Sometimes, the notion goes around that certain Republicans keep their distance from Trump and decry what he’s done to their party. Don’t believe it. What’s going on? As a case in point, take Senator Lindsey Graham, who staunchly opposed and criticized Trump during the election, but is now heaping praise on him for his foreign policy. Kind of a head-scratcher if you ask me, since Trump’s foreign policy has been a confused mess.
Does this battle over Trump’s tax returns really matter? My answer is: no. This is a symbolic fight to extract normative behavior from a deviant President. What’s the point? Some might say it’s to prove that he’s corrupt, that it would reveal how his actions as President benefit his family and his business interests. But everyone already knows that’s the case. Some might then say that this proof is necessary to prosecute him–you need evidence, after all.
Trump is touting some more fake news, as usual. Polling firm Rasmussen recently put out a poll showing that Trump’s approval rating is about 50%. Trump, of course, got really excited about it, because it means that all the other polls showing his approval in the mid-to-low 30s are fake, and all the negative press about him isn’t actually hurting him. But the Rasmussen poll is flawed, both for not revealing its methods of sample selection, and for using a polling method that heavily favors older voters, who are much more likely to support Trump.
There are Tax Day protests going on all over the country today. Trump says they’re getting paid for it. All I can say is: I wish I got paid to protest! OK, I can say more than that. This meme seems to go around every time there are widespread anti-Trump/anti-GOP/anti-conservative protests. It’s as if right-wingers can’t fathom the idea that anyone might legitimately want to protest their actions. Nah, they have to be getting paid by George Soros (their favorite name drop) or something.
It sure was a week, wasn’t it? I don’t really read The New Republic that much, but Alex Shephard’s weekly Trump summaries are a gold mind, and I highly recommend them. They tend to be my main source for these weekly articles. Plus, he’s a lot funnier than I am. As Shephard notes, Trump was riding high after last Friday’s confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. It could have been that moment pundits have been waiting for–when Trump finally started to get what he wanted from Congress.
Trump keeps changing his mind, going back on campaign promises, sometimes after trying to implement them. What gives? During Presidential campaigns, candidates talk a lot about what they’re going to do. They identify problems, then describe how they’d solve those problems. These solutions get labeled as campaign promises, though they aren’t always declared as such by the candidates themselves. Still, it’s a time-honored tradition in American politics: you tell the people what you plan to do, and then once you’re in office, we get to evaluate how well those promises have been kept.
The title of this post is not figurative. What’s going on? It emerged today that, this past Tuesday evening, an MC-130 aircraft dropped a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb over the Achin district in Afghanistan. This bomb is the largest conventional (non-nuclear) bomb in the US arsenal (known as the “mother of all bombs”) and had, up until now, never been used in the field. The target? A network of ISIS tunnels beneath the surface, as well as personnel on the ground.
The problem with being action-oriented is that your actions have to be effective for people to support them. What’s going on? According to CNBC, Trumptakes hits in his approval rating every time he acts on one of his campaign promises. More than half the country disagrees with his actions on particular issues, and his focus on implementing divisive policies continues to hurt him. Ironically, there are issues such as infrastructure investment where he could score easy wins, but he doesn’t, probably because his fellow Republicans in Congress won’t sign on to large spending packages.
It’s not just Syria we have to worry about. What’s going on? Trump tweeted today that “North Korea is looking for trouble,” and “If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.” Bizarre patriotic buzzing notwithstanding, the possible outcomes of Trump’s moves against North Korea are more bad than good. If China assists the US, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) may make concessions in exchange for humanitarian aid.
This is what I get for going on vacation. A lot has happened since my last post–a lot more than one would expect in, oh, a mere ten days. Let’s see: * In Syria, Assad's regime (probably) gassed a bunch of civilians. * This provoked a bombing of a Syrian airstrip by the US. The airstrip is apparently still operational, so "mission accomplished," as the kids say. * Trump got to do a victory lap, looking "Presidential," with the media playing along and acting as if he'd finally become someone you could take seriously as an international leader.