Previous “This Week in Trump” posts

The Lowest Bar 

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

The headline on this Guardian piece is really something:

  • John Kerry on Biden’s foreign policy: ‘He’d never lavish praise on dictators’

That is the lowest bar I’ve ever heard of. At the same time, it’s also a valid comparison to use between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.


Voting Information: Ending the nightmare of the Trump presidency starts with voting. Visit https://vote.org to register to vote, or to check your registration status. Once you’ve done that, make sure your friends and family are registered as well.

Donald Trump Is a Coward 

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

As William Saletan astutely notes, “[w]hen the president is a coward, people die”.

He’ll Be Gone Eventually, Too 

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

On Sunday, Fox News aired a somewhat remarkable interview with Donald Trump. In it, Chris Wallace did something which has not been nearly common enough, repeatedly pushing back on Trump’s many lies and falsehoods. After Wallace played several clips of Trump making pronouncements that have been proven wrong, Trump responded:

“I will be right eventually. You know, I said, ‘It’s going to disappear.’ I’ll say it again. … It’s going to disappear, and I’ll be right,” Mr Trump said of Covid-19, which has killed more than 140,000 Americans over the least five months.

The seemingly obvious reply to that bit of painful vapidity is “Yes, Mr. President, and even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” Setting aside the ridiculous idea that there’s any value to repeating the same thing over and over, until it’s eventually correct, perhaps the president could focus on the present? Because right now, the virus is very much here, and hundreds of thousands of American citizens are dying.


Voting Information: There are many things we can do to end the Trump presidency, but it all starts with voting. Visit https://vote.org to register to vote, or to check your registration status. Once you’ve done that, get your friends and family registered next.

It’s a Very Low Bar 

Friday, July 10th, 2020

Bragging about “acing” a cognitive test should be an immediate, retroactive failure, because it means you don’t comprehend what the test is actually measuring. But here we are.

Rather than indicating some high level of intelligence, a test like this simply shows a baseline level of brain function. The best result one can get is “Normal”. Boasting about your cognitive test is like saying you nailed your roadside sobriety test. It is not an accomplishment, it’s the bare minimum. In the case of an erratic driver, it means the police can’t point to alcohol as the reason for your poor operation of a motor vehicle. In the case of an erratic president, it just means you don’t have a medical excuse for your awfulness.

I’m skeptical that Trump actually even took the test, much less that he managed to not miss any questions. But if that much is true, I do believe the doctors would’ve been surprised, in a “Can you believe the problem isn’t dementia?” sort of way.

Just Stay in Your Bunker 

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

You should wear a mask. You should wear a mask when you leave the house, you should wear a mask while you’re donating platelets, you should wear a mask when you’re wearing Rothy’s, and you should obviously wear a mask when you’re visiting the Mayo Clinic.

Another time you should wear a mask is when you’re touring a factory making sterile swabs for use in detecting COVID-19. As you can surely guess, Donald Trump chose not to do so when he visited Maine’s Puritan Medical Products last Friday.

“The running of the factory machines is very limited today and will only occur when the president is touring the facility floor,” Virginia Templet, the company’s marketing manager told USA TODAY in response to questions about the event. “Swabs produced during that time will be discarded.”

The above statement is obviously an attempt to downplay the problem here, but even a small number of wasted swabs is too many. The underlying arrogance of Trump’s refusal to wear a mask in even the most straightforward of situations really shouldn’t be glossed over. However, the fact that the machines ran in a very limited capacity on the day of Trump’s tour is also a major problem, given this:

Nearly a third of Maine nursing homes reported last month they had no nasal swabs to collect specimens, the Portland Press Herald reported. Nearly 61% of those that responded to a Maine Medical Directors Association survey said they had seven or fewer at their disposal.

National shortages of swabs was part of what severely hampered early coronavirus testing efforts…Puritan, which received millions of dollars from the federal government to double production, is one of only two companies that make the kind of swabs needed in coronavirus testing.

Despite major shortages of testing swabs, the president’s actions disrupted one of the only active factories making this critical product, leaving workers play-acting instead. In any sane world, this would be a major scandal. In 2020, and Trump’s America, it’s just a scantily reported story garnering little attention as we lurch to the next massive screwup from this ill-equipped administration.


Voting Information: There are many things we can do to end the Trump presidency, but it all starts with voting. Visit https://vote.org to register to vote, or to check your registration status. Once you’ve done that, get your friends and family registered next.

This Is What She Does Now 

Friday, June 5th, 2020

On Monday night, Reverend Gini Gerbasi was among those who were forced away from St. John’s Church in Lafayette Square. Her account of the shameful events is well worth reading.

Additionally, while I trust my disgust was obvious, my previous post about Trump’s church stunt was sardonic. I want to be sure my feelings are not mistaken in any way. There is absolutely nothing funny about the way excessive force was used, at the behest of the president, and against peaceful protestors striving toward an end to police brutality, in order to make this hollow photo op possible. In one word, it is a disgrace. The same word neatly sums up Donald Trump himself.

The Church Stunt

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

By now, you’ve likely seen photographs or even video of Donald Trump’s Monday night church stunt. In short, the world’s least likely Christian, a twice-divorced admitted sexual assailant who states that he has never asked God for forgiveness, wasted government resources in an attempt to wash away the fact that he’d spent part of the previous weekend hiding in a secure bunker, by having his picture taken in front of St. John’s Church. I won’t bother to reproduce one of the photographs here, because even that is giving them what they want, but it is exactly as stupid and empty as it sounds.

I found this publicity stunt to be deeply offensive, though not because I am at all religious. Instead, I am offended at how goddamned incompetently it was executed. After nearly four years of the hellish Trump administration, I certainly don’t expect any better. Still, the myriad ways in which this was bungled are remarkable. It is at least slightly uplifting to spell them out, though, so let’s do that!

Many of the details below come from the Washington Post’s timeline, but corroborating sources are abundantly available.

Minimal Traveling

Despite the fact that the President can go pretty much anywhere he wants in America, these lazy monsters opted to go the minimal distance possible, to the absolute nearest church to the White House. Yes, this church was damaged during Sunday night’s protests, but that fact wasn’t even acknowledged. The only way they could have exerted less effort to get their staged photograph is if they’d printed a picture of a church and taped it to a wall in the White House.

Maximal Tear Gas

Despite its proximity to the White House, to get access to this church, the administration decided they needed to order authorities to clear out peaceful protestors from Lafayette Square. Seemingly under noxious bullfrog Bill Barr’s direction, flash-bangs were set off and tear gas was deployed against both protestors and church officials. Apparently, no one considered the optics on that.

Too Early For The Curfew

Washington, D.C. had a curfew in effect Monday night, beginning at 7 PM. At that point, authorities would have had at least a paper-thin justification to clear people out. And yet, the clearing out instead began just after 6:30 PM, well ahead of the curfew. Not content with being merely incompetent, the team had to be impatient as well.

A Lack of Substance

As he finished his short speech in the White House’s Rose Garden, Trump declared “I’m going to pay my respects to a very, very special place”. At that point, Trump and his toadies toddled over to St. John’s. However, the president didn’t permit a few pictures to be captured as he went inside to pray, because he did not go inside to pray. Nor did photographers capture him as he conferred with church leaders, as he didn’t do that either.

Instead, he simply stood in front of the church as pictures were taken. It should be expressly stated, this was not an event which happened to offer a photo op. Instead, it was nothing but the nakedly opportunistic photo op itself. There was no event, and there certainly was no respect to the church, which served solely as a backdrop.

Oh For The Love Of God, Just Lie!

As Trump stood awkwardly in front of his sacrilegious backdrop, he answered a few questions. That led to this hilarious exchange:

“Is that your Bible?”

“It’s a Bible.”.

The president has been a liar his entire life, and he hasn’t slowed the pace of lies during his time in office. Why was this the time he opted to make a truthful statement? Just lie! And did no one think that question might come up? Did they not spend even just a few minutes rehearsing Q&A? Apparently not.

An Awkward Prop

In addition to not rehearsing for possible questions, it’s clear Trump didn’t even practice holding a Bible. Frankly, it like he’s never held a book before. The entire event was about getting a picture holding a Bible in front of a church. Wouldn’t it have made sense to spend just 90 seconds determining how he’d pose?

How did they let this happen?

It would not be unreasonable for you to wonder about how Trump’s team let all this happen. How did no one stop to think about any of the above? While Trump has shown himself to be a fool of limitless vacuity, surely others could have foreseen the backlash this event would cause, if they possessed even a modicum of foresight. And yet, they do not, so they did not.

That’s a natural result of Trump’s stated M.O, which is literally to surround himself with people less intelligent than he is. That would be a bad idea for even a genius, and it’s an irredeemable disaster for this witless dunderhead. It’s also a disaster for America, and the world. This stunt is simply the latest sad example of that.


Voting Information: There are many things we can do to end the Trump presidency, but it all starts with voting. Visit https://vote.org to register to vote, or to check your registration status. Then, get your friends and family registered.

Donald Trump Is Bored 

Friday, May 8th, 2020

It’s natural to try to understand just what those in power are thinking and planning for America, as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. Far too often in the past few weeks, the federal government has utterly failed in its duties to coordinate a national response. Often, it has seemed that the plan is to have no plan.

However, even that requires a level of foresight that doesn’t seem to reflect the reality of who Donald Trump is. Instead, consider this quote, from Amanda Marcotte:

It’s tempting to imagine that Trump is motivated by some clever political strategy — or by any strategy at all — in making this move now. But it’s probably just that he’s getting bored with this whole coronavirus crisis and, now that things are getting really hard, he’s ready to abandon it and move on. That’s exactly what he did during his entire career in the real estate business — and in his marriages — abandoning one failed venture after another the second things turned rocky. Now he’s doing it to the entire country.

Marcotte’s piece for Salon is the most cogent read I’ve yet seen.

Don’t Be a Pence

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

It’s been several weeks since I wrote about how we should all wear a mask when going out in public. Hopefully by this point, you’re on board. Just in case you still need convincing, this article from the Atlantic lays things out with wonderful clarity. Put simply, your mask helps me, my mask helps you, and when enough people wear masks, the spread of COVID-19 is drastically reduced.

Wearing a mask is a simple and effective action we can all take to help move the world back to something closer to normal. Frankly, if I see someone’s nose and mouth out in public right now, I consider them rude and selfish. Wearing a mask should be viewed as an act of patriotism, as taking part in a collective effort akin to rationing or buying bonds during wartime. Refusing to wear a mask isn’t brave, it’s practically treasonous.

Nevertheless, there are still many people who have yet to see the light. Most egregious among them is Vice President Mike Pence, who toured the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday with his maw on full display. This occurred despite an established policy that all visitors must mask up.

It’s disappointing that the medical experts at the Mayo even allowed Pence to enter the premises. Even more cravenly, their Twitter account first tweeted confirmation that Pence had been informed of the policy before his arrival, then later deleted the tweet. At this point, no one’s coming out of this looking good. But hey, just to be fair, let’s see how Pence defended his actions:

“As vice president of the United States, I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus,” he told reporters, saying he is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

“And since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say ‘thank you.’ “

No test is going to be perfect, and even if the results are extremely reliable, they’re also sure to be a lagging indicator. At the very least, despite what he’s saying, it’s impossible for Pence to be certain he doesn’t have the virus. When interacting with frontline medical workers, staff, and sick patients, it’s inexcusable to fail to exercise caution and follow policy, no matter how recently he received an all-clear test.

Even if Pence actually could be certain there was no chance he’d spread the virus, his decision not to wear a mask was also a failure of leadership. Good leaders know how to lead by example. In 1969, Fred Rogers shared a foot bath with a black man to promote racial equality at a time when swimming pools in America were often still segregated. To teach the world that HIV couldn’t be transmitted by touch, Princess Diana shook the hand of an AIDS patient on television. But Mike Pence? He shrank from the opportunity to set a good example.

Hang on, though. Let’s re-read part of that feeble defense:

I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to…look them in the eye and say ‘thank you.’ “

Does Mike Pence not know the difference between a mask and a blindfold?

OK, You First, Mr. President

Friday, April 24th, 2020

Yesterday, at the daily White House train wreck press briefing on COVID-19, Donald Trump went on an ill-informed digression about light and disinfectants. From the official transcript:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. So I asked Bill a question that probably some of you are thinking of, if you’re totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting. So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too. It sounds interesting.

ACTING UNDER SECRETARY BRYAN: We’ll get to the right folks who could.

THE PRESIDENT: Right. And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.

That none of the “medical doctors” who were present rushed the stage to dispute this truly dangerous notion is but a sad footnote in the insanity that is Donald Trump’s presidency.

Thankfully, Trump’s hazardous ideas were swiftly condemned by the press, as well as anyone with even an ounce of goddamned common sense. Private businesses like Clorox and Reckitt Benckiser (makers of Lysol), as well as government agencies like the EPA and the Consumer Products Safety Commission, found themselves needing to issue statements warning the public not to ingest or inject bleach or other disinfectants.

Now, Trump is claiming he was being sarcastic, stating:

  • I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.

Two things:

First, no. He very, very clearly was not being sarcastic. For my own mental well-being, I avoid listening to Trump shitting at the mouth whenever possible. In this case, though, the video is clear, and available for you to see with your own eyes.1 It’s just over a minute long, and it is entirely clear that he is not being sarcastic in any way. Donald Trump has such a poor understand of health, and how the human body works, that he believed these were solutions worth looking in to. That would be disturbing to hear from any adult. It’s truly horrifying to hear from the president of America.

Second, let us briefly, against all reason and evidence, accept this obvious lie. Let us temporarily accept the clearly false premise that Donald Trump was asking this question sarcastically, “just to see what would happen”. Is that a good use of time and energy? Is that what the leader of the nation should be doing, while Americans are stuck at home and businesses are closed, while hospitals are being overwhelmed, while people are dying?

Of course it is not. This presidency can’t end soon enough. I urge you to register to vote. I urge you to get your friends and family registered. And then I urge you to vote in November to make certain the Trump presidency ends on January 20th, 2021.


Footnotes:

  1. The video is archived here. ↩︎