(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
Every American child learns that when the national anthem is played you are supposed to stand straight with your right hand over your heart, but not Donald Trump. The man who excoriated black football players for kneeling during the anthem in protest against police killings of young black men was jumping around and pretended to be directing when the anthem was sung before the Super Bowl. It was only the beginning of the president’s deepest dive into the sewer so far. Emboldened by his upcoming acquittal in the impeachment trial Trump delivered a State of the Union address that was so full of falsehoods that Pinocchio would have refused to read it. The thrust of the speech was the state of the US economy, according to the president better than ever. Probably not knowing that GDP grew more under Carter and that job growth was higher under Obama during their presidencies Trump spoke of a ‘blue collar boom,’ while employment in manufacturing is declining, in part due to his China tariffs. Without any evidence he also boasted that people at the bottom of the economy have done far better than people at the top.
Another whopper was the president’s promise to protect people with pre-existing conditions, at a time when his minions are in court trying to end Obamacare, and his blaming Democrats for wanting to introduce socialism in health care by taking insurance away from 180 million ‘happy Americans.’ Almost amusing was Trump’s statement that America is respected again, at least to those who remember how his closest allies were making fun of him at a recent summit. For the lowest point of the address Melania decorated Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, adding the singer of ‘Barack the Magic Negro’ to a pantheon with among others Jacky Robinson, John Lewis and Maya Angelou. From the start, when he refused to shake Speaker Pelosi’s outstretched hand before his address, it was obvious that the president was on the war path, and she returned the favor by ripping up the speech while he was still basking in the Republican applause after delivering it. It would only get worse the next day, when the Senate voted to acquit Trump but Mitt Romney called him guilty on one of the Articles of Impeachment.
As the first Senator ever to vote for the impeachment of a president of his own party Romney explained that his faith forced him to take his oath before God seriously, and mentioned the pressure put on him to ‘stand with the team.’ Since he denied Trump a single-party vote to remove him from office Romney immediately incurred the wrath of the Trump family, with the Don calling him a ‘Democrat secret asset’ and Don Jr. demanding that he be expelled from the GOP. Signaling its disarray a White House press event was cancelled right after Romney’s vote.
At the National Prayer Breakfast the next morning, with Nancy Pelosi sitting four chairs away from him, Trump talked about the people who ‘misuse their faith to do what they know is wrong’ and those ‘who say they pray for him but don’t,’ clearly referring to Romney and Pelosi. And at an event later in the day where he did some stand-up comedy the president pretended to reflect and acknowledge that he ‘said a lot of things he shouldn’t have said,’ adding ‘but I meant every word of it.’
Taking a victory lap and effusively praising his family, his Republican backers and his lawyers, Trump, clearly after a triple dose of Adderall, found the time to call Pelosi and Adam Schiff ‘vicious people,’ investigators ‘leakers and liars,’ James Comey ‘a sleazebag’ and spoke of the ‘top scum of the FBI.’ His impeachment had been ‘a dirty rotten deal,’ promoted and effectuated by ‘evil and sick people.’
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