Greg Sargent: Trump Is Flailing

Greg Sargent does something I was thinking of doing – listing all the ways Trump is flailing. Trump has always been protected from his own incompetence and sadism by layers of lackeys – Javanka, Michael Cohen, and even when he first became President, his generals, Javanka (still), and a minimally competent but toadying cabinet. He thought that being President means having unlimited power.

He had done what he wanted – or thought he did – as the head of the Trump organization. He never cared to see the people who were steering away from the rocks he found so alluring or who actually did the work to make things happen.

It turns out that there are many things that a President can’t do. That’s why we have a Constitution. The Founding Parents were quite explicit about that. People like John Kelly and Jim Mattis reminded him of that, so they had to go.

Now we have Trump unbound. Kirstjen Nielsen was one of the last to tell him no, if some of the reports are to be believed.

The handlers also steered Trump away from the places where they would have to tell him no. Without them, he is getting more noes.

Here’s Sargent’s list:

  • “Total exoneration” and Attorney General William Barr’s attempt to keep the Mueller report away from the public
  • Throwing in with the suit against the ACA and promising a new Republican health plan
  • The immigration clusterf**k

Trump is clearly becoming desperate on immigration. His emotions are getting out of control. He seems to believe that there is some physical way – his wall, the brutality of what he would like to be his Gestapo – to stop immigration from the south. That is simply not going to happen for both logistical and humanitarian reasons.

Trump knows only bullying and brute force. It’s hard to predict what he will do next in his flailing. But it’s better to note it than to pretend it’s some n-dimensional strategy for his base.

Open thread.

148 replies
  1. 1

    As Trump deteriorates, I’ve increasingly wondered who is actually running the government. He knows nothing, so he’s just throwing an occasional wrench into things. Who’s doing all the stuff other presidents did all day long?

  2. 2
  3. 3

    @Cheryl Rofer: And what would the consequences of that be?

  4. 4
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Stephen Miller.

  5. 5
    dmsilev says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Mick Mulvaney, Jared Kushner, and Stephen Miller.

    (which, oddly enough, is also the answer to the trivia question “what is the worst K-pop boy band of all time?”)

  6. 6
    Joe Falco says:

    The other constant in Trump’s inner circle to date is Stephen Miller. Trump may be flailing, but it’s people like Miller that helps to focus some of that flailing into actionable policy. That is one head of this awful hydra that needs to be burned out along with the rest of them when this administration (hopefully) ends.

  7. 7
    rikyrah says:

    Lips pursed.

    Barack Obama is stuck in the past. He represents the old Democratic party
    Bhaskar Sunkara
    The former president says he’s worried about ‘purity’ tests in the Democratic party. What he’s really worried about is his surrogates losing control of the party

    Barack Obama is worried about the Democratic party. This weekend, he told a crowd at an Obama Foundation event in Berlin that the party is becoming a “circular firing squad” targeting those “straying from purity” on certain issues.

    Leading figures around the party have indeed moved to the left since he left office two years ago. Thanks in no small part to the Bernie Sanders campaign and the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Medicare for All, free public higher education, a $15 minimum wage, and action on climate change have become mainstream positions.

    The self-described “political mainstream” hasn’t caught up to this new reality, however. Obama’s former vice-president, Joe Biden, hasn’t announced his presidential candidacy yet, and is getting attacked not just for his behavior toward women but for a decades-long record that includes support for military interventions, mass incarceration, immigrant deportations, and more. The subtext of Obama’s remarks is this undermining of Biden.

    Are things getting meaner? Maybe, the internet is a pretty terrible place. But few campaign seasons were more vitriolic than the 2008 Democratic primaries. Hillary Clinton called Obama “elitist and out of touch”, who couldn’t reach “hard-working Americans, white Americans”. For his part, Obama campaign’s negative ads about Clinton were recirculated by Trump in 2016.

    By comparison, Bernie played softball in 2016. But he certainly gave voice to grassroots anger. People are fed up with the status quo, and they’re starting to demand more of their politicians. Incumbents used to moving to an imaginary center are running up against the fact that their “center” is an illusion. When most Americans support Medicare for All and a jobs guarantee, when they want an end to overseas wars, welcome unions, and even are starting to get comfortable with the idea of socialism, is it really “centrist” to stubbornly oppose all these things?

  8. 8
    catclub says:

    She repeatedly noted the limitations imposed on her department by federal laws, court settlements and international obligations.

    Those responses only infuriated Mr. Trump further.

    Trump repeatedly demanded that Nielsen break the law, by closing the border to asylum-seeking entirely.

    I hope these explanations came with a lot of crude variations on: “NO, you stupid fuck, we can’t do that,I won’t do that, it is illegal”

  9. 9
    rikyrah says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Stephen Miller.

    Yep

  10. 10
    rikyrah says:

    Trump is clearly becoming desperate on immigration. His emotions are getting out of control. He seems to believe that there is some physical way – his wall, the brutality of what he would like to be his Gestapo – to stop immigration from the south. That is simply not going to happen for both logistical and humanitarian reasons.

    Trump knows only bullying and brute force. It’s hard to predict what he will do next in his flailing. But it’s better to note it than to pretend it’s some n-dimensional strategy for his base.

    It will be ugly. Cruel. Inhuman.

    IOW, basic Trump

  11. 11
    dr. bloor says:

    Trump knows only bullying and brute force. It’s hard to predict what he will do next in his flailing. But it’s better to note it than to pretend it’s some n-dimensional strategy for his base.

    The only folks suggesting anything along these lines forever now are his lackeys and the Chuck Todds of the world (but I repeat myself).

    It’s all just yelling at the clouds until the Senate decides to be the Senate again.

  12. 12
    BC in Illinois says:

    Trump has always thought that being President would consist of him telling people what to do.

    I’m a leader. I’m a leader. I’ve always been a leader. I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going to do it. That’s what leadership is all about.

    That was said in a Republican debate in regard to

    BRET BAIER of Fox News: Mr. Trump, just yesterday, almost 100 foreign policy experts signed on to an open letter refusing to support you, saying your embracing expansive use of torture is inexcusable. General Michael Hayden, former CIA director, NSA director, and other experts have said that when you asked the U.S. military to carry out some of your campaign promises, specifically targeting terrorists’ families, and also the use of interrogation methods more extreme than waterboarding, the military will refuse because they’ve been trained to turn down and refuse illegal orders.

    So what would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders?

    DONALD TRUMP: They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me. Believe me.

    Further:

    We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding. That’s my opinion.

    BAIER: But targeting terrorists’ families?

    (APPLAUSE)

    TRUMP: And — and — and — I’m a leader. I’m a leader. I’ve always been a leader. I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going to do it. That’s what leadership is all about.

    Note the applause.

  13. 13
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: Lips pursed because of how they are presenting Barack Obama? Or lips pursed because you don’t like what Obama is reported to be saying?

  14. 14
    randy khan says:

    @rikyrah:

    This seems like a kind of predetermined take from someone who’s not thinking too much about winning in 2020. Obama seemed to me to be pointing out that deciding you’ll only vote for your One True Candidate when the alternative is Trump is not the best plan, particularly when nearly every candidate agrees on the broad outlines of where the country should be going. And 2008, in fact, was an election in which most Democrats were quite happy with their choices – the PUMA thing was basically gaslighting, for instance, not any kind of real group.

  15. 15
    MattF says:

    Trump is at an impasse. His behavioral repertoire doesn’t include anything that would help– bullshit, bullying, bluster, being an asshole– are all failing. And then there’s the ‘brain turning into tapioca’ problem.

  16. 16
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @dmsilev: Thanks for turning that one into a smile.

  17. 17
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @rikyrah: Who the fuck is Bhaskar Sunkara?

  18. 18

    It is terrifying to think that KKKristjen Nielsen may in fact have been some sort of moderating influence. I didn't need to sleep tonight anyway.

    ETA: though it’s possible that this reporting just comes from Nielsen or her surrogates in an attempt to rehabilitate her image. Which isn’t going to work, as she’ll always be the woman who defended kids in cages, but still.

  19. 19

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: What’s happening is that the bad actors others named in response to your question are scheming to make their own priorities happen. Within the agencies, like the State Department and the Department of Defense, people are continuing to do their jobs, which include thinking about what we should do in response to various events. I was in DC a month ago and was impressed that so many people remain loyal to the United States and are doing their jobs that way.

    But there are two disconnects: between the bad actors and Trump, and between the agencies and the Trump court. So there is a lot of palace intrigue, today’s expression of which are the rumors that Stephen Miller is trying to get all sorts of people fired. Trump does what he wants, according to his whims. It came out over the weekend that he decided to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel on the spur of the moment. Neither the court nor the agencies had any advance warning.

    What will happen? Let’s pray that no real external crisis occurs. If there is none, the court will continue eating each other alive, and the agencies will continue to do their jobs as best they can. The problem with the latter is that they need priorities – which procurement to pursue, which exigency to plan for. That guidance should come from the President and his advisors.

  20. 20
    Betty Cracker says:

    There really wasn’t an immigration crisis at the southern border until Trump created one with his big fat mouth. Now he’ll make the situation worse. It looks like someone finally got it through his thick skull that shutting the US-Mexico border down would tank the economy, so he’s backed off that threat, for now at least. He’ll almost certainly double-down on the cruel policies, having been thwarted in staging that tantrum. He’s threatened in the past to prevent remittances, which would be catastrophically stupid, so he’ll probably try to find a way to do it.

    Did anyone hear Julian Castro on Pod Save America last week? I was impressed with his immigration proposals, including a Marshall Plan-scale effort to help Central American countries get back on their feet so that people aren’t so desperate that they undertake a dangerous journey to the US. He didn’t have much in the way of specifics (it’s early, so that’s okay), but it seems pretty clear it’ll take a program like that to stabilize those countries.

  21. 21
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Gin & Tonic: a founder of Jacobin magazine.

  22. 22
    MattF says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: There’s also McConnell. He seems to be one person who can tell Trump that some miracle won’t happen– e.g., a healthcare law, immigration solution. Of course, ‘relying on Mitch McConnell’ is practically the definition of a bad idea, but that’s where we are.

  23. 23

    @Betty Cracker: The more I hear from Julián Castro, the more impressed I am. It’s kinda irritating that he isn’t getting more press.

  24. 24
    Kay says:

    The vast majority of Americans don’t think they got a tax cut from the 2017 Republican bill.
    Just 17% of people believe their own taxes will go down, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll finds.
    Republicans are the only group in which 30% or more believe they’re getting a tax cut.

    I think we can credit Democrats with doing an excellent job portraying Trump’s tax law. It wasn’t that long ago that a tax cut was a guaranteed political success.

    Good work.

  25. 25
    sherparick says:

    @randy khan: Also, the idea that Bernie and his crewed played “softball” with Hillary Clinton is an absurd lie. He got harsher and harsher with her as he lost more and more, and he his crewed never stopped echoing the legitimacy of her nomination, joining gleefully with Trump and Republicans on echoing the and exaggerating the inane emails revealed in the DWS hack.

    By the way Bernie, where are your tax returns are you more like Trump then you admit.

  26. 26
    burnspbesq says:

    It’s going to be interesting to see whether Chuck Rettig actually has the integrity that pretty much everyone who has ever dealt with him in a professional setting believes he has.

  27. 27
    burnspbesq says:

    @Smiling Mortician:

    Oh.

    That tells us pretty much everything we need to know.

  28. 28
    H.E.Wolf says:

    One of the other questions is: what do we, the people, do? There are a lot of answers to that, depending on the person and the local situation.

    What I learned in the past 3 years is that there is always an available task suitable to temperament and skill – and that it’s OK to ask for a suitable task, rather than just be slotted into the first thing someone suggests.

    In my case, “suitable” means database work. I’m dedicating some time on a weekly/daily basis, to get a head start on 2020.

    The local Dems’ office was a little startled to hear from me, but (I hope) pleased to have an extra pair of hands this early….

  29. 29
    rikyrah says:

    ReclaimingMyTime (@MonieTalks_1) Tweeted:
    Actually Castro has visited as many places at Buttigieg has. IA, HH, NV, SC to name a few.

    He pledged to visit all 50 states while announcing his candidacy. He visited 40 states while HUD Secretary.

    Your sentiment about him not criss crossing proves my point about erasure. https://t.co/P7MLsB33p6 https://twitter.com/MonieTalks_1/status/1115281287105994752?s=17

  30. 30
    scav says:

    @Smiling Mortician: so, esentially some Pepsi Executive Assistant announcing to world what is or isn’t the Real Coke.

  31. 31
    West of the Rockies says:

    @dmsilev:

    Remember the ludicrous “Young Guns” posse of Republicans with Cantor and Ryan (et al)? When your young guns have receding hairlines tinged with gray, you might want to rethink the band name.

  32. 32
    waspuppet says:

    Trump knows only bullying and brute force. It’s hard to predict what he will do next in his flailing. But it’s better to note it than to pretend it’s some n-dimensional strategy for his base.

    I really don’t know what it’s going to take to get the people who are paid six and seven figures a year to talk about national politics to even start to consider the simplest explanation: He’s a senile racist with no knowledge of or affection for democracy.

  33. 33
    rikyrah says:

    This is a good idea.

    Mr. Weeks 🤴🏾 (@MrDane1982) Tweeted:
    Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, get yourself a small production team, create a YouTube station. Every Sunday do your own interview. Pick the journalist of your choice who you want to interview you on your own platform. https://twitter.com/MrDane1982/status/1115118940328550400?s=17

  34. 34
    Hoodie says:

    Trump is stuck playing the oldies about immigration because that’s about all he has left to arouse the rubes. The tax cut was a dud. With the Supreme Court and much of the judiciary in conservative hands, McConnell feels comfortable telling him that killing Obamacare is a non-starter. Infrastructure Week has been indefinitely postponed.

    The dangerous time may come when he starts to lose traction with his base on immigration. That may be coming soon as people realize that there is no “crisis” on the southern border.
    This is in large part because Trump has been crying wolf on that for so long, people will stop paying any attention as they realize this supposed crisis has no effect whatsoever on their daily lives. His recent pronouncements on Israel are more troubling, because they have a whiff of him trying to get Israel into a fight with the Palestinians and their neighbors, which could happen because his sociopathic soul mate Netanyahu is getting equally desperate as he is being dogged for corruption.

  35. 35
    rikyrah says:

    These Democratic women are NOT having it👏👏

    Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) Tweeted:
    Kirstjen Nielsen championed Trump Admin policies that traumatized children + ripped families apart. She was in the room when Trump labeled African nations + Haiti as “shitholes.” Had she opposed any of it, she would’ve resigned long ago. Good riddance. https://t.co/WfMDt9SX0T https://twitter.com/SenDuckworth/status/1115081262501453826?s=17

  36. 36

    @H.E.Wolf: YES!

    I’m working with the local Democratic Party on some things that may not see the light of day for a while, although we in New Mexico are ahead of the country in having a Democratic legislature and governor.

    I know we’d like to end this shitshow today, but that’s not going to happen, so let’s do what we can to prepare for the election next year and fixing things.

  37. 37
    Mike in NC says:

    Waiting for Fat Bastard to announce yet another meeting with the brutal North Korean despot. That Nobel Peace Prize is practically in the bag! He just knows it is.

    Or maybe another trip to Saudi Arabia would soothe his fragile ego. They’d drape another piece of golden bling around his fat neck and Trump would go week in the knees.

  38. 38
    artem1s says:

    It turns out that there are many things that a President can’t do.

    Turns out a President can do almost anything, if they know how to build a coalition and have experienced what the opposition is likely to do to block your policies.
    This is why so many Dems who actually remember how an experienced candidate was treated in 2008 and 2016 are refusing to take any kind of loyalty oath on who they will vote for. How come the conversations isn’t ‘will you promise to vote for female candidate of color XXX if she is the Dem nominee?’ – Instead of pressuring everyone to accept that the bar has been so lowered any white guy who can hop over it should be acceptable? I find this whole media fluffing of the parade of hairdos and strong manly men to be the BS it has always been. It takes experience to get anything done once they get to the WH. Obama should understand that better than anyone.

  39. 39
    Leto says:

    @Kay: Speaking of tax plans, hopefully part of Sen Warren’s tax plans will be a massive influx of resources ($$$) invested into the IRS so we can properly tackle tax cheats (ProPublica): The IRS Tried to Take on the Ultrawealthy. It Didn’t Go Well.

    Ten years ago, the tax agency formed a special team to unravel the complex tax-lowering strategies of the nation’s wealthiest people. But with big money — and Congress — arrayed against the team, it never had a chance.

  40. 40
    Brachiator says:

    Trump is clearly becoming desperate on immigration.

    This is not entirely true. Trump is becoming more openly cruel. His immigration policy has always been openly racist and exclusionary. The people he listens to and the people he chooses to exercise his policies are as extreme and racist as he is. He is also counting on his court appointments to rubber stamp his decisions. He previously had a GOP led Congress sit back and let him act as he wished. He has some pushback now, but there is nothing to suggest that he is wavering from his noxious believes or his desire to execute his will on these matters.

    His emotions are getting out of control.

    I’m not sure that they have ever been in control. The crazy thing is, he seems to feel emboldened by Barr’s “exoneration” of him in the summary of the Mueller Report. An Unchained Trump is dangerous to the country.

    Trump knows only bullying and brute force. It’s hard to predict what he will do next in his flailing. But it’s better to note it than to pretend it’s some n-dimensional strategy for his base.

    Sadly, his base enjoys Trump’s instability and cruelty.

  41. 41
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    think I would add “Reality TV show mindset” to Trump’s thinking. I would be surprised to find out Trump thinks Deep State is the government equivalent to the show’s writers. and he views his poll numbers like TV show ratings.

  42. 42
    Leto says:

    @Mike in NC: Trumpov will have another light bulb touching ceremony, as well as dance with swords. So much fun! They love him bigly! /vomit

  43. 43
    bemused says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    Kevin McCarthy was the 3rd amigo. That was a really embarrassing and ridiculous display of self-promotion even publishing a book “The Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders” but republicans aren’t born with shame genes. Also Paul Randian Ryan was touted as this fantastic intellectual economic leader. Gag.

  44. 44
    catclub says:

    Matt Levine’s Financial bloomberg column:

    Did Donald Trump’s likely Fed nominee Herman Cain use an email mailing list to promote worthless penny stocks?

    There is only one conceivable answer.

  45. 45
    West of the Rockies says:

    @bemused:

    Meet the New Conservative Leaders… Same as the old conservative leaders.

    (But with Xtreme Cheesy Goodness!)

  46. 46

    @Kay:

    I think we can credit Democrats with doing an excellent job portraying Trump’s tax law. It wasn’t that long ago that a tax cut was a guaranteed political success.

    It helps that their portrayal is basically accurate. Tax cuts used to be popular because most people had a reasonable expectation that they’d get a reasonable share. But the Trump tax “cut” was designed specifically to give almost all the money to the ultra-rich and give at most a pittance to most ordinary taxpayers. The Republicans let their greed get the better of their political good sense.

  47. 47

    @burnspbesq:

    It’s going to be interesting to see whether Chuck Rettig actually has the integrity that pretty much everyone who has ever dealt with him in a professional setting believes he has.

    I’m gonna go with “no”. Anyone who was hand-picked by Trump is not to be trusted, no matter how glittering their previous record.

  48. 48
    Kay says:

    @Leto:

    Agreed. I love Elizabeth Warren. It’s like she reads my mind! :)

    I don’t look at photos of the politicians that much, I tend to key into peoples voices more than appearance, generally- so a couple of years ago I saw a story about Warren and she was at a house party surrounded by other people and I was surprised- she’s so small.

    I guess I thought of her as huge and towering :) She’s like 100 pounds.

  49. 49
  50. 50
    meander says:

    One immigration lever that I don’t hear much about from Trump is a vigorous enforcement policy aimed at those who employ undocumented immigrants. And also new policies to prevent employment fraud, like a national ID. Has Trump been asked about this? Has he ever tweeted about it? My guess is no. (And if he has been asked, he surely dodged the question.)

    My guess is that he thinks that the two rule-breakers here are on entirely different planes of existence: the corporations hiring undocumented immigrants are ‘good people’ (incl. the Trump Organization!) and never do anything wrong, while the immigrants are 100% to blame.

  51. 51
    bemused says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    Yup. Speaking of cheesy, I’ll never forget Ryan’s glamour shots posing with chin on fist, backward baseball cap.

  52. 52
    rikyrah says:

    @WaterGirl:

    @rikyrah: Lips pursed because of how they are presenting Barack Obama?

    This

  53. 53
    PJ says:

    @meander: If everyone who employed illegal immigrants went to jail, there would be almost no illegal immigration. But the point of Trump’s (and the GOP’s) immigration policies is not to actually stop illegal and legal immigration in any comprehensive way, but to demonize brown people.

  54. 54
    ruemara says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Nobody. Nobody who wins elections, nobody who shapes policy, nobody who actually manages to analyze properly what’s being said.

    @artem1s: A-fucking-men

  55. 55
    VeniceRiley says:

    @artem1s:

    This is why so many Dems who actually remember how an experienced candidate was treated in 2008 and 2016 are refusing to take any kind of loyalty oath on who they will vote for. How come the conversations isn’t ‘will you promise to vote for female candidate of color XXX if she is the Dem nominee?’ – Instead of pressuring everyone to accept that the bar has been so lowered any white guy who can hop over it should be acceptable?

    Come sit by me! Maybe you can keep me from going into a complete rage about it.

  56. 56
    catclub says:

    Cain and worthless stocks link

    I will also remind the reader that I have posted that Cain is STILL more qualified for his job than Rick Perry is for managing the nation’s Nuclear weapons systems at DOE.

  57. 57
    rikyrah says:

    @Kay:

    I think we can credit Democrats with doing an excellent job portraying Trump’s tax law. It wasn’t that long ago that a tax cut was a guaranteed political success.

    People understand their tax return, if they don’t understand much else.

  58. 58
    Aleta says:

    “bullying and brute force”

    I despise and fear how much he enjoys it.

  59. 59

    @rikyrah:

    Leading figures around the party have indeed moved to the left since he left office two years ago. Thanks in no small part to the Bernie Sanders campaign… action on climate change have become mainstream positions.

    Action on climate change was one of Barack Obama’s signature positions, and a major source of the explosion in renewable energy over the last ten years has been the research he funded with the stimulus.

    By comparison, Bernie played softball in 2016.

    My ENTIRE ass.

  60. 60
    Kay says:

    @meander:

    He hates the people claiming asylum. Probably because they’re visible and he doesn’t understand anything about immigration, not the big concepts, not the small rules based on the big concepts. A tangible target for his hatefulness and resentment and lack of generosity.

    Asylum is a pretty big idea. You can’t expect him to read anything or talk to anyone. He’s an over-protected, coddled 6 year old. SMALL. He stays small and petty.

  61. 61
    vhh says:

    Trump’s only strategy, all the time, is to blame everything on the Others–the blacks, browns, foreigners, uppity women, gays, transexuals et al. Like the Nazis, he views these Others as infectious vermin. His Fox addled base laps it up. So it is his re-election strategy, too. And if it turns violent, so much the better, it ups the fear factor. I don’t see how this ends without bloodshed.

  62. 62
    catclub says:

    @PJ:

    is not to actually stop illegal and legal immigration in any comprehensive way, but to demonize brown people.

    actually the demonization is meant to keep their salaries low and their leverage against rapacious employers negligible.

    and yes, if we wanted to stop it, that is how it would be done – arresting and jailing employers. But all the people who have Juan the yard guy, and feel entitled to cheap yard service, would be upset, and they vote.

  63. 63
    cckids says:

    @BC in Illinois:

    Trump has always thought that being President would consist of him telling people what to do.

    I’m a leader. I’m a leader. I’ve always been a leader. I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going to do it. That’s what leadership is all about.

    Ugh. When my kids were in Venturing, a joke t-shirt was always given to whoever was elected crew president; it said: “Leading: Lots of people doing what I say”.

    Even the teenagers thought that idea was ridiculous, and knew the ACTUAL meaning of leadership. What a tool DT is.

  64. 64

    @PJ:

    But the point of Trump’s (and the GOP’s) immigration policies is not to actually stop illegal and legal immigration in any comprehensive way, but to demonize brown people.

    Also to make immigrants too afraid of the immigration authorities to stand up for themselves. They want compliant workers, and the threat of deportation is too valuable a tool in keeping them in line to give up.

  65. 65
    Plato says:

    @rikyrah:

    Fucking bs is not even a dem party member. Who is this idiot?

  66. 66
    catclub says:

    @Plato: rikyrah was a little too subtle. the prelude to the quote was “lips pursed”,
    which I think means ( correct me if I am wrong) ‘I ain’t swallowing your bullshit.’

  67. 67
    Kathleen says:

    @rikyrah: Rodent fornicators at the Guardian strike again.

  68. 68
    WaterGirl says:

    @Betty Cracker: I just listened to that podcast/interview last night. I was impressed, also.

  69. 69
    sukabi says:

    @WaterGirl: after reading that snippet my lips are pursed because the author has a decided BS bias.

  70. 70
    oatler. says:

    Just read he fired his Secret Service head.

  71. 71
    Barbara says:

    @Kathleen: Right, because the UK’s Labour Party has been such a recent resounding success in the UK. I remember reading once that someone did a survey of opinions in the 60s and among Labour Party members, there was strong admiration of the “working classes,” but among surveys of the working class, there was strong admiration of the kinds of things that make people what would have been called bourgeois values. This play pretend game of revolution (“Jacobin”!!!!) is so tedious.

  72. 72
    Martin says:

    Important bit of context on Trumps immigration talk the last few days.

    Before the Safe Release policy ended, “ICE would transport the traveling asylum seekers directly to the departure points for their prearranged mode of transportation, such bus stations, train stations, and airports, facilitating an orderly release process. ICE would also provide a minimal amount of food to asylum seekers for their journeys to their final destinations,” the lawsuit states.
    Other supervisors did not return requests for comment.
    The county has spent more than $1.3 million operating the downtown shelter, Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob wrote on Twitter.
    “The federal government’s negligent approach to those seeking asylum is taking a huge toll on San Diego County taxpayers,” she said.

    Dianne Jacob is a Republican. The BOS is 1 D, 4 R, and it passed 4-1. The suit was filed last Wed and Trump spoke in the county on Fri. saying the county is begging for a wall. They aren’t. Gov Newsom has proposed covering SDs costs from state funds, which will add another lawsuit here.

    Elected Republicans should be the last individuals the party should be worried about losing, and he’s losing them.

  73. 73

    I see Trump fired the head of the Secret Service. Another one bites the dust.

  74. 74
    trollhattan says:

    They caught a feral Republican in Florida.

    A national park in Florida has captured a record 17ft (5.2m) python using an innovative approach to tackling the invasive species.

    The female snake, the largest ever to be removed from Big Cypress National Preserve, weighed 140lb (63.5kg) and was carrying 73 developing eggs. Pythons pose a major threat to native wildlife in the state. Researchers in the park track down breeding females by fitting male pythons with radio transmitters.

    “The team tracked one of the sentinel males with the transmitter and found this massive female nearby,” the park said on Facebook.

    As well as removing invasive snakes, Big Cypress says it uses each discovery to collect data for research, develop new removal tools and learn how pythons are using the area.

    Stopped before she could make 73 more Republicans.

    Secure in my ongoing policy of not moving there. Or the rest of the Confederacy for that matter. Commie today, Commie tomorrow, Commie forever!

  75. 75
    RedDirtGirl says:

    @catclub: I read that a Boomerang Column!

  76. 76
    West of the Rockies says:

    @vhh:

    I believe you forgot cucks and white beta males.

  77. 77
    sherparick says:

    @randy khan: Also, the idea that Bernie and his crewed played “softball” with Hillary Clinton is an absurd lie. He got harsher and harsher with her as he lost more and more, and he his crewed never stopped echoing the legitimacy of her nomination, joining gleefully with Trump and Republicans on echoing the and exaggerating the inane emails revealed in the DWS hack.

    By the way Bernie, where are your tax returns are you more like Trump then you admit. @BC in Illinois:

  78. 78
    Martin says:

    @oatler.: Any bets on whether Nielsen is out not because of immigration but instead of the SS (who report to her) and some disagreement over security at Mar A Lago?

  79. 79
    JR says:

    Worth keeping in mind that the Nazis committed their worst atrocities after it became clear that they were losing the war.

  80. 80
    lumpkin says:

    @oatler.:
    The secret service must be too much of an impediment to monetizing US national security. Someone more like Sgt Schultz is needed.

  81. 81
    tobie says:

    @oatler.: Huh? Do you have a link for this? Sounds like flailing indeed.

  82. 82
    dmsilev says:

    @sukabi:

    after reading that snippet my lips are pursed because the author has a decided BS bias.

    Do you mean Bernie Sanders or bullshit? It works either way, and some might argue that it’s a distinction without a difference.

  83. 83
    trollhattan says:

    @Martin:
    This will be the hardest goddamn administration ever to document in a historical account. If I were the author I’d title it “Nondisclosure Agreement–the Trump White House says, ‘Fuck You!'”

  84. 84
    dmsilev says:

    @trollhattan:

    The team tracked one of the sentinel males with the transmitter

    Someone got close enough to Scott to implant a transmitter?

  85. 85

    @lumpkin: Trump Troopers ™ ! Hire only the best.

  86. 86
    trollhattan says:

    @tobie:

    (CNN)United States Secret Service director Randolph “Tex” Alles is being removed from his position, multiple administration officials tell CNN.

    President Donald Trump instructed his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to fire Alles. Alles remains in his position as of now but has been asked to leave.
    The USSS director was told two weeks ago there would be a transition in leadership and he was asked to stay on until there was a replacement, according to a source close to the director.

    Secret Service officials have been caught by surprise with the news and are only finding out through CNN, according to the source.

    A source familiar with the the director said his ouster was not related to the recent scrutiny the Secret Service got after a Chinese woman illegally entered the President’s Mar-a-Lago club carrying Chinese passports and a flash drive containing malware.

  87. 87
    Martin says:

    @trollhattan: Making it worse is our inability as a nation to actually come to terms with our own failings. 3 years in and this is still all excused away as economic anxiety of the working class.

  88. 88
    trollhattan says:

    @dmsilev:
    Right? Guessing it’s implanted in his hingeless jaw.

  89. 89
    Ruckus says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))):
    How about a Warren/Castro ticket?
    Interesting?

  90. 90
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @sherparick: That was my reaction as well. The Bernie folks really want to pretend that Bernie was a saint in 2016, but he did a LOT of harm to democratic prospects in that election. He never said Hillary herself was rigging the election, but he heavily implied he wasn’t getting a fair shake (Narrator: He was getting a fair shake) and that the whole “establishment” was rigging the system for her. And he absolutely didn’t tamp down on that at all amongst his surrogates or campaign staff, to the point where people like Nina Turner were claiming in August on campaign volunteer calls that Hillary was still going to be indicted or have to drop out once they revealed how she’d stolen the election.

    Likewise, he did a horrible job supporting her candidacy once he lost. But contrary to their own opinions, Hillary was very nice to him and tried not to alienate his supporters, much good it did her.

  91. 91
    Ruckus says:

    @West of the Rockies:
    I thought that Receding Hairlines was the name of their crappy band.

  92. 92
    zhena gogolia says:

    @VeniceRiley:

    It’s not a loyalty oath to say that we have to beat Trump. Full stop. We have to support the Democrat who gets the nomination. Note I said “Democrat.”

  93. 93
    VeniceRiley says:

    Meanwhile, Governor Newsom is in El Salvador, trying to help … and reassure them we aren’t all racist assholes.
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/california-gov-gavin-newsom-makes-his-debut-on-the-world-stage-in-el-salvador/ar-BBVIhdw?ocid=spartanntp

  94. 94
    Immanentize says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Action on climate change was one of Barack Obama’s signature positions

    Oh come on! We all know Bernie wrote and negotiated the Paris Climate Accord as well as designed the New Energy policies. It is all Bernie. No one even breathed air before Bernie told us it existed.

  95. 95
    rikyrah says:

    ReclaimingMyTime (@MonieTalks_1) Tweeted:
    So let’s see..

    My response to Saletan’s tweet about his erasure of ‘red state” Democrat Castro and calling it out is divisive.

    yet your response that Castro has not “criss-crossed” the country like Pete has (which is a lie) is not divisive?

    Just stop it. https://t.co/hmtk6Yf8Ov https://twitter.com/MonieTalks_1/status/1115289159047045126?s=17

  96. 96
    Searcher says:

    @cckids: To be fair, I doubt Trump has ever been a leader, or lead anyone anywhere.

    He has, at best, been a boss, and bossed people around.

  97. 97
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @zhena gogolia: Yep. We should look for and vote for our preferred candidates. Mine are (in order) Harris, Warren, Buttigieg, but I’m open to changing my mind.

    I’ll support any Democrat who gets the nomination, as should the rest of the damned country. I would support Bernie Sanders too – he would be a huge missed opportunity and he wouldn’t be a ‘successful’ president in most senses, but he’d be worlds better than Trump and would be able to make a lot of really important course corrections.

  98. 98
    rikyrah says:

    Denise Kersten Wills (@denisewills) Tweeted:
    “She’s a black female prosecutor; we have a racist, misogynist, possibly criminal president. All of that caretaking of her political future—what was it for if not this?” Super smart (and fun to read) profile of Kamala Harris by @lizweil https://t.co/ezWFeyAUZT https://twitter.com/denisewills/status/1115059743251472387?s=17

  99. 99
  100. 100
    Immanentize says:

    @oatler.:

    Just read he fired his Secret Service head.

    What? Do you have a linky? Thanks

  101. 101
    Ruckus says:

    @Leto:
    Especially as they normally collect quite a bit more than is spent collecting it.

  102. 102

  103. 103
    rikyrah says:

    Meagan Hatcher-Mays (@importantmeagan) Tweeted:
    this is so gross. kirstjen nielsen was not forced to serve as DHS secretary under Trump against her will. she is not secretly a good person. good people don’t work for Trump. don’t whitewash who she is and what she did: she willingly and happily carried Trump’s trash for years https://t.co/6lXJHEHFlb https://twitter.com/importantmeagan/status/1115219403409428482?s=17

  104. 104
    Jeffro says:

    Secret Service busted trumpov’s Chinese friend, so now the SS head’s gotta go…

    Kid-cage lady wouldn’t agree to trumpov’s lawbreaking schemes for even crueler policies, so she had to go…

    Kavanaugh, Barr, tax guy Desmond all put into place…Cain and Moore on the way…

    Hey GOP: you see where this is heading, right? Right? Or do you really think you’re going to come out of this okay if you just keep your head in the sand a liiiiiittle bit longer?

  105. 105
    Jeffro says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: It’s almost like someone wanted to leave our country wide open and unable to act in response to threats here and abroad. Don’t we have an acting Defense Secretary too?

  106. 106
    Redshift says:

    @trollhattan:

    A source familiar with the the director said his ouster was not related to the recent scrutiny the Secret Service got after a Chinese woman illegally entered the President’s Mar-a-Lago club carrying Chinese passports and a flash drive containing malware.

    Of course not. It’s related to the Secret Service saying there’s nothing they can do to secure Mar-a-Lago if the dumpster fire is more interested in grifting off anyone with cash than keeping out spies.

  107. 107

    @Jeffro: We have an acting Defense Secretary. As I said upthread, the working levels of the agencies, and certainly the military, are still working. And I’m thinking that if Trump wants to destroy an agency in his anger and frustration, there are worse choices than DHS.

  108. 108
    Obvious Russian Troll says:

    @Gin & Tonic: We need to make Miller’s presence more prominent in the media. Give him the President Bannon treatment.

  109. 109
    catclub says:

    @RedDirtGirl: Matt makes finance stuff interesting – and funny.

  110. 110
    Ruckus says:

    @catclub:
    I’m more qualified than Rick Perry.
    And basically my qualification score would hover between 1 and zero. On a scale of 100. Rickey is in double negative numbers.

  111. 111
    Joe Falco says:

    @rikyrah:
    Note the response, accusing Monie of tearing down candidates when she was trying to set the record straight in the first place. Person does not have the sense to just stop when it’s obvious they just want to sell a false narrative even when called out on it.

  112. 112
    cain says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    @rikyrah: Who the fuck is Bhaskar Sunkara?

    He’s the guy fucked up an order, and brought chicken manchurian instead of gobi manchurian and had the gall to insist that is what this guy ordered.

  113. 113
    Brachiator says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    DHS leadership vacuum: no confirmed secretary, no dep. secretary, no Secret Service chief, no head of FEMA, no head of ICE, no head of science & technology branch, no head of policy branch, no Inspector General & no CPB commissioner once McAleenan moves over

    Trump does not know how to operate as chief executive of the government. How many people have been let go or ignored at the State Department?

    Trump flattens out the organizational structure of departments and agencies and operates by seat-of-pants directives because he has no comprehensive idea about the scope of what these agencies do or how they need to operate.

    Right Wing dopes see this as streamlining how the federal government operates.

  114. 114
    Plato says:

    @Jeffro:

    The rethugs party establishment are active enablers, abettors and colluders of the totus thug’s regime. This thug is a torchbearer of their party’s long held views and policies.

  115. 115
    WaterGirl says:

    @Martin: Now that’s an interesting thought.

  116. 116
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Martin: QFT with an addendum (because I’m so tired).

    3 years in and this is still all excused away as economic anxiety of the working class.

    Even though it wasn’t “economic anxiety” that convinced people into voting for the guy. Nor were the actual demographics of the people who voted for him majority “working class.”

  117. 117
    Ruckus says:

    @Kay:

    He stays small and petty.

    He’s at least proved to be consistent over his 70+ yrs. Never growing, never learning, always hating. Doesn’t make a good resume for a human being.

  118. 118

    @Brachiator: Yes. One of my great satisfactions in becoming a manager was finding that people doing their jobs together, for a common cause, was a great source of power for all of us. Trump has no concept of that kind of power.

    Which is probably a good thing for the rest of us.

  119. 119

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    And I’m thinking that if Trump wants to destroy an agency in his anger and frustration, there are worse choices than DHS.

    Unfortunately, DHS has a lot of awful people in the civil service positions, so removing the political appointees at the top isn’t going to result in a bunch of decent bureaucrats acting as caretakers. It’s going to result in a bunch of people who think Trump hasn’t been harsh enough yet being left in charge.

  120. 120
    rikyrah says:

    Justin Sink (@justinsink) Tweeted:
    CNN reporting a full purge may be coming at DHS: “United States Citizenship and Immigration Services director Francis Cissna and Office of the General Counsel’s John Mitnick are expected to be gone soon, and the White House is eyeing others to be removed.” https://t.co/nzJ0alAk5k https://twitter.com/justinsink/status/1115306386756337664?s=17

  121. 121
    zhena gogolia says:

    @rikyrah:

    I’m hoping this person is right:

    My heart tells me that she will calmly and brilliantly lead this field.

  122. 122
    Redshift says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Ah, so we’ve moved on from Bernie deserving credit for every progressive element of the Democratic 2016 platform (almost all of which were there before they started throwing him bones), and now Bernie must be given credit for everything the Obama administration did that he agrees with. Got it.

    I am currently gritting my teeth and not lashing out on Facebook at a Berner friend who is OUTRAGED at Obama’s “let’s not have a circular firing squad” comment. Because, you see, he’s saying we aren’t allowed to criticize anyone, and we’ll “again” end up with a candidate who is “mushy” and “doesn’t stand for anything.” Not naming the supposed candidate, of course, but it couldn’t be more obvious. Apparently that’s the delusional story they’re telling each other in Bernie-stan these days. Amazing what you can believe about the other side if you pay no attention to what they’re saying and take what your people say they’re saying as received wisdom.

  123. 123
    rikyrah says:

    Donald Trump currently has:

    – No Homeland Security Director

    – No Secret Service Director

    – No ICE Director

    – No Secretary of Defense

    – No Air Force Secretary

    – No FEMA Director

    – No Secretary of the Interior

    – No UN Ambassador

    – No White House Chief of Staff

    – No clue

    — Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) April 8, 2019

  124. 124

    @Roger Moore: Yes, I worry about ICE, for example, being freed to do what they want. It’s not the same quality of people as the State Department people I was talking to.

  125. 125
    Captain C says:

    @sherparick:

    By the way Bernie, where are your tax returns are you more like Trump then you admit.

    I think the dog ate them. And by that, I mean the dog snuck into the IRS headquarters and managed to find and eat the exact length of magnetic storage tape on which the Sanders tax returns were saved. This is totally plausible. After all, otherwise he would have just contacted the IRS and asked them to release his and Jane’s last 7 years worth of taxes, right?

  126. 126
    Ruckus says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    Well the republicans have wanted to kill the federal government for decades and could never figure out exactly how. All they had to do was rebuild the party to be comprised of total incompetents/bigots/assholes, elect the prime example of that as president and voila, what they haven’t been able to do for 40 yrs, took 2.

  127. 127
    oatler. says:

    @tobie: It’s from the Joe My God site (I’ve tried to link to it twice but found my posts were not published).

  128. 128
    catclub says:

    @Searcher:

    He has, at best, been a boss, and bossed people around.

    one of the definitions of a boss is a useless knob on a bannister.

  129. 129
    Redshift says:

    @oatler.: It’s all over the news now.

  130. 130
    Mike in NC says:

    Will Trump next fire the entire Border Patrol for not shooting up terrorist caravans approaching our sacred border? “Unhinged” has got to be the understatement of the year.

  131. 131
    catclub says:

    @rikyrah: want ads reading “wanted: lawyer willing to ignore law for general counsel position”
    have started appearing in DC area?

  132. 132
    Kathleen says:

    @Redshift: The Powers That Be are dead set in favor of electing old, racist, misogynistic, criminally incompetent and morally bankrupt white men for presidency. And I’m not just referring to Trump.

  133. 133
    H.E.Wolf says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    Honored and delighted by your “YES!”
    And your comment further along in the thread:

    people doing their jobs together, for a common cause, [is] a great source of power for all of us

    is one of my articles of most deeply-held faith. Thank you for the reminder.

    Before I dash off (busy day here), a quick appreciation to so many of my favorite commenters who are on this thread. I <3 you all. You inspire me to Do The Work.

  134. 134
    Ruckus says:

    Greg Sargent – Trump is Flailing

    Greg, you are just catching on now?
    After decades of Trump flailing at everything he’s ever attempted, he manages to steal an election by the thinest of margin, with massive help from Russia, BS, Jill Stein, the MSM, conservative secretaries of states, and a cast of millions, and now that he’s shown/showing his absolute mastery of being the definition of fuckup extraordinaire and incompetence all rolled into one massive quivering orange shit suit and he’s only flailing?

  135. 135
    randy khan says:

    @catclub:

    want ads reading “wanted: lawyer willing to ignore law for general counsel position”
    have started appearing in DC area?

    I may have had advance word of the firing! I received a DC jobs email* this morning that had a DHS lawyer position as the top listing.

    *I’ve been getting these emails for months for no apparent reason and have been too lazy to tell them to leave me alone.

  136. 136
    Jay says:

    @JR:

    The Nazi’s actually put their vile policies in place early in the war. The death rate from their atrocities actually went down when they started losing, because they needed the labour. It takes time to build the machinery of death.

    The Wehrmacht, which was a willing volenteer to the acts of genocide and war crimes when the Nazis were winning, put out directives not to participate, when the Nazis were losing.

  137. 137
    Jay says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    On the bright side, look at all the vacancies President Harris gets to fill.

  138. 138
    Citizen Alan says:

    @rikyrah:

    People understand their tax return, if they don’t understand much else.

    Not necessarily. I know people who were convinced beyond all rational argument that Obama raised their taxes.

  139. 139
    JR says:

    @Jay: I put their turning point at 1942, but I could see arguments for other dates.

  140. 140
    jl says:

    ” But it’s better to note it than to pretend it’s some n-dimensional strategy for his base. ”
    There are reports in the news (supposedly from WH sources) that Trump *thinks* tripling down on failed, and failing, immigration strategy is an n-dimensional strategy for his base, for the next election. So, I am keeping that possibility open. Could be true if it’s OK to set n = 0.

  141. 141
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    By comparison, Bernie played softball in 2016.

    My ENTIRE ass.

    To be fair, I believe the author is with Jacobin, so compared to people who want to guillotine their political enemies, I suppose Bernie did play softball in 2016.

  142. 142
    catclub says:

    @jl:

    that Trump *thinks* tripling down on failed, and failing, immigration strategy is an n-dimensional strategy for his base, for the next election.

    The main point is that Trump only caters to his base, and senses they always want more -which could be right. Coulter demanding never surrender on the government shutdown may be indicative.

  143. 143
    brantl says:

    When all you have for a brain is a sack of hammers, everything looks like a nail.

  144. 144
    Jay says:

    @JR:

    1942 is when they stopped winning, and started to get ties. 1943 was a draw on all front’s except for North Africa, the Atlantic and The Med.

    1944 is when they started losing everywhere.

    Stalingrad, February, 1943,
    Kursk, July, August, 1943,
    North Africa, ended May, 1943,
    Sicily, July, August, 1943,

  145. 145
    trnc says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: IMHO, Jefferson, Adams, the Roosevelt’s, etc. In other words, the institution is generally running by staffers per how it was set up by past presidents minus Republican monkey wrenches.

    Republicans call it the deep state.

  146. 146
    trnc says:

    @cckids: DT was born on Home and thinks he hit a home run.

  147. 147
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Mike in NC: Naw. He’s going to hire DeVos’s brother to slip agents provocateurs into the crowds on the south side of the Mexican border to get them throwing rocks at the Border Patrol & then duck out just before the BP turns its AR-15s on them.

    I wish I were kidding.

    @Jay: Show your utter ignorance why doncha. Stalingrad was a tie??? Kursk was a tie?????? A couple of guys named Paulus & von Manstein are on the Feldgrau courtesy phone for you…..

  148. 148
    Miss Bianca says:

    @brantl:

    When all you have for a brain is a sack of hammers, everything looks like a nail.

    OK, I don’t know if this goes into “winning the Internets” territory, but it sure made *me* laugh!

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