Since he’s been out of office, Donald Trump has been facing a number of different legal battles. The state of Georgia is looking into his attempts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results. The state of New York is conducting a deep dive into the Trump Organization.
During his time in the White House, Donald Trump enjoyed huge popularity among Republicans. Sure, it was never the 95 or 96% he claimed, but the former president was able to amass over 74 million votes in 2020.
When Donald Trump first took office, there was little Republican resistance against him. There was John McCain of course. There was also push-back from Tennessee’s Bob Corker.
But Jeff Flake was commonly the loudest Republican voice against Trump. The Arizona lawmaker retired in 2018 and has continued to distance himself from the GOP. Flake announced that he was endorsing Joe Biden for president in August of last year.
The problem Cheney and the other never-Trumpers have with Trump and the current Republican Party is that it has exposed the reality of the traditional GOP, pulled back the curtain of dignified phrases and codes to reveal its anti-egalitarian, racist, and undemocratic character.
When Donald Trump became a politician in 2015, it should have been clear to the Republican party who he really was. As a businessman, he had left a trail of destruction, stiffing contractors and turning his back on partners.
But desperate for control, GOP lawmakers fell right in line behind him. And they’ve offered him enormous power post presidency. Trump’s pick for Liz Cheney‘s successor, Elise Stefanik, is likely to become the next Chair of the Hose Republican Conference.
And no matter how much support is given to Trump, he is quick to punish any slight no matter how small. So it is no surprise that Trump is reportedly intrigued by the idea of throwing Kevin McCarthy under the bus.
Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey write, “One adviser said some have urged Trump to withhold his support for McCarthy to be the next speaker of the House if Republicans retake the chamber in 2022, and the former president has appeared intrigued by the idea.”
The adviser is quoted as saying, “
Why not focus on the biggest, brightest brass ring in politics and the Republican Party between now and 2024, which is who should be speaker when, with Donald Trump’s help, Republicans take the House?”
Donald Trump is obsessed with television ratings. This was quite clear then he was the host of The Apprentice when he frequently exaggerated the size of the show’s audience.
Trump would also use ratings to attack TV journalists who were critical of his presidency. Anyone who wasn’t on board with the MAGA movement was a low ratings failure.
On Monday night, Trump rewarded the Newsmax network for their support with a prime-time interview. It did not go over well and the spot was a ratings bomb. In a column for the Washington Post, Philip Bump writes that the drop in Trump interest could spell the beginning of the end for his political power.
Criticizing the 45th president for rehashing his same line of grievances, the columnist notes, “
There’s still an audience for this, of course. There is still a large group of people eager to hear what he has to say, people who would have come across his Newsmax appearance with the same giddiness as Nelson Muntz stumbling upon an Andy Williams performance.”
Biden made many promises. First and foremost were those of leading us out of the pandemic and improving the lives of Americans. He is doing that by choosing to see the plight of Americans rather than negotiating with a mean and greedy blindness.
Donald Trump had high hopes this election season. He, of course, believed deep down he would defeat Joe Biden. And even if he didn’t, he would assemble a crack team of lawyers who could help him win.
And Trump did have some impressive legal firms ready to represent him post election. The problem was, however, that Trump lost the election by a lot. And once the bad press came in, the prestigious legal teams began to walk away.
So Trump was left with his long-time ally and friend, Rudy Giuliani, along with conspiracy theorists like Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis and Joe DeGenova. The “Elite Strike Force” legal team regularly got their clocks cleaned in court.
And the ringleader of the circus was Rudy Giuliani. From holding a press conference next to a sex shop, to introducing witnesses that were seemingly drunk, the former New York City Mayor has provided non-stop embarrassment.
The humiliation of his loss is beginning to sink in for Donald Trump. Not only will he soon leave the White House, his business empire is destroyed and he’s facing legal jeopardy in New York City. And he’s certainly not happy with Giuliani.
According to a report from the Washington Post:
“Trump has instructed aides not to pay Giuliani’s legal fees, two officials said, and has demanded that he personally approve any reimbursements for the expenses Giuliani incurred while traveling on the president’s behalf to challenge election results in key states. They said Trump has privately expressed concern with some of Giuliani’s moves and did not appreciate a demand from Giuliani for $20,000 a day in fees for his work attempting to overturn the election.”
Watching the senate, under the callous and inhumane rule of Mitch McConnell, fail to respond sufficiently and urgently to the dire suffering and needs of out-of-work Americans, largely denying their reality, brought to mind a scene from American author William Dean Howells’ 1890 novel A Hazard of New Fortunes.
Back when she was the governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley was one of the more popular Republicans in the country. Some even thought that she had a shot at becoming the first woman president.
Donald Trump took advantage of Haley’s popularity by making her his Ambassador to the United Nations. While she left the position halfway through Trump’s term, she’s remained a fan of the presidents.
Haley has remained so sycophantic to Trump, in fact, that Conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin penned a piece about Haley’s change in tone. Rubin writes that Haley is now mostly focused on white grievance and Christian Nationalism.
The Washington Post scribe writes, “She (Haley) is reduced to hollering about socialism. Perhaps with an eye on 2024, she figures nonsensical accusations are the way to gain favor in her intellectually vacant party.”
“The mindless denunciation of policies Democrats are not pursuing, appealing to White grievance, reiterating delusions of Christian persecution and uttering empty platitudes about capitalism are what pass for Republican ‘ideas’ these days. And remember, Haley is one of the smarter and saner Republicans. She simply lacks the intellectual integrity, creativity and courage to talk to voters like adults. It is so much easier to toss around inane buzzwords than to offer pragmatic policy ideas.”
Since the day he was elected president, Donald Trump faced incredible resistance from Democratic voters. But they were not the only ones who were opposing Trump. There were also a huge amount of Republicans who did not feel that he truly represented their party.
One of the loudest of these voices was George Conway. Not only did his wife work in a prominent role in the Trump administration, but Conway had also worked on the legal team that impeached Bill Clinton.
Still, the lawyer was furiously opposed to Donald Trump. And now that it looks like Trump is going to fall to Joe Biden, Conway took a bit of a victory law in a piece for the Washington Post.
Conway began, “
It’s somehow fitting. A presidency launched with lies, and fueled by them ever since, was destined to finish with the worst of them all.”
In a piece for The Washington Post, regular contributor Helaine Olen writes that
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “is laughing at our nation’s suffering,” saying that his behavior in “response to the economic catastrophe that has resulted from the pandemic is full-on contempt for the suffering and needy.”
A new report from the Washington Post appears to confirm reporting that Donald Trump has mocked and criticized military veterans as well as U.S. troops missing in action.
Following an article published Thursday in The Atlantic, the Post reported on Friday that their sources had confirmed Trump’s attacks on military members and called them “losers.”
A former senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly, confirmed to The Washington Post that the president frequently made disparaging comments about veterans and soldiers missing in action, referring to them at times as ‘losers,'” the newspaper reported.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent his entire medical career helping people survive. Whether he was fighting the AIDS virus or Ebola, the renowned immunologist did his job in a completely apolitical manner.
Donald Trump, however, has politicized the COVID-19 pandemic. And in turn, the surrogates of the President have seen fit to attack Fauci. Among the most relentless of these attackers is Tucker Carlson.
The Doctor was asked about the Fox News host during a recent interview with the Washington Post. According to Fauci, Carlson triggers the crazies.
Writer Geoff Edgars asked, “I flip around the channels at night, which I probably shouldn’t. And I found this guy — you know this guy, Tucker Carlson? You heard of him?”
“He’s the guy that really loves me, right?” replied Fauci.
— Madeline Peltz (@peltzmadeline) August 14, 2020
Edgars then asked, “Does that get under our skin? Does it bother you? On a humane level, do you feel threatened or concerned when you see that kind of thing floating out there?”
The Doctor answered, “I’m not concerned about what he says. It’s a little bit — I think you could say that when he does that, it triggers some of the crazies in society to start threatening me, actually threatening, which actually happens.”
Fauci has had his fair share of issues with supporters of the President. These issues have included death threats against him and his family. The Doctor said of the situation:
“I wouldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that people who object to things that are pure public health principles are so set against it, and don’t like what you and I say, namely in the word of science, that they actually threaten you. I mean, that to me is just strange.”
Donald Trump only started to take Coronavirus seriously once he realized it would harm voters in red states and swing states crucial to his reelection in November.
A blockbuster new report in The Washington Post claimed on Monday that aides had to explain to the President how the pandemic would affect Republican voters.
Once he understood the virus could harm his own supporters, he began to take it seriously.
“In the past couple of weeks, senior advisers began presenting Trump with maps and data showing spikes in coronavirus cases among ‘our people’ in Republican states, a senior administration official said,” the WaPo article says.
“They also shared projections predicting that virus surges could soon hit politically important states in the Midwest — including Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the official said.”
“This new approach seemed to resonate, as he hewed closely to pre-scripted remarks in a trio of coronavirus briefings last week,” the report claims.
This reporting is consistent with the President’s behavior from earlier in the crisis. He downplayed the seriousness of the disease, referred to its’ virulence as a “hoax” and said it would just disappear.
As The Washington Post explains:
“[U]ntil recently, the president was largely unreceptive to that message, they said, not fully grasping the magnitude of the pandemic — and overly preoccupied with his own sense of grievance, beginning many conversations casting himself as the blameless victim of the crisis.”
The Washington Post editorial board issued a harsh rebuke of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus response, particularly as he has attempted to downplay the severity of the pandemic as case numbers reach record highs.
“The reality is that the virus is not under control; it is in control,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote. “Record-shattering numbers of new cases were reported Wednesday in six states: California, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona and Alaska. New daily cases are increasing in 41 states compared to two weeks ago. Outbreaks and superspreader events are erupting, such as clusters from Myrtle Beach, S.C. In five months, the pandemic has killed nearly 19 times as many Americans as have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The editorial board accused the president of engaging in “magical thinking,” saying he “failed to muster the logistical support to confront it” and “then decided to walk away by leaving the response largely to the states.” The board goes on to note that “states that opened up prematurely in May are paying the price now, and Mr. Trump bears responsibility for encouraging governors to loosen the restrictions too early. It was a bad miscalculation.”
Along the way, the board includes some of the president’s own quotes. For example, on Wednesday, he said, “I think at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.” And yesterday, he told reporters: “We have some areas where we are putting out the flames, or the fires, and that’s working out well.”
“This is historic delusion, and it has consequences in human lives,” the board concludes.
President Trump has made 18,000 false or misleading claims since 20 January, 2017. That’s according to The Washington Post‘s Fact Checker, which tracks his untruths.
The Post reports that his 1,170 days in office up to 3 April, President Donald Trump has made an average of 15 false or misleading claims every single day. That number has jumped to 23 per day during the period between this fact check and the last one.
Last time the newspaper counted Trump’s lies was before the Coronavirus outbreak – back on 19 January. Since then, the President has made 350 false or misleading statements about the virus.
In 2019, Trump’s record was 22 false or misleading statements per day. The global pandemic has led him to break new ground, according to The Washington Post.
The newspaper notes that Trump’s favorite talking points about “an economic boom are woefully out of date” and cites his own comments on 3 April.
“We had our best ever. We had probably the best economy in the history of the world, bigger than China, bigger than anybody,” Trump said.
Trump’s daily Coronavirus briefings are now “a rich source of misinformation” as the President has “over-promised” and “sought undue credit or tried to pin the blame for the crisis on others.”
The newspaper cites Trump’s attacks on former President Barack Obama for his handling of swine flue.
“They were horrific mistakes. Seventeen thousand people died. And I’ll be honest, they shouldn’t be criticizing because we’ve done a fantastic job. The only thing we haven’t done well is to get good press,” Trump falsely claimed.
The article concludes by showing that Trump has a “penchant for repeating false claims” while around 20% of these misleading statements “stemmed from his itchy Twitter finger.”
Recently Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters for The Washington Post Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig published their assessment of Donald Trump’s presidency to date, seeking to step out of the news cycle and “assess the reverberations” of his administration throughout the nation. Titled A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America, the book layers scene after scene of Trump’s ineptitude, prioritization of self-interest over care for the nation’s well-being, and general lack of any moral compass or intellectual rigor.
As Dwight Garner, in his review for The New York Times characterized the tale Rucker and Leonnig weave, “It reads like a horror story, an almost comic immorality tale. It’s as if the president, as patient zero, had bitten an aide and slowly, bite by bite, an entire nation had lost its wits and its compass.”
The story is a compelling one, and one seemingly validated for Americans by what we have witnessed in the impeachment hearings played out in the House of Representatives and now in the ongoing trial in U.S. Senate.
The wealthy businessman Trump, corrupt to the core, is dismantling democracy and putting the nation’s well-being and security at risk for his own private gain and ego interests.
And yet we shouldn’t let the high drama of the very necessary impeachment process distract us from the more mundane threats to American democracy that seem to have become largely accepted in American life but which are no less deleterious to the American people and our supposed political ideals than Trump’s presidency is.
As an example of what I’m talking about, take billionaire Jeff Bezos and his Amazon empire, which includes, by the way, The Washington Post.
The admonitory slogan of The Washington Post is, of course, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”
The sentiment is a warm and fuzzy one for sure, even articulating a noble mission and role for the free press in sustaining our democracy.
And Jeff Bezos’ dollars nobly enable that mission.
But what he “gives” with one hand (it is a business after all), he taketh with the other, underscoring the severely limited application of democratic principles throughout American society.
And can we call a form of government that limits democratic rights in practice a democracy at all?
Bezos’ Amazon, for example, recently threatened to fire its employees who spoke out publicly against the company’s environmental policies.
As Annie Palmer reported for CNBC earlier this month, employees reported that Amazon’s policy on workers’ external communications was updated last September and now “requires employees to seek prior approval to speak about Amazon in any public forum while identified as an employee.”
The Amazon Employees for Climate Justice tweeted in response to the suppression of employee free speech:
How will the world remember Jeff Bezos in the era of climate emergency? Will he use his immense economic power to help, or not?Please tell @Amazon and @JeffBezos: Our world is on fire & desperately needs climate leadership. Stop silencing employees who are sounding the alarm.
It needs to be stressed, of course, that Amazon’s suppression of its workers’ speech is not illegal and certainly not unique.
In other words, Americans do not enjoy democratic rights in the workplace. U.S. law allows for the denial of First Amendment rights when you are at work, as I’ve written about previously for PoliticusUsa.
So, as conceived currently in our nation’s legal codes, the most sacred tenets of democracy are only applicable in American life on a part-time basis. Ask Colin Kaepernick.
When you are at work for 40 to 60 hours per week, please know that democracy is on hold. Please leave your rights in your locker before you punch your time card.
Sometimes it’s even worse.
Remember Juli Briskman, a marketing executive at Akima, a government contracting firm, who was fired for flipping off President Trump’s motorcade while riding her bike? She wasn’t even at work. Because she had been photographed and the photograph had been published with great popularity, she identified herself to her company and was promptly called into a room and fired for violating code-of-conduct policies. Clearly, she did not have the right to express herself as she chooses, even outside of the workplace, without consequences for her employment.
Democracy dies in the workplace, and certainly at Amazon, where, similar to many companies, workers’ efforts to unionize are vigorously resisted. Like Target and Walmart, among others, Amazon has produced its own anti-union video that is part of employee training.
And the union structure, which collectively organizes workers and negotiates their rights and remuneration, is the main and really only means for workers to have a voice in their workplace, where they spend a good deal of their lives contributing to the world in which we all live.
Bezos and Trump have a long adversarial history, as they spar over the size of their . . . bank accounts.
foiled a Pentagon contract
Back in the day, during the Reagan era, New York Democrat and Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan termed the GOP the “party of ideas” because of their growing reputation for intellectual prowess.
At the 2016 Republican National Convention, despite all indications to the contrary, self-proclaimed idea-man Paul Ryan kept this illusion alive, declaring, “It still comes down to a contest of ideas, which is really good news, ladies and gentlemen, because when it’s about ideas that advantage goes to us.”
Whether or not Ryan’s assertion describes reality, it is still important to embrace the aspirational dimensions of the statement. He articulates the ideal of democracy when he says “it still comes down to a contest of ideas.”
Democracy is supposed to come down to “a contest of ideas,” and the likes of founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams believed deeply in funding schools to create an educated citizenry to assess those ideas and how effectively they served and forwarded the public good and national interests.
For democracy to function as this war of ideas, however, politicians actually need to present their ideas, not conceal them as some secret agenda or present them untruthfully so that the burden falls upon voters not just to assess them but to sledgehammer their ways through walls of deception to even know what those ideas are.
The recent controversy over Joaquin Castro’s tweets naming donors from San Antonio who have financially supported Donald Trump and, by extension, helped fund his inhumane policies and practices toward immigrants, reveals the extent to which we as a nation are drifting further and further away from the norms and ideals of a political culture of democracy that aims for ultimate transparency and truthfulness in the operations of the political system and for facilitating the people’s access to information, to the truth.
Castro simply tweeted, while listing the donors’ names: “Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.’”
Keep in mind that this donor information is all public information. And yet, making this public information, well, public, somehow ignited a firestorm.
“Targeting and harassing Americans because of their political beliefs is shameful and dangerous,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
One might expect such a statement from a Republican House Minority Leader.
But then even respected journalists jumped on board. “I don’t want to put these people’s names in my feed because this is dangerous, by any campaign,” tweeted New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman. Journalist Yashar Ali wrote that Castro’s tweet was a “terrible and dangerous precedent to set.”
Apparently, it has now become dangerous to communicate public information to voters so they can understand which interests are funding political campaigns and supporting particular ideological positions.
This development, particularly when the free press joins the bandwagon, does not bode well for democracy.
Remember last June when the White House censored the written testimony from a State Department intelligence agency warning that human-caused climate change is “possibly catastrophic,” barring it from submission to the House Intelligence Committee?
The Castro controversy leads us into dangerous territory because revealing important information of dire public interest, once a bedrock of democracy, is even a controversy and because even institutions, such as a free press, are explicitly taking part in even entertaining a position suggesting that public information should not be shared.
This position implicitly endorses Trump’s refusal to make his tax filings public and to deny the jurisdictional rights and oversight obligations of Congress. Does the public not have a right to know if any business interests are entangling or supporting the President of the United States?
Would it be dangerous for the press to report on Jared Kushner’s financial relationships or on Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians to discuss business deals?
The controversy of Castro’s tweets is that it is even a controversy.
The basic pillars of democracy, apparently, are now up for discussion.
This is what the Castro controversy reveals, reminding us once again how far the White House, how far Trump, has taken us off the course of democracy, drifting steadily toward an authoritarian political culture.
We have tended to discuss Trump’s persistent lying in terms of government corruption.
We need to remind ourselves that the lying is more than the run-of-the-mill corruption to which we have become accustomed at all levels of government.
Because access to the truth, to reliable information, to faithful representations of ideas is so vital to the functioning of democracy, the scope, intensity, and prevalence of the lying we are encountering these days from Trump and his administration constitute an existential threat to democracy.
Remember back in the day when Tea Party protesters routinely carried signs warning the U.S. government to get out of their lives and, particularly, to “Get Your Hands Off My Medicare”? Few, if any, Republicans bothered to correct these people to let them know that the government provided them with Medicare. No strenuous effort was made to help these protesters see the truth and assess their real interests, even from mainstream media. The “truth” was just one position among many.
These days, the truth is becoming a position that doesn’t even necessarily merit representation or outing. The prominent position now, ratified by increasing numbers, even former defenders of freedom and truth, is that truth should be repressed, even public information.
When the truth is frowned upon, when public information is not to be communicated to the public, then we must be aware that democracy is on the verge of collapse.
It seems hard, if not impossible, to sustain a democracy characterized by a war of ideas, if people do not want to own their ideas and what they support, much less articulate and disseminate them, preferring instead to conceal them.
Unfortunately, we are moving towards a political culture in which concealment rather than transparency is increasingly the acceptable norm.
Carl Bernstein on Tuesday said that White House chief of staff John Kelly should resign from his position and be ready to testify under oath before Congress about what he has witnessed first hand as a member of President Trump’s inner circle.
Bernstein’s’ call for Kelly to resign came after the publication of excerpts of a bombshell new book about the Trump administration written by Bernstein’s partner from Watergate, Bob Woodward. “Fear: Trump in the White House,” the new book by Woodward, paints a very disturbing portrait of Donald Trump and his presidency, based on many in-depth interviews of people close to the White House.
“It would seem to me that Gen. Kelly, in the interest of the country, needs to resign and with a statement that says, ‘The presidency can no longer be entrusted to this man,'” Bernstein said on CNN after reviewing the contents of the book, where he also advised Kelly on what he should write in a resignation statement.
“‘We now have a picture of what we’ve all been dealing with here,'” Bernstein said the chief of staff should write in a resignation. “‘I will be happy to appear before committees of Congress … and tell them what I have seen about this president of the United States and whether or not he is competent and able to lead the United States.'”
Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, posted the following tweet about his interview:
“Carl Bernstein says Bob Woodward’s book is chilling: “The people closest to the president of the US, in his W.H. and in his admin, are saying that they see their job as protecting the US FROM the president of the US. That he is a danger to the republic…”
Carl Bernstein says Bob Woodward's book is chilling: "The people closest to the president of the US, in his W.H. and in his admin, are saying that they see their job as protecting the US FROM the president of the US. That he is a danger to the republic…" https://t.co/H4bOAAw4ZK