Road Trip

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Even when Donald Trump does the right thing he fucks up.  On Tuesday he finally made his first visit to US troops in a war zone, having traveled to Iraq overnight with Melania.  Apparently the president was very concerned about his personal security, so he picked a  country that’s now relatively safe and never left the base.  He met with only a small number of servicemen, some dressed in full battle fatigues who turned out to be members of the Navy Seals 5 team, which raised suspicion that the whole thing was staged as a reality show.  In his speech Trump lied to the troops that he was the first president to give them a pay raise in ten years, and got into his usual rant about ‘the wall,’ shamelessly using members of the military as props to promote his domestic policies.  The president defended his decision to withdraw all troops from Syria by characterizing Americans as the ‘suckers’ of the world, who always do other countries’ fighting without getting appropriately compensated, suggesting that he’s willing to pimp out US soldiers as mercenaries if the price is right.  The fact that Trump didn’t meet with any of Iraq’s leaders made some of them demand that all US troops leave their country.

The visit followed a couple of days when Trump was home alone in the White House, after acting like a high school student whose sweetheart broke up with him by forcing Jim Mattis out per January 1st and then closing the government.  The president complained about his loneliness, pretended to sign bills that don’t exist, and claimed to have signed a contract for the construction of 115 miles of the wall, something a US President typically doesn’t do.  In the process he shortened the wall from 2,000 to 515 miles and reduced it from a concrete contraption to a metal fence.  The fact that every entity Trump was ever involved with, from the Trump organization and foundation to his campaign, inaugural committee and administration, is now under investigation is taking its toll, and in an Oval Office meeting with the press pool the president fulminated about the Mueller probe and how the Democrats are out to get him, finishing with a heartfelt ‘Merry Christmas anyway.’  Trump also claimed to have received overwhelming encouragement from furloughed government workers to keep their departments closed, which is a miracle since the White House cannot be reached because of the shutdown.

During this week the background of Trump’s decision to pull the troops out of Syria came into focus.  The president seems to think that Saudi Arabia and Turkey have leverage over the US, the former because they ‘buy lots of stuff,’ and the latter for reasons nobody understands.   Records show that a phone call with Erdogan contributed to Trump’s decision, and pundits speculate that the Turkish president told Trump US troops would be in harm’s way when Turkey goes after the Syrian Kurds, who have been America’s most reliable allies, en passant promising that Turkey would also take care of ISIS.

Yesterday Rudy Giuliani opened his Pandora’s box of confused opinions in an interview with ‘The Hill,’ basically admitting that Trump is guilty of everything he has ever been accused of but that none of it is a crime.   Meanwhile McClatchy claims that there is hard evidence that places Michael Cohen in Prague in August 2016 coordinating interference in the elections with the Russians.  If this is true Robert Mueller knows it already, despite Cohen’s understandable denials, and the collusion, or rather conspiracy, case is closed.

Because of this latest information Mueller’s report, which might come out in February, is expected to be another bombshell, and we might even get to see the pee-pee tape before all is said and done.   It is questionable if Matt Whitaker, the acting Attorney General, will still be involved in the decision whether to release the report, after the news has broken  that he listed Academic All American honors which he never earned on his resumé.

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