The Beautiful Ineptitude of the Trump Administration
I cannot wait for the November election. We need to rid ourselves of the most toxic administration we’ve seen, and we need to do it with vigor. It’s a moral, ethical, and life-preserving imperative.
But here’s what worries me: the law of averages says that they are going to get something accidentally right one of these days. They can’t always make the wrong call, though they try, and some bad decisions are bound to work out. If they string a few of those together over the next few months, maybe they do enough to convince more than 39% of America that they should stay.
I was particularly worried yesterday.
In a surprise move, the president announced that his administration brokered a deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel to normalize relations. This included a pledge by Israel to suspend its annexation of the West Bank and sent shockwaves throughout the world. This was, undeniably, an impressive accomplishment.
I had a few initial reactions to the news:
· Jared Kushner just had his first taste of genuine success. That he earned. On his own merit.
· While an historic announcement, doesn’t this country have FAR bigger threats right now than the middle East? Russia, China, and Iran are trying to interfere in our elections, while we have actively alienated our international allies.
· Did the back-channeling of this deal in any way take focus, energy, or resources away from fighting the pandemic? Because the administration has very little of all three and we need them pointed in the right direction.
And yet, after looking at the deal in various ways, I begrudgingly acknowledged that this was a win. It’s a good step in a volatile region and, though it’s not the most important priority at the moment, it’s always an area of concern for the country. The administration did a (gulp) good thing.
What if they were able to capitalize on that good thing? Or string a few good things together at the exact right time? Would we be stuck with them for four more years?
Luckily, the Trump administration is beautifully inept.
All they had to do was stay quiet. No press conferences. No interviews. Own the news cycle with surprisingly good news and allow the pundits on both sides to praise the move. They could have earned a day or two of great press, with few days left until the election. And all they had to do was stay away from cameras. But they couldn’t…
Rather than allowing the press to cover a good story, the administration gave them multiple better stories. More salacious. More interesting. More self-inflicted.
Perhaps most important (though least surprising): Trump admits to trying to steal the election.
That’s right, he said the quiet part out loud again. President Trump told us directly and succinctly (for once) that he has an overt plan to rig the election. He is deliberately standing in the way of funding the postal service so that mail-in voting will be impacted.
“They need that money in order to have the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money, that means they can’t have universal mail-in voting. They just can’t have it.”
In another context, that would simply be an apt summary of the situation — the post office needs money and the negotiations to get that money aren’t progressing. In context, however, it’s a damning look at the president’s election-rigging.
· The administration and the GOP are the ones holding up those funds. There have been MANY pieces written about Republican voter suppression strategies and this is another. And the president has railed against mail-in voting multiple times, falsely claiming that it leads to fraud.
Financial disclosures reveal postmaster general's business entanglements and likely conflicts of…
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy continues to hold a multimillion-dollar stake in his former company XPO Logistics, a…
· The administration just appointed a new (highly conflicted) postmaster general. Louis Dejoy, another multi-millionaire donor in a seat of power, has multiple financial conflicts of interest in his role and launched a massive reorganization just before ballots begin to be processed through the postal service.
· The new postmaster general has already acknowledged “unintended” consequences of that reorganization. Apparently, this savvy businessman had no idea that a wholesale change might disenfranchise millions of people and slow down the mail.
Also important and altogether unsurprising: A new “Birtherism” conspiracy for another politician of color
Joe Biden announced earlier this week that he had selected Kamala Harris as his vice-presidential running mate. Harris, the junior senator from California, was born to parents who emigrated from Jamaica and India, respectively, in the city of Oakland, California.
Trump announced proudly, “I heard today that she doesn’t meet the requirements.” This is a consistent Trump avoidance tactic as “he” isn’t saying that she’s unqualified; he just “heard” it somewhere.
Jason Nichols: Kamala Harris was born in the US - Let's not do this again. Stop playing this…
In 2011 Donald Trump rose to political prominence in part on claims that President Barack Obama was not born in the…
Is it any coincidence that the only other time he seemed to question someone’s qualifications in a similar manner was for Barack Obama? (But sure, he’s done more for Black people than…)
Let’s be clear: The Constitution clearly, explicitly lays out the criteria, and Kamala Harris meets all of them:
· Natural-born US ctizen
· Is at least 35 years old
· Has lived in the US for at least the last 14 years
This is more racist dog-whistling to go with the other racist dog-whistling of the past five years. What began with Mexican rapists is now “Black people aren’t American enough.”
Maybe a bit surprising: Support for a QAnon conspiracy theorist for Congress
Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom Trump referred to as a “future Republican Star,” won the Georgia primary run-off for the 14th congressional district. Greene has been called “appalling” by GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and with good reason.
If you’re unfamiliar with the QAnon conspiracy, this quote from Greene should just about sum it up: “There’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it.”
While we know that the president will abide just about anything if flattery is involved, the context of this particular endorsement is important.
Remember how we started with a major announcement about Israel and the UAE reaching an historic agreement to normalize relations?
Soon-to-be Congresswoman Greene has declared that George Soros, prominent Jewish philanthropist, collaborated with the Nazis in World War II. Greene has also stated that her future colleagues, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, are part of “an Islamic invasion of our government.” Oh, and that countries with Islamic governments allow men to have sex with “little boys, little girls, multiple women,” and to “marry their sisters.”
While the irony may be lost on Trump (as, most likely, is the meaning of the word “irony”), it should not be lost on the rest of us.
His administration had actually brokered something successful and good. They had a chance for some positive news cycles. They could have, at least temporarily, earned some good press for a clear win.
Instead, they sucked the air out of their own good news by providing so much interesting bad news. What chance does a Middle East story have when it’s surrounded by election-rigging, Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, pedophilia, and blatant racism?
Yesterday should have been a good day for Trump. But alas, beautiful ineptitude.