(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
While Trump was playing golf on Martin Luther King Day and even once raked a bunker by way of social service, the White House was preparing a defense for his ‘shithole’ remark. The story became that Trump didn’t say shithole but ‘shithouse,’ supposedly a real estate term for a building with suspect plumbing, so Trump was just falling back on his earlier life and had no racist intentions whatsoever. The latter was confirmed by his son Eric, who told Fox News that the only color his father sees is green. Unfortunately the new lie had not been coordinated with the senators Perdue and Cotton, who last week declared that they had not heard the president say shithole, and who now remembered that they had not heard him say anything that even resembled shithole. The Homeland Security Secretary did them one better by telling a senate committee that she didn’t know Norwegians are predominantly white, which is surprising for someone with the name Kirstjen Nielsen. It goes to show how contagious lying is in the era of Trump, who proved to still be the absolute master of the craft by telling reporters that he’s the least racist person they’ll ever interview, a statement that was followed by a painful silence.
After his physical exam Trump’s doctor declared him in excellent health, even though he is an overweight 71 years old man with an LDL of 143 who doesn’t exercise and eats lots of junkfood, but from then on his week went south. The White House had to effectively impose a gag order on Steve Bannon to keep him from testifying for a House committee, but Bannon made it clear that he would tell Robert Mueller everything he knows. Obviously Trump has much more to fear from Mueller than from the House, especially since the FBI is following leads out of Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson’s House testimony about how Russian money ended up in the Trump organization and if it involved money laundering. Another avenue that’s being explored is if Russian money was channeled to the Trump campaign via the NRA, and with all that already in Mueller’s view it doesn’t help that Don Jr., who in the past has talked about all the money Trump was making from transactions with Russians, had meetings with a Russian Mafioso who runs a bank and is close to Putin. It seems more than likely that Moscow has enough dirt on Trump to blackmail him until his presidency is over, which is clearly the United States’ primary security risk.
In the meantime Trump created complete chaos in Washington. With a Saturday morning budget deadline looming he has taken just about every possible position on the issues at stake, such as DACA and CHIP, confusing both Republicans and Democrats and making bi-partisan solutions all but impossible. With Republicans in control of the House, the US Senate and the White House, even Trump cannot expect Democrats to be blamed for a government shutdown, as much as he likes to suggest otherwise.
On his signature item, the wall on the southern border, Trump felt that he had to dress down John Kelly, who had told House members that during the campaign Trump was ‘uninformed’ and that his ideas were still evolving. In strong public statements Trump emphasized that he still wanted a wall of at least 700 miles, for which Congress would have to provide the funding because it won’t come from Mexico.
As I write this Trump is meeting with Chuck Schumer to see if a shutdown can still be prevented, so that he can leave DC for a $100,000/plate party at Mar-a-Lago. There he may have to answer his wife’s questions about his affair with porn star Stormy Daniels four months after Melania gave birth to Barron.
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