|© RICHARD CODOR|
Asked the other day in the wake of the latest horrific massacres if Donald Trump cared about gun control, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien answered, "No, he doesn't care at all." Inside Trump's brain, O'Brien explained, "There is a putter, a cheeseburger, somebody else's credit card and a porn video."
That is pretty much all you need to know about a man who has spent 95 days playing golf at a cost to taxpayers well in excess of $100 million since he put his (small) hand on the Lincoln Bible and uttered the first of the 12,000-plus lies and misleading claims he has made since promising to uphold his oath of office.
O'Brien's comment came right after the president of the United States flashed a sick grin and gave the thumbs-up sign as his ice queen First Lady held a two-month-old boy orphaned when his parents shielded him in the El Paso bloodbath like he was a photo-op stage prop, which of course he was, and before the president of the United States suggested that another president and his secretary of state wife were behind sex-trafficking financier Jeffrey Epstein's apparent suicide.
There followed a cavalcade of mind-boggling actions: Greasing the skids for the construction of the Pebble Mine in Alaska, an environmental disaster in waiting that threatens the Bristol Bay, which happens to be the one of the most valuable salmon runs in the world. Disembowelment of the Endangered Species Act, the hugely popular conservation law that saved the Bald Eagle, among other success stories. And the suggestion of the president's immigration satrap that the motto on the Statue of Liberty be rewritten to exclude poor and indigent immigrants. Seriously.
Lending a further air of surreality to Trump's opéra bouffe is that he is fulfilling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's observation way back in May that he "is almost self-impeaching."
You can forget the "almost" because Trump is doing just that. Having rid himself of pesky advisers who refused to be toadies, he can't seem to help himself as he finds new ways to obstruct justice and build on a mountain of crimes and misdemeanors that even Richard Nixon never contemplated as the number of Democrats who support initiating impeachment proceedings continues to grow.
Princeton historian Julian Zelizer, in a CNN analysis, well summarizes the state of play:
[Trump's] presidency is off the rails, and he is playing with a fire of racism, nativism and social division that is dangerous -- if not deadly. His rhetoric keeps getting more explosive as the election heats up. His retweet about the Clintons takes us into new "unprecedented" territory about just how far he will go.
Throughout his time in office, Trump has been his own worst enemy. Any other incumbent president with relative peace abroad, a good economy and a united party would be sitting pretty for reelection. However, he shows the nation every day the immense risks of giving him power.
Trump will only get worse, not better. Those who keep waiting for a "turning point" to normalcy are just not paying attention. The more heated that the 2020 campaign becomes, the more aggressive he will be. Every pillar of his rhetorical arsenal -- embracing nativism, demanding investigations and spreading conspiracy theories, dismissing law and order, and character assassination -- will remain front and center.
Reaction to Trump's latest outrages has been typically muted. And we really don't need those stinkin' bald eagles, do we?
Americans and the wider world long ago figured out that the president "is a reckless buffoon, a conspiratorial racist moron, whose weird comments should be disregarded by sensible people," in the wise words of David Frum, a former George W. Bush speechwriter who was cast from the Republican temple about the time that John McCain chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate, greasing the skids for Trump's emergence three years later.
As silly as it may seem, the high spot of the Obama presidency for me was when he bowed to let a 5-year-old black boy touch his hair as they stood in the Oval Office. The boy had shyly told Obama, "I want to know if my hair is just like yours," to which the president replied, "Touch it, dude!"
Contrast that with the pain on the faces of the people surrounding the Trumps in El Paso and the dark future awaiting that two-month-old, whose mother and father were dispatched
with a legally-purchased semi-automatic version of the AK47 assault rifle by a white nationalist who was responding to the president's imprecations about the "invasion" of Latinos and the "Send them back!" chants at his campaign rallies.
Perhaps we should pray that Trump plays even more golf. That way America might yet survive him, if not the slow-motion nervous breakdown many of us are experiencing.