Ladies and gentlemen, behold, s*** the President said during the past week:
- “Everybody knew about it.” 11/28/2018, in reference to the Trump Tower Moscow project that was live until at least June 2016. No, everyone most certainly did not know about it. We didn’t know because Trump lied repeatedly to cover this up. “Everybody knew” is a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency type of lie. Trump was personally investigating a business deal with the government that attacked his opponent, while they were attacking his opponent.
- “I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away…We could make deals very easily if we wanted to, I just don’t want to because I think that would be a conflict.” 1/11/2017, pre-inaugural press conference. Full video here. This is just one such previous lie. Buzzfeed also reports the Moscow deal included a promise of a $50,000,000 penthouse to Vladimir Putin himself, for free, which seems like a nice gesture that probably would’ve run afoul of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (designed to prevent Americans from bribing foreign government officials).
- “Did you ever see an investigation more in search of a crime?” 11/29/2018 Trump tweet. That same day, Trump’s former lawyer pled guilty to a crime. In fact, this particular investigation has charged 36 people with a total of 192 crimes so far. Eight have already been convicted.
- “I probably will be meeting with President Putin. We haven’t terminated that meeting. I was thinking about it, but we haven’t. They’d like to have it. I think it’s a very good time to have the meeting.” 11/29/2018 at the White House, regarding the upcoming G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- “Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!” 11/29/2018 Trump tweet, one hour after the above statement that he would meet with Putin. Nothing regarding the situation in Ukraine had changed. Michael Cohen had exposed the Trump Tower Moscow deal in federal court during the intervening time, however.
- “I don’t believe it.” 11/26/2018, regarding his own administration’s climate report, which predicts human and economic calamity if no action is taken to address climate change. Of course there was no explanation as to why he doesn’t believe it, because no explanation is possible. If the report is right, Trump’s policy is all wrong. He would never admit that, but he also lacks any evidence to disprove the report. That leaves only one other option: conspiracy. While conspiracy is something of a go-to option for Trump, it’s harder when coming from his own administration. So we’re left with, simply, “I don’t believe it,” probably followed by some distraction.
- “If they have to, they’re going to use lethal force. I’ve given the okay. If they have to – I hope they don’t have to. I have no choice. You’re dealing with a minimum of 500 serious criminals.” 11/26/2018, from Mar-a-Lago. Ah, the distraction. So about 5,000 migrants, mostly women and kids and none of them armed, made it to the border on foot from Central America and Trump asserts without evidence that at least 10% of them are serious criminals and some may need killed on the spot – if they have to. They don’t have to.
- “@60 Minutes did a phony story about child separation when they know we had the exact same policy as the Obama Administration….” 11/26/2018 Trump tweet. This is not the same policy Obama had, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s John Kelly, then DHS secretary, saying he is considering a zero tolerance, family separation policy in March 2017. Here’s AG Jeff Sessions announcing the new, zero tolerance policy. Here’s Trump rescinding his order. Here’s Trump saying he might reinstate his order. Here’s Obama DHS secretary Jeh Johnson explaining that, with rare exceptions, Obama had no policy to separate families at the border.
- “They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.” 11/27/2018 interview with the Washington Post. His gut? This was a response to a question about interest rate policy, of all things. Sure, you can “read” and “study” and “learn economics” with your brainiac friends, but Donald Trump has a gut. The best gut.
- “Well, it’s one plant in Ohio. But I love Ohio. And I told them: you’re playing around with the wrong person…. They better damn well open up a new plant there very quickly.” 11/26/2018 interview with the WSJ. So, the president promised to restore American manufacturing, then implemented tariffs causing some plants to close, then lashed out at companies when his policy’s effects became apparent. Question: Are we comfortable with presidents threatening retribution against private companies? I ask because the great Jonathan Chait of NYMag.com remembers when Obama’s efforts to save the auto industry was considered “gangster government“.
That’s it for this week. Remember to click the links if you’re curious about the backstory of any particular point above and, as always, thanks for reading.