“Have You No Sense of Decency Sir?”

The following post originally appeared on my Facebook page and is slightly amended here. The title quote is the question lawyer Joseph Welch asked Senator Joseph McCarthy during the House Unamerican Activities Committee hearings in June of 1954.

I have tried over the last few years to keep my FB page a politics-free zone concerning my own political commentary, preferring to relegate it to an unvisited blog. However in the Oscar Wilde tradition of being able to resist anything except temptation, I confess to occasionally commenting on others’ political posts, but I well know that the earth will continue to turn without panting to hear my political bon mots. Nevertheless, Mr. Trump’s attack on military personnel as “losers” and “suckers” is so profoundly offensive and so self-evidently disqualifying for a pretender to commander-in-chief that my personal disgust at this despicable man is no longer containable, and so I will speak here for my father, a career U.S. Marine serving in the Pacific in World War II, dying at 36 of cancer when I was three.

In Jeffrey Goldberg’s article in TheAtlantic.com, he relies on six separate anonymous sources (presumably some sources for some statements and other sources for other statements) who confirmed that Trump used those words in describing military personnel, especially ones who were wounded, died, or were captured. Naturally Trump has denied it, mendacity being his first line of both offense and defense. If an article appeared saying that Ronald Reagan had said it, or that WW II veteran George H. W. Bush (whom Trump called a “loser” for allowing his plane to be shot down) had said it, or that his son George W. Bush had said it, we could all easily dismiss it as the ranting of a left-wing blogger, or maybe even a far right-wing blogger pining for a Trump. It would be better, of course, if Goldberg’s sources had spoken on the record. But for this president, it absolutely rings true. We know that he got a doctor to keep him from military service saying that he had bone spurs in his feet. We know from an interview with smut-meister Howard Stern in the late 1990s that he joked that vaginas were “potential landmines” and thus avoiding venereal diseases was “my personal Vietnam.” We know he had an Iago-like envy of John McCain and disparaged him publicly by saying “I like people who didn’t get captured.” Now, thanks to Goldberg’s article and his sources, we know that Trump was outraged that flags were being flown at half-mast for McCain’s funeral: “What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser,” he complained to aides.

On Memorial Day in 2017, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery with Marine four star General John Kelly, whose son died in Afghanistan at age 29 and is buried at Arlington. According to Goldberg’s sources knowledgeable about the visit, Trump and Kelly were standing beside the grave, and with astonishing lack of sensitivity or empathy, Trump said to Kelly, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” We also know that when Trump was in France in 2018, he cancelled a scheduled visit to the World War I Aisne-Marne American Cemetery at Belleau Wood—sacred ground to marines—and asked, according to Goldberg’s multiple sources with firsthand knowledge, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” The private reasons not to go were the “losers” buried there and his unwillingness to get his hair wet. The publicly stated reason was that since it was raining the helicopter couldn’t fly and the Secret Service wouldn’t take him—two more lies. Also on the same trip, in a different conversation, he referred to the 1800 marines who died at Belleau Wood and are buried at the cemetery as “suckers” for getting killed. And finally, if one other Trumpian quote disdaining service to country and valorizing the unfettered pursuit of wealth is needed, there is this: After then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford gave a White House briefing, Trump told aides, “That guy is smart. Why did he join the military?” The idea of service to country is alien to Trump. He seems to be constitutionally incapable of moral reflection, asking only what’s in it for him, meanwhile taking pride in being neither a sucker nor a loser by finding, all those years ago and with Daddy’s help, a way to evade the military service that would possibly have gotten him killed and would definitely have detoured him from his profits in commercial real estate.

My dad, another Arlington Cemetery resident, would quite possibly, perhaps probably, been a good lifelong Republican, and we would likely have had a round or two of political arguments. But he was not a sucker, and he was not a loser, and the man who as Commander-in-Chief apparently thinks he was is not fit to spit-shine his boots or to clean a Nazi latrine.

President Trump Proposes Newer, Better Death Panels

Real Fake News Special Report
Washington, D. C.

In a Rose Garden speech Tuesday, President Trump claimed that the coronavirus pandemic enveloping the nation required death panels to help ease the strains on our hospitals and our economy. “These really incredible death panels will be much better than the Obamacare death panels,” the President proclaimed. “We need to have trained people make these tough decisions to help some of these older people move on.” Asked by an RFN reporter if by “older people” he included people in their 70s, he said that he was thinking more about people in their 80s. He added that the hospital beds were needed to help Americans with “bone spurs and other contagious diseases” and that “the surge in funeral home business would give the economy a beautiful shot in the arm. I’d buy stock in funeral homes, believe me.”

American Paradox

The American idea, that individual freedom is the supreme virtue and the franchise is its mechanism, labors against our baser instincts. Our truth falls short of our aspirations, manifested in and hanging between our dueling polarities: Jefferson the Declaration author and Jefferson the slaveowner; religious freedom and hellfire fundamentalism; Harvard-Berkeley-Princeton brilliance and Americans incapable of finding the U.S. on a world map; American soldiers liberating Dachau and machine-gunning at My Lai; “Give me your tired” and razor wire border fences; the Trail of Tears and manifest destiny; Tuskegee airmen and Jim Crow; Trumpish wealth and Delta poverty; The Donna Reed Show and The Feminine Mystique; forty million without health insurance and elective cosmetic surgeries; capital punishment and “the better angels of our nature.” Sometimes the polarities are not Manichean goods and evils but merely profound tensions, like liberty vs. equality, pluribus vs. unum, Whitman bravado vs. Dickinson intimacy, Twainian Tom Sawyer innocence vs. Letters from the Earth embittered experience. Hegel-like, the theses and the antitheses clash—occasionally, as with Jefferson and Twain, in a single individual. Sometimes in those clashes a just synthesis is possible. But in others, helping those better angels to prevail is our enduring challenge.

I wrote the above in October of 2007 and entered it in a contest for the best essay on “the American Idea,” the winner to be published in The Atlantic Monthly (now The Atlantic). The rules stipulated that the essay could not exceed 200 words, and I strained to meet that limit, and in fact mine was exactly 200 words. As it turned out, the winner was a person of some national recognition, and his essay tripled the limit, to my and I suspect other entrants’ considerable annoyance.

When Megalomania and a Pandemic Collide

Sixteen months into his presidency, in May of 2018, Donald Trump told then National Security Adviser John Bolton to eliminate the National Security Council’s global health security unit, which he did.

By January 2020, Trump was told of the dangers of the coronavirus, and on January 22, he said he wasn’t worried, “not at all,” and that “we have it totally under control.” His see-no-evil approach meant weeks of delay in implementing social distancing and ramping up production of masks, protective medical gear, and ventilators.

On January 27, presumptive Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden wrote an op-ed in USA Today in which he stated “Trump’s demonstrated failures of judgment and his repeated rejection of science make him the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health challenge.”

On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the virus an international public health emergency.

On January 31, Trump closed U. S. borders to foreign nationals (but not Americans) who had been in China over the last 14 days. While probably a good move, it was also an easy decision in that it had little if any economic impact and was in keeping with Trump’s larger immigration policies.

Even Tucker Carlson, conservative host of a Fox News show and ardent defender of the president, began warning about the virus on his show as early as February 3. He had a two hour meeting with the president at Mar-a-Lago on March 7, trying to convince him of the health danger of the virus and how it might threaten the president’s re-election.

On March 5, the World Health Organization (WHO) implored world leaders to prepare for the outbreak, its leader stating that the “epidemic can be pushed back, but only with a collective, coordinated, and comprehensive approach that engages the entire machinery of government.” On the same day, Vice-President Pence states that there were not enough tests for the virus.

On March 6, Trump started the day signing an $8.3 billion bill for healthcare and vaccine research, noting that he had only asked for $2.5 billion, and stating that the virus “came out of nowhere” but that “we’re taking care of it.” Later in that same day he stated that “anyone that wants a test can get a test,” a statement not only false then but false over a month later. As of April 17 only 146,000 tests were being conducted daily, prompting one commentator to calculate that at that petty pace, it would be January of 2027 before the whole population could have been tested. Trump spent the rest of March 6 and much of the next two days going to fundraisers and playing golf, along with a visit to tornado victims in Tennessee and a visit to the CDC, at no time modeling or demonstrating any concern for social distancing. Trump himself shook hands numerous times at all of these venues, as many as one hundred in Tennessee alone.

On March 11, the WHO declared the outbreak to be a global pandemic.

On March 13, in response to a question concerning the wisdom of the closure of the National Security health office, Trump replied, “I didn’t do it. I don’t know anything about it.” On the same day, he was asked if he accepted any responsibility for the failure to begin testing for the contagion. The man who on the campaign trail said that he would be the greatest president in history, possibly excepting Lincoln, responded in classic Trump style, “No, I don’t take any responsibility at all.”

In a March 21 press conference, Trump touted some antiviral drugs that Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci said would require testing to determine their efficacy and safety. Trump replied, “I disagree. I feel good about them. That’s all it is. Just a feeling. You know, I’m a smart guy.”

Back in January, the president stated that “China has been working very hard to contain the coronavirus,” and shortly after a conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump praised his counterpart as “strong, sharp, and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus.” But after a Chinese theory emerged that the U.S. planted the virus in China, the president flipped, saying that “it could have been stopped in its tracks” in China. Donald Trump Jr. also forgot what his father had said earlier about Xi being “powerfully focused on leading the counterattack,” tweeting on March 29 in a grammatically-challenged diatribe that “Anyone praising China’s ‘leadership’ in responding that the virus should be scorned for being the authoritarian/communist propagandist that they are.” At least the “authoritarian . . . propagandist” part was right.

On April 8, ABC News reported that the intelligence community submitted a report in November, over four months prior, and two months prior to the earlier reported date on which Trump was warned about the virus. The November intelligence report noted that the outbreak in China could have “cataclysmic” consequences. This information was a component of the daily briefing all presidents receive. Peter Navarro, a Trump economics adviser, also provided at least one memo to the president warning him of upcoming dangers posed by the virus. On April 7, Trump reported that he had not read the memo (“Peter sends a lot of memos”), and on April 8, he said that he did not remember being briefed on it. Yet he also said on April 8 that “people were shocked that I reacted so quickly.” He has also stated that he knew “months ago” that the virus would become a pandemic.

On Friday night, April 3, Trump fired the intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, whom Trump had appointed, for doing his job; namely, turning over the whistleblower report to congress that ultimately led to Trump’s impeachment trial. Trump said “this man is a disgrace to IGs.” Michael Horowitz, Justice Department IG and chair of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, praised Atkinson’s “professionalism, integrity, and commitment to the rule of law.” On April 6, Trump continued his war against inspectors general, whose roles are designed to be independent of political influence, by lambasting Christi Grimm, principal deputy inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services. Her crime was to have surveyed 46 hospitals and reported that they claimed significant shortages of equipment to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Calling her an Obama holdover, despite her having also served in two Republican administrations, her report revealed a lack of hospital preparedness and thus was “another fake dossier.”

On April 4, the president who had been ignoring and downplaying the dangers of the virus now indicated that it was “the worst thing the country has probably ever seen,” apparently forgetting that we endured over four years of civil war, two world wars, an influenza epidemic in 1918 estimated to have killed 50 million world wide, and a great depression.

In March, the president stated, uncharacteristically, “I think the media has been very fair.” By April 13, a total flip flop: “I wish we had a fair media in this country, and we really don’t.”

On Tuesday, April 14, Trump stated that “We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the W.H.O., we’re going to put a very powerful hold on it.” A reporter asked him a few minutes later if this were a good time to do that, and Trump replied, “I’m not saying we’re going to do it, but we’re going to look at it.” The reporter pushed back, saying, “You did say you were going to do it,” to which Trump replied, “No I didn’t. I said we’re going to look at it.”

On April 13, in his characteristic way of assuming authority without responsibility, Trump stated that only he had authority to relax social distancing policies and to determine when the economy could re-open. “The president of the United States calls the shots. When someone is president of the United States, the authority is total.” Governors of both parties made clear that they were not ceding control of decision-making in their states to a president seeking to portray himself as their boss. By the next day, Trump flipped, saying “The governors are going to be running their own states,” and “I’m not going to be putting any pressure on any governor to re-open.” But without the least sense of self-contradiction, and unable to see himself as anything other than master of all he surveyed, he flopped back, saying, “I will then be authorizing each individual governor of each individual state to implement a re-opening.” Happy to play the alpha male and “authorize” the states’ re-openings, Trump claims that the states have primary responsibility for masks, ventilators, and testing. Authority is his; responsibility is other people’s.

On April 3, Trump fielded a question about whether he was thinking about having his name on the stimulus checks being sent to American citizens. He disingenuously replied as if this meant he would be required to personally sign them. “There’s millions of checks. I’m going to be signing them? No.” On April 15, the Treasury Department confirmed that the printed name “President Donald J. Trump” will appear at the bottom of the stimulus checks being mailed to Americans not receiving their payouts by direct deposit. Trump had recommended to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that his (Trump’s) signature be added to the checks. Though his signature will not appear, his printed name will appear. The Treasury Department denies it, but the addition will delay the mailing of the checks according to the president of the IRS’s Professional Managers Association.

By the middle of April, the clash between the health interests of the country and the economic interests of the country had crystalized. Trump from the beginning had prioritized economics, inevitably causing him to be dilatory and unprepared in addressing the dangers the virus represented. Partisanship was emerging, though it had been in the background, and to some extent the foreground, all along. MAGA-hatted protests, with concerns over 22 million job losses, 17% unemployment, and especially governors restricting protesters’ movements, were breaking out demanding re-opening of states. Counter-protesters, fearing a premature re-opening would lead to a second wave of the virus in the absence of much broader testing and loosened social distancing requirements, were calling for stay-at-home restrictions to be continued for now. Trump, finding himself on the horns of a re-election dilemma, sides with and encourages the re-openers, and on April 17 tweets (two minutes after a Fox News report on the protests) “Liberate Michigan,” “Liberate Minnesota,” and “Liberate Virginia,” where Democratic governors have incurred wrath from those protesting social distancing and closure policies. Terrified of the possible electoral repercussions of his incompetent handling of the crisis, Trump resorts to his usual weapons of choice, namely externalizing all blame, disavowal of personal responsibility, and demonizing of critics, all aimed at stoking right-wingers and others among his base needing scapegoats and fearful their president would pay for his zig-zagging ineptitude in November.

If Mr. Trump had been president from 1941 to 1945, we would be speaking German now.

Compiled from USA Today, CNN, ABC World News, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and The News Hour.

President Trump Promotes Himself to Five-Star General

Real Fake News Special Report
Washington, D. C.

Following last week’s announcement that Trump University had conferred a doctor of medicine (M.D.) degree on President Trump (“Wow, this gown is really cool,” noted the president), Mr. Trump announced in today’s press conference that he had promoted himself to five-star general, given the war footing of the country in the coronavirus pandemic. Appearing in his new uniform and wearing a helmet displaying five stars, Mr. Trump told reporters that “Only I can lead the country out of this mess.” When asked by an RFN reporter if his bone spurs would be a problem during his service, the president stated, “Oh no, they’re totally healed up now. My doctor said I was the healthiest five-star general the country has ever had, or ever will have.” A reporter followed up, asking him if he was concerned about a possible Waterloo situation now that he had military leadership responsibilities, and the newly-minted general replied that “No, water resources are working fine. We’ve got the greatest water. But people shouldn’t use too much toilet paper in the ‘loo.”

It Could Be Worse

While hanging around the house in quasi-house arrest, I thought perhaps it was finally time to storm the castle and read Robinson Crusoe author Daniel Defoe’s less well known A Journal of the Plague Year—you know, for comparison purposes. It’s his grim (reader beware) account of the bubonic plague—aka the distemper, the infection, or the visitation—that consumed London in 1665. There was a lot of social distancing going on, which was good, since you could catch it via airborne transmission, including the “breath” or “fumes” or “stench” of an infected person, or, as the physicians called it, “effluvia.” But also, unknown to Londoners or the rest of the world, you could catch it by a flea bite if that flea had bitten a rat carrying the virus. And there were a lot of rats.

During the worst weeks “these objects [dead bodies] were so frequent in the streets that when the plague came to be raging on one side, there was scarce any passing by the streets but that several dead bodies would be lying here and there upon the ground. . . . At first the people would stop as they went along and call to the neighbors to come out on such an occasion, yet afterward no notice was taken of them,” and people would simply “go across the way and not come near” the corpse. London, “I say, was much altered; sorrow and sadness sat upon every face. . . . All looked deeply concerned; and, as we saw it apparently coming on, so every one looked on himself and his family in the utmost danger. . . .Tears and lamentations were seen almost in every house, especially in the first part of the visitation; for towards the latter end men’s hearts were hardened, and death was so always before their eyes, that they did not so much concern themselves for the loss of their friends, expecting that themselves should be summoned the next hour.”

And summoned they were. As the plague spread, house arrest became literal. If anyone in a house were known to have the plague or have died, the entire household was imprisoned, with a watchman day and night to prevent escape of the rest of the household, who themselves often thus became infected. House doors were painted with a red cross; doors were padlocked from the outside. Defoe records escapes, bribery, even murder of watchmen. “Nor, indeed, could less be expected, for here were so many prisons in the town as there were houses shut up; and as the people shut up or imprisoned so were guilty of no crime, only shut up because miserable, it was really the more intolerable to them. . . .They blew up a watchman with gunpowder, and burned the poor fellow dreadfully; and while he made hideous cries, and nobody would venture to come near to help him, the whole family that were able to stir got out at the windows one storey high, two that were left sick calling out for help.”

“Idle assemblies” were prohibited, as were plays, feasting, and “tippling houses.” “Disorderly tippling in taverns, ale houses, coffee-houses, and cellars [will] be severely looked unto, as the common sin of this time and greatest occasion of dispersing the plague,” in the language of the multi-page “Orders Conceived And Published By The Lord Mayor And Aldermen Of The City Of London Concerning The Infection Of The Plague, 1665.” But social distancing wasn’t enough.

The dead-carts trundled through the streets and alleys every night, collecting the dead, the collectors throwing them in piles in the carts. How desperate would one have to be to take that job? Huge pits were dug, sometimes in churchyards. The cart would approach the pit under the light of lanterns, turn around, lean backward, and “the bodies shot into the pit promiscuously,” with dirt thrown over them as quickly as possible. Young Daniel was a venturesome soul, or a foolish one:

“A terrible pit it was, and I could not resist my curiosity to go and see it. As near as I may judge, it was about forty feet in length, and about fifteen or sixteen feet broad, and at the time I first looked at it, about nine feet deep, but it was said they dug it near twenty feet deep afterwards in one part of it. . . . Then they made larger holes wherein they buried all that the cart brought in a week, which, by the middle to the end of August, came to from 200 to 400 a week [in his parish alone]. . . . People that were infected and near their end, and delirious also, would run to those pits, wrapt in blankets or rugs, and throw themselves in, and, as they said, bury themselves.”

By late October, the contagion began to recede. Sixty-eight thousand, five hundred and ninety deaths in London and immediate environs were documented: “for about nine weeks together there died near a thousand a day.” Defoe estimated the real number to be closer to 100,000. Londoners, at least the ones who by good fortune or escape to the country were not infected, along with the few who managed to survive infection, breathed a little easier. But their woes were not at an end. The next year, 1666, would bring the greatest fire, before or since, in London’s long history.

Two Mobsters Walk Into a Bar . . . .

Two mobsters walk into a bar. They’re burly guys, and they both have bulges under their coats. The first one says to the barkeep, “We need to see your boss.”

“He’s not really available right now.”

“Tell him two associates of Don Corleone want to chat with him.”

The barkeep does as he is told. The bar’s owner comes out, a little intimidated.

“Mr. Smith, ya gotta nice establishment here,” Mobster Number One says, surveying his surroundings. “Real nice. Real cozy-like. Lotsa nice customers, I’m sure. Never had no trouble here, I’m sure. Yeah, trouble is bad, the kinda thing ya wanna avoid. Know what I mean? Ya know, fires, and bad stuff like that. We can help ya. I’d like ya to do us a favor though. Ya know we sell insurance. Very reasonable. Two grand a month. Ya think about it, OK? We’ll see ya next week.”

Later that day, a sweaty Mr. Smith goes to the police station and finally gets in to see Detective Jones. The bar owner had a camera that captured the earlier exchange in both video and audio. He tells Detective Jones, “That was a shakedown. You need to arrest these guys, and Mr. Corleone. They tried to extort me for two grand a month. They won’t burn my place down if I hand over two grand a month.”

Detective Jones sees and hears the recorded conversation on Mr. Smith’s phone. He’s skeptical. “Mr. Smith, did they use the word extortion?” “No” is Mr. Smith’s response. Did they use the word bribery?” Another “No.” “Did they say, ‘if you give us two grand a month, we won’t burn your place down’?” A third “No.”

“But detective, when he said, ‘I’d like ya to do us a favor though,’ that very word though tells me the two things are connected, even if he didn’t use the word extortion.”

“Look, Mr. Smith, what they did was maybe inappropriate. I wouldn’t have done it myself. But it’s not like it’s a quid pro quo, or bribery, or extortion. It’s not like they conditioned the safety of your place on you having to pay them every month. They just made some comments that might not have even been related. And besides, just because they work for Mr. Corleone doesn’t mean he’s involved. Did they say that he directed them? No. You can’t send a guy to trial for that. It’s just not a crime or even a misdemeanor. In fact, we might need to investigate you. Bringing false charges against an upstanding citizen and his employees could be a sham. And do you have the proper license for your bar?”

Dispatches from the Hinterland

Yesterday morning I’m sitting in the waiting room for my eye doctor appointment, innocently reading NPR News on my phone, and two rural women, perhaps a daughter and her 70-ish mother, come in and sit nearby. An older man and woman come in and sit down, three feet away, and eight or nine feet across from me. The man strikes up a conversation with the two women. Within a minute or two the conversation turns political. The next thing I know, the man is saying Trump is the greatest of our presidents (I start shaking my head in sad resignation), followed by his telling them who our two worst presidents were: FDR and—I knew it was coming, as inevitable as sunrise—Obama. FDR, he explains, knew about a Japanese invasion coming two weeks before Pearl Harbor. Apparently assuming no explanation is necessary, he offers not even a specious reason for Obama, though I’d put my money on race. So what does the older woman say, clearly in such obvious agreement that the sides do not even require identification? “I think it’s just come down to good vs. evil.” And I thought, “yes ma’am, you’re right—but maybe not in the way you think.”

It set me back for the whole day, despite my reading of The Daily Stoic. I’m a Mississippian, but even so, such views expressed right in front of me still hit me like a punch in the gut. I probably should have offered a rejoinder, but it wasn’t my conversation, and I just shook my head. Who is living in Alice’s Wonderland, me or them? My truth is their are-you-crazy? lie. Their truth is my are-you-crazy? lie. Their yes is my no, their bad is my good, their black is my white, their up is my down. Either for me or for them, facts just don’t matter, or, more likely, twist themselves through some contorted and fevered illogic into their opposites. The nurse calls me in.

To my own satisfaction, at least, I’ve basically figured Trump out: dishonest, authoritarian, self-dealing, ignorant, bullying, racist, amoral, narcissistic, incompetent. The folks in the waiting room and upwards of 40% of the country have a totally different take, and I keep trying to figure out why. Even accepting the estimate that roughly 30% of any given population have “authoritarian tendencies,” what do they like so much about a man I find so abominable? Well, he’s “tough.” He breaks the rules. He tells it like it is. He never has to admit he’s wrong. He hates all those foreigners taking our jobs and ruining our way of life. He sticks it to those pointy-headed pinko liberals bent on raising our taxes and confiscating our guns. But beyond that, forever Trumpers, let’s get specific: What has he done that makes you like him so much? Do you like it when he lies to you, as when he said Mexico would pay for the wall? Or when he said he would have won the popular vote if it hadn’t been for all the fraud? Or when he said he saw the video of the Muslims dancing in the streets in New Jersey after 9/11? Did you like it when he stiffed those small contractors—often little guys, with a handful of employees—by refusing to pay the amount specified in the contract, then telling them to sue him, then stalling in court for years, sometimes bankrupting them? Do you like how he admires Putin and other autocrats and dictators like Kim Jong Un, Duarte of the Philippines, el-Sissi of Egypt, Erdogan of Turkey, and others? Do you like how he groped women and bragged about it on tape, but somehow claims that he never did it? Would you like it if he groped your wife or your daughter? Do you like how he sold out our intelligence community by saying how “strong” Putin was when the Russian denied interference in our 2016 election? Do you like how he mocked a genuine American war hero like John McCain? Do you like how he paid a doctor to say he had bone spurs in his feet to keep him out of Vietnam, especially if you or your friends or relatives got drafted or volunteered to go?

So what else do you like about him? Do you like how he tried to extort our ally Ukraine by withholding $391 million in arms—already appropriated by Congress—to help them fight his pal Putin unless Ukraine’s president publicly announced an investigation into the Bidens and into how Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in our 2016 election? Do you like how under his presidency, the former anti-Russia GOP has become the pro-Russia GOP? Do you like how he tries to use the presidency to make a buck by trying to have official events at his properties? Do you like how he doesn’t have the stomach to fire people face to face but uses Twitter instead? Did you like how he put a “perfect,” totally innocent phone call on a highly classified platform so no one could see how perfect and innocent it was? Do you like his megalomaniacal bragging about his “great and unmatched wisdom,” how he knows more than all “his” generals, how “only I can fix it,” how he’s a “genius,” and how he’s “the Chosen One”?

How about some more things you might like? Do you like how the generals who have worked for him shake their heads at how ignorant he is of world affairs or how he acts in ways contrary to our national interests, causing them to resign or be fired? Do you like, for example, how he betrayed our Kurdish allies, allies who did almost all the ground fighting against ISIS and lost almost 11,000 men doing so, by pulling our guys out and giving a green light to Turkey to go in and clean the Kurds out? And how his buddy Putin was then able to fill in the void we left, enhancing Russian influence? Do you like how he considers climate change a Chinese hoax? Do you just love how he and the GOP got that tax cut, 63% of which goes to the top 20% of earners, and nearly one-fourth goes to the top 5%? Are you in that top 20%, making over $150,100, or in that top 5%, making over $303,200? Do you like how he said that tax cut wouldn’t help him at all, and that his rich friends would be mad at him? Do you really think he cares anything about you other than your vote and your continued gullibility? And do you love how the GOP used to claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility, but then passed that tax cut that adds about three trillion to the national debt over ten years and puts the annual deficit at a trillion dollars for the first time? Do you like how his first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, called him a “moron,” and was honest enough not to deny that he said it? Do you like how he obstructs justice by firing FBI Director Comey and tries to prevent people under subpoena from testifying before congress? Do you like how in a 2011 poll only 30% of white evangelicals said that someone committing “immoral personal acts” could be an effective public servant, but now 72% say so? Do you like how he represents pretty much the opposite of what Christians, which he claims to be, would say constitutes character?

Two other questions. If Obama had done any of these things, not to mention a majority of  them, would you have liked him a little more? Or would you be screaming “impeachment” and “lock him up”?

Montana Blizzard Will Reach Alabama, President Says

Real Fake News Special Reports
Washington, D. C.

The four feet of snow that hit Browning, Montana this past weekend will likely reach Birmingham, Alabama, according to a map displayed by President Trump in the Oval Office. The map showed the hard-hit area of western Montana in red, but also included a large black loop that swooped down to the Gulf Coast state. Asked by an RFN reporter if the President thought it odd that several feet of snow would fall in a state whose temperatures were currently in the 80s and 90s, Mr. Trump said, “No, not at all. Climate change can happen on a dime. I’ll be heading down to Birmingham to toss out some rolls of paper towels to all the victims.”

President Defends Conversation With Ukraine President

Asked if he thought pressuring a foreign government to find dirt on his political opponents and withholding congressionally appropriated taxpayer funds for failing to do so was an impeachable offense, President Trump said that all presidents do that, and Hillary Clinton’s emails are outrageous and Congress ought to be investigating Benghazi. Reminded that some other Democrat would be his 2020 opponent, the President replied that “Biden had probably been to Benghazi” and had some “really bad” emails also. “And I’m one of the tallest presidents we’ve ever had,” Mr. Trump added.

President Offers to Buy Canada and Alaska

Real Fake News Special Reports
Washington, D. C.

President Offers to Buy Canada

President Trump, rebuffed by the Danish Prime Minister after offering to buy Greenland, approached Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada with an offer to buy Canada and Alaska. Told by a Real Fake News reporter that we already own Alaska, Mr. Trump responded by saying “Well then my offer just went down by one million dollars.” Trudeau said that he appreciated the President’s generous gesture, but felt that a majority of Canadians might object. Trump stated that negotiations were ongoing, and once the purchase was made, he would name the vast new territory Trumplandia.

President Sends Aid to Hurricane Victims in Alabama

President Trump released $4.2 million in financial assistance to “the sad victims of Hurricane Dorian in Alabama.” He added that he planned to visit the state and personally toss out rolls of paper towels “to all the people who had lost so much.” On the White House lawn he told reporters that he was “especially thankful that the hurricane missed Montana, which is right beside Alabama.”

Trump Proposes Dropping Nuclear Bomb on Everglades

The White House announced that President Trump is considering dropping an atomic bomb in the Everglades to rid the area of the ever-growing population of invasive pythons. He said that current methods are not working, adding that he “hates those slimy things.” Former National Security Adviser John Bolton told the President that the snakes do pose a security risk, but that a nuclear response seemed excessive, which seemed to annoy Mr. Trump. Asked if he thought the radiation would be a problem for nearby Miami, he replied that “radiation is just more fake science, and besides, the snakes would absorb all of it anyway. We’ll see what happens.”

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