Part 1 was yesterday; find it here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention canceled a scheduled conference on climate change when officials there realized it would have been a complete waste of time under life with a new boss who doesn’t even believe in climate change. A reasonable choice but a bad decision: the experts shouldn’t muzzle themselves voluntarily. They should make the politicians muzzle them.
Another potential side-switcher is the Justice Department, which has been supporting a civil rights case in which plaintiffs are challenging Texas’s voter ID law, claiming it discriminates against low-income people and people of color. As soon as the new occupant entered the White House, Justice Department lawyers petitioned the federal court to delay hearing the case. Why? Because the Trump Justice Department is apparently deciding whether to change sides and support the Texas voter ID law that discriminates against low-income people and people of color.
If He Said it Once, He’s Going to Say it Again
And again and again and again, with nothing more to support him than his own delusions: Donald Trump won the popular vote.
Or at least he would have, he claims, if millions of illegal voters hadn’t cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton. How many millions? Three to five, Trump believes. Of course there’s not a shred of evidence to support this claim – not even the study Trump frequently cites, which doesn’t say it at all. He won the electoral college and he’s now president, so now all that’s left for him is being a sore winner.
And he shows every sign of being very, very good at that.
So good, in fact, that he’s threatening to launch a major investigation – will it ever be possible for Trump to do anything without calling it “major” – into vote fraud in an election he actually won; again, talk about your sore winner. In addition to illegal immigrants, Trump is upset about people he believes register to vote in more than one place – and in more than one state, in particular. The hated press, in fact, has already identified five such individuals: Steven Bannon, Trump’s “strategist”; Sean Spicer, his Dippin Dots-hatin’ press secretary; Jared Kushner, his son in-law and new White House advisor; Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary nominee who apparently forgets more than the extra, unreported $100 million stuffed in his mattress; and Trump’s own daughter, Tiffany. In addition, it is now being reported that Trump’s vote fraud expert, a guy named Gregg Phillips, is registered to vote in not one and not two but three states – a real achiever, he is. The Curmudgeon guesses that if anyone understands vote fraud it would be a guy like Phillips, who reportedly is a rather accomplished practitioner of the art.
Step Aside, Muhammad Ali
The late heavyweight champ always told us he was the greatest, but now that he’s gone, Trump seems ready to fill that void.
Don’t believe it? Just ask him.
As reported last week in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The way President Trump tells it, the meandering, falsehood-filled, self-involved speech that he gave at CIA headquarters last weekend was one of the greatest addresses ever given.
“That speech was a home run,” Trump told ABC News just a few minutes into his first major television interview since moving into the White House. “See what Fox said. They said it was one of the great speeches. They showed the people applauding and screaming. … I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl, and they said it was equal. I got a standing ovation. It lasted for a long period of time.”
The most powerful man in the world continued: “You probably ran it live. I know when I do good speeches. I know when I do bad speeches. That speech was a total home run. They loved it. … People loved it. They loved it. They gave me a standing ovation for a long period of time. They never even sat down, most of them, during the speech. There was love in the room. You [ABC] and other networks covered it very inaccurately. … That speech was a good speech. And you and a couple of other networks tried to downplay that speech. And it was very, very unfortunate that you did.”
Trump brushed off the suggestion that it was disrespectful to deliver the speech — which included musings about magazine covers and crowd sizes — in front of a hallowed memorial to CIA agents killed in the line of duty. He insisted that the crowd was filled with “the people of the CIA,” not his supporters, and could have been several times larger than it was. Had a poll been taken of the 350-person audience to gauge the speech’s greatness, Trump said the result would have been “350 to nothing” in his favor.
And then he returned to the size of the crowd at his inauguration:
“Here’s a picture of the crowd,” the president explained to the nation he now leads. “Now, the audience was the biggest ever, but this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive. And I would actually take that camera and take your time [scanning the crowd] if you want to know the truth.”
Then the president took Muir to see another image, a panoramic photo by a local artist who has taken the exact same shot at each inauguration since Reagan was in office. (The other years were not presented for contrast.)
“One thing this shows is how far over they go here,” Trump said, walking up close to the print and pointing as he spoke. “Look. Look how far this is. This goes all the way down here. All the way down. Nobody sees that. You don’t see that in the pictures. But when you look at this tremendous sea of love — I call it a sea of love. It’s really something special, that all these people traveled here from all parts of the country, maybe the world, but all parts of the country. Hard for them to get here. Many of these people were the forgotten men and women, many of them. And they loved what I had to say. More importantly, they’re going to love the result.”
Emoluments? Isn’t that something you rub on a rash? No, actually, emoluments is a word in the constitution. It says:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
Emoluments, in this case, means “power and/or pay.” In the situation of President Trump, there’s an argument that he’s accepting emoluments when representatives of a foreign government rent office space in a Trump office building or stay a night at a Trump hotel. While The Curmudgeon finds the hotel business a bit of a stretch, consider this possibility: a country attempting to curry the president’s favor uses its state-owned television station to purchase the rights to broadcast The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice reruns, in which the president holds a financial interest, for a handsome or what appears to be impossible-to-justify fee even though it may not be terribly interested in actually broadcasting the program at all. Why? To curry the president’s favor.
That’s why the constitution includes such a clause – the founders and writers of the constitution were very, very clear about this – and that’s why a group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is suing the president over his failure to free himself of situations in which he will be receiving emoluments from foreign states.
The Curmudgeon isn’t a lawyer and he doesn’t play one on the internet, but the legal brief supporting this claim makes for interesting reading. Find it here.
Firing officials for doing their job the right way, as opposed to his way.
Publicly declaring the press to be his enemy.
Acting as if everyone is against him.
Shades of…Richard Nixon?
And all in less than two weeks in office!
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More in the not-too-distant future. The Curmudgeon suspects that this feature will not be wanting for fresh material.