Darkest Hour

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

If Donald Trump were to lose the 2020 presidential election he’d probably become suicidal, because his personality doesn’t tolerate losing.  Therefore, for his own protection after having made the midterms all about himself, Trump blamed the Republican losses on Paul Ryan, and even made fun of GOP House members who lost their seats.  But those were only the early signs of the president’s meltdown.  During his short trip to France to commemorate the WWI armistice Trump didn’t show up at a cemetery where 1800 US marines are buried, because he was worried that the rain would mess up his hair, and later separated himself from other world leaders by showing up late for events, followed by Putin, who arrived even later and was greeted warmly only by Trump.  At one of those events French President Macron gave his audience a tutorial on the difference between patriotism and nationalism, clearly meant to criticize Trump.  Continuing his verbal war on Europe that started with his presidency Trump responded in tweets by referring to Macron’s unpopularity at home and perfidiously reminding the Europeans that Germany had started two wars.  In a phone call on his flight back he blasted Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May over Brexit.

Trump’s disrespecting the military didn’t end in France.  Back in the White House he decided to break with tradition and not to go to Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day.  Meanwhile the now over 7,000 troops he sent to the border as political props to stop the ‘caravan’ of asylum seekers – in Trump’s mind future illegal immigrants – that was at the heart of his election strategy were setting up barbed wire for an invasion that will never come, living in tents in the dry desert, eating army grub and not even having power to charge their mobile phones.   Asked by the soldiers what their mission is Defense Secretary Mattis, who unlike Trump was visiting the border, said ‘that is still somewhat to be decided.’  And next to losing the House and the bad press he got in France the Russia probe is on Trump’s mind.  This week his lawyers had him review written answers to Robert Mueller’s questions, which are most likely a prelude to a subpoena, and it’s freaking Trump out to the point where he lashes out at Mueller harder than ever before.  The questions must give away some of what Mueller has in store for him, as well as for Don Jr. and for associates like Roger Stone, and it cannot be pretty.

It is still unclear if acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker will be able to protect Trump.  Less than four years ago he was selling hot tub designs for a company that is still under criminal investigation by the FBI, of which, ironically, the director now reports to Whitaker.  The Justice Department put out a statement that Whitaker’s appointment is constitutional, but prominent lawyers, even a group within the conservative Federalist Society headed by Kellyanne Conway’s husband, disagree.  The State of Maryland has filed a lawsuit challenging the appointment so this matter will be resolved in the courts.

With regards to the vote recount in Florida Trump suggested to ‘go with the election day results,’ which would disenfranchise all mail-in voters, many of them in the military, who have until November 16 to cast their vote.  Fantasizing about how voter fraud takes place the president declared that ‘voters go to their car, put on a hat and a different shirt, and go vote again,’ and, more mysteriously, ‘if you buy a box of cereal you have a voter ID.’  So far no voter fraud of any significance has been found in Florida or anywhere else.

In Trump’s messy White House rumors about the upcoming firing of Chief of Staff Kelly are routine, but Melania created a novelty by demanding that John Bolton’s female deputy would be removed from the West Wing, and got her wish.   Someone else who got his wish was Jim Acosta, whose White House credential had to be restored by order of a judge on procedural grounds, after even Fox News supported CNN in the lawsuit it filed for Acosta.

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