I have shared this before: August can be terrible. I love it. It’s summer. But in modern world history, it’s awful.
August 2017 was a total disaster for Donald Trump. August 2018 had some major setbacks, some obstruction, and some foreshadowing of future news regarding Trump’s racism. But this August has been the worst August of Trump’s first term. There are still 8 days left to this August. And there will be at least one more Trump August.
Let’s start with how this month began, with the aftermath of two gun massacres and this - this sick, twisted, bizarre photo. This is perhaps the most obscene thing a US president and his spouse has ever done. It was this moment that we should have realized that Donald J. Trump had lost his mind. But we needed some more insanity to draw that conclusion.
It came the following week, with news that after a conversation with Senator Tom Cotton months ago, Trump became mildly obsessed with a plan for the US to purchase Greenland from Denmark. Once Trump publicly admitted the news leak (relatively rare for him), the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin declared that Trump had “lost it.” She finished her piece with this:
..the media and Congress should stop pretending Trump is fit to govern. He’s not. He needs to go as soon as possible, by whatever legal or electoral means possible.
But wait. There would be more. Donald Trump believes that he has done more than any president before him. On Israeli relations, he naturally thinks that he has had the most success. He also naturally thinks that any service he provides to Israel should translate into American Jewish voter support. So when he saw poll numbers showing that he will receive fewer votes from practicing Jews in 2020 than in 2016, he decided to launch a fierce, anti-semitic attack. Just as he weaponized racism against Democrats of color last month, he did it again to American Jews this month. And just in case there was any doubt or confusion as to what he meant, he repeated it, more clearly, the next day. Even the Donald Trump from 2018 might have tried to explain away his remarks via tweet, or called the video footage “fake news.” But this time, he doubled down on his bigotry and showed it off to the whole world.
When Trump launched racist attacks against Freshman Democrats of color last month, pundits tried to analyze and explain them. Even this blogger saw his racist attacks as a campaign strategy. But this month, there’s no explanation needed. Trump dropped an atomic bomb of hatred and bigotry. The Washington Post’s Dahlia Lithwick wrote:
So, Donald Trump, who just in the past two days refused to visit Denmark because it wouldn’t sell Greenland, tossed an anti-Semitic canard out to see how it landed on American Jews, retweeted a conspiracy theorist who claims Trump is the king of the Jews, reversed himself on gun policy and payroll taxes, and mulled ending birthright citizenship by way of executive order, just keeps on trucking. No check in sight.
Within the same 22 hours or so that he slandered nearly 5 Million Americans, Trump angrily canceled his state visit to Denmark. It confirmed that Trump didn’t really want to go to Denmark in the first place, even though he invited himself to visit just a few weeks ago, leaving the Danish royals, Danish government and the US State Department very little time to set up the visit and associated events.
Last year, I wrote in this blog that the Trump presidency is unsustainable. He will complete his term (or terms), but his presidency and the Republic will crash and burn before the end of his tenure. To my amazement and surprise, significant journalists are now reflecting this point of view, 30 months into his presidency. In the same piece quoted above, Dahlia Lithwick writes in terms I haven’t seen her use before. She has called Trump unfit many times, but this was -to my knowledge- the first time she acknowledged that Trump is seriously hurting us. In previous months, Trump’s tweets, erratic behavior, insults towards allies and canceled trips (how many now? two?) were analyzed as distractions from his policies and destruction of government agencies. Allies would invite him to visit less often than previous presidents, and when he would visit, they would treat him to comfort food and parades. The advice was, ignore the drama, focus on the administration’s policies, resist the administration in the courts, and wait for Trump to go away. Then, we should all encourage the next Democratic president to restore some normalcy, clean up Trump’s mess, and begin the long process of repairing the Republic.
But now, in August of 2019, there is this realization that we were sadly mistaken to wait for the next Democratic president. Trump’s presidency is destroying us. It isn’t just the policies. It’s everything he does. We need a president to be a leader and a healer. Trump only wants to pour gasoline over everything. His slander, insults, rage, temper tantrums, excessive personal time, his ignorance and his inability to think about the future are taking a serious toll on the public. The Trump presidency is destroying our national morale. It is destroying our mental health and national psyche. It is bringing a recession sooner than expected. It is making us lose sleep. It is making us drink more. And it is even, possibly, making us commit suicide more than before - especially the poor white people who voted for him. We’re in the Trump maliese. It makes the Carter malaise look like a wonderfully stable, fun and happy time. I will insist to the end that it was, dammit.
Dahlia Lithwick’s piece was prompted by an article by Matt Ford in The New Republic. It goes into detail about just how American life is much more difficult under Donald Trump. Simply put, why are we doing this to ourselves? I thought his last point was incredibly strong. Life is too short to live another day with this lunatic as our president:
He largely spends his days as president in unstructured “executive time” where he fields calls from outside advisers and ingests massive quantities of raw Fox News coverage. The work of solving the nation’s problems, except insofar as it rallies his supporters and keeps him in office, is a largely secondary concern. Soon after Trump took office, White House aides tried to persuade him that the national debt would become unsustainable in the future. “Yeah, but I won’t be here,” he reportedly replied. Trump’s time may be limited, but so is ours.
Which brings us to a third piece written within 24 hours of the previous two. James Fallows of The Atlantic explains that Trump would simply be unable to hold employment for 30 months if he were on a corporate or non-profit board, a company executive, or perhaps his best example, an airline pilot.
It took 30 months, but Trump has finally gone full lunatic. It started with twisted photos from Dayton and El Paso three weeks ago, and it continues with Greenland, full anti-semitism, and erratic economic policy. He rocked the markets again today. Just a president pouring gasoline on everything. The House should have opened impeachment proceedings in February. They were warned. They must open formal impeachment hearings immediately, even if it is only to strengthen the guardrails to keep this president -and the republic- from falling off a cliff. Trump's wear and tear on the citizenry is finally showing. We've very tired, and we’ve had enough. The House shouldn’t be in recess. it should be working on articles of Impeachment six days a week.
The final Trump Tower press conference on August 15 2017 was incredible. But so was this press gaggle on August 21 2019. The two together show a man who is not just unfit for office, but incredibly unhinged, angry and dangerous to us all.
If you drink, please continue to do so. Responsibly, of course.