(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
As Major League Baseball is gearing up for the post-season, Donald Trump is throwing screwballs both at Republicans and at Democrats, so that nobody knows which team he’s on anymore. Initially Trump benefitted from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which gave him a chance to temporarily almost normalize his presidency by doing the usual compassionate things, such as touring the disaster areas, meeting with victims and handing out food supplies. Unfortunately for him his vocal cords don’t have a register for empathy, so that every speech sounds like a political attack on someone, and on one occasion Trump – in the company of Senator Rubio – took off the plastic gloves he was wearing because they were ‘too small for his hands,’ but all in all he looked more or less presidential in his windbreaker, with Melania on his side and Pence always one step behind him. Then, apparently inspired by his new role as national healer and aware that a large majority of the electorate wants Washington to find a solution that would keep the ‘Dreamers’ in the US, Trump took the next step and invited ‘Chuck and Nancy’ for dinner.
Over Peking Duck the president made the deal that he would push for a solution for the DACA population, in exchange for increased border security but without demanding that the Democrats support funding for ‘The Wall.’ When Chuck and Nancy made the agreement public Trump initially got scared from critical reactions on the ultra-right side of US politics, where it was seen as a fundamental betrayal of his campaign promises, and denied that he had agreed to anything, but eventually he conceded that the Dreamers would be allowed to stay in the US and that ‘the wall would come later.’ It earned him the nickname ‘Amnesty Don’ on Breitbart and Ann Coulter’s call for his impeachment, while his ‘wing man,’ Steve Bannon, remained remarkably silent. Trump’s erratic moves of the last two weeks suggest that nothing drives him more than the need for public acclaim, and as New York Times reporter Nick Confessore observed, raise the question whether ‘Trumpism’ is a political program or a personality cult. NBC’s Katy Tur disclosed in a new book that most Trump supporters ‘trust his judgment,’ even when he betrays them, which would suggest the latter, even though some of them now burn their MAGA hats.
But while Trump basks in the glow of bi-partisanship the Mueller investigation keeps feeding his dark side. A slew of campaign documents have been requested from the White House, while six staffers are lawyering up because Mueller wants to interview them. The never ending stream of leaks contained the information that Trump’s personal lawyers had advised him to remove Jared Kushner from his staff because he made him too vulnerable, an advice he obviously ignored.
From the same sources came the news that in May Trump had publicly called Jeff Sessions an ‘idiot,’ because he had recused himself from the Mueller investigation, and demanded his resignation, which ultimately he only didn’t accept because Bannon and Reince Priebus feared that it would be seen as yet another attempt at obstruction of justice, after the firing of James Comey.
In his ’60 Minutes’ interview Bannon called Comey’s firing the biggest mistake in modern political history, but Sarah Huckabee Sanders is doubling down on it by demanding that Comey be investigated for leaking, which can easily be seen as witness intimidation by the White House.
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