Nel's New Day

November 14, 2016

Don’t Normalize Trump; He Really Is That Bad

“Oh, he really isn’t that bad.” That cry started after Donald Trump’s election for the White House with the hope that people would believe that he’s really a decent person despite his virulently racist, misogynist, bullying, pro-violent statements. Now Trump supporters are moving on to defend Steve Bannon, as Trump moves the right-wing fringe from the past into the mainstream of the executive branch, further normalizing racism and anti-Semitism. Most Republican politicians have avoided mentioning Bannon’s annointing, but Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) praised Trump’s choice. (Chris Matthews did say that Steve Bannon makes Rudy Giuliani look good.)

steve-bannonBannon called his outlet “the platform of the alt-right,” an online-based white nationalist movement with the goal of an all-white United States.  For example, his Breitbart.com published an article entitled “Hoist it high and proud: The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage” after a white supremacist killed nine blacks at the historic Charleston (SC) black church. Another article called Bill Kristol, conservative columnist who opposed Trump, a “renegade Jew.” Other notable Bannon headlines include “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy” and “Political Correctness Protects Muslim Rape Culture.”

“The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office,” John Weaver, advisor of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign, tweeted in response to the news. “Be very vigilant America.” Bannon is a good match for Trump in his treatment of women. After his former wife was beaten, Bannon was arrested and charged with domestic violence. Prosecutors had to drop the charges after she didn’t show up in court, possibly because Bannon threatened her and the children if she spoke against him. A court case also accused Bannon and his colleague of sexual harassment. More about Bannon here.

It’s been said that “personnel is policy,” and Bannon is a chief example of this as he has been named “equal” to former RNC director Reince Priebus, now Trump’s chief of staff. In fact, Bannon probably has more influence that Priebus, who is lucky to get the new job because the GOP had considered firing him from the national committee. Like Bannon and Trump, Priebus has no elected experience; Bannon’s only government experience is attacking it.

trump-obama

Trump will need to hire far more than these two people in his transition to the White House. Until talking with President Obama this week, Trump had no idea that he was responsible for hiring the 4,100 staffers in the West Wing. Over 1,000 of those new employees must be confirmed by the Senate and should be vetted for security clearances within two months. The 100 top officials—cabinet plus defense, homeland security, disaster and pandemic response officials—must be ready to start work on January 20 to keep the country safe. Desperate to keep some of the current staff members, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, asked them if they were willing to stay with the new administration. They weren’t. The State Department, preparing to turn everything over to Trump, have contacted him about the transition, but he hasn’t answered.

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat thinks that people have “a moral responsibility to serve”:

“For the next four years, the most important check on what we’ve seen of Trump’s worst impulses—his hair-trigger temper, his rampant insecurity, his personal cruelty—won’t come from Congress or the courts or the opposition party. It will come from the people charged with executing the basic responsibilities of government within his administration.

“This is particularly true in foreign policy, where presidential power has its fewest limits — where the chief executive can start wars with near-impunity, deal out death from the skies, rattle the global economy with an executive order, and decide with barely anyone else’s input to launch a nuclear weapon. In foreign policy, too, the choices that presidential appointees have to make on their own, in diplomatic and military contexts, can have life-or-death consequences very quickly. So to the extent that Trump’s approach to governance threatens world peace, that threat can be mitigated by appointees with experience and knowledge, and magnified if their posts are filled by hacks and sycophants instead.”

This Republican who writes that people should suffer abuse from Trump to keep him from making stupid mistakes, ignores the fact that Trump will not pay any attention to what public servants think is right.

Trump is also unaware of how time-consuming being a president will be. He indicated that he might spend most of the week in Washington—like members of Congress—but go to Trump Tower in Newport, his golf course in Bedminster (NJ), and his Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago estate for part of every weeks.

The president-elect most likely ran as revenge against President Obama’s ridicule at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. One week ago, he didn’t think that he would win. The past five days have introduced him to the responsibilities of the president of the most powerful country in the world, and he won’t like those responsibilities. His choice is to do the job poorly, assign the jobs to white supremacists, or resign. The last choice would leave the United States in the hands of a quiet megalomaniac who wants to make the country a white theocracy.

Trump won’t resign as long as he’s making money for the Trump Organization. Conflict-of-interest laws for the executive branch mandate that all of them divest themselves of investments affected by their decisions in public office—except for the president and vice-president. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, and he’ll refuse to divulge his involvement in his business. His claim is that it will be a “blind trust” run by his children. A true blind trust is one in which assets are controlled by independent parties who have no communication with the owner. Trump also wants security clearance for Donald, Jr., Eric, and Ivanka, and he appointed all three of the younger Trumps to the transition team that picks key administrative officials. Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, claims that the president-elect has no interest in growing his fortune as president, and Trump promises not to use his presidency to enrich his business, but experience shows that his word is worthless.

Already Trump has lied about his personal involvement with Russia, and his past history shows how involvements with foreign countries have financially benefitted him. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, for instance, salvaged Trump during his corporate bankruptcies in the 1990s, even buying Trump’s yacht and bad hotel debt. Trump’s judicial appointments can also be connected to his business activities. His sole proprietor LLCs already cover the country as well as Panama, Cozumel, and Dubai, and the Trump University lawsuit is scheduled for later this month.

Trump’s appointment of the new IRS commissioner will solve his tax audit problems, and his control of the Attorney General will also protect him. The appointment of the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission will protect his financial interests. Trump donated at least $35,000 to Alan Hevesi for his 2002 election as New York state comptroller, the same time as his successful $500 million lawsuit to reduce his property taxes. Of the 9,000 positions in the federal government, only 1,000 must be confirmed by the Senate. Trump can control gaming, environmental building codes, housing and urban development, etc.

If we’re lucky, Trump will spend his presidency making himself rich and not destroying the lives of most people in the U.S. And luckier yet, maybe the people who voted for him will get the message that change is not always positive. (Just trying to be positive while we work to keep the battleship from turning in the wrong direction.)

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1 Comment »

  1. When Trump seemed to be backtracking the last couple of days on some of his campaign rhetoric I was beginning to feel a slight bit of relief. But, all of that relief (and I wasn’t much) went out the window as soon as I heard he had appointed Bannon. I am reminded of the book I read as a high school student, “Lord of the Flies”, which means I am really frightened. Things are getting uglier and uglier.

    Like

    Comment by Central Oregon Coast NOW — November 14, 2016 @ 9:48 PM | Reply


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