(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
It is becoming inevitable to ask yourself every week of Donald Trump’s presidency what the craziest thing is he has done that week, and almost always there are multiple options. This week Trump produced two lies that are so blatant that according to CNN’s Chris Cillizza he now permanently lives in an alternate universe. After Mitch McConnell decided not to bring the Graham/Cassidy health care bill up for a vote in the senate, because at least three GOP senators had announced that they were going to vote against, Trump declared at an impromptu Q&A with the press that the votes were there, but that the senate had not been able to vote because one senator was in the hospital. He announced that a vote would take place at a later time, in January or February, and the only possible explanation for the president’s optimism is that he believes that by that time John McCain will have died and a newly appointed senator from Arizona will turn out to be a yes-vote. The senator who was supposed to be in the hospital, Cochran, tweeted that he was at home, getting better from a urinary tract infection and going out for a walk.
Trump’s support for the meanest healthcare bill that so far has been produced, about which even Lindsey Graham said that he had no clue what he was doing, was a reminder that he has completely forgotten that he had promised cheaper and better healthcare for all US citizens. Trump echoed that promise in the announcement of his tax plan, of which he said it was a ‘middle class miracle,’ in spite of the fact that all analyses show that the richest one percent of Americans would benefit disproportionally from the proposed tax cuts, while the lowest tax bracket would go up from ten to twelve percent and very little would change for people with middle incomes, unless they live in states with relatively high state and local taxes like New York and California, in which case their taxes would go up significantly. Trump emphasized that he would not benefit from the plan, followed by ‘believe me,’ his standard expression when even he knows that he’s lying. Abolishing the alternative minimum tax could yield him about $1.5 billion, while his children would pocket $4 billion due to the abolishment of the estate tax.
In other areas Trump didn’t fare too well either. The candidate he supported in the GOP primary for a senate seat in Alabama lost to Roy Moore, who was once removed and once suspended as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of his state for respectively refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments and unconstitutionally enforcing a same-sex marriage ban. Moore is crazy as a bed bug and may create serious problems for McConnell if he ends up in the senate.
And while Trump was quarreling with the NFL at the beginning of the week over players alledgedly showing disrespect for the American flag and national anthem, American citizens on Puerto Rico were suffering in the aftermath of hurricane Maria. Congressman John Lewis characterized the federal government’s response as ‘anemic,’ but Trump called it ‘great,’ ‘amazing’ and ‘tremendous.’
Following Trump’s example the acting Secretary of Homeland Security in his administration called Puerto Rico a ‘good news story,’ while the Mayor of San Juan called it a ‘people are dying here’ story. On Tuesday Trump is going to look for himself, after a weekend of golf, and by that time it will unfortunately be clear that the Mayor was right.
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