Trump’s Gettysburg Address

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Donald Trump got his parade, albeit not on Pennsylvania Avenue but in the air above it.  Yesterday, on the Fourth of July, he tried to shine at a made for television event that was all about him, while he pretended that  it was about the US military.  Flanked by two tanks Trump initially mistook for Shermans, a model that was retired in 1957, he gave a speech that was partly a half-baked State of the Union address and partly an 8th grade history lesson, obviously written for him by others.  For once the president didn’t ad-lib to what he read from the teleprompter, but that didn’t salvage his presentation, because he is who and what he is.  When he tries to be solemn Donald Trump becomes slightly amusing, especially when he turns his head like a peacock after successfully finishing a whole sentence.  When he tries to be inclusive he reminds the thinking part of his audience of his racism, and his attempts to share a halo with American heroes serve as a reminder that he’s a draft-dodger.  The president may even have done some damage to himself, because his disingenuous remarks about Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman and the Civil War probably shocked and angered the overtly fascist part of his base.

The flyovers of aircraft used by the different branches of the military and the renditions of their songs were meant to be the highlight of a week that started with an impromptu visit to Korea’s demilitarized zone, where Trump shook hands with Kim Jong-un and took a couple of steps into North Korea, calling it ‘an honor.’  The two leaders agreed to resume negotiations about denuclearization, but the next day the NY Times reported that the administration would consider accepting just a ‘freeze’ of North Korea’s program, effectively allowing it to remain a nuclear power.   The White House denied this news, but from Mongolia, where Trump had sent him instead of taking him to the G20, John Bolton demanded that the ‘reprehensible’ leaker be found.  It appears that Bolton is not the only Trump advisor who has fallen out of grace, because instead of Sean Hannity Tucker Carlson advised the president on whether to bomb Iran or not and accompanied him to the Far East.  Both at the G20 and in the aftermath of the meeting with Kim Jong-un that she called ‘surreal’ Ivanka Trump made a complete ass of herself, which may be why it was considered better for her not to attend the July 4th celebration.

In spite of the careful choreography Trump slipped in his speech when he claimed that the Continental Army had taken airports from the British in the 18th century, and that was not his only gaffe of the week.  Asked for his opinion about Western Liberalism he started talking about Democratic mayors in California, and in response to a question about bussing as a desegregation tool the president said: “There are only so many ways to get to school and people have been taking the bus for ages.”  He also called homelessness a two year old problem caused by liberals.

Worse than the ignorance evidenced by those remarks was Trump’s assessment of the humanitarian crisis at the southern border.  He claimed that the asylum seekers in his torture camps are living in much better conditions than where they came from, and said that it’s ‘too bad’ if they don’t like those conditions, but that then they shouldn’t have come.  It proved once more that cruelty is not a bi-product of the policy, but that cruelty serving as a deterrent for potential future migrants is the policy.

And although the Commerce and Justice Departments had already decided to comply with a Surpreme Court ruling and not to include a citizenship question in the 2020 Census the president instructed them to find a justification for inserting  such a question that would persuade the Court to change its position.  Government lawyers have until this afternoon to come up with something, so stay tuned.

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