(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
The week didn’t start well for Trump. Fresh off speeches by George W. Bush and Obama, who blasted the brand of vulgarity he brought to the presidency, on Monday he got into a Twitter argument with the grieving, pregnant widow of a sergeant who was buried last Saturday. It’s hard to imagine how a Commander in Chief can sink lower than that. In later interviews Trump absolved himself from responsibility for the mistakes that got four servicemen killed because he had delegated all decisions to ‘his’ generals. On Tuesday senator Corker continued his criticism of Trump, and senator Flake elegantly echoed the former presidents in a speech on the senate floor, in which he announced that he would leave the senate rather than run in 2018. But then Trump’s fortunes seemed to change. At a luncheon with Republican senators on Wednesday he received by his own accounting three standing ovations, and at an impromptu press conference that followed he declared himself to be a ‘very intelligent person,’ in possession of ‘one of the great memories of all times.’ It appeared that the president was peaking in his manic cycle.
In order to counter allegations of Trump’s campaign colluding with the Russians his media henchmen like Limbaugh and Hannity were blowing up a story about the seven year old sale of a company with control over 20% of US uranium to a Russian bidder, claiming that this is the real Russia scandal because it happened on Hillary Clinton’s watch as Secretary of State. They got new ammo when it came out that the Clinton campaign had partly paid for the investigation that led to the Steele-dossier. Trump used those stories to obfuscate his own vulnerabilities, until it turned out that the Trump campaign had asked Wikileaks’ Julian Assange to help them find Hillary Clinton’s emails, which was confirmed by Assange himself. The Trump family was already under investigation for their willingness to receive information from the Russian government, and this only adds to their predicament. By getting some Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee to start investigating the uranium deal Trump is trying to get ‘even’ with Clinton, apparently forgetting that he already has Robert Mueller on his case.
In the meantime Corker’s and Flake’s announcements that they’ll be leaving the senate are seen as a victory for Trump, which may still turn into a defeat if the most likely Republican candidates, Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee and Kelli Ward in Arizona, lose the election to their Democratic opponents. If elected, Blackburn and Ward would measurably lower the level of debate in the senate by acting as the female counterparts of Blackburn’s former colleagues Louis Gohmert and Steve King.
Yesterday Trump declared the opioid crisis a ‘public health emergency,’ and succeeded in making it all about himself, not so much by invoking his late brother Fred’s alcoholism as by announcing that he had thought of something. If we can convince people that they should not start taking drugs there is no problem, he said proudly, looking for applause for his brilliance.
In the meantime House and Senate passed a budget that paves the way for the swindle called ‘tax reform’ that will fork over enormous amounts of money to corporations and the ultra-rich, while cutting Medicaid by a trillion dollar, Medicare by $550 billion and significantly increasing the national debt.