Trump Yells at the Data
(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
With the images still fresh of Donald and Melania Trump triumphantly holding a baby that had been shot, the way Don Jr. and Eric Trump hold a baby elephant they have just murdered, the expectation was that the president might be willing to make a gesture, however minimal, on gun control. Initially he said ‘I want something done,’ but a couple of days later that had deflated to ‘I think Mitch McConnell wants to do something.’ Meanwhile Jeffrey Epstein hung himself in a New York federal penitentiary, or so it seems, and Trump re-tweeted the conspiracy theory that Bill Clinton had a hand in Epstein’s death. A president accusing a predecessor of murder is so unheard of that under normal circumstances it would be considered shocking, but in the Trump era it is just one more thing. More than by last week’s mass shootings Trump was upset that he had been branded a racist for inciting the violence in El Paso and wasn’t able to shake that label. Although ‘white supremacist’ is more accurate it would be smart for the Democratic candidates to keep the ‘Racist Trump’ tag alive, because it drives him nuts and causes him to make mistakes.
Trump’s vision of a predominantly white America was verbalized by Ken Cuccinelli, Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, who rewrote Emma Lazarus’s poem on the Statue of Liberty ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore,’ so that it now reads ‘give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.’ Just to prevent any misunderstandings Cuccinelli clarified that the poem had been written in a time when all immigrants were coming from Europe. ‘Means-testing’ aspiring immigrants and admitting only self-reliant people will exclude the primarily colored transients who want to come to America to make a better life for themselves and are indispensable in many sectors of the US economy, and it will immediately face legal challenges. Trump would have felt good about himself for driving more fear into the hearts of poor economic migrants and asylum seekers if the stock market had not lost 800 points, possibly foreboding a recession that would sink his re-election chances.
In spite of his often proclaimed business acumen the president knows nothing about economics and he doesn’t get much help in the White House. His chief economic advisor only played an economist on TV, and his tariffs expert is considered a halfwit by real economists. Parroting some words he just learned Trump tweeted ‘CRAZY inverted yield curve,’ as if he was yelling at the data, and blamed the Fed chairman, but he also finally acknowledged that his tariffs are hurting US consumers by putting new tariffs on Chinese imports off until after the holiday shopping season.
A normal president would have called China out on its threatening democracy in Hong Kong, according to pundits to honor the US tradition as guardian of freedom around the world, but Trump didn’t get beyond a statement that the situation is ‘very tough’ and that he hopes ‘it works out for everybody, including China.’ In a tweet he later expressed his opinion that if Xi Jinping would only meet with the demonstrators a ‘beautiful solution’ would emerge almost immediately.
In an effort to distract attention from the economy and his tanking poll numbers Trump, in an unprecedented move, urged Israel not to admit two congresswomen, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who happen to be dark-skinned Muslimas. Netanyahu complied, but the president will get payback if New York City honors a petition signed by 290 thousand residents to rename the Trump Tower block on 5th Avenue to ‘Barack Obama Avenue.’
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