Opinion: Day Six, and it’s worse than I could ever have imagined

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UPDATE: In the 90 minutes after this was published, we’ve learned that at Trump’s prodding about wall, the president of Mexico has canceled his planned state visit to Washington next week. We are turning our longtime ally into an enemy, it appears. In addition, the entire top level of career professional diplomats at the State Department has resigned en masse.

Every incoming administration has its organizational challenges, but nothing like this. This … this is epic.

During his confirmation hearing to serve as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson said something so implausible that at first I thought he must be lying to Congress. Asked about his discussions with Donald Trump about Russia and how we should proceed, Tillerson explained that he and Trump have had no such conversation.

Really? The nominee to head the State Department, a man with extensive experience in Russia, had not discussed Russia and our policy with the new president? What the hell had they talked about then? The ratings for “Celebrity Apprentice?”

Since then, similar stories keep popping up from every corner of the federal bureaucracy. In his own confirmation hearing as secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price was asked about Trump’s statement that the two men were devising a plan to replace Obamacare. Is that true?

“It’s true that he said that, yes,” Price said wryly, demurring on any more detail.

Other nominees, such as Mick Mulvaney at the Office of Management and Budget, have also grudgingly portrayed a president badly disconnected from those who are supposed to serve him. According to Mulvaney, he has met Trump just once and has had no contact since. Mulvaney also acknowledged that he’s a crusader for cutting Social Security and Medicare, serving a president publicly committed to the opposite. He is one of a whole string of nominees who have expressed basic, fundamental disagreements with many of the policy demands issued by the president, with nobody having any idea how those conflicts might be resolved.

Earlier this week, when a draft executive order began circulating in the White House that would reopen the door to torture of terrorism suspects, the two men who would implement that order, Mike Pompeo of the CIA and James Mattis at the Defense Department, learned of its existence when they read it in the New York Times. Both men strongly oppose the use of torture and have said publicly that they would resign rather than follow orders to do so.

And as Politico reports, Trump’s own team at the Department of Health and Human Services was given no input and no chance to offer advice into his strange executive order allegedly “repealing” parts of Obamacare. In fact, they weren’t even notified that it was coming until the night before its release. Congressional leaders on health-care legislation were also kept in the dark and remain in the dark.

In fact, Republicans in Congress have almost no idea what is going on. They aren’t getting leadership, guidance or even basic information from the Trump White House. Where is the president planning to go on Obamacare replacement? Immigration? Trade? The White House is merrily releasing a whole stream of executive orders that will require extensive congressional action to execute, without deigning to consult with or even notify congressional leaders. Trump and his aides seem to see Congress as a rubber-stamp assembly that will do as it’s told when the time comes.

Meanwhile, Steve Bannon is consolidating power and influence. After co-writing Trump’s pugnacious inaugural address, he announced the hiring of Julia Hahn, a reporter who led Breitbart’s effort to demonize Paul Ryan as a traitor to the conservative cause. Hahn will serve as his top assistant, and Breitbart’s “national security editor” is also on his way to the White House to serve with the National Security Council. It is, Breitbart gleefully notes, “the Breitbartization of the White House.”

So here’s the situation:

We have a president still clearly obsessed with his own popularity and internal neediness — his entire interview with ABC News is testament to that fact — with little apparent interest in anything else. He is also threatening to cancel a meeting with the leader of Mexico, our close ally and neighbor, unless it agrees to finance a wall that neither side needs, a stance that is almost purely ego-driven on Trump’s part:

We have an alt-right cabal nesting inside the White House, with every sign of it becoming the governing core of this administration. We have the FBI investigating illegal, perhaps traitorous links between Trump associates and Russia. We have CIA officials wary of giving sensitive information to the White House for fear of it leaking to Vladimir Putin. We have a Republican Congress transfixed in fear of what its nominal leader will say or do next. And the administration’s war on facts and knowledge has become so obvious that it has prodded the nation’s scientific community to rise from its apolitical slumber to begin organizing its own march on Washington.

And it’s Day Six, people. Only 1,455 more to go.

Reader Comments 1

983 comments
NolanSims
NolanSims

he's done more in one week than obummer in 8 years!!!

pubby
pubby

Comrades (and I mean the trump supporters) ... Khrushchev was right; and we are being buried as we speak.  Sure the Soviet Union collapsed from within only to end up being ruled by a dictator and his oligarchs in a wicked kleptocracy.  While that wasn't the plan, it was the opportunity.

They learned from that experience.  They saw what we (the west) did when they collapsed and how easy it was to steal their way to riches in the confusion.

They see opportunity in chaos and that was the inevitable outcome of the Russian interference in our election.  (Had Hillary won, with the charges of voter fraud, does anyone think the right would have been any more subdued than is the left in today's polarized political landscape?) 

Putin's plan is chaos. Their oligarchs are greedier than ours and like any good mobster, they bought themselves a politician or three.  Since Trump won, they are actively coordinating our collapse from the inside instead of outside the American executive.

Their mob is made up of white nationalists and they want a new world order; just a different one from the one we've engineered over the past 70 years that was railed against by White House confident and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.  

What world order was that?  In short, it was the same divided world that existed prior to 1946. It was one that was marked by colonialism and empire where the weak are exploited by the strong.  This old world order was a brutal world with insulated powers seeking advantage as they compete with other ruthless powers.  The inevitable conflicts of that old world order resulted in two world wars. 

This America first, make America great again shtick is a theme that harkens back to the heyday of the KKK, American Bund and the America First committee.  It also is marked by an American that is withdrawn from the rest of the world. Our new isolationism creates a vacuum of power that Vladimir Putin is eager to fill.

Trump and Bannon I believe did what Lindberg couldn't; they've aligned us the white nationalists in Russia and in Europe and captured the presidency. (Putin's subversion of elections includes significant inroads in the EU.)  With moves like Brexit and the rise of right-wing politicians in Europe, Putin is succeeding in Europe as well.

With control of the presidency and the appalling and unbelievable alliance with Trump and Bannon, Putin is succeeding in his plan to sow chaos in the US and the rest of the world. In short, with witting or even unwitting puppets, Putin is succeeding in his plan to collapse the USA and bring chaos to the international sphere of the world. 

Oh, and you have to know that was the most fantastically, biggest superlative inauguration of all time that fails only because Comrade Trump deserves even more accolades for his stupendously marvelous ultra-fine performance as our excellency the President.  There must have been 20 times as many people in attendance as for that peon of mixed blood Obama and anyone who disputes this, comrade, is a racist who hates our Aryan nobility.


PS: You might have to show such flexibility to survive in this new world order.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Mr. Tillerson et al are mere pawns in the game.  trump and SIL pull the strings, the mouthpieces (cabinet members) take the heat.

JWhatley
JWhatley

Even though this is "opinion", please quote sources for your facts, otherwise it all becomes hype.

DennisC
DennisC

Oh my goodness Jay, keep the pacifier in your mouth and tight grip on your blankie. You will survive.

GeorgiaVoter
GeorgiaVoter

Do you think Trumplethinskin knows when he is lying? It seems to me that he simply can't tell the difference between reality and fantasy.

cparrish60
cparrish60

Congress is complicit in this travesty that will destroy our country.  I will rally as many people as I can to vote their asses out next year, assuming we still have a country by then.

SusannaR
SusannaR

He has been caught now in several lies. What do we do with a President that lies to the people, the press, congress? He is obviously mentally incompetent.

Rick
Rick

So far if the Trump presidency was a roadside sobriety test it would be arrested. It appears he actually not only thinks in slogans but acts in random exclamations also.

MDK2014
MDK2014

You must have trained with CNN on "alternative facts"?  So much bias in this it smells.  

Walter_White
Walter_White

Jay, a great article on the dangers we face as a nation with Herr Gropenfuhrer as our President. It would be funny, except for the grave existential danger to many Americans and our democracy.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

It's funny how the Liberals are reacting to Trump and only goes to prove why they LOST the election, The Jaybird and his minions have always thought their grasp of issues were above reproach and everyone would fall in line with their tinplated ideas if they just kept throwing them against the wall. LOL it did not happen and the Libs are twisting in the wind. Trump is making more moves and shaking up more in a few days than Obama did in a year. The State Department Bureaucrats that left were appointed by Clinton and won't be missed pass the time they walk out the door. Good Riddance.

Magwat
Magwat

Jay, don't give up hope.  Even though Trump and his inner circle are dumber than a bag full of hammers, there are Republicans in Congress who actually think things through and know how idiotic and dangerous most of these new policies are.  The pro Trump commenters on this thread will also realize this as time moves on.  For some, enlightenment comes more slowly than for others.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Just what the Nation needs, more Elitist enlightenment LOL

Magwat
Magwat

@Infraredguy  No.  I'm not an elitist.  I've worked hard all my life.  I build things.  I'm a carpenter.  I was lucky to have a father who instilled a good work ethic in me.  I started out at the bottom of the ladder carrying plywood.  What I do have is compassion.  I know that if I had been black, it would have been a lot tougher.  Anyone who doesn't acknowledge that is living a lie.  Look it up.  Its right there if you look for it.

RonMexico
RonMexico

@Magwat The pro-Trump commenters on this thread will most likely never realize it. For some, enlightenment doesn't come at all. 

quickdigits
quickdigits

Loving Every Minute of The Trump Presidency! Liberals, Go Get Yourselves a Box of Kleenex, Because For The Next 8 Years, Nothing Will Go Your Way! HAHAHAHA.

mosqqq
mosqqq

One thing that will never go away and haunt Trumpers for years is that three million more voters voted for Killery than Donald Duck.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Jay said these people resigned as a Trump protest (CNN):

"Two senior administration officials said Thursday that the Trump administration told four top State Department management officials that their services were no longer needed as part of an effort to "clean house" at Foggy Bottom."

Regardless, deadwood gone. A good thing.

mgunter
mgunter

Get used to it Bookman, you're gona get 8 years of real change! He's a workaholic and you and your lefty friends haven't seen anything yet. So funny watching you guys flip out at his every move. You know how we have felt for the last 8 years😒

bigdoggie1
bigdoggie1

Putin's playing him and his minions for everything he can! Dumpfkov is going to make Putin the first trillionaire.

Seig Heil!

Mir, brat!

Infinite Hope
Infinite Hope

Maybe we should give Putin another plastic button and hope to start anew.

Fabmom57
Fabmom57

Ok, so Trump is POTUS.  This job requires help from the people you claim know best.  So why is everyone walking around in a stupor, not knowing which action to take?  I am praying for our country.....SMH

DerekGator
DerekGator

Trump has done more in 6 days than Obama accomplished in 8 years.  Like his policies or not, he is getting shiatt done. 

Starik
Starik

@DerekGator It's easy to destroy programs; building new ones that work better is going to be a challenge.

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

My opinion of Trump, which was already pretty low, continues to go down. He has made very reckless nominations, he has lied at every turn, he is suppressing truths about climate change, and he is acting like we work for him instead of him working for us by attempting to keep his activities secret from the press. It's not good. And yes, as Jay points out, it's even worse than many anticipated. 

JayBook
JayBook moderator

By the way, the White House is already withdrawing its stupid 20 percent tariff idea. So I guess all those Trump defenders who had just been telling us what a great proposal that was will now be pretending that all never happened.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@JayBook You're the one who ran the article before reading the whole deal - I'm surprised you ran the correction....

1stTruthOMeter
1stTruthOMeter

Of Trump defenders, just what Martin Luther King, Jr. meant by “There is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”

DuaneT
DuaneT

What good?  Trupplethinskin continues to show his stripes as a pathological liar living in a land of la la.  And to credit him with the a stock market rise is really a stretch.  An alternate interpretation, note I do NOT say alternate FACT, is that his plans so favor the rich and corporations and our expense, that the markets is saying "whoopee we win you lose".

TMD1
TMD1

It 's so obvious Bookman has no intention of giving credit to Trump for anything good. Amazing how the stock market has gone up so quickly, the small business owners who create over 60% of the jobs are thrilled about President Trump and the opinion of Trump in the polls going up. Bookman is exactly what is wrong with the press and why the media has the lowest ratings ever for trustworthiness- the media types like Bookman find a cloud in EVERY silver lining. Most of us are totally tired of such continued ranting. When Bookman becomes objective again rather than pushing his agenda MAYBE then he will have some relevance. Until then he's just another WHINER.

walterbolton
walterbolton

Same polls that predicted Hillary would win!

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

@TMD1 Well, does the little good Trump has done -- most of which he hasn't really done but has simply bragged about doing -- excuse or negate all these other very legitimate, very disturbing concerns in your view? 

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@JayBook @TMD1 When you start in negative territory it's not hard to go up, up, up.  And even Obuma had negative returns his first year....

DerekGator
DerekGator

@JayBook @TMD1 Give me a break, it is pretty easy to triple something after it had dropped 60%.  A better description would be that after 8 years, he got it back to where it was. 

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Correct but conveniently overlooked by the Jaybird

NLreadsJC
NLreadsJC

@TMD1 The stock market, had already priced in a Hillary Clinton victory and is now moving to where they think a Trump victory will help the market which is more toward construction and materials which have been lagging.  There are two things to think about.  First, this has been a bull market of eight years, much longer than most in terms of time, and, although it still appears to have legs, will end at some point.  Second, the Trump infrastructure projects and the military upgrades will be very expensive and he may not get all he wants in terms of money through the conservative let Congress.  Only so much can be done by executive orders and could get tied up in court.  Time will tell how successful that is and how much he really gets done all of which may impact positively for a while, but how long is the question.

jefgee
jefgee

The same polls that predicted a 2-4% national lead for HRC. Exactly what the vote margin was.

Cubby
Cubby

We have endured 8 years of Obama and have had to "keep quiet" or we were labeled racist! Now you on the Left have to put up with what we have done under Obama. Deal with it!

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@DavidATL45 Total BS - if Obuma had been treated by the press like Trump everyone would be labeled a racist...

DavidATL45
DavidATL45

@Cubby Nope - you're wrong.  No Republican kept quiet during Mr. Obama's presidency.  They obstructed and destroyed as much as possible.

TMD1
TMD1

@DavidATL45 @Cubby DavidATL45 - you are a racist given your comment. Now how does that feel? Welcome to our world the last 8 years.

1stTruthOMeter
1stTruthOMeter

And what label would you give a man who harassed Obama about his birth certificate for 8 years but won't show his tax returns?

"Just show us the returns if you have nothing to hide."

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  1. […] Jay Bookman at the AJC has an outstanding column today on the first six days of Trump’s administration. […]