The joint speech to Congress last Tuesday was supposed to be Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) victory lap. It lasted for less than 24 hours before the country switched to focus on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ connection with Russia during his campaigning for DDT. The man inaugurated for president only 31 days ago was so desperate that he tried to connect Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) with Vladimir Putin by showing a photo of the pair from 2003 that has been promoted on conspiracy websites such as Gateway Pundit and Infoward.
The Muslim ban rolled out a month ago had to be carried out instantly, according to DDT, so that no more “bad dudes” could get into the United States. Once it was overturned, there was supposed to be first an appeal and then a new ban for the same reason. Nothing happened for weeks, and DDT announced that there wouldn’t be one for a few days after his speech to allow his speech to bask in the glory from DDT’s performance, to permit the speech “to breathe.” The desperate need to keep the nation safe had dissipated.
By now, DDT has a problem with any immigrant ban after a report from the Department of Homeland Security revealed that banning immigrants may be worthless:
“We assess that most foreign-born, US-based violent extremists likely radicalized several years after their entry to the United States, limiting the ability of screening and vetting officials to prevent their entry because of national security concerns.”
Combined with DHS findings that “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity,” there is no evidence to prove the necessity of greater vetting for immigrants than has been used in the past. DDT’s aide Stephan Miller indicated that the ban may be to protect U.S. workers from foreign competitors.
The Russian Connection
Like Richard Nixon, DDT has promised a leadership of “law and order.” And also like Nixon, DDT is displaying an administration of corruption and criminality within his own circle. He began by maintaining his conflicts of interest, nominating corrupt people for his cabinet, and then losing his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who lied about meeting with the Russians. This week’s poster “child” for breaking the law is newly confirmed Jeff Sessions, who lied to Congress about not having met with the Russians while he was a part of DDT’s campaign. As the new U.S. attorney general, Sessions has been excited about his power–exonerating police for any criminal action and cracking down on marijuana users, among others. His career has become greatly tarnished with the discovery that he committed perjury while testifying in his confirmation hearings on January 10.
DDT has always claimed that he knows about no one who talked to Russia during his campaign, but six of his aides have also admitted to talking with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak last year. Three of his national security advisers also talked to the ambassador at the RNC in July. Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law and also a senior adviser, also met with the Russian ambassador last December at the same time as Michael Flynn.
In an attempt to exonerate himself, Sessions told reporters than he met the Russian ambassador in his senatorial capacity, but one of the meetings was at the RNC conference when Sessions used campaign funds for his travel. He also said that he had forgotten about meeting with the ambassador. Until yesterday, he had flatly refused to recuse himself from any investigation into DDT’s campaign team involvement with the Russians, but now he’s backed down from that assertion—most likely to keep from being forced to resign from his brand new position. If he ends up losing that job, it’s unlikely that he can go back to the Senate because he’s already been replaced.
Another blow against DDT this week, temporarily hidden by the much worse news for him, was the confirmation that he was responsible for softening language toward Russia in the GOP platform. J.D. Gordon, DDT’s national security policy rep at the RNC, earlier said that DDT wasn’t involved in the change that called for the U.S. to provide “appropriate assistance,” rather than lethal weapons, to Ukraine to push back against Russian intervention. Gordon talked to the Russian ambassador too.
Cabinet Members Perjury
Sessions wasn’t the only confirmed Cabinet member who lied under oath during confirmation hearings.
- EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, Education Secretary stated in testimony that he had never used a private email account to conduct business while he was Oklahoma’s attorney general.
- Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said that she has not been involved in her family’s foundation, which has given millions of dollars to group that oppose LGBT rights. She denied that she sat on the board, but her tax filings list her as vice-president of the board for 17 years. DeVos claimed it was a “clerical” error.
- Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin denied in his written testimony that his former bank had used “robo-signing,” but it was a frequent practice , and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
- Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price insisted that his discount for a biotech stock was “available to every single individual that was an investor at the time.” Fewer than 20 investors in the nation were offered the same discount.
For years, GOP members of Congress have been obsessed with two Hillary Clinton issues, Benghazi and emails. During DDT’s Tuesday speech, he lauded himself for a failed raid in Yemen that killed a Navy SEAL. Later this week, VP Mike Pence was found to have used a public server, AOL.com, for sensitive government messages. Pence said that his email server use was entirely different from that of Hillary Clinton He is correct in at least one way: AOL was hacked; Clinton’s server was not. Clinton openly provided emails when asked, but Pence has fought the release of his emails through judicial means. DDT’s new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, also communicated with his staff on private email when he was Oklahoma attorney general and then lied about doing that while under oath by telling Congress that he always used a state email account for government business. Conservatives have yet to demand that Pence and Pruitt be locked up.
The GOP health care plan still seems to be missing. After the promise to release it last Wednesday, the day after DDT’s speech, it stays in the basement of an office building next to the Capitol where only House Republicans are allowed to see it. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tried to make copies, but he wasn’t permitted into the room where the plan is being kept.
Despite the part of DDT’s speech that his immigration policy going after only the “bad ones,” he has decided that women and children are the “bad ones.” The Department of Homeland Security is considering the separation of mothers from their children at the border to keep them from migrating to the U.S. Toward that end, the current 3,000 prison beds for undocumented women and children will be expanded to 20,000.
The policy would detain parents while complying with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals order that immigrant children must be released from detention as soon as possible. The excuse for this action is protection because “the journey north is a dangerous one.” No consideration has been given to the fact that living in the countries these people flee may be more dangerous.
Vacation for DDT
In the meantime, DDT is taking another $3 million trip to Mar-a-Lago to recover from the week’s stress. He has gone every weekend since the week after his inauguration, and taxpayers have picked up the tab for four of the trips. Taxpayers are also paying for a Marine One helipad being built at Mar-a-Lago. At least DDT is not finding his new job too much work for him.
Disappearing Visitors to U.S.
Travel guru Arthur Frommer calls it the “Trump Slump.” While DDT makes money illegally for his businesses and lives off the taxpayers, international travel to the U.S. is suffering because of his immigration policies with a projected fewer 300,000 visitors coming to New York this year as compared to 2016. It would be the first drop since the 2008 recession. Philadelphia lost 3,000 attendees to an international meeting that will go instead to Canada or Mexico. Another company reports that books are down 6.5 percent thus far this year compared to last. With international travel a key to tourism, the industry generates $2.1 trillion in economic output and supports 15.1 million jobs. An op-ed piece in the Toronto Star newspaper encouraged Canadians to “boycott vacations to the U.S.” until Trump is no longer president.