.

The Trip Abroad

You have to wonder whether, when someone suggested to Trump a trip abroad, he responded, “Broads?  There’s gonna be broads?”  His behavior could not have been more boorish if he had expected another golden shower from a Russian prostitute.

Step aside, buddy: America first.

Presumably you saw the video of Agent Orange pushing aside the prime minister of Montenegro.  If you somehow managed to miss it, see it here.  And observe the under-noticed seconds after the push and the look on Trump’s face.

Priceless.

And then there were the two times Melania swatted him away when he tried to hold her hand.  Hmmm:  she lives a few hundred miles away from him and now she won’t even hold his hand in public.  Is theirs not a true love match?

Despicable

Treated badly by his boss

Sean Spicer, according to all accounts, is a decent guy with an impossible job that he doesn’t always handle as well as he might because he appears devoid of personal charm.  One thing we know about Spicer is that he’s a devout Catholic, and as a member of the president’s inner circle and traveling party, it was pretty widely assumed that he’d be part of the Trump delegation meeting the pope.

Didn’t happen.  The president who demands loyalty from his people apparently believes loyalty is a one-way street and left Spicer behind.  Meanwhile, Ivanka and Silent Jared, who are Jewish, met the pope.

What a horrible excuse for a human being this president is.

Observations From a Press Conference

Last Friday The Curmudgeon caught about ten minutes of a presidential press conference.  While Trump’s tone was subdued – his voice, that is, not that unnatural, practically glow-in-the-dark skin color – his words were as bombastic and nonsensical as ever.

He complained about all of the trouble he’s having getting his nominees confirmed for important jobs, ignoring his failure to actually, you know, nominate people for those jobs.  He fired, for example, 93 U.S. attorneys – and hasn’t yet nominated any replacements for them.  Not one.  Also, he has 442 sub-cabinet level and executive-branch positions he needs to fill, all subject to Senate confirmation, for which he has yet to nominate candidates.  (And let us not forget that Republicans famously and routinely refused even to consider many Obama nominees, including one for the Supreme Court.)  Amusingly – and disingenuously – Trump said that “We just got Jeff Sessions confirmed.”  Actually, Sessions was confirmed on February 8, more than four months ago and less than three weeks after Trump himself took office.  (It was Republicans, in fact, not Democrats, who slowed Sessions’ confirmation for about a week because they thought they needed his vote on a bill before the Senate.)

But our president is not one to let the facts get in the way of all the verities and balderdash.

Speaking of White House leaks, he expressed concern that while leaks about his conversations with the heads of Mexico and Australia right after he took office were disturbing they ultimately didn’t matter much because they weren’t about anything important.  Still, he wondered aloud what might happen if there was a leak of a future conversation involving something with serious national security implications.

A legitimate concern, no?

Actually, no, it’s not.  When legitimate reporters even mildly suspect that they may know something with national security implications that could jeopardize American lives, they always – always – take that information to the White House to discuss the matter before publishing it.  It’s called journalistic responsibility, and in fact, there’s never been, to The Curmudgeon’s knowledge, even a single instance of a traditional (mainstream, if you insist) publication or broadcast going public with information that compromised national security or jeopardized or cost American lives.  The people Trump considers “real” media?  The Curmudgeon doubts they’re even passingly familiar with the concept of “responsibility.”

When a reporter asked a question and said he wanted to ask a follow-up question Trump said he needed to move on because that reporter’s ratings weren’t that good and there were reporters who had better ratings who still hadn’t had an opportunity to ask any questions.

Welcome back to junior high school, where popularity is what matters most.

Speaking of popularity, isn’t it ironic that someone who believe that popularity equates to quality and who judges everything based on its ratings and popularity currently has a public approval rating that’s at epic, unprecedentedly low levels?

What gave The Curmudgeon his biggest giggle, though, was Trump’s assertion that if it had been him who had been given debate questions rather than Hillary Clinton, and if the media had discovered this, it would have been the biggest story in the history of newspapers and the history of publishing.

Have you ever encountered anyone who has such an inflated opinion of himself and such an enormous persecution complex?

 

 

 

 

 

A Message to Readers

“To be or not to be, that is the question.”

That’s the question that’s been troubling The Curmudgeon lately.

Specifically, the question that’s been troubling him lately has been “How much should I write about our new president and his administration?”

The Curmudgeon already knew this was going to be a challenge. On one hand, he is both amused and outraged by so much about this man, what he has in mind for our country, and the manner in which he conducts himself that he knew he was going to have to write about at least some of it, but the question remained: how much and how often should he write? As he wrote a few weeks ago, he doesn’t want this to become a Trump blog – or, more precisely, an anti-Trump blog.

He knew all along he wouldn’t turn this blog into that kind of production; there are too many other things he wants to write about. He briefly considered creating a separate blog devoted just to Trump but rejected that idea: too much work requiring too much time plus others are no doubt doing the same thing plus there’s still all that short fiction he wants to write, plus a new idea for a novel that he wants to explore.

At the same time, he also didn’t want to include a Trump piece once or twice a week among his other musings; he thinks that’s too often, especially at a time when he’s already trying to write a little less. He has no problem envisioning some of his readers – even those who agree with him about this stuff – just rolling their eyes and thinking, “Geez, this again? Give us a break already.”

trump-watchSo after about a week of consideration he thinks he’s come up with a compromise: revival of the “Trump Watch” feature he wrote periodically during the campaign. This will not be a regular, scheduled feature; instead, he will accumulate things to write about and periodically publish a new “Trump Watch” entry: depending on how much is going on it may appear every two or three or four weeks (or even less frequently, depending on the circumstances). That way, it doesn’t take over this site. On the other hand, it means not commenting on every little thing, just picking some spots occasionally and letting some things go unmentioned, painful though that may sometimes be. This way, he gets to write about the abuses and nonsense and serious danger posed by this carnival barker while continuing to write about all those other things that interest him. (And by the way: guest columns about Trump, or anything else, for that matter, are always welcome.)

So that’s the plan, starting with the first “Trump Watch” tomorrow. (Lots of material: it’s a two-parter. So much for letting some things go unmentioned, eh?)

 

Be there.

 

Aloha.

The Trump Presidency, So Far

Yes, yes, The Curmudgeon knows, the poor guy was only sworn in three days ago, but still…

We’re all accustomed to candidates for public office reneging on their campaign promises once elected and ignoring the campaign trail rhetoric they used to win their elections. The Curmudgeon cannot recall, however, a candidate who abandoned so many of those promises and set aside that rhetoric so quickly, so easily, and in so thoroughly unapologetic a manner as the new, orange-coated Leader of the Free World.

Consider:

He said he would build a wall. Now? He’s talking about a fence, not a wall, and not an uninterrupted fence, and only maybe, and the idea that Mexico will pay for it has quietly disappeared from public discourse.

He said he would “lock her up” – that is, prosecute Hillary Clinton for her email-related crimes. Now? He says it’s not going to happen.

A $1 trillion infrastructure bill, to put people to work? No longer in his immediate plans. In its place: tax cuts for those in the upper-income tax brackets.

Wonderful.

Isn't it comforting to know that the economy is in the hands of a guy from Goldman Sachs?

Isn’t it comforting to know that the economy is in the hands of a guy from Goldman Sachs?

He railed against Wall Street – and now is filling his administration with Wall Street alumni, including:

  • Steve Bannon as “chief strategist” (Goldman Sachs)
  • Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury (Goldman Sachs)
  • Gary Cohn, Council of Economic Advisors (Goldman Sachs)
  • Wilbur Ross, Commerce Secretary (Rothschild Investments, W.L. Ross & Co.)
  • Carl Icahn, advisor (Wall Street vulture capitalist)
Know-nothing general one day, Secretary of Defense the next.

Know-nothing general one day, Secretary of Defense the next.

He told us he knew more about military matters than the generals but has appointed a bunch of those previously clueless generals to cabinet positions:

  • James Mattis, Defense Secretary
  • John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Michael Flynn, national security advisor

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s more generals in the cabinet than at any time since World War II.

He insisted that Obamacare was a disaster and that he would repeal and replace it on day one. That didn’t happen: it looks like mid-March before there’s any real repeal and replacement. Also, he now says there are parts of Obamacare worth keeping, like the ban on denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions and the ability to keep adult children on their parents’ policy until they reach the age of 26. So it turns out it wasn’t entirely a disaster, was it?

Of course there’s no way he can even find, let alone deport, all 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country. When was the last time you heard any of the Trump people even talk about this? Oh, when they were making campaign promises? Riiiiiight.

sessions

Swamp creature

And he said he would “drain the swamp,” referring to kicking Washington insiders out of government.   But look at all the Washington insiders he’s now invited to join him (and all those suddenly not-so-clueless generals) in the swamp:

  • Mike Pompeo, CIA director, a three-term congressman
  • Jeff Sessions, Attorney General, a four-term senator who was rejected as a nominee to the federal bench 30 years ago because he was considered too racist
  • Robert Lightizer, U.S. trade representative, an alumnus of the Reagan administration
  • Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary, a six-term congressman
  • Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation, who was Deputy Transportation Secretary in the Reagan administration and Labor Secretary in the Bush Jr. administration
  • Ryan Zink, Interior Secretary, a two-term congressman
  • Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary, formerly communications director of the Republican National Committee
  • Reince Priebus, chief of staff, former chairman of the Republican National Committee
  • Thomas Bossart, homeland security advisor, who was deputy homeland security advisor in the Bush Jr. administration
  • Donald McGahn II, White House counsel, a member of the Federal Elections Commission during the Bush Jr. administration.

To be clear, The Curmudgeon isn’t casting aspersion on the qualifications of any of these people (okay, he is on Sessions; the guy’s both a tool and a fool). All he’s saying is that all of them are denizens, and many of them long-time denizens, of the very swamp Trump said he was going to drain.

Drain the swamp? Sounds more like recycling the polluted water in the swamp.

We’ve grown accustomed to our politicians breaking their promises, but the speed with which Trump appears to be breaking his is downright breath-taking.

It almost seems as if he was…insincere when he made them in the first place.