Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
The mind reels with the mounting horrors and the sheer pace at which they come. How could one mere week contain so many terrible and impulsive actions from a man who has managed to get elected leader?
At the beginning of the week, Donald Trump did everything he could to completely piss off the Chinese government, which holds billions of U.S. debt. At the end of the week, he dissed the entire U.S. intelligence community, when they suggested he might not have won the election fair and square. In the middle, he tweeted bullying threats to people who had the audacity to criticize him, and unfurled a string of ghastly cabinet appointments destined to undo hard-won progress on labor rights, environmental regulation and more. Terrifyingly, he and his transition army of bigots, deniers and destroyers sent out a questionnaire designed to ferret out civil servants who worked to help mitigate the Earth’s climate crisis in what might be the first of many witch hunts.
Science, reason, the First Amendment, and decency are now all under threat. Clearly, this is not one of those nightmares from which you can just wake up and say, Phew, glad that’s not really happening!
This week, Trump…
1. …made some of his most terrifying cabinet picks yet.
Trump got off to a flying start when he named the dangerous lunatic General Michael Flynn (Ret.) as his national security adviser. While people wrap their minds around the horror that the man Trump will listen closely to on matters of national security is a rabid Islamaphobic conspiracy theorist who even other conservative generals like Barry McCaffrey call “demented,” Trump distracted everyone by saying, Look over here! Look, I appointed not just a climate change denier, but an air pollution denier to head the EPA! And a known exploiter of workers and women to head the Labor Department! Bet you didn’t think it could get any worse!
Those cabinet announcements followed on the heels of Trump’s appointment as education secretary a woman who detests and wants to dismantle public education (Betsy DeVos), and a housing department pick of a man—Ben Carson—who has said he has no business running a federal bureaucracy and that the government should not be involved in helping people get housed fairly anyway.
The sound you are hearing is millions of heads dropping into hands, and saying, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, make it stop, please. Get me off of this funhouse ride to oblivion!”
And no points for feeling relieved that Rudy Giuliani will not serve as chief diplomat, since the frontrunner for the Secretary of State job is now Rex Tillerson, CEO of fossil fuel giant Exxon Mobil and good friend to Russia. And militant nutjob John Bolton is to be number #2.
We can’t, we just can’t.
2. …made it clear that there will be a witch hunt to ferret out people of science who performed scientific work in their jobs for the government.
The Donald allowed various people to come and kiss his ring at Trump Tower this week, which was big of him. These included former Vice President Al Gore, who pled the case that climate catastrophe is all but certain without keeping and expanding global agreements to mitigate it. Silly Gore said afterward that the discussion had been “productive,” obviously forgetting that nothing a malignant narcissist says is ever to be believed. Environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio was granted an audience with the Trumpster as well.
Obviously, both got a careful hearing. The announcement of the appointment of climate denier, fossil fuel industry shill and EPA-suer Scott Pruitt came Wednesday, a clear signal that Trump fully intends to dismantle President Obama’s efforts to counter climate change as well as the whole concept of environmental protection. The fossil fuel industry cheered as one of their own champions, who has argued that pollution regulation is a matter of states rights, ascended to the helm of the agency charged with regulating them.
Then damned if it didn’t get worse. On Thursday, Bloomberg revealed the existence of an extensive questionnaire circulated by the Energy Department designed to ferret out anyone who might believe climate change is real and ever worked toward its mitigation, whether as an employee or contractor. Employees at the DOE told the Washington Post the clear message is that the Trump transition team is intentionally singling out individuals in an obvious purge of climate scientists (or even just those who believe in climate change).
No, McCarthyism is not even close to being too strong of a word to describe this.
3. …decided to stay on as executive producer of his NBC reality show while being president.
At the end of the week, Trump decided he’d keep his job and paycheck at “Celebrity Apprentice.” Previously, he had said he’d shed his other business commitments and conflicts of interest because being president and running the country is such a big and important job, but since when have any of Trump’s promises gotten in the way of Trump doing precisely what he feels like doing?
Not even Trump apologist Newt Gingrich thinks this “Apprentice” decision is a good or even normal idea, but shocker of shockers, spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway says it is A-OK, in part because Trump is always such a wonderfully “transparent guy.” So refreshingly so. Maybe he’ll transparently brag about how now that he is president, he can grab even more pussy than ever!
Also, Conway pointed out, nobody complained about the fact that President Obama sometimes played golf. And playing golf is exactly the same as taking money from a major network that also has a news division that is supposed to cover you, right?
4. …tweeted insane and bullying things to anyone who criticized him and incited violence and harm to them and those related to them.
Never thought we’d have a lot of sympathy for aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing, but Trump’s vindictive behavior toward the company’s CEO—who dared gently criticize the president-elect’s hostile rhetoric about trade—managed to make us brief bedfellows.
When Trump got wind of CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s mild suggestion that trade is important to his company and others, Trump immediately retaliated, tweeting: “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!”
That caused the shares to plummet. Never mind that Boeing doesn’t even have a $4 billion order to make Air Force One planes. It’s a post-factual world, remember.
Worse still was when Trump went after Chuck Jones, an Indiana union leader who criticized Trump’s much-vaunted, hugely over-hyped Carrier deal. Trump tweeted, “Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!”
Never mind that suggesting unions are responsible for corporate flight flies directly in the face of candidate Trump’s oft-repeated and resonant claim that companies leave because of bad trade deals. This was petty vindictiveness taken to a new level.
Since then, Chuck Jones and his family have been getting death threats from Trump’s lovely legion of supporters.
5. …said he was just kidding about that whole jail-Hillary thing.
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, on yet another leg of Trump’s creepy post-election thank-you tour (clearly he prefers appearing before adoring crowds to learning how to be president or getting security briefings, say), the jazzed crowd began to jeer and sing one of its, and the RNC’s, favorite refrains about Hillary, chanting, “Lock her up, lock her up!”
Trump does not want to sing that tune anymore, however.
“No, it’s okay,” he told them. “Forget it. That plays great before the election. Now, we don’t care, right?”
Translation: nothing I ever said should ever be taken seriously, you idiots.
Lest anyone forget, Trump said at the second presidential debate: “I didn’t think I’d say this, but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it, but if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception, there has never been anything like it and we’re going to have a special prosecutor.”
Yes, the most jaw-droppingly dishonest, deceptive and corrupt person who has ever run for and apparently been elected president thinks a special prosecutor should be appointed for behavior such as his.
Copyright 2016 The National Memo