It’s all about Trump now

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

The Republican Party does not have a platform anymore and has officially transformed itself into the Trump-cult that unofficially it has become since 2016.  Instead of presenting policies for the next four years the GOP convention is all about Trump, and the policies are whatever comes up in his head, something even the president doesn’t know yet.  Other than with an empty to-do list the party also seems to operate in a social vacuum.  The corona pandemic is the biggest problem in the USA today and the main challenge for the next president, but you wouldn’t know it if you listened to the convention speeches but dozed off for the one minute Melania Trump expressed sympathy for the victims and thanked the first responders, to subsequently lecture America about social media bullying, something her husband excels at.  After COVID-19 was thus removed from reality Larry Kudlow claimed that Trump built the greatest economy ever in three years, disregarding that the Obama-expansion continued but only with less growth, Pam Biondi blamed the Bidens for nepotism, and Matt Gaetz said that Joe Biden wanted MS13 to move in next door.

Meanwhile it is clear that apart from hysterical lies about Biden told by Kimberly Guilfoyle, Don Jr. and Eric Trump, Trump’s strategy is two-fold.  Pre-election he tries to discourage voting by mail by sabotaging the USPS and to intimidate in-person voters by threatening to send sheriffs to polling stations, hoping that many voters will consider it useless or too dangerous to vote.  Post-election he will claim widespread fraud and refuse to accept the result unless he wins, saying that ‘we may not know for weeks, months, or maybe never who won the election.’ He pursues this strategy in spite of the fact that his campaign manager, Bill Stepien, is all for voting by mail.  Grilled by members of Congress Postmaster General Louis DeJoy promised that mail-in ballots will be processed on time, but promises from Trump appointees are usually not worth more than a diploma from Trump University, in this case especially because DeJoy refused to undo the removal of mailboxes and sorting machines that has already taken place.  A tweet from the president that ballot boxes have not been sanitized was flagged by Twitter as misleading.

The corona crisis was not entirely ignored by Trump, who at a Sunday presser announced that the FDA had issued an emergency authorization for the use of ‘convalescent plasma‘ to treat COVID patients, in spite of obstruction by the ‘Deep State.’  The president claimed that for 35% of the patients the treatment was effective, but FDA commissioner Hahn later withdrew his support for that statement.  This episode is seen by pundits as a test run to announce an even more dangerous approval of an equally untested vaccine before the November election.

Asked at a White House presser about his support for a QAnon cult member who is running for a House seat Trump was told that QAnon believes he will protect the world from a cabal of satanic worshippers and cannibalistic pedophiles.  ‘Is that a bad thing?’ he asked, after claiming that he doesn’t know much about QAnon other than that they like him very much.  It may have inspired Charlie Kirk to say that Trump is ‘the bodyguard of Western civilization’ at the GOP convention.

During the convention Trump and his family members are repeatedly breaching the boundaries between campaigning and governing.  The president used a pardon and a small naturalization ceremony as propaganda material, and his wife gave her speech from the White House rose garden she just mutilated, all violations of the Hatch Act, but hey, who is going to prosecute?

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