Trump and his administration are in a free fall

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Twenty thousand counter protestors showed up on the Boston Commons to counter a “free speech” rally that had been planned. The ones promoting free speech were apparently looking to freely speak about their views on race and which ethnic group was superior.

The mayor and Boston’s police force were ready. After the Charlottesville tragedy Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh told white supremacists that despite the permit for groups to peaceably assemble for the free speech rally, racists were not welcome in Boston.

Is this how far Boston has come since the 1970s when mobs of white folks violently opposed enforced bussing of students to desegregate the school system?

The First Amendment guarantees free speech and the right to peaceably assemble:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The bolding is mine, to point out the relevant parts of the amendment. As governments go, local and state officials cannot deny any group — Nazis, Black Lives Matter, or the adherents for the restoration of the old practices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the Inquisition) — they all have a right to peaceably assemble and freely speak their message in the public square.

White supremacists in Charlottesville, VA

On the other hand, the rest of us have the freedom to oppose the views we disagree with, like those of the white supremacists and conspiracy theory nuts who want us to believe a Jewish Cabal of international bankers is plotting to take over the world. That is the great dichotomy, what appears to be a contradiction in the Constitution. Nowhere in the Bill of Rights are we required to tolerate the views we don’t agree with, although in a civil society it is expected we tolerate the views of others. It’s how things are supposed to work in government.

Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans have created a system that sidesteps the usual conventions of governing so they could bypass Democrats and Independents to pass legislation or confirm judges and executive branch appointees. That failed in spectacular fashion when three Republican senators, led by Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, voted against the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

It was a moment of great embarrassment for not only the GOP in Congress, but for President Trump who made repealing the monumental health care law a central plank of his campaign. It was going to be done on Day 1, or week 1, or … well, as you may remember from February, when the president exclaimed, “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

Well, a lot of people knew it was extremely complicated, which is why it took Congress nearly 18 months to craft the bill that became not so affectionately known as “Obamacare.”

As Trump was going from campaign rally to campaign rally, slandering his opponents and encouraging his followers to yell, “Lock Her Up” and calling on them to physically attack the protestors at the rallies, he cultivated a segment of America that had no voice in society, other than its internet bastions like Infowars and Breitbart News, which proudly proclaimed it was the voice of the “Alt-Right,” the new name for the Neo-Nazi, white supremacist movement.

These racists were so enamored with candidate Donald Trump they threw their support behind his election — they turned out to vote. At one point in the campaign when Trump was asked to denounce former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke Trump claimed he didn’t know who Duke was. Then enterprising folks at NBC produced video tape of Trump speaking to Matt Lauer in 1999 on why Trump dropped out of that presidential race and the Reform Party. He denounced David Duke by name and said he didn’t want to be associated with people like him.

Few (if any) were surprised Donald Trump lied about not knowing who David Duke is, after all dishonesty and racism have been Trump’s most prominent characteristics.

So when he bounces back and forth between denouncing and then excusing the white supremacists that caused the violence in Charlottesville, VA, no one should have been surprised. People were telling him to denounce his base. He couldn’t do that, at least not sincerely. So after his Tuesday’s press conference at Trump Tower in which Trump compared the white supremacists to the people that opposed the racists — and then traitors to the Founding Fathers — it was no surprise David Duke publicly thanked President Trump for doing so.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that no one from the Trump Administration attended the memorial service for Heather Heyer. After Tuesday’s press conference, which featured Trump’s chief of staff, General John Kelly fuming at the words coming out of Trump’s mouth, Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, said she would not meet with the president. Not after he said her daughter was equally to blame for what happened in Charlottesville. “I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters like Ms. Heyer with the K.K.K. and the white supremacists,” she said.

President Trump, with Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of Labor Elaine, declaring all sides were at fault in Charlottesville Chao (YouTube Screenshot)

Since his defense of white supremacists, people have been abandoning President Trump in droves. Business leaders have walked away from Trump’s business councils, and actor Kal Penn led the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in a mass resignation with a letter that said, “Reproach and censure in the strongest possible terms are necessary following your support of the hate groups and terrorists who killed and injured fellow Americans in Charlottesville. The false equivalencies you push cannot stand. The Administration’s refusal to quickly and unequivocally condemn the cancer of hatred only further emboldens those who wish America ill. We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions.”

Trump’s good buddy billionaire Carl Icahn resigned, although he may have done so because an article in The New Yorker alleges Icahn was using his White House ties to pad his wallet. Other cabinet members, like Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, are being advised they too should resign, after the Trump’s defense of racists.

  • It’s a mystery to me why Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell’s wife and the Secretary of Labor, remains, after Trump’s insults towards her husband.

Many Republicans denounced racism and the groups that espouse it, like the KKK, Nazis and other white supremacists, but a few went so far as to criticize the president for giving cover for white supremacists with his statements. None of them in the GOP leadership.

Vice President Pence is gearing up for a presidential run in 2020, more Republicans are becoming receptive to the idea of impeachment (for them a President Pence isn’t a bad idea) and Trump’s poll numbers are the worst of any president in the modern era.

And now his chief political advisor, Steve Bannon has been fired/resigned and is back at Breitbart News. Other resignations have followed Bannon out the West Wing doors. Trump was a racist before Bannon joined his campaign, so that is not likely to affect his poll numbers, although Bannon has vowed to turn his “weapon” on the people in the GOP he believes have ruined Trump’s agenda. “In many ways, I think I can be more effective fighting from the outside for the agenda President Trump ran on and anyone who stands in our way, we will go to war with,” Bannon said Friday.

He means you Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. The very people Trump needs to get anything done while he’s president. It all hinges on “The Wall” Trump promised to build along the southern border, sort of like the Berlin Wall, but longer and designed to keep people out, instead of in. The wall the Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has said his country will not fund, even a little.

Counter protesters in Seattle, WA marching against the racist group Patriot Prayer’s rally (YouTube screenshot)

And probably Republican Senator from Tennessee, Bob Corker. At a Rotary Club luncheon Corker told reporters, “The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful — and our nation and our world needs for him to be successful, whether you are Republican or Democrat. He also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation. He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today. And he’s got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that. Without the things I just mentioned happening, our nation is going to go through great peril.”

Other than some executive orders that have done little and were shot down in the courts in some cases, President Trump has done nothing in his first seven months in office. So many key positions in government have not been filled the State Department and other cabinet level agencies have not been able to do their work sufficiently.

And then there is the Russia investigation by the special prosecutor. With a grand jury convened just for the investigation it won’t be too long before we start seeing indictments.

The Trump Administration is a disaster. By the time anyone reads this something new will have happened, or more likely the president himself will have tweeted something insane. His last tweets applauded the counter protestors in Boston and that city’s mayor and police force. Even the president is getting in on some damage control.

But the morning is still young.

Top photo is a YouTube screenshot of the counter-protestors in Boston on Saturday