Elvis is in the House
(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
On Tuesday Trump launched his re-election campaign at a rally in Florida and it was déjà-vu all over again. Pundits compared the president’s performance to Elvis Presley’s staggering on stage in 1977 – the year the King died from a drug overdose – trying to sing his greatest hits. For Trump those were the Wall and Hillary Clinton’s emails. He lied to his crowd that a beautiful wall, designed by him, was being built, while in reality only 45 miles of already existing wall have been replaced, and if you didn’t know better you’d think that he was still running against Hillary, which begs the question if the president knows better. Clearly the ‘lock her up’ chants were music to his ears. The rally also served as a reminder of broken promises Trump didn’t mention, such as a new system of great, affordable health care for all Americans that never materialized, but that didn’t keep the president from launching the slogan ‘Keep America Great,’ with KAG-hats, undoubtedly already copyrighted by the Trump organization, available on-line and soon on the misguided heads of Trump’s favorite, under-educated segment of the American electorate.
During the week Trump was in full denial mode on issues that were leaked out of his campaign and administration. Three pollsters who had apparently leaked internal polls showing him losing to Democratic candidates in key states were fired, and the president denied that the US had placed malware in the Russian power grid. The data the pollsters revealed didn’t exist according to Trump, but were later confirmed by multiple sources. The president accused the New York Times of ‘treason’ for publishing the malware story that parts of his administration clearly had wanted in the public domain but without telling Trump about it, for fear that he would axe the project or give the details to Putin. More negative polls for the president came out during the week, but experts warned that there might be a reversed ‘Bradley-effect,’ where voters who are planning to vote for Trump won’t tell the pollsters and Democrats are lulled into the belief that the president will be a push-over in 2020. And eventually it’s not beyond Trump to use the current tense situation with Iran in a ‘Wag the Dog’ scenario, with John Bolton in Robert de Niro’s part.
Apart from tasting like three days old micro-waved Chinese food there were also luscious moments at Trump’s rally. At some point he told his followers that ‘the Democrats want to destroy you,’ and among the attendees was the African-American man to whom the president once shouted out ‘look at my black guy’ at a different rally. This token of diversity came into the arena with Sean Hannity, who must have figured that it would counterbalance racist statements about the Central Park Five Trump repeated earlier in the day.
In DC acting Defense Secretary Shanahan withdrew his candidacy for the permanent position to spend more time with his family, something he should have done ten years ago, and Sarah Sanders decided to take her lies back to Arkansas. Hope Hicks testified in the House, but didn’t say much because the White House claimed ‘absolute immunity’ for the period after Trump’s election, a non-existing bullshit concept that will be challenged in court.
Thursday night the US military was ready to strike Iranian targets because of Iran’s shooting down an American drone, but Trump says that he called the attack off when he was told in the last minute that there could be 150 casualties. If true, this means that the president was kept out of the planning process and that hawks in his administration tried to start a war.
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