"The Wall is being rapidly built!" our fearless leader declared. "The Economy is GREAT! Our Country is Respected again!"
It was a stirring message, something to boost the citizens of the United States as they roused themselves for work this Tuesday morning. It would have been a bit more convincing, however, if it did not contain some vintage truthlessness from Donald Trump, American president. In recent months, The Wall has become a quantum object: it is both Being Built and in desperate need of funding to be built-so much so that the president declared a phony national emergency to seize the money from Congress in a direct assault on the Constitution's separation of powers. In reality, parts of existing barrier have essentially undergone maintenance, and our nation's Respect-o-Meter is certainly not moving in a positive direction.
It would also be a bit more reassuring if it were not merely the latest of more than 50 (fifty) tweets the world's most powerful man has fired off in the last 24 hours. Yes, the last day or so has been a thoroughly frightening window into the Presidential Mind, a kaleidoscopic marescape where Fox News is playing on permanent loop in the background to reinforce the very important thing to remember, which is that The President Has Been Very Badly Mistreated!
It all kicked off as it would proceed throughout: with the President of the United States tweeting a clip directly from his favorite teevee channel.
It's unclear who this guy is, or why he had to make his grift a transatlantic one. Doesn't he have Brexit nonsense to peddle? Anyway, the idea Donald Trump would be America's Uniter-in-Chief if it wasn't for those meddling kids is a nice cortisone shot of unreconstructed delusion. Also, the Mueller Report confirms the vast majority of Russia reporting from The Fake News Lamestream Media-which also means that Trump and his team lied to the public, over and over again, about the Trump Tower Meeting and the Trump Tower Moscow deal and a whole lot else. You should read it for yourself!
This was the tenor of much of the last day's presidential activity. The president could be found tweeting Fox clips directly or retweeting Fox News personalities (or Republican congressmen) who praised his Strong Leadership in the face of The Witch Hunt by 18 Angry Democrats, who concluded their Witch Hunt by producing a report that TOTALLY EXONERATED! him. Confused? That's the goal. But you shouldn't be.
The Mueller Report was compiled by Robert Mueller, a registered Republican, and his team. The report presented a huge volume of evidence that Mueller and his team felt did not rise to a level where they could indict the president or his associates for conspiracy with the Russian government-a highly specific charge. In one case, Donald Trump Jr. avoided prosecution because, essentially, they did not think he knew what he was doing with the Trump Tower Meeting.
But none of this means there was NO EVIDENCE!, or that any of this behavior was acceptable for the President of the United States. He repeatedly subjugated the national interest to his personal business, and the second part of the report seems to be a referral to Congress to consider impeaching the president on the basis he repeatedly sought to abuse his power to obstruct justice in the investigation.
None of that stopped the steady stream of commentary from the Presidential Twitter Feed, however.
Only high crimes and misdemeanors can lead to impeachment. There were no crimes by me (No Collusion, No Obstruction), so you can’t impeach. It was the Democrats that committed the crimes, not your Republican President! Tables are finally turning on the Witch Hunt!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2019
This is, needless to say, not how anything works. The "high crimes" in the Constitution do not just refer to criminal offenses, but could also include the president violating his oath of office. In fact, impeachment is a political process, by which the Congress decides whether the president has done things that indicate he is not fit to hold the office. The bar is, or should be, above "outright conspiracy with a hostile foreign power."
The president and his campaign knew Russia was interfering in an American presidential election, on their behalf, and they gleefully allowed that to continue without reporting it to the FBI. Junior and others on the campaign even sought out the Russians' help more directly. And then the president repeatedly tried to cover it all up by abusing the powers of his office to interfere in the subsequent investigation-an investigation that was also digging into the nature of the Russian attack on our democracy.
Elsewhere, it was even more desperate:
How do you impeach a Republican President for a crime that was committed by the Democrats? MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2019
After he took a hiatus to mock CNN's ratings-because what else does a president have to do?-Our Leader weighed in on an issue for our times: would Herman Cain join the board of the Federal Reserve?
My friend Herman Cain, a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. I will respect his wishes. Herman is a great American who truly loves our Country!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2019
The prospect of this appointment was so absurd that Mitt Romney managed to rattle off a passable joke about it. There is no disputing now that this is the dumbest time in history: we have instant access to more knowledge than our ancestors could even have conceived of, and yet we choose to elevate the most ignorant people with the most pathetic excuse for critical thinking skills to run the show. Nobody knows nothing about anything, and nobody cares.
After another hiatus where he discussed his conversations with other world leaders, it was back to serving as a Fox News producer. Trump tweeted out three clips in a row, including a segment from Lou Dobbs, the Fashy Benjamin Button, who bounced off a report from Breitbart (!) and hosted the bizarro former acting head of ICE to discuss. Jesus. But then it was back to Legal Analysis:
Isn’t it amazing that the people who were closest to me, by far, and knew the Campaign better than anyone, were never even called to testify before Mueller. The reason is that the 18 Angry Democrats knew they would all say ‘NO COLLUSION’ and only very good things!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2019
It's not clear what in the hell this guy is saying here. One of his campaign managers, Paul Manafort, was a cooperating witness-albeit a deceitful one-in the Mueller probe. The deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates, was a very cooperative witness. Steve Bannon, the former campaign chair, spoke to Mueller at least three times. Michael Cohen, Trump's fixer and an adviser on the campaign, cooperated with the feds. Jared Kushner spoke to Mueller's team. Hope Hicks spoke to Mueller. White House Counsel Don McGahn spoke to Mueller. One of the few people who did not speak to Mueller was Donald Trump, likely because his lawyers knew that if he sat down and had to speak the truth under oath it could be the end of him.
After directly plugging an upcoming show from Lou Dobbs-the president also apparently works in Fox News PR now-it was time for a retweet bonanza. He shared a 10 minute (!) clip from talk-radio shock jock Mark Levin, who helpfully put the cover of his new pro-Trump book on an easel in the background. Buy buy buy! Then the president shared messages from Maria Bartiromo (a once-normal Fox Business host who is now one of the president's most reliable boosters), Ronna McDaniel (the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee whom he reportedly convinced to drop her maiden name, Romney, out of spite), and Tom Fitton (head of far-right activist group Judicial Watch and, apparently, a kind of decaying Baldwin Brother).
The Fitton tweets in particular referred to the Mueller investigation as a "coup," which isn't dangerous at all, but which makes a lot of sense considering the coup ended with the coup-orchestrators not charging the guy they supposedly were trying to remove from office. In a Trump Content Singularity, many of these friendly retweets featured more clips pulled directly from Fox News, all of which agreed that the Mueller Report was a COMPLETE EXONERATION! by the angry Democrat hacks who staged the investigation. Again, don't think too hard about all this.
After a spell retweeting his top congressional toads-Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert, etc.-there was some Easter Egg Roll content and some retweets pushing the "Opportunity Zones" program, which offers investors tax breaks on capital gains if they invest in businesses located in certain areas. Some new rules issued by the Treasury Department last week seemed to confront some of the concerns critics raised, including that a disproportionate share of these benefits would go to real-estate developers rather than start-up businesses that could generate lasting, solid-wage jobs. That's a good thing, considering there were widespread reports that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner could be set to benefit in their private business from the policy they helped craft in public office. Of course, this kind of conflict-of-interest is why we have ethics policies, all of which have gone out the window during The Great American Heist.
After more Fox News clips-including one with a presidential caption of "PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT"-it was time for some unfriendly-media-bashing. The president went after New York Times opinion writer Paul Krugman by name, calling the Nobel Laureate economist "obsessed with hatred, just as others are obsessed with how stupid he is." This nonsense from Trump's towering intellect places Krugman in very real danger. Then Trump repeated his zombie lie about The New York Times, once again suggesting the paper "apologized" to him for its 2016 coverage (it did not) and suggesting it should do so again for its Russia reporting (it won't, as the vast majority of that reporting was backed up by The Mueller Report. Again, this indicates that Trump lied constantly in response to these news reports.) And then there was this flurry of Presidential Activity:
The Radical Left Democrats, together with their leaders in the Fake News Media, have gone totally insane! I guess that means that the Republican agenda is working. Stay tuned for more!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
In the “old days” if you were President and you had a good economy, you were basically immune from criticism. Remember, “It’s the economy stupid.” Today I have, as President, perhaps the greatest economy in history...and to the Mainstream Media, it means NOTHING. But it will!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
Sorry to say but @foxandfriends is by far the best of the morning political shows on television. It rightfully has BY FAR the highest ratings, not even close. Morning Psycho (Joe), who helped get me elected in 2016 by having me on (free) all the time, has nosedived, too Angry...- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
....Dumb and Sick. A really bad show with low ratings - and will only get worse. CNN has been a proven and long term ratings and beyond disaster. In fact, it rewarded Chris Cuomo with a now unsuccessful prime time slot, despite his massive failure in the morning. Only on CNN!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
“Harley Davidson has struggled with Tariffs with the EU, currently paying 31%. They’ve had to move production overseas to try and offset some of that Tariff that they’ve been hit with which will rise to 66% in June of 2021.” @MariaBartiromo So unfair to U.S. We will Reciprocate!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
“The best thing ever to happen to Twitter is Donald Trump.” @MariaBartiromo So true, but they don’t treat me well as a Republican. Very discriminatory, hard for people to sign on. Constantly taking people off list. Big complaints from many people. Different names-over 100 M.....- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
.....But should be much higher than that if Twitter wasn’t playing their political games. No wonder Congress wants to get involved - and they should. Must be more, and fairer, companies to get out the WORD!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
Good God, man. As Daniel Dale pointed out, the president managed to call Joe Scarborough a "Psycho" who's "Angry, Dumb and Sick"; dismiss Democrats as "totally insane"; attack The New York Times as "Fake News" and the "Enemy of the People"; call Krugman "stupid"; and moan that Twitter is "very discriminatory." This was all by 7:30 a.m. on a Tuesday.
You would think the world's most powerful man might have better things to do. He does not, at least by his accounting. His inner world is now consumed by these wars against anyone who could hold him accountable for what he's done, the Fox News loop churning in the background, pumping the electric resentment and primal fear through his veins. We didn't need the Mueller Report to see he was unfit to wield the power he has, but the conduct it lays out only bolsters the case. It is not an EXONERATION, it's a plea for Congress to do its job in defense of the republic.
('You Might Also Like',)