The Trump Watch (early October 2018)

It’s All About Him (part 1)

The Mueller investigation is important.  The public needs to know if Russian interference in the 2016 president election was strictly of their own doing, was done in cooperation with people running the Trump campaign, or was done with the knowledge and cooperation of Trump himself.

But Trump has come up with a new reason to label the investigation unfair, as reported by the Associated Press.

President Donald Trump said Friday that the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is not only bad for the country, it’s “really, really unfair for the midterms.”

This is entirely in keeping with the Trump philosophy:  ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you.

Because once again, it’s all about him.

It’s All About Him (part 2)

Property was damaged and lives were lost and upended, but when Agent Orange did the mandatory presidential tour of hurricane-ravaged parts of the Carolinas, what was clearly on his mind was not how the storm affected people there but how it affected him and his own business interests, as Newsweek reported:

President Donald Trump inquired Wednesday about the status of a North Carolina lake that happens to be next to one of his golf courses while he received updates and praise from state officials during his visit after Hurricane Florence.

The president asked about Lake Norman, which is northeast of Charlotte, and on its shores sits a Trump National Golf Club.

“How is Lake Norman doing?” the president asked an official from an energy company. “I love that area. I can’t tell you why, but I love that area.”


“I actually have investments in Charlotte,” the president said, according to The Charlotte Observer. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s a conflict of interest.’ Fake news, they’ll say this is a conflict of interest. You know where my club is, right? Trump National. It’s a very big success on Lake Norman. Beautiful. Largest man-made lake in the world by far, right?”

The self-interest is a bit much, is it not?  Also the continued lying:  as noted in the last Trump Watch, Lake Norman isn’t the largest man-made lake in the world, isn’t the largest man-made lake in the U.S., and isn’t even among the ten largest man-made lakes in the U.S.

It’s All About Him (part 3)

The question of whether Puerto Rico should become the 51st state has been around as long as the now nearly 61-year-old Curmudgeon can remember, and probably longer.  There are reasons both to support and oppose such an idea, but none quite like the reason for opposing statehood recently articulated by the Orange One himself and reported by Time:

President Donald Trump on Monday declared himself an “absolute no” on statehood for Puerto Rico as long as critics such as San Juan’s mayor remain in office…


“With the mayor of San Juan as bad as she is and as incompetent as she is, Puerto Rico shouldn’t be talking about statehood until they get some people that really know what they’re doing,” Trump said in an interview with Rivera’s show on Cleveland’s WTAM radio.

So he’s not saying he’s against statehood for Puerto Rico – but he is against it as long as people he doesn’t like are part of Puerto Rico’s government.

Making Up Stuff

In an interview with the Daily Caller, Trump replied to a question about why he didn’t hire Robert Mueller to lead the FBI by saying, incredibly, that

But I had a business dispute with Mueller before that. I had a real business dispute. And he’s Comey’s best friend. And I could give you 100 pictures of him and Comey hugging and kissing each other. You know, he’s Comey’s best friend.

Yes, he really said that he could “give you 100 pictures of him and Comey hugging and kissing each other.”

The Daily Caller, almost as incredibly, didn’t even challenge that claim (well, the Daily Caller is Tucker Carlson’s web site, so we shouldn’t exactly expect great, good, or even decent journalism). If Trump had said that to YOU, wouldn’t you have asked to see those photos?

“I Am the Greatest”

That was Muhammad Ali’s line, and when challenged about it Ali famously replied to the effect that it’s not bragging if you can back it up.

It was hard not to think of that when Trump told a forum in South Carolina, as reported by Politico, that

“I understand social media,” he boasted. “Maybe better than anybody, ever.”

Not even this Hemingway


“Somebody said I’m the Ernest Hemingway of 140 characters,” he said.

Yeah, he’s the “Hemingway of 140 characters,” all right.

Well, maybe Fred Hemingway.

And that “somebody” who said it?  We’re still waiting to hear who that somebody is, but don’t hold your breath because you know he made it up.

“Build the Wall”

No, not THAT wall.  The OTHER wall.

What other wall?

The British publication The Guardian explains.

Donald Trump suggested the Spanish government tackled the Mediterranean migration crisis by emulating one of his most famous policies and building a wall across the Sahara desert, the country’s foreign minister has revealed.

According to Josep Borrell [note:  Spain’s foreign minister], the US president brushed off the scepticism of Spanish diplomats – who pointed out that the Sahara stretched for 3,000 miles – saying: “The Sahara border can’t be bigger than our border with Mexico.”

Trump wooed voters in the 2016 election with his promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” across the US/Mexico border, which is roughly 2,000 miles long.

A similar plan in the Sahara, however, would be complicated by the fact that Spain  holds only two small enclaves in north Africa – Ceuta and Melilla – and such a wall would have to be built on foreign territory.

This is a truly remarkable, Trumpian statement, combining, as it does, stupidity with ignorance: stupid as in it’s a stupid idea and ignorance about the size of the Sahara and the lack of Spanish-controlled territory in the area for which he was making this suggestion.

Making Lemonade Out of Lemons?

At least there was none of this nonsense this time around

As reported by the Huffington Post, the president’s capacity for empathy is apparently pretty limited, as demonstrated by this exchange with a resident of North Carolina who was affected by Hurricane Florence.

Trump was apparently talking to an older man whose home had been damaged after a large yacht had washed ashore and was shipwrecked against the wooden deck of his porch. 

According to the White House pool report from New York Times journalist Mark Landler, Trump gazed at the yacht, saying, “Is this your boat?”

When the owner said no, Trump reportedly turned and replied with a smile, “At least you got a nice boat out of the deal.”

And that wasn’t the only time Trump put his lack of empathy on display that day.

Earlier in the day, Trump was handing out meals to hurricane victims and told one person in a car, “Have a good time” as if they were going to an entertainment outing.

You may recall that he said the same thing to hurricane victims in Houston last year.

Coming Soon to a Cell Phone Near You

The president himself!

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is testing a new “Integrated Public Alert and Warning System” that will enable the president, in times of emergency, to communicate directly with a majority of cell phones in the U.S.

And we cannot opt out of this system.

While this new system is intended for use only in true national and regional emergencies – think atomic bombs, enemy attacks, major storms – and only to give people instructions on how to respond to the emergency, how long do you think it will take Agent Orange to declare some perceived slight to be an emergency that merits immediate “correction” and proceed to abuse this new communication tool?


We already know that Trump takes a dim view of women and people of color and people with disabilities and anyone who dares disagree with him.

Now we can add a new group of people to those for whom Trump has little regard.  Newsweek tells the story:

President Donald Trump allegedly ordered an architect not to include braille in Trump Tower elevator panels because “no blind people” would live in his building—even after being informed that excluding the tactile writing system is against federal law.

“Not in MY building you don’t!”


“What’s this?” Trump, noticing the small raised dots, reportedly asked the architect who went to his office to show what the residential elevator interiors would look like.

“Braille,” the architect responded. 

Trump apparently demanded that the architect take the feature out.

“We can’t,” the architect replied. “It’s the law.”

“Get rid of the [expletive] braille. No blind people are going to live in Trump Tower,” Trump shouted, according to Res. “Just do it.”

That’s Donald Trump, president of all the people.

Except the ones who can’t see.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

If you happened to catch any of Trump’s press conference last week, what you heard was both remarkable and appalling:  remarkable because he turned virtually every question into an unsolicited, overstated monologue about his accomplishments in office so far, both real and imagined, and appalling because, well, because he turned virtually every question into an unsolicited, overstated monologue about his accomplishments in office so far, both real and imagined.

He also lied through his teeth on a number of occasions.

Like when he said he rejected a one-on-one meeting with Canadian prime minister Trudeau.  Trudeau’s office said their boss sought no such meeting.

Like when he said former President Obama didn’t bother attempting to fill vacancies on the federal bench.  Actually, Obama did:  Republicans rejected some and refused even to consider others – including, you will recall, a nominee to the Supreme Court.

Like when he said he got 52 percent of the women’s vote in the presidential election.  Actually, he won 42 percent of women’s votes in the election.  But this is an understandable mistake:  he won 52 percent of WHITE WOMEN’S vote in the election, and after all, those are the only votes that matter to him anyway.

Like when he said the FBI didn’t investigate Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation against Brett Kavanaugh because it didn’t know the when and the where of the alleged assault.  The FBI absolutely did know these things; draw your own conclusion about why it didn’t investigate.

Like when he expressed sympathy for Brett Kavanaugh over facing charges of sexual assault, saying “four or five” women had leveled such charges against him.  Actually, it was more like at least 13 women and maybe as many as 20, depending on your source.

Like when he said the U.S. got its new embassy in Jerusalem up and running for a half million dollars and not the $1 billion budgeted for the facility.  First, there’s no $1 billion budget, and second, while the embassy is up and running, the State Department has already issued $21 million worth of additional contracts, with more to come.

Like when he said U.S. Steel will be opening a minimum of eight more plants in the U.S.  The company has four plants in the country today and is reopening two it previously closed but has no plans to open any other plants.

Like when he said that “We have trade imbalances with almost everybody. It’s a rare exception that we don’t.”  Actually, while we unquestionably have a negative trade balance, the U.S. has positive trade balances with six of its 15 biggest trading partners and with more than half of all countries with which it trades.

Like when he said Brett Kavanaugh finished first in his class at Yale.  Kavanaugh didn’t:  Yale doesn’t do class rank for either ungrads or law students.

The lying never ends.

“I tell you, it’s yuuuuge!”

Finally, did you catch the part of the news conference in which, while discussing China, Trump said

From what I hear — if you look at Mr. Pillsbury, the leading authority on China — he was on a good show — I won’t mention the name of the show — recently. And he was saying that China has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump’s very, very large brain.

Well, that’s not quite what Mr. Pillsbury said – and Pillsbury made that clear in a tweet, writing that

The Chinese don’t say he has large brain – they say he’s brilliant and smarter than previous presidents

Which, while clearly complimentary – assuming Mr. Pillsbury can be believed – is still a far cry from saying the Chinese have “total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump’s very, very large brain.”

The insecurity, manifesting itself in this instance through fabricating fawning compliments others never offered, is sad.

And They Laughed

There’s a theory, more interesting than plausible, that one of the reasons The Donald decided to run for president in 2016, after many times suggesting that he might and then never doing so, is the thorough humiliation he received at the hands of then-president Obama during the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner (see it for yourself here).  The only reason it’s really even a little plausible is that for a guy who loves to dish it out Trump has demonstrated time and time again that he really can’t take it.

That’s why his speech last week at the U.N. must have been a real blast for him.

At him, not with him

In that speech, he stood before assembled dignitaries and diplomats from around the world and declared that

One year ago, I stood before you for the first time in this grand hall. I addressed the threats facing our world, and I presented a vision to achieve a brighter future for all of humanity.

Today, I stand before the United Nations General Assembly to share the extraordinary progress we’ve made.

 In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.

And how did the audience respond?  The people laughed:  they laughed at him and they laughed at what he said.

And in their own way, they were laughing at us, too.

And that’s no laughing matter.







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