What happens when the worst person in America becomes president

Trump-Jacket

After shoving a diplomat out of the way, President Trump adjusts his jacket and takes center stage.

Donald Trump is not, yet, the worst-ever president. He’s trying to be, but his administration has been too hamstrung by controversy to get much done. Part of this is because, on a personal level, Trump is almost certainly the worst person to occupy the White House. He’s crude, ignorant, abusive, and greedy – just for starters. Whatever he does or doesn’t accomplish in terms of policy, having such a toxic person in the nation’s highest office is already having destructive consequences.

It’s not just liberals who find Trump personally loathsome. Even Ann Coulter, who wrote a book titled “In Trump We Trust,” recently said, “Everyone who voted for him knew his personality was grotesque.” On the campaign trail, Republicans lined up on several occasions to denounce Trump over everything from his Muslim ban to his Access Hollywood comments, in which he brags about using his star power to sexually assault women.

Paul Ryan accused Trump of making “the textbook definition of a racist comment” and said the Muslim ban was “not who we are.” Mitt Romney said Trump’s “vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.” Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley condemned Trump’s flirtatious relationship with white supremacists.

Yet now that he’s the president, Republicans are lined up behind him through every scandal, gaffe and miscarriage of justice. Haley became Trump’s Ambassador to the United Nations. Mitt Romney sought the position of Trump’s Secretary of State. Paul Ryan tries to avoid discussing Trump, but remains committed to his legislative agenda.

trump gaffiti

Racist, pro-Trump graffiti is popping up around high schools, college campuses, public bathrooms and city streets.

Even before Trump commandeered it, the GOP had been declared “the most dangerous organization in human history.” That was mostly due to their reckless foreign policy and denial of climate change. Now, added to that is Trump’s unique brand of vile: his brazen lying, his racial and cultural insensitivity, his need to bully and intimidate rivals, and his pathetic need for aggrandizement.

Conservative media has transformed into Trump’s personal Ministry of Propaganda. Fringe-right allies of Trump like Breitbart and InfoWars now set the tone, so that even cable news pundits like Sean Hannity sound indistinguishable from Alex Jones. The willingness to lie and shill for Trump was perfectly encapsulated by Newt Gingrich. The former House Speaker tried in 1998 to impeach Bill Clinton over obstruction of justice, but recently declared, “Technically, the president of the United States cannot obstruct justice.”

Republican pundits’ need to defend Trump has forced them into bald-faced hypocrisy, embrace of conspiracy theories, and coziness with white supremacists. The only honest way to remain on Trump’s side is to express contempt for the Constitution and the working poor – both of which Trump has in spades.

Stories of Trump stiffing workers, from construction contractors to his own lawyers, could fill a book. Shortly after the 2016 election he paid a $25 million settlement to college students defrauded by the sham Trump University. His unscrupulousness as a businessman and employer helped ruin Atlantic City. Recently Forbes detailed how Trump skimmed from a kids cancer charity. Far from coming to the aid of America’s “forgotten people,” Trump has made his living preying on them.

Trump’s hostility toward critics, his penchant for name-calling, and his casual bigotry have also made an impact on America’s most impressionable people: children. Across the country there are reports of children bullying their classmates using Trump’s words. White students threaten minority classmates with deportation and talk about how America will be great again once they’re gone. For some bullies it’s enough to simply chant Trump’s name in the face of a black or brown classmate.

None of this worries conservative media or the GOP. They are a single-issue party: remove any and all obligations to social responsibility currently burdening corporations and the wealthy, whether they be taxes or regulations. So long as Trump stays on board with that, Republicans will follow him down ever-darker, more poisonous terrain. And that’s exactly where he’ll take them. Trump isn’t just one of the worst people to become president. He’s one of the worst people who has ever lived.

Far right blames negative Trump coverage for congressional baseball shooting

Trump

At rallies across America during the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump called for violence from his podium.

At a practice for the Republican congressional baseball team Wednesday morning, a mass shooter opened fire and struck five people. One of them was Steve Scalise, the third-ranked Republican in the House of Representatives. The shooter, identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, was killed in a shootout with Capitol police. In the ensuing news cycle, Hodgkinson’s political persuasion became public knowledge. He was, apparently, a political progressive who volunteered on the Bernie Sanders campaign and despised Donald Trump’s presidency.

Figures on the far right wasted no time blaming Trump’s critics for the attack. Comments on right-wing message boards, and on Hodgkinson’s own Facebook page, excoriated liberals for dividing the country and encouraging violence. Sean Hannity, whose FOX News program is the leading Trump propaganda hour on cable, warned, “When Democrats continue to dehumanize Republicans… the climate around the country becomes more than toxic.” Newt Gingrich blamed “an increasing intensity of hostility on the left.” Continue reading

Russia collusion among least of Trump’s crimes

TrumpPutin

Putin and Trump Matryoshka dolls. Image taken from Politico.

The number one political scandal in Washington, D.C., continues to be President Trump’s campaign and cabinet’s association with Russia. A steady trickle of salacious, but ultimately inconclusive, headlines has dominated the D.C. press ever since the election. Each new testimony and new detail, however minor, is treated like a bombshell. But even if the worst possible scenario between Trump and Russia is confirmed, it will still be among the least of his crimes. Continue reading

Left and Right PC outrage in the Trump era

griffintrump

This picture earned more than its thousand words, but it didn’t get as many laughs.

From comedians to journalists, high-profile members of the left and right found themselves in Trump-related controversy in recent weeks. The incidents provide a useful microcosm to paint a bigger picture. When the political correctness of each side is analyzed one thing is clear: the left holds its own to a much higher standard than the right does. And while liberals spend much of their time infighting, Republicans are radicalizing further rightward and running away with the country. Continue reading

White people really don’t like being called racists

Rudy

In his defense of Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani declares, “To call anyone a racist is outrageous.”

Comedian Louis CK has a bit about white privilege that includes a riff on the lack of effective racial slurs against white people. “Ruined my day,” he mockingly complains after being called a cracker. It’s an interesting observation, but CK overlooked one word that does cause white people to become uppity: the word “racist” itself. For many white people, it has become a slur in its own right. Continue reading

A theory: Comey firing proves Bannon is still in charge of the White House

trumpbannon

Steve Bannon is the likeliest administration member to push Trump into full authoritarianism.

Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey because he was leading an investigation into Trump’s Russia connection, whatever that may or may not be. But even as Trump essentially admitted this was the reason in a TV interview, the Trump Administration made one ridiculous excuse after another. First Trump passed the buck to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. But when Rosenstein passed the buck back, Trump trolled the world and said Comey was fired because of his mistreatment of Hillary Clinton.

It’s a pitiful naivety that would allow anyone to believe anything Donald Trump says, particularly about this case. What the whole episode really proves, though, is that the rumors of Steve Bannon’s demise were greatly exaggerated. The decision to fire Comey may have been Trump’s, but Bannon’s fingerprints and the fingerprints of the alt-right are all over it. Continue reading

The problem of cop-on-citizen crime is cultural

police violence

Police use violence to contain a crowd in Anaheim protesting police violence in 2012.

Whenever a black, brown or Muslim person commits a crime, pundits spend the next news cycle trying to diagnose what it is about those communities that produces such violence. White Americans are so convinced the problem is with the groups themselves, and not individuals or social forces, that they elected a president who wants to ban all Muslims, build a wall to keep out immigrants, and instill law and order in black neighborhoods.

Yet when a police officer kills an unarmed citizen, media presents the officer’s side of the story; digs into the victim’s past for any evidence of wrongdoing, no matter how petty; and urges the public not to turn against law enforcement. When the officer is truly indefensible, he’s cast as a bad apple. But if there’s any group in America whose violence needs to be examined on a systemic level, it’s the police. Continue reading

Violence at Berkeley is less about free speech than it is white nationalism

mcinnes

Gavin McInnes, founder of the political street gang Proud Boys, reads what would have been Ann Coulter’s speech at Berkeley.

On April 27, far-right polemicist Ann Coulter was scheduled to give a speech at the University of California at Berkeley. After a lot of back-and-forth, during which Coulter was disinvited, re-invited and rescheduled, the group that sponsored her ultimately backed out. Security concerns, including a near-guarantee of violence, prompted both Coulter and the Young America’s Foundation to decide that her appearance would jeopardize people’s well-being. In a statement, Coulter said, “It’s a sad day for free speech.” Continue reading

The Trump/Bannon Plan: Create more terrorists

trump

In a recent Associated Press interview, President Trump said he was 10-0 in predicting terror attacks.

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump campaigned to become a war criminal. He protested the Geneva Conventions, vowed to “bomb the shit” out of the Middle East, and insisted the US had to kill the family members of terrorists. Though he’s reneged on plenty of promises so far, he has stuck to these frighteningly well. But this is far from a legitimate strategy to fight terrorism. In fact, Trump’s presidency is sure to create more of it. Continue reading

Media reinforces Donald Trump’s most dangerous behavior

Mosul shelling

Iraqi citizens gaze at the devastation in Mosul, where Trump-authorized airstrikes have killed hundreds of civilians.

For the first several weeks of his presidency, it looked as though mainstream media might hold Donald Trump at least partially accountable for his actions. Stories regularly aired that were critical of Trump’s brutal budget and discussed his pathological lying. All of it prompted Trump to label the media the “opposition party.” Then, late last week, Trump fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase. His fireworks show earned Trump bipartisan media and political praise.

Even before Trump launched the attack, Hillary Clinton called for it. Both the Democratic Senate and House Minority Leaders, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, praised the attack, as did prominent Republican critics of Trump like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Liberal CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria declared Trump “became president of the United States” with the attack while NBC host Brian Williams described the bombing as “beautiful.” FAIR found that of 47 editorials published in major papers, only one was critical. Continue reading