What a Long, Strange Trump It’s Been
This Weak in Politics Vol. LXXVIII
Motto: On the funny scale, we’re somewhere between Kathy Griffin and Gallagher. Look out Michael Richards, we’re on the move!
June 1, 2017
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any stranger, Donald Trump has made his return to the United States, to the joy of everyone. Well, everyone not in the United States at least.
The trip marked Trump’s first in-person foray onto the international stage. Actually, it was more of a forearm than a foray.
Aides viewed it as the best 9-day stretch of his presidency. Unfortunately, this time they’re right. Aside from shoving prime ministers, alienating our European allies, failing to reaffirm America’s commitment to NATO, believing Israel was located somewhere other than the Middle East, and accidentally publicly confirming that Israel’s intelligence apparatus was the source of highly classified information on ISIS, Trump made very few mistakes each day on the trip. #Winning!
In truth, Trump did seem more subdued (loosely defined as exhausted and out of shape) than he normally appears. This was underscored when a) his aides admitted he was exhausted, and b) he was manhandled (or homme- maindled, for our French readers and @KatyTurNBC) by a diminutive French centrist with a girly name. We know that this sort of thing bothers President Trump so we will not mention ever again the fact that he was manhandled by a diminutive French centrist with a girly name. In Trump’s defense, he is much older, and was exhausted at the time he was manhandled by a diminutive French centrist with a girly name.
It wasn’t just Trump’s handshakes that were limp while overseas. Even his tweets lacked their usual zip. Gone were mentions of Arnold Schwarzenegger or threats to FBI directors. Instead were tweets discussing policy and even one expressing a desire to read an analysis! We didn’t make that up. Trump’s trip tweets were so radically different from his normal repertoire, they’re like the “Lay Lady Lay” of Bob Dylan’s songbook.
The next big international meeting will be the G20 Summit in Germany in July. The world will be watching the state of US/Russia relations, as the two sides are likely to meet face to face. While both Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump will represent their nations, there is no word if anyone will represent the United States.
Upon his return, Trump found that domestic troubles still await him. Specifically, ongoing investigations into possible Trump campaign ties to Russian efforts to meddle with the US election.
White House staffers, or at least those who are aware of the brand damage they are suffering, have leaked out the special code words the White House will use to signal to staff that it is time to quickly cart off all the documents and personnel that might prove to be the smoking gun for investigators working the Russia/Trump angle. The code words, which we are told the president himself will send out in some fashion are: Covert Operation Verified. Find Exits! Find Exits! We wonder what that would look like as an acronym?
Trump has repeatedly called the investigation a witch-hunt and said there is absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing and no pattern of sketchy behavior involving Russia. Despite there being no sketchy behavior, James Comey, whom Trump fired to relieve pressure on the Russia investigation, is expected to testify and to give interviews to Bob Mueller, who was appointed special counsel in the Russia investigation by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Normally the Attorney General would take such steps to further prove that there is no sketchy administration behavior vis à vis Russia, but he recused himself from the investigation after it was revealed he lied about meetings with sketchy Russians. No, not this meeting, an earlier one.
On the subject of sketchy Russians, Jared Kushner is increasingly becoming the focus of attention for investigators as it was learned this week that he tried to secretly set up back channel communications with Russia.
Mr. Kushner’s actions are causing some to question his fealty to the nation’s founding document.
Sources tell us that if investigators get anything close to pay dirt on the secret communications issue, Kushner will claim he wasn’t trying to find backchannel communications to Russia, he was trying to find Russians through Backpage. Strangely, on the scandal scale this would indeed be a marked improvement.
Speaking of things that are a strange improvement, the domestic electoral situation has improved slightly for Trump and the GOP as a dishonest, reporter-assaulting, mega-millionaire, conservative, white male republican was re-elected in a conservative, white republican state. This news was greeted with a huge sigh of relief from Republican leaders and Paul Ryan.
The Montana race was viewed by many as being much closer than it should have been, and there has to date not been a special election that will test the appeal of Trump in the more blue collar, often Democratic states like Wisconsin which he carried in the November election. If you are still wondering how it is that Trump appealed to voters in Wisconsin, look no further than this.
With the Kansas and Montana special elections now past, attention turns to Georgia — where upstart Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, is locked in an expensive runoff with Karen Handel. The race is seen, in part, as a referendum on the president. In short, will Trump be the kiss of death, or will he be Handel’s Messiah? Put another way, how big is Trump’s taint?
If you have a hankering to see a graphic representation of Trump’s taint, click here.
We are sorry for putting that image, Trump’s taint, in your mind. We will stop being immature and will clean up our act, we promise. We will move from Trump’s taint to our next topic, Trump pulling out.
Word has emerged that President Trump plans to join Nicaragua and Syria (yes, that Nicaragua, and yes, that Syria) in a Coalition of the Unwilling when it comes to the Paris Climate Agreement. While not official, reports say the president has made up his mind to pull out — an act that has enraged not just the French but the other 194 countries that have signed on to the agreement. Sources tell us the French legislature is so mad at the president they may rename the bid-winning suits in the game of bridge, “freedom suits.”
When asked if the reports about the Paris agreement were true, temporary White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, and we quote, “When the president has a decision to make, he will let people be it known.”
Spicer was also asked about a cryptic tweet the president sent out Wednesday morning that read “Despite the negative press #covfefe.” Spicer’s reply was that “the president and a small number of people know exactly what he meant.”
Maybe he should have just let the tweet “feek” for itself:
Seriously, “the president and a small number of people know exactly what he meant?” Spicer would have been better served giving this answer:
As for the president’s domestic agenda, the two big-ticket items, healthcare and the budget, seem to have stalled in the freshly-drained swamp of winning.
Trump’s budget has stalled largely because critics on both sides of the aisle have described it as “Dickensian,” (meaning “as though it were written by someone who is a dick.”)
The budget isn’t the only item in peril. The Republican House’s healthcare bill, which will boot millions off of healthcare coverage in order to give wealthy people a tax cut, is going down faster than stock in Kathy Griffin’s production company (which is called, and you couldn’t even make this up, “Inappropriate Laughter.”) For those of you who are unaware, Ms. Griffin posted an image so offensive that a corporate sponsor called “Squatty Potty” abandoned her because they didn’t want that shit staining their product’s image.
It wouldn’t be a week in 2017 without news of yet another Trump court battle. This time, a white nationalist Trump supporter who assaulted an African American protester at a campaign rally, is suing the president. He claims the president urged supporters to violently remove protesters, and offered to pay their legal bills if they got caught. Mr. Trump failed to honor the agreement, according to the white nationalist. The case will likely end with a plea of “nolo contendere,” which is a Latin term meaning “there could be ‘no lower contenders’ in a legal proceeding than these two, so both lose.”
And finally, in world news, Manuel Noriega, the former Panamanian dictator died this week. Noriega, who served as military leader of Panama from 1983–1989, was removed from power by a Republican president who brought him to the United States to have him tried on a number of criminal offenses. Poor Manuel was ahead of his time. Had he been Panama’s dictator today, he would have gotten a congratulatory call from the president and an invite to the White House.
And that’s the way the weak spent the week in a land where tweets feek for themselves and our president got manhandled by a diminutive French centrist with a girly name.
Note: If you think we added #covfefe just to get some cheap twitter hits, we are offended by the accusation. Had we wanted to do that, we would have also mentioned #CongratsYouHaveWon, #WednesdayWisdom and #Fahrvergnügen. Okay, so maybe we aren’t that hip. In fact we still call this: # a “pound sign.” And even that was a struggle, because really, it’s a number sign. What the hell is a hashtag? Get off my lawn! And for fuck’s sake, click the little heart to recommend this piece. When I was your age we recommended every piece, and we loved it!
If you enjoy reading TWITPOL please seek help. But please also follow us, recommend this story, share it, and do all sorts of other things that the kids these days do. Follow us on Medium.com and on twitter at @sbouchard67