A friend received a letter from the Trump campaign asking for (what else?) a donation. It runs 4 pages and here’s a pdf of it in its entirety. Almost needless to say, it is full of insults, alarms and lies. Below I’ll pick out a few of the passages from just the first page (doing all 4 pages would be torture) that reveal just what sort of person Trump is.
“My Fellow Patriot”. Most politicians start their solicitations with something like “Dear Friend”, but not Trump. Right away he implies that people who don’t support him are by definition not patriots.
“stop the Liberal Democrats from using the Chinese virus pandemic to turn our nation into a failed Big Government Socialist country like Venezuela”. First, he pushes the racial button with the Chinese virus meme. Then he accuses the Democrats of wanting to force Socialism on the U.S. I’m not aware of any leading Democrats who want to force Socialism on us. Not even Bernie wanted that, unless you re-define “Socialism” to include lots of stuff that most Americans want – like a better health care system. Venezuela is certainly a basket case, but it seems that corruption and authoritarianism are the main culprits, not socialism.
“Sleepy Joe Biden”. Trump can’t resist insulting, can he?
Pelosi is “ultra partisan”? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! This portrayal is undercut by Trump’s subsequent mention of the bi-partisan CARES act.
James Clyburn’s “restructure” quote. It appears to be accurate, but out of context. He was talking about it now being the House’s turn to weigh in on the CARES act that the Senate had just passed. And the House did so, increasing the size of the package from $1T to $2T.
“Radical Liberals”? I guess that includes anyone to the left of his fairly extreme right, which includes a majority of us.
Then Trump lists 4 Democratic proposals that he regards as evil, as follows:
Hiking the tax rate. Yep, especially on higher income people. I’m guessing this is pretty popular with those of us who want to fund a functioning government without going into massive debt like Trump has done. No wonder he went bankrupt, what, six times?
New Green Deal. I think most of us know we have to do something about global warming, that it is not a hoax. I do have a lot of problems with exactly what we should be doing. For my thoughts on wind power look at windfarmrealities.org.
Medicare for all. Some Democrats are for this, others not so much. Regardless, most all of us want a better, more efficient health system.
Border wall. He claims the Democrats “forced my hand to declare a national emergency” to build his wall. This is nonsense. Almost nobody thought his wall was a good idea – but Trump had promised it.
The next 3 pages are filled with similar themes. I imagine it might be attractive to someone who lives in the Fox bubble. For the rest of us, it shows what sort of person we’re dealing with, and what sort of government he has been leading, and would continue to lead.
Somehow I completely missed this story when it first came out, learning of it only when the Washington Post did a story on it – “The Cursed Platoon“. The story came out in both printed and podcast formats, and if you have an hour to listen to both podcasts you should do so. Links:
The particulars of the story aren’t in much doubt. Clint Lorance was an Army lieutenant who had just been assigned to lead a platoon in Afghanistan. He had never been in combat before. After lying to his platoon about their rules of engagement, he ordered them to open fire on three unarmed (unless you count cucumbers) civilians. Two of them were killed. This was no doubt a war crime, and Lorance was sentenced to 19 years.
People who fashion themselves as patriots thought locking up a good American boy merely for killing Afghans was unfair, so they started working on alternative facts. Their main contention was that the deep state military chain of command was responsible, never mind that it was his platoon members – all enlisted men – who reported it and then testified under oath. And those enlisted men have suffered greatly for their honesty. At some point Hannity got involved, and then Trump heard about it.
So Trump pardons Lowance, mostly as a political sop to his base. Just think of what message that sends to (1) our troops, and (2) our adversaries and most importantly (3) people we are trying to convince of our democratic values. Recall that our main goal in Afghanistan is to convince the population that our system of governance is better than theirs and that we are able to keep them safe from the Taliban. At least for this village that goal is now unattainable.
However negligible our chances ever were of converting Afghanistan to the modern world; our continued screw-ups there have made our position there now just a waste of men, materiel and money. This particular incident not only did a great deal of harm to our mission in Afghanistan, it also damaged our own military and the lives of soldiers who deserved much better from us.
Ever since Trump has been in office, one of his main goals has been to undo everything his predecessor did, regardless if it was beneficial to the citizens or not. One of his principle targets has been Obamacare, also know as the Affordable Care Act. His first attempt to undo the entire act was derailed by John McCain. Never one to moderate his spite, Trump is now trying again. This time he isn’t going through Congress directly, but rather through the courts.
As part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 the Republican-controlled congress slipped in a section that repealed the “mandate” that provided a penalty if younger/healthier people didn’t went uninsured. The theory behind the mandate in the first place was that many younger/healthier people would forego health insurance entirely, thus driving the cost up for those who were older/unhealthy. So it was a measure that spread the risk of medical expenses over a larger part of the population – kinda like what insurance should do.
With the mandate now gone, Trump’s administration is arguing that the entire ACA should be declared void by the courts. If the court agrees about 20 million people will lose their insurance, and this right in the middle of a pandemic. Along with the loss of insurance will come the loss of protection for those with pre-existing conditions – likely including things like having tested positive for the coronavirus.
And how has Trump himself responded? A couple of tweets:
The Republicans have been talking about replacing the ACA since 2010 when Obama signed it into law, always promising something bigger, better and cheaper. Trump has been promising the same since he started campaigning in 2016. So far nothing, absolutely nothing, has appeared to make this promise believable. The Washington Post Fact Checker has a nice analysis.
They had thought there would be so many people they built an outdoor stage so Pence and Trump could speak to the overflow crowd. There were so few out there that they cancelled the speeches and tore down the stage before the main event inside.
His speech went two hours, during which he never seriously addressed the virus nor the recent BLM demonstrations. He did, however, take 15 minutes to discuss his halting walk down the ramp at the West Point graduation, along with demonstrating that he can actually drink a glass of water using only one hand. I am So Impressed.
Trump was reported to be not very happy with the rally. I’m guessing that Brad Parscale’s (his campaign manager) days are numbered. Perhaps the most eloquent statement about the rally is contained in this picture, taken after the rally.
Protestors have been busy in Seattle. On Monday, June 8, tired of continuing demonstrations and scattered destruction, the authorities decided to vacate part of the city and leave it to the protestors. They quickly proclaimed the “Capital Hill Autonomous Zone” (the CHAZ) where the police are forbidden, food is free (sort of ), speeches are given, bands play music and movies screened.
This largely peaceful takeover, apparently not requiring the presence of the police, didn’t set well with the Law and Order President. Trump tweeted:
Tucker Carlson had a largely false (i.e. no evidence of any Antifa) and inflammatory report on the situation but even his videos show a peaceful scene. A little bit later Trump, who apparently watched Carlson, upped the ante by tweeting the following:
Did Trump contact the local authorities before threatening them? Of course not – he wouldn’t dream of questioning Carlson’s information. Nor is it clear exactly how Trump would do this. Absent the governor’s permission he can’t send in the National Guard without declaring an insurrection. And Jay Inslee isn’t about to provide it. In fact, here’s his response:
The “Stoop” referred to a misspelling in Trump’s tweet above, which he subsequently fixed. Seattle’s mayor, Jenny Durkin, became a Nasty Woman with:
By all accounts, Martin Gugino was a gentle man, a longtime activist for social causes. On June 4 he was part of a demonstration in Buffalo when he was roughly pushed by riot police, fell to the ground and suffered a serious head injury. As of this writing he is still in the hospital in serious but stable condition.
This is already a bad situation from any number of angles. After watching one of the many videos of the incident you almost have to conclude there is something broken with our policing. It is bad enough that the authoritarians supporting Trump are busily making up stories to discredit Gugino and justify the police actions. Trump himself got involved with yet another tweet:
Notice Trump’s choice of words: “[Gagino] could be an ANTIFA provocateur”. I guess that is, strictly speaking, a true statement. After all, he could be the Easter Bunny. The “scanner” was almost certainly his cell phone. And risking death is a “set up”?
Just how low can a person go? Especially when that person is the President?
Trump tweeted that he was pulling the National Guard out of D.C. That certainly is a welcome bit of news. He infers he can now do this because the crowds are smaller.
His inference is clear – he can remove the troops because there are fewer protesters. This was written on Sunday morning, so I assume he is referring to the crowds on Saturday. However, according to Forbes, hardly an Antifa mouthpiece, the crowds on Saturday were quite large. From that article, “…thousands of protesters gathered in Washington D.C. on Saturday in what city officials estimate is the largest Black Lives Matter demonstration since George Floyd died earlier this month.”
Trump just can’t admit that just maybe the National Guard etc were the cause of the violence, not the cure.
Trump has spent a large part of his term attacking the press. One of his more infamous tweets was:
Notice that Trump has two themes in this one tweet. The first is fake news (almost always in all caps, as it is here). Recall that the original meaning of the term was false news items, usually spread on non-monitored social media platforms, that were intentionally formulated to cause dissent. Often their real purpose wasn’t particularly political. Young hustlers, usually overseas, created these fake news items to get lots of clicks from outraged viewers, for which they got paid by advertisers. Given the term’s power to get a rise out of most people, Trump appropriated it to cover news items that he didn’t like, regardless of their truth.
The second is that the press is the “enemy of the people”. He apparently forgot the Washington Post and MSNBC, at least in 2017. The list of dictators who have issued similar statements is quite long and includes some of the most evil folks in the planet’s history — Robespierre, Goebbels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao. And now Trump joins them.
In Jim Mattis’s letter there was a reference to a lack of mature leadership. Well, it only took Trump a couple of hours to prove the point. He took to Twitter, as is his habit, to slam Mattis.
Trump makes three statements of fact in this tweet and all three of them are untrue. Mattis clearly resigned, Obama didn’t fire him and he had the “mad dog” moniker well before serving Trump. AP’s fact check has some details.
Never to admit an error, Trump doubled down, twice.
When Trump was running for President back in 2016 he often appeared on Scarborough’s “Morning Joe” show on MSNBC, where he found a friendly reception. That cooled as Trump assumed the Presidency and like any spurned lover, Trump has held a grudge ever since.
Back in 2001 when Scarborough was a Congressman from Florida, one of his assistants, Lori Klausutis, suddenly died from an unknown pre-existing medical condition in a branch office of his in Florida. Even though Scarborough was in DC at the time of her death a number of conspiracy mongers have spread rumors that he had “something” to do with it. Initially these rumors came from the political left (i.e. Markos Moulitsas, of Kos Daily fame) as Scarborough was a Republican.
As Scarborough and Trump became disenchanted with each other, Trump has adopted these rumors. The first tweet I could find on the topic was back in 2017.
Followed, by my count, by 8 more in May 2020. Here they are:
I would think that any non-loser would be spending more time on the coronavirus pandemic than on promulgating spurious (and defamatory) conspiracy theories. One has to wonder – exactly why is Trump even bothering with this? Will this somehow resonate with his base? Or is he simply incredibly vindictive?