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The Trump Equation

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July 28, 2017 01:00 EDT

Trump has successfully attacked the media, scholars and scientists by crudely creating a false dichotomy — you cannot believe in them if you believe in me.

As a general proposition, I refrain from giving Republicans the benefit of my advice, but Trump is so pathetically ignorant that I feel like I need to step in to help. My country needs me, particularly with John McCain largely on the disabled list and the rest of his political kin just plain disabled. As a former federal prosecutor (true), I strongly suggest that Trump do two things without question and without exception: keep his mouth shut and keep his hands off Princess Ivanka. Both will be hard to do, but impeachment beckons on both counts.

Let’s take these in reverse order. Does anyone seriously believe that President Emmanuel Macron of France really loves shaking hands with Trump so much that he couldn’t let go? Hell no. He knew that if he let go, Trump was likely to grope his wife Brigitte, particularly after Trump noted that she was in “such good shape.” So please Ivanka keep your distance.

The keep your mouth shut part of the advice equation will be much more difficult to realize. Trump seems to believe that he alone is smart enough to fool the rest of us every day in every way. His vast information gaps and very challenged short-term memory provide an ever-changing and often confusing panorama of presidential blather. His acolytes and “surrogates” are often left to remind us what a great guy His Excellency, King Trump, really is and what he actually meant when he said just the opposite.

The overarching place where all the dysfunction comes to a head is the “Russia probe.” Since I like details, I will use one to illustrate how hard it will be to keep His Excellency from self-immolation: the adoptions ruse.

First, the Crown Prince (Don Jr.) shot himself in the criminal foot by arranging a meeting with Russian operatives intended to subvert the last presidential election, making sure to include Prince Jared in the group. Then, the Crown Prince lied about the meeting, first saying that the meeting was about the adoption of Russian children. But as luck would have it, the Crown Prince failed to destroy some emails he wrote that provide incontrovertible and tangible evidence that the meeting was about the very collusion that His Excellency has been forcefully denying for months.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, His Excellency jumps in on the adoption story with both feet after the Crown Prince had moved beyond adoptions and the incriminating emails made it clear that the meeting was not about adoptions. His Excellency says he delivered his own adoption concerns directly to Vladimir Putin, suggesting that he was raising the same issue that the Crown Prince had featured in his meeting with the Russian operatives. This left His Excellency one full lie behind the Crown Prince on the veracity trajectory.

Note: I don’t know about you, but I am really touched at how deeply committed the Trump family seems to be to the adoption of Russian children. But with others so skeptical, it probably will take Queen Melania to provide the capstone by herself adopting a Russian child. Meanwhile, it is believed that Princess Ivanka is forming a new support group, PETER (People for the Ethical Treatment of Endangered Russians), as a means of furthering the family commitment to this worthy cause.


While it would be nice to go on in this vein, there is a far more important point that needs to be made. Those of us who delight in each new Trump implosion are losing big time. His Excellency is a clownish tool of a venal cabal of right-wing Republicans who are dedicated to dismantling government oversight of corporate greed and undermining the social safety net that supports the most vulnerable among us. And that is just for starters.

The daily cascade of “breaking news” fueled largely by His Excellency is a purposeful diversion that has overwhelmed simplistic and puerile media resources, leaving the cabal’s actual agenda largely underreported and obscured by a torrent of anonymously sourced and unsourced stories of palace intrigue. While the media obsesses with the minutia of Trump administration perfidy, the right-wing cabal is working its “magic” to undermine public education, erase civil rights gains, cripple environmental programs, destroy immigrant families, dismantle meaningful regulatory reforms, and promote Christian dogma as a substitute for secular governing principles.

Perhaps most disheartening, Trump has successfully attacked the media, scholars and scientists by crudely creating a false dichotomy: You cannot believe in them if you believe in me. In response, even reliable media outlets have tripped all over each other to confuse the hard work of finding and reporting facts with the far easier formula of anonymous sourcing that often ends up sounding an awful lot like gossip.

To fill the information void, the nation is awash in commentary that often repeats the anonymously sourced and unsourced material as fact, lending credence to Trump’s assertion that it is better to believe in him than in them. Next time you watch a news broadcast or read a newspaper, keep an eye out for “my sources tell me …” and/or “… according to people familiar with the ….”  These are buzz words that reek of a factual vacuum and provide no assurance of reliability. Each day, these words and others like them infect the news cycle more and more.

The only way to stop Trump and the right-wing cabal from further eroding what is left of America’s moral compass is to confront them with more facts, more scholars, more scientists and a media with the courage to provide the foundation for enlightened public policy debate.

If we ever get to that point, we can start looking for politicians with the courage to lead the American people to a better place at home and abroad. Until that time, it will be essential to stay focused on the marauding fire ants.

*[A version of this article was also featured on Larry Beck’s blog, Hard Left Turn.]

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

Photo Credit: Stock_photo_world /

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