As the election draws closer – and Donald Trump’s unpopularity has begun to erode his support – the minority party has grown increasingly desperate. Following are a few observations and comments…

Chris Christy gets religion.

Christy, like much of the Republican leadership, mostly ignored the medical experts on the coronavirus. Then a maskless, non-social distancing Christy contracted Covid-19. And spent several days in the ICU before recovering.

Suddenly, Christy has seen the light. He’s advocating for masks and recommending social distancing. This is Christy’s first break with Trump since the 2016 election. But he won’t have to worry about upsetting Trump. The Donald has treated him like a dog the whole time.

Sen. Sasse grows a spine… sort of.

On a recent call with voters, Ben Sasse of Nebraska bad-mouthed Trump. Sasse criticized Trump for flirting with white supremacists, kissing dictators’ butts, selling out our allies, and mocking evangelicals in private.

Now that Trump’s popularity has taken a nosedive, Sasse says he never really liked the guy. Too bad he’s been a solid Trump voter while in office. Better to vote Blue than make the mistake of sending another Sasse to the Senate.

Lindsey Graham begs for money.

Over the course of barely two weeks, Sen. Graham recently appeared as a guest on Fox News no less than five times. Begging voters for financial support each time. His Democratic rival, Jaime Harrison, has been out-earning him by far. And his once safe Senate seat is now up for grabs.

I’m just going to take a shot at this, Lindsey… but maybe your massive hypocrisy over the last four years has something to do with it. In 2016, Trump was “unfit for office.” But now you’re solidly on his team? The hypocrisy chickens are finally coming home to roost.

Majority Leader McConnell shows his true colors.

Not that any clear-eyed observer ever believed anything else… but Mitch McConnell has little concern for our democracy. Or the voters he supposedly serves. This was on full display during his recent debate with challenger Amy McGrath.

When McGrath chided him for calling a Senate recess this spring – with no Covid-19 relief bill in sight – McConnell laughed.

That’s right the Senate Majority Leader thinks it’s funny when tens of thousands are dead… millions are out of work… and countless families face eviction. Apparently McConnell finds the suffering of the American people amusing.

Sen. David Purdue goes a little bit racist.

At a rally on Oct. 16, Georgia senator David Purdue made a little “oopsie.” At a campaign rally, he called Kamala Harris, “KAH’-mah-lah? Kah-MAH’-lah? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever.”

Forgivable? Well, he has worked in the Senate with Harris for more than three years.

Yet Purdue insisted on mis-pronouncing her name. His press secretary claimed he “didn’t mean anything by it.” But can you imagine working side-by-side with anyone for three years and still not knowing their name?

In the end, it sure smells like racism.

Donald Trump goes tone deaf… again.

At a recent rally in Johnstown, PA, Trump made his case to “suburban women.”

“… I ended the regulation that destroyed your neighborhood. I ended the regulation that brought crime to the suburbs,’ Trump claimed, “and you’re going to live the American dream.”

Trump was referring to rolling back regulations on affordable housing in the suburbs. A move also generally known as “racism.”

“… So can I ask you to do me a favor? Suburban women, will you please like me?” Trump continued. “I saved your damn neighborhood, okay?”

Seriously. The President of the United States actually said that.

Meanwhile, Rudy Kazootie drops in from La-La Land.

Rudy Giuliani, the clown prince of the Trump administration, delivered “dirt” on Hunter Biden… straight from a legally blind computer repairman.

Hunter supposedly left a laptop with this technician and abandoned it. After sitting on this “blockbuster” information for months, the technician supposedly turned the info over to Giuliani.

Giuliani and that other pillar of truth, Steve Bannon, gave these “damning” e-mails to the NY Post. The Post belongs to Rupert Murdoch…a publisher so far to the right, he’d probably scare Ronald Reagan.

True to form, the Post published unverified and suspect “e-mails.” When CBS News interviewed the technician, his story changed repeatedly over two hours. And the Post refused to share any of the supposed trove of e-mails with other news outlets.

In other words, the NY Post published unsubstantiated claims from a questionable source… and represented them as fact. Giuliani’s historical sources not only include the suspect Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman… but also unreliable sources linked by the FBI to Russian Intelligence.

Lies on Top of Lies.

As the Trump Train careens further and further off the rails, expect to see more wild stories like these. Trump’s team will seemingly claim anything to slow the Blue Wave.

But, the truth is, if you care at all about Democracy, there’s simply no excuse for voting for Team Trump.

Our Hardest Working President

On Sunday, April 26, Donald Trump once again described himself as “the hardest working President in history.” And he claims his supporters know it to be true.

This makes me question the history education of those who support Trump. Because, up until March…

  • He’d spent 20% of his tenure as president playing golf.
  • He watched hours of TV – mostly Fox News – every day.
  • He often had only two or three specific appointments. With many hours blocked off for “executive time.”

How Hard Does This President Work?

I chose a recent day at random – January 28, 2020 – to compare. This seemed fair, because it’s both recent and before the coronavirus panic. Here’s a screenshot of President Trump’s day…

Look at all those items! President Trump clearly had a busy day. He had so much going on, it couldn’t fit on one screen!

Until you look a bit more closely…

During the normal workday, Trump spent a half-hour with Israel’s Prime Minister and took his daily intelligence briefing.

An example of Trump's daily schedule.
Trump’s schedule, January 28, 2020.

Almost everything else on this page tracks his travels – to and from a 1.5-hour political rally in NJ.

Almost everything on this schedule is related to air travel for a political rally.

The day before, more than a dozen countries reported the spread of Covid-19. And the University of Hong Kong warned of up to 100,000 new infections per day, worldwide.

So, our “hardest working president” spent a couple of hours working, a couple of hours at a political rally, and pretty much a full workday traveling from D.C. to NJ and back for that rally.

That’s the standard to be the “hardest-working” president. Maybe a half-day of actual work. Now let’s compare that to the man Trump constantly blames for leaving him a “mess.”

Same Day, Different Chief Executive

Four years earlier, President Obama was in the same position as Trump. Just a few months from an election. Maybe not his own, but a key election to show how effective he’d been as president.

His calendar for January 28, 2016 starts a little behind Trump’s: 10:00 AM.

Wow! Look at how few items are on Presidet Obama’s schedule! Maybe Trump is right. Maybe he works a harder than other presidents.

Or maybe not.

An example of President Obama's daily schedule.
Obama’s schedule, January 28, 2016.

Most of the items on Trump’s schedule were travel. Obama’s were mostly work.

Yes, in the evening, he spoke to the House Democratic Issues Conference. But that’s not a campaign rally, even if it is partisan.

And, during the day, he didn’t just deal with a briefing and one dignitary. He welcomed new ambassadors from key U.S. allies – including the U.K., New Zealand, Australia, Portugal, Austria, Saudi Arabia, and more.

Three of Obama’s events are “open press.” In other words, he didn’t restrict media access the way Trump’s administration does almost constantly.

He even closed the day with a press gathering.

Obama had fewer items on his schedule, but a lot more work was getting done.

Disclosure: While President Obama’s schedule came from the official White House website, Trump’s did not. A search of the site came up empty on an official schedule. (As did a broader Google search.)

Generating B.S. Is Hard Work

Donald Trump spends more time talking about his imagined accomplishments then actually doing anything. He blocked most travel to the U.S. from China in January… then coasted on that one “accomplishment” for the better part of two months.

But he’s spent a lot of time talking about it.

He invoked the Defense Production Act, but failed to apply it for weeks.

Meanwhile, he sure talked up the reference. Before finally using it very selectively. Applying it mostly to companies that were already cooperating.

Trump spewed reams of B.S. about hydroxychloroquine. Then invented some shaky “proof.” That’s hard work. And it can’t have been easy inventing the sarcasm excuse for suggesting we inject disinfectants into our bodies. Let alone coming up with the insane suggestion in the first place.

So, yeah, Trump is a hard-working president. But only in the sense that manufacturing outrageous B.S. is hard work.

If you look at his day-to-day performance, Trump is a sluggard.

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Sources:

The White House Blog. Whitehouse(dot)gov.

Factba(dot)se.

Donald Trump, the “Chinese” Virus, and the Future of America

We all saw the picture of President Trump’s speech. A Washington Postphotographer snapped a frame of Trump’s prepared speech. And there it was: The word “Corona” was crossed out – with Trump’s beloved “Sharpie” – and replaced with “Chinese.”

Here he was again… assigning blame and, at the same time, tossing a little racism in the mix for his base. Is it any wonder we’ve seen a sharp uptick in racist acts against Asians? Of course, Trump has an excuse. “That’s where it originated,” he says.

But when he talks about H1N1, he doesn’t call it “the American virus.” Even though it was first identified here. I wonder how the President would feel if all the other countries called H1N1 “the American virus.” Can you imagine him remaining calm? I can’t.

But here we are, facing a deadly pandemic with our national response depending on the moods of a paranoid narcissist. Who seems comfortable with a little racism, to boot.

So, what’s really happening here? Let’s look at the timeline.

Donald Trump vs. COVID-19

When asked how he’d rate his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump was quick to respond.

“I’d rate it a 10. I think we’ve done a great job…” was his immediate response.

But here’s how Trump’s darling – Fox News – described it…

“President Trump on Monday gave his administration high marks for its response to the coronavirus,” Fox wrote, “despite criticisms for a shortage of testing kits and for his downplaying the severity of the pandemic.”

Even Trump’s most ardent cheer squad had to hedge its comments. Because – let’s face it – the White House response hasn’t been stellar.

In fact, the President tried to downplay the severity of the pandemic for weeks. And thus delayed our nation’s response. In the end, this could cost thousands of lives.

Most of Trump’s moves since then have followed suit: Delaying action that could slow the spread and save lives.

And making Trump’s response of “I’d rate it a 10” accurate only if it were on a scale of 1 – 100.

Trump Did Something Right… Almost. Then…

On Jan 31, Trump blocked entrance to the U.S. for most people who’d traveled to most of China in the last 14 days. But this didn’t apply to Macau or Hong Kong… or to U.S. citizens or lawful residents.

With these gaping exceptions, Trump made the only smart move he’d make for weeks. Weeks? His comments to downplay the severity date back to at least Jan 22.

On Feb 2 – in spite of a quiet move by HHS Secretary Alex Azar to declare the novel coronavirus a public health emergency – Trump tells Fox’s Sean Hannity, “Well, we pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

On Feb 24, Trump asked for more than $1.75 billion in new and moved funding to fight the coronavirus threat. At the same time, Trump tweeted, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

By Feb 25, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) was saying a coronavirus pandemic wasn’t a matter of if, but of when. At the same time, Mitt Romney – a Republican – said he was disappointed the administration wasn’t doing more to prepare.

On the same day, Trump tweeted, “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus…” On the 28th, he blamed the spread of coronavirus on the Democrats.

On March 5, Trump claimed partial victory. He compared U.S. numbers to those of other countries. And blamed “MSNDC” for publishing fake news.

On March 9, Trump tried to compare seasonal flu with COVID-19. We don’t shut down over the seasonal flu, he argued… so why should we over this novel coronavirus?

On March 10, Trump promised tests people couldn’t get. On the same day, he demanded more work on the wall to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The only problem? Cases were far more widespread in the U.S. than in Mexico.

On the 11th, he announced “payroll tax relief” and blamed the Democrats for slowing response. (In spite of the fact that payroll tax relief largely benefits employers.)

March 12 found Trump boasting about 4 million test kits soon to be available. “If you go to the right agency,” he claimed, “if you go to the right area, you get the test.”

On March 13 – more than seven weeks after COVID-19 arrived in the U.S.  – Trump declared a public health emergency. Meanwhile, the disease had spread widely.

March 17: Trump called for people to work at home, limit travel, and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

On March 23, Trump tweeted, “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself…” Breitbart News said Trump was ready to start relaxing coronavirus restrictions.

On the 24th, he told America he’d “… love to have the country opened up, and just raring to go by Easter.”

Of course, Trump has since reversed himself on this… along with pretty much everything else he’s said about the COVID-19 virus.

But that’s the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Trump Ignored Specific Warnings

Trump claims nobody could have known such a pandemic could arise. But the Obama administration warned him of just such a threat during the transition.

In those days, the outgoing president’s team walked Trump’s incoming team through exactly the situation we face now. Along with all the necessary steps to take to defeat it.

Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, downplayed the exercise. “There’s no briefing,” Spicer said, “that can prepare you for a worldwide pandemic.” At least two Trump cabinet members – Wilber Ross and Rick Perry – attended the exercise.

Yup. Nobody could have foreseen exactly what you were warned about.

Then in January and February of 2020, the Trump administration was warned of the severity – and potential – of the coronavirus pandemic. By their own national security team. They chose to ignore those warnings.

Trump’s own intelligence agencies were warning of the severity of COVID-19. And Trump chose to ignore the warnings.

According to one Trump administration official, “Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were – they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it.”

Could the U.S. have reacted more quickly? It’s clear the answer is yes. Could we have saved lives? Unquestionably. Was the Trump administration part of the problem? That’s pretty hard to deny.

Should we give a second term to a man who deliberately and actively led to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds – if not thousands – of Americans?

Not in our wildest dreams.

Donald Trump’s actions – or lack thereof – clearly led to many deaths. He should not be rewarded for this travesty. He should be relegated to the dumpster of history… A fate he richly deserves.

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Sources:

Casiano, L., “Trump, asked about coronavirus response, gives himself a 10 out of 10,” Fox News. Mar 16, 2020.

Dilanian, K., et al, “Timeline: Trump administration’s response to coronavirus,” NBC News. March 17, 2020.

Spiering, C., “Donald Trump on Coronavirus Restrictions: ‘We Cannot Let the Cure Be Worse than the Problem’,” Breitbart News. Mar 23, 2020.

Greenberg, J., “President Donald Trump delivers a prime-time address to the nation about the coronavirus from the Oval Office on March 11,” Politifact(dot)com. March 20, 2020.

Toosi, N., et. Al., “Before Trump’s inauguration, a warning: ‘The worst influenza pandemic since 1918’,” Politico(dot)com. Mar 16, 2020.

Harris, S., et al, “U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic,” MSN(dot)com. Mar 22, 2020.

Trump Creates Greater Chaos in Chaotic Situation

President Trump put V.P. Mike Pence in charge of the coronavirus response, right? Right.

So, does the Task Force coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, work for him? Or is it the other way around?

And how does presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and his “shadow task force” fit into the mix?

As usual, Trump has taken a chaotic situation, and turned the chaos up to 11. Because nobody seems to know what anyone’s doing.

Confusion Reigns in White House Response

Dr. Birx is highly qualified to “coordinate” the coronavirus task force. She’s a long-time physician with military experience who retired to work on an HIV/AIDS vaccine. She currently holds the rank of Ambassador within the administration.

V.P. Pence, on the other hand, has somewhat less stellar creds. In fact, his one serious challenge with a health crisis was an HIV outbreak in Indiana during his tenure as governor. His early refusal to okay needle swaps is credited with worsening the situation and costing lives.

According to CSBN News, the White House hasn’t clarified the exact relationship between Birx and Pence. Or between Birx and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. (Who brings his own set of controversies.)

Add Jared into the mix, and you have maximum chaos. Because nobody seems to know where Jared’s team of business execs and admin allies fit in.

Insiders say some of Jared’s “team” are sending e-mails through unsecured channels. And sending “requests” to administration employees who don’t know who they are… or what authority they have.

Coordination between the task force and Jared’s team appears to be close to nil. But some administration employees are reportedly taking e-mails from Jared’s private sector partners as marching orders.

Where’s the CDC When You Need It?

Amidst this chaos, you’d hope the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could stand as a beacon of hope. But Trump has done what he can to gut their funding.

Trump has cut – or reduced – funding for 39 of the 49 CDC programs helping other countries deal with major disease outbreaks. His 2020 budget recommends $750M in additional cuts to CDC funding – about 10% of the department’s total. And some cuts specifically target programs aimed at epidemics/pandemics.

Under John Bolton, the Trump administration essentially erased our top-level ability to respond to a pandemic. Bolton’s NSC (National Security Council) reorganization eliminated the agency President Obama created to handle pandemic response.

Simply put, the actions of Trump’s administration in 2018 guaranteed our nation would be screwed in 2020. In spite of all the warning signs.

Now we have a crisis we’re not ready to face. Not because the government didn’t see it coming. But because Donald Trump chose to cut taxes on the rich rather than ensure we were prepared for disaster.

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Sources:

“Who’s on the U.S. Coronavirus Task,” CSBN. Feb 29, 2020.

Lahut, J., “Trump coronavirus task force coordinator says millennials ‘are the core group that will stop this virus’,” Business Insider. Mar 16, 2020.

Borger, J., “US underprepared for coronavirus due to Trump cuts, say health experts,” The Guardian. Jan 31, 2020.

Sleepy Joe… or Crazy Bernie?

Suddenly the once-crowded field of Democratic hopefuls is down to two serious contenders: Sleepy Joe Biden and Crazy Bernie Sanders. Yes; I know. Tulsi Gabbard is still running. But I said “serious” contenders. And Gabbard is so far out of the race, Trump hasn’t even given her a nickname.

So, will it be Sleepy Joe… or Crazy Bernie?

More important, perhaps, who will the Democrats’ choice face in November?

But I Thought Trump Had a Lock on the Nomination

He does. But where’s his insulting nickname? After all, he names all his enemies.

Remember Lyin’ Ted… Little Marco… and Crooked Hillary? How about Pocahontas? He even dubbed Jeff Sessions – his first Senate supporter – Mr. Magoo. Turnabout should be fair play.

With Trump, that should be easy. He has so many attributes to choose from. For example, we could label him Don “Baggy Suits” Trump. Every time he fires another federal employee for doing their job, we could use this mobster nickname.

How about his epic rear comb-over? There goes Hair-B-Gone Don. Think about how he throws a tantrum every time somebody claps back at him. It’s the Toddler-in-Chief. And just imagine what we could do with all that clown make-up he wears!

Here’s the Name That Gets My Vote

Better yet, we could focus on all his crazy lies. Not the normal everyday variety, but the ones that make him reallystand out.

  • He thinks Finland has fewer wildfires than the U.S. because they rake their forests.
  • He’s claimed the noise made by windmills causes cancer.
  • He believes coronavirus will magically evaporate when warmer weather arrives.

This is nuclear-level looniness. This is the stuff that makes flat-earthers think, “Wow! This guy is nuts.”

Which brings me to the title our mud-slinging president richly deserves: Dopey Don.

Calling him out on his lies has no effect. He just doubles down. Accuse him of wrong-doing, and he just shrugs it off. But laughing at him gets under his skin. He fixates on it. He goes off the rails.

So, let’s put him there.

What Happened to Taking the High Road?

I know… Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.” But how’s that working out? Not too well, right?

The GOP would love us to take the high road. Especially since they cluster-bombedit for at least the last decade. Voter suppression… extreme gerrymandering… and dumping load after load of outright lies. At this point, we’d be lucky to findthe high road… let alone take it.

I don’t know if Sleepy Joe or Crazy Bernie will carry the party banner in November. But I doknow this:

If “Mr. President” runs against Crazy Bernie or Sleepy Joe, we already know which candidate will seem more presidential.

We need a descriptive nickname that will stick – like Moscow Mitch. We need to remind voters at every turn just how nuts this guy is.

  • He’s said you need a government-issued ID to buy a box of cereal.
  • He believes stealth fighters are literally invisible.
  • He’s claimed global warming is a Chinese hoax.

This is nota man who should have the nuclear codes. And we can take them away.

So, let’s get with it. Every time he makes some outrageous claim, #DopeyDon should pop up everywhere. Use it in conversation. Online. Anywhere you communicate.

Because if Crazy Bernie or Sleepy Joe faces “Mr. President” in the fall, guess what could happen to democracy in the U.S.

A Crash Trump Can’t Blame on Obama

For over three years, Donald Trump has used President Obama as an excuse for most of his administration’s challenges. If that doesn’t work, he falls back on “deep state.”

But he’s now met his match. There’s no way Trump can link the coronavirus outbreak to Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, or some mysterious deep state conspiracy. And he’s floundering.

In the last five days, the Dow has shed more than 12% of its value. It’s down 10% for the month… and as much as 13% for the year.

Here’s the thing: Trump didn’t allow for any excuses when Obama was in charge… so why should we let him offer any for himself? He’s taken credit for every rise in the market. So, he should take a hit for every drop.

What’s good for the goose…

He’s So Ready to Claim the Glory, But…

“Dow goes from 18,589 on November 9, 2016, to 25,075 today,” Trump tweeted in November 2016, “for a new all-time Record. Jumped 1000 points in last 5 weeks, Record fastest 1000 point move in history. This is all about the Make America Great Again agenda! Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. Six trillion dollars in value created!”

So, if his “leadership” caused a $6 trillion rise in the stock market over 2 years… shouldn’t he get “credit” for a drop three times as great in 2020?

There’s another glitch, too. The Dow rose 26% over two years while Trump was in office. But it rose 33% over two years under Obama. And Politifact reports the market jumped 61% over 10 months under Obama. A feat Trump’s tenure hasn’t even come close to matching.

Politifact points out Bill Clinton saw a 227% rise in the Dow over his 8 years in office. Even Ronald Reagan couldn’t match those numbers. In fact, the Obama administration saw the Dow jump 14% more than Reagan’s.

Donald Trump’s numbers beat the two Bush’s… but he lags behind Reagan, Obama, and Clinton.

And his handling of the coronavirus outbreak doesn’t look like a winning strategy, either.

The Man with No Clue

The new coronavirus kills at a rate about 20x higher than the flu. But Trump seemed unaware of that at press conferences.

Then he put V.P. Mike Pence in charge of response. The same man multiple news outlets pointed out was criticized for his handling of the HIV outbreak.

Pence hesitated to authorize a needle exchange program. And then resorted to prayer.

Experts suggest many lives could have been saved if Pence had acted quickly… and sensibly.

Even more exasperating is the report form the NYTimes that Trump appointed Pence, because – in Trump’s own words – he didn’t have anything else to do.

Meanwhile, Trump has suggested – with no evidence – that warm weather would kill the virus. And that we’re well prepared… despite having already gutted the CDC’s ability to respond.

Yet – somehow – we all know this will all be Obama’s fault. Or Hillary’s. Or anyone’s but Trump’s. Because he can’t accept any of the consequences of his decisions.

But the American people will know. Trump rolled the dice with the CDC,  slashing funding for a critical government department.

And he came up snake eyes.

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Sources:

MarketWatch. Feb 28. 2020.

DeCambre, M. and Wiltermuth, J., “Stock market rout continues, on track for worst weekly slide since 2008 as coronavirus stokes volatility,” MarketWatch. Feb 28. 2020.

Jacobson, L., “How Donald Trump, Barack Obama compare on the stock market,” Politifact. Jan 8, 2018