Previous “This Week in Trump” posts

It Happened Again

I'm sure he's learned his lesson this time, right Susan Collins?

If you search Wikipedia for “Impeachment of Donald Trump”, you’ll currently get the following results page:

A Wikipedia disambiguation page, linking to Donald Trump's first impeachment, as well as his second.

I’m sorry, you’ll need to be more specific.

Nevertheless, They Persisted

The single most important outcome from yesterday is that Joe Biden will indeed be America's next president.

Yesterday, a joint session of Congress met to affirm the results of the 2020 presidential election, which determined that Joe Biden would be the 46th President of the United States. What should have been a ceremonial exercise had instead been engulfed in controversy for weeks. Despite a complete and utter lack of evidence of widespread election irregularities, and despite dozens of court rulings condemning the notion, multiple Republicans stated that they would object to the vote from certain states which had gone against Donald Trump.

These politicians intended to carry out a craven, self-interested charade to appease Trump and his followers, all the while knowing it would not change the result, and knowing that it shouldn’t. They were kicking at one of the key foundations of our democracy, the orderly transfer of power following free and fair elections, in the hopes that it would further their future political ambitions. Such fecklessness was despicable, and it should have been the worst news of the day.

Instead, things got worse, in far more visceral fashion. Following a fact-free speech from Donald Trump at his “March to Save America” rally, a small band of insurrectionists stormed the US Capitol building. Due to an inexplicable absence of proper security, Congressional members were forced to flee the chamber. In a matter of minutes, thugs were literally able to physically overtake the seat of the legislative branch. It was horrifying to witness, and it was a direct result of Trump’s refusal to accept his loss.

Make no mistake. Donald Trump encouraged this action, as did those who have cynically enabled him in both the past two months, and over the past four years. All that preceded yesterday’s events should be dissected at length, and we should do all we can to avoid ever seeing something like this again. Lies and hypocrisy must be called out, criminals must be prosecuted, and democracy must never be taken as a given. When it comes to Trump specifically, the rhetorical two-step that Donald Trump should be taken “seriously, but not literally” must finally be rejected by all. Time and again, Trump has shown exactly who he is. He is serious and literal, and he would do anything to hold on to power, including tearing down American democracy itself.

There must be a reckoning in the coming weeks, months, and years. Republicans must see that placating and cozying up to lunatics is playing with fire, and eventually, we’ll all get burned. Dangerous conspiracy theories and alternate realities must be quashed, because it is more clear than ever just how much they threaten our society. Let us remember yesterday as a terrible day, but also as a death throe, marking the end of an awful era.

While this is generally a humor site, I simply can’t find a joke anywhere in all of this. Nevertheless, I can still find hope. At present, I hope the following will be the ultimate story of January 6, 2021 (as well as the wee hours of January 7): After a demoralizing day of rioting and mayhem in our nation’s capital, Congress got back to work, and certified Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. Despite the noxious lies from Trump and his acolytes, despite the violence perpetrated by a small band of anarchistic thugs, our system once again held. In just over 13 days, the Trump presidency will end. Where we go from there, only time and our actions, will tell.

Things Worthy of Our Love

Honor, decency, courage, beauty, and truth

In a recent Atlantic piece, long-time Republican speechwriter Peter Wehner notes that since losing the election, Donald Trump “has become even more destabilizing and dangerous”. Trump’s recent actions have been so far beyond the pale that it seems impossible to adequately express how unhinged they are. A discussion of martial law taking place in the Oval Office is the stuff of nightmares.

However, the conclusion of this horror film is near, and Wehner discusses where we as a nation might go after.

Beyond that, and more fundamental than that, we have to remind ourselves that we are not powerless to shape the future; that much of what has been broken can be repaired; that though we are many, we can be one; and that fatalism and cynicism are unwarranted and corrosive.

There’s a lovely line in William Wordsworth’s poem “The Prelude”: “What we have loved, Others will love, and we will teach them how.”

There are still things worthy of our love. Honor, decency, courage, beauty, and truth. Tenderness, human empathy, and a sense of duty. A good society. And a commitment to human dignity. We need to teach others—in our individual relationships, in our classrooms and communities, in our book clubs and Bible studies, and in innumerable other settings—why those things are worthy of their attention, their loyalty, their love. One person doing it won’t make much of a difference; a lot of people doing it will create a culture.

It’s my hope that in 2021 and beyond, we can indeed all be better. By our example, we will teach others to be better as well.

Meanwhile, in another piece for the same publication, Tom Nichols opines that engaging with Trump’s die-hard supporters simply isn’t necessary. He states that we can, and should, “tune out the noise” and the antics. I’m very much in favor of that. I’d like to hear a lot less about the lunatic fringe, and a lot more about reality, and things that matter to those of us who dwell therein.

When January 20th finally arrives, we can all stop paying attention to Trump’s latest fact-free statement. It’s been a long time coming. Once we get there, let us resolve to spend our time on more productive things.

Imploding A Former Trump Casino For The Children 

I imagine it'd be a nice tax write-off for you.

I’ve got a birthday coming up, and I thought maybe a few of my loyal readers could band together to win me the right to implode Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. C’mon, it’s for charity, place a bid!

Ghosting the President 

The slight head shake really killed me.

In a well-functioning democracy, all votes are counted, and a winner is determined. The loser concedes, the winner takes office, and the system continues to operate with the trust and support of its citizens. Unfortunately, outgoing president Donald Trump is doing all he can to break American democracy, endlessly repeating complete lies about stolen elections. Worse, he’s contacted election officials across the country, attempting to pressure them in various ways to prevent Joe Biden’s win from being certified. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, that behavior ought to terrify you.

Still, it’s at least a little funny to imagine that the president of the United States got sent to voicemail exactly as the governor of Arizona was certifying Biden’s victory in the state.

The New Year’s Countdown Has Nothing on This

By the time you read this, it will be even closer.

Today is Thanksgiving in America, and one thing I’m extremely thankful for how soon this clock will reach 0.

Accurate as of the exact time of this post, 8:30:00 AM on November 26th, 2020

At exactly 12 PM on January 20th, 2021, the clock will expire on Donald Trump’s monstrous presidency, and the world will instantly be a markedly better place.

His Eviction Notice Was Served in Early November 

In eight weeks, Donald Trump will be out of the White House, and that's something to be thankful for.

When the Boston Globe tweeted about a humorous story on how various professions deal with unwanted pests, they included this note:

A tweet reading ‘Even a nation hooked on drama does not want to see a US president dragged out the front door…’

The overwhelming response was, approximately, “Sez who?!”. It’s not pretty or pleasant, but that is where Donald Trump has brought us. After inflicting so much suffering on so many, it’s only natural that folks would in fact love to see him dragged out by his ear like the petulant toddler he is. There were plenty of amusing replies, including suggestions that we could balance the national budget or retire the national debt, just by setting up this event on pay-per-view.

Meanwhile, the article itself featured solid advice from five different professions. My favorite comes from an animal control officer:

“…[W]e install one-way doors,” he said. “They’re like little exit tunnels where they go out but can’t get back in. They squeeze out and the door closes behind them.

There are enough resources in the White House that a normal person could stay holed up in there for weeks, if not months. However, there is no golf course, and thus Trump needs to leave the building nearly every day.

Still, if that doesn’t work?

[I]f the animals are being “difficult,” the firm may sprinkle coyote urine around.

Hey, besides the Road Runner, who isn’t scared of coyotes?

Venezuela, Syria, and America 

We're in bad company.

Donald Trump’s attempts to subvert American democracy are reprehensible. Fortunately for the world, it appears they will also be ineffective. The authors of a book called “The Dictator’s Handbook” have some astute observations about exactly what Trump and his team are doing. Here’s one relevant note:

Trump is trying to make the people who report the vote into the actual winning coalition. He’s going to fail. The courts are not going to allow him to get away with it. But it’s horribly clever.

“Horribly clever” is one way to describe attempting to alter the outcome of a national election in which over 150 million people voted by having a tiny number of election officials alter the results. “Treasonous” might be another.

America’s Moron 

Perhaps he's a graduate of Four Seasons Total School of Law

After September 11th, 2001, Rudy Guiliani could’ve ridden out the rest of his life as “America’s Mayor”. Instead, he’s repeatedly chosen to associate himself with loathsome soon-to-be-former president Donald Trump. As Guiliani argues in court for disenfranchising millions of voters on utterly meritless grounds, that’s going especially poorly. Guiiani’s performance in court this week was so bad, it earned him comparisons to cartoon lawyer Lionel Hutz. As “Simpsons” writer Bill Oakley notes, those comparisons are unfair…to Mr. Hutz.

Nestled Betwixt the Adult Bookstore and the Crematorium

As the Trump presidency rapidly wanes, I am able to temper my outrage with bemusement.

On Saturday, just before the major news outlets called the presidential election for Joe Biden, the Trump campaign held one of the most bizarre press conferences the world has ever seen. It took place at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia. No, not the fancy worldwide hotel chain, but the landscaping company you’ve never heard of. The hotel even had to clarify:

A tweet reading “To clarify, President Trump’s press conference will NOT be held at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia. 
It will be held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping— no relation with the hotel.”

Instead, the event took place in the parking lot of a small business near Interstate 95. The content of the event consisted of meritless claims of election irregularities, without any actual evidence. But the location, next to Fantasy Island adult bookstore and across from Delaware Valley Cremation Center? That was simply too perfect, in all its slapdash squalor.

An undustrial parking lot, with a crowd watching Rudy Guiliani speak in front of a garage door

Like nearly everything the Trump campaign has ever done, this event was hastily thrown together with next to no planning. It featured terrible cable management, a campaign sign-plastered garage door as a backdrop and oh yeah, a perennial losing political candidate who also happens to be a convicted sex offender. It was deeply evocative of Trump’s entire inept time in office, and I can only hope it will become the enduring image of his defeat.

I’ve been enjoying this story for three full days now, and it hasn’t gotten old. I’ve speculated on how exactly this all came to pass, and I’ve continued to discover new jokes. You might like this hilarious Zoom backdrop, suitable for meetings of all types. Or perhaps you’d like to see “Four Seasons Total Landscaping” become shorthand for overwhelmingly terribleness in sports. This meme just keeps on giving.

In between laughing fits, I also took some time to consider exactly why this story is such a delight. The key is that for once, the incompetence of the Trump administration isn’t hurting anyone but themselves. There’s no need to be rueful about this, because in just a few short weeks, Donald Trump will be out of office. When he goes, hateful, harmful monsters like Stephen Miller will go with him. That’s a very good thing.

One day soon, I hope I can read an investigative report detailing how these rutabagas wound up at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in the middle of nowhere northeast Philadelphia. For now, however, I will just laugh and laugh.