Monday, July 3, 2017

Power Trumps Dignity

How low can Donald Trump sink?  Down to bedrock?
Trump tweeted a nasty comment about Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," dismissing Scarborough as a psychopath and ridiculing Brzezinski for what Trump says was a bleeding wound from a facelift in describing what Trump says was an effort by the cable news hosts to get an interview with him on his show at his Florida estate on New Year's Eve, 2016.  Trump said he denied their request for an interview, intimating that this is the reason that Scarborough and Brzezinski have been attacking him regularly since he took office in January 2017.  Pictures of the cable-news couple - now engaged to each other - show no sign of a wound on Brzezinski's face, and both hosts have insisted that Trump did agree to an interview on their program.
This proved to be a bridge to far for Republicans and Democrats in Congress, saying the Trump went over the line with his most blatant display of misogyny yet and expressing doubts about his sanity.  And Trump himself has a lot of damn gall to make fun of Brzezinski having plastic surgery (I have no reason to believe that she actually did). As Martin O'Malley tweeted, we have in Trump a "man who aggressively uses self tanner and hair dye [and] makes fun of woman over augmenting [her] looks."  Not to mention his scalp lifts.
Oh yeah,  I didn't want to being it up, but First Lady Melania Trump has reportedly had plastic surgery worth about $15,600, enough to buy a compact car.   And the car would have . . . uh, no, I'll pull my punch here.  I don't want to descend to the Trump family's level.
Descending to the Trumps' level would mean using a tabloid paper to threaten political opponents.  Trump apparently threatened to have a damning piece about Scarborough and Brzezinski published in the National Enquirer if they didn't tone down their negative coverage.  The Enquirer, which is pro-Trump, is edited by Trump crony David Pecker.
"The President's tacit admission of control over the Enquirer's punishing coverage of his adversaries suggests an abuse of power - a shocking one," ethics lawyer Norm Eisen old CNN.
This is all happening as Trump, dealing with a Republican Senate that can't craft a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that is unacceptable to anyone, has suggested that Congress simply repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it later - "later" meaning "never."  But this dust-up with two MSNBC hosts hasn't distracted anyone from this proposal.  And Republicans - like their former colleague Joe Scarborough, a former Florida Republican congressman - are finally beginning to see what a dangerous demagogue Trump is.
So is Trump toast?  Not so fast.  Trump still has the support of a large voter base, and Republicans are too afraid to cross him and incur their wrath.  Besides, they still need him to pass their reactionary agenda in Congress.  Trump is essentially being protected by the GOP, especially Mitch McConnell, because they want to consolidate their power and build a hundred-year majority in Washington; they won't abandon Trump unless his base abandons him.  And the Democrats are too lame to put up a fight.  Trump's tweet about Mika Brzezinski is the political equivalent of Madonna covering "American Pie" back in 2000; it's an unforgivable sin that should be a fatal career blow, but the fans will reward it, and those of us who are offended by it have to grit our teeth and deal with it.       
How low can Trump sink? When he gets to bedrock, he'll start blasting his way lower.

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