Donald Trump and the Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight….

It’s hard to believe, but the evidence is overwhelming: no one in Donald Trump’s White House is politically competent.

We knew Trump’s menagerie didn’t know spit about governing or policy. We knew they considered ethics a joke. (Senior Administration officials refused the orientation/training routinely offered by the Office of Government Ethics.) But even acknowledging the cringingly inept performances of Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway, no one could have anticipated the level of abject cluelessness revealed by the firing of James Comey.

Perhaps the Washington Post said it best:

Donald Trump has surrounded himself with sycophants and amateurs who are either unwilling or unable to tell him no. He lacks a David Gergen-like figure who is wise to the ways of Washington and has the stature to speak up when the president says he wants to fire an FBI director who is overseeing the counterintelligence investigation into whether his associates coordinated with Moscow. Without such a person, Trump just walked headlong into a political buzz saw.

 Senior officials at the White House were caught off guard by the intense and immediate blowback to the president’s stunning decision to fire James Comey. They reportedly expected Republicans to back him up and thought Democrats wouldn’t complain loudly because they have been critical of Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Indeed, that was the dubious excuse given publicly for his ouster.

“Caught off guard”? Really? How utterly devoid of political savvy–not to mention operating brain cells– would you have to be in order to be surprised by the public reaction to so clumsy and obvious an attempt to derail an investigation likely to uncover serious criminal conduct?

Did the geniuses advising our embarrassment of a President really think the American public, the media and the political establishment would believe that Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s email was the reason he was terminated?

The word “Nixonian” has been tossed around, but really, Nixon and his co-conspirators were far less naive than the sorry collection of white supremacists, consiglieres, and know-nothings that form Donald Trump’s inner–and only– circle.

Media outlets report that grand jury subpoenas were recently issued to associates of  Michael Flynn, and that Comey had requested additional resources for the investigation of Trump and Company’s ties to Russia. These events, and the damning testimonies of Sally Yates and James Clapper earlier this week, evidently sent the White House into panic mode.

Whatever the calculation (assuming anyone in that den of ineptitude is actually capable of calculating), the President has placed Congressional Republicans firmly between a rock and a hard place. During Watergate, a not inconsiderable number of Republicans put nation above party. American politics is much more polarized now–and we have fewer statesmen and more ideologues in both parties–but I have to believe that the combination of public outrage, Trump’s blatant corruption, and fear of what might happen in the 2018 elections will persuade at least some in the GOP to do the right thing.

Frank Rich wrote an article titled “The Comey Firing May Be the Beginning of the End of the Trump Administration.” It should be read in its entirety, but here’s a taste:

A White House gang this insular, this politically naïve, and this transparent in its maladroit efforts at deflection and deception is a gang that can’t shoot straight. No one in the West Wing apparently even considered that it might look bad to time this debacle on the eve of a day when Trump’s only scheduled official event was an Oval Office meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. No doubt these same brilliant masterminds now think that Washington will go back to business as usual.

If the public outrage that greeted Comey’s firing is any indication, America will not go back to “business as usual” until a special prosecutor issues a comprehensive report.


  1. On target as usual. Brilliant piece. “Don the Con” just tweeted “DrainTheSwamp”,,, We will. He is the swamp!

  2. His base is digging in more with each passing demonstration of incompetence and blatant disregard for the rule of law and the public good. Putin has to be loving this spectacle as he moved without impediment to increase his own power and wealth around the world.

  3. Everything I have been reading indicates the GOP is not that motivated to institute special investigation in the midst of their Senate and the FBI investigation. I suspect they don’t want to alienate Trump’s withering base. Maybe Trump will try to cut the FBI’s budget to the nonfunctional bone next.

  4. I’m not so sure it’s being clueless as much as it’s a display of weapons-grade hubris. At least on the part of the short fingered vulgarian. First he fires Comey at a glaringly bad moment, while offering up a laughable excuse. The next day he has the Russian Foreign Minister and ambassador over for a visit. And to top things off, Nixon’s old National Security Officer drops by. He couldn’t have said “Fuck you, losers” any louder.

    Of course, he may also have been saying, “Catch me. I triple-dog dare you.” I can’t wait for the fall. It will be spectacular. Except for that whole “President Pence” thing. But hey, one problem at a time, right?

  5. It’s gotten to the point that I cannot function in the morning before coffee and you. Thank you for another great one.

  6. I doubt anything will happen as a result of this debacle. McConnell won’t bring a motion to the floor of the Senate for either an independent commission or a special prosecutor. The only way to really get the information we need about the Russian links to 45’s campaign is to turn both House and Senate over to the Dems in 2018, by a wide enough margin in the Senate to overcome a filibuster.

    The base really doesn’t care about any of this. Remember this quote, “I could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue and not lose any votes.” That’s as true today as it was then. The only good thing about that statement is that it is, at least, a complete sentence,

  7. As outrageous and obvious as this may be, you have more faith than I do in Republicans waking up and putting country ahead of politics. I think it’s going to be a long road of decline before this ship of state gets righted.

  8. “…the damning testimonies of Sally Yates and James Clapper earlier this week, evidently sent the White House into panic mode.”

    We all know this is the reason for the TIMING of the firing of FBI Director James Comey; the TIMING IS THE ISSUE…as stated by Sheila. When was the Trump “behind closed doors” meeting with two Russian Diplomats scheduled? Another issue where TIMING is of the essence as much as the question “what issues were discussed between them?”

    “Watch McConnell…..when he moves on Trump its over.” Terry Franzman; why do you believe McConnell WILL move on Trump? He stated yesterday that there will be no NEW investigation of the Russia issue. I have not seen any requests for a NEW investigation; neither have I seen any guarantee that the current investigation will continue. There have also been questions put forward from elected officials asking if Trump fired Comey “to quash the current investigation”. I have never seen, read or heard of a criminal investigation on any level being quashed due to a newly appointed leading investigator. Had Comey died in office, would there be the question of the investigation continuing?

    My 2:24 p.m. comments in reply to the blog, “The Evidence Keeps Accumulating” on May 8th are too long to repeat here but they apply to today’s blog. We have Fredo Corleone using the title “president”; but wearing the crown of a Russian czar, our “emperor” has no new clothes and his nudity is being ignored.

    “If the public outrage that greeted Comey’s firing is any indication, America will not go back to “business as usual” until a special prosecutor issues a comprehensive report.”

    The public outrage, also being reported in major newspapers around the world, is not at the loss of Comey himself but the knowledge that this administration returning to “business as usual” cannot even be hoped for any more than we can hope for a special prosecutor at this time. It has all the chance of happening as the proverbial “fart in the wind” has of surviving the blast of hot air coming from Washington, D.C.

    As an aside; wonder what SNL will do with the reports of Sean Spicer hiding between the bushes to be interviewed by the press…and we haven’t seen him since. His replacement (temporary?) is as quick and adept and coverups and lies as Spicer; maybe he is just taking a break to get his second wind.

  9. When all is said and done-when Drumpf is removed as a disgrace we will still be at that point where the hows and whys won’t matter to wingnuts. They will only remember (or make up) that Dems had a hand in this and it is payback time against Dems.

  10. Is Fake President Donald Trump on his last legs? Let’s take a look.

    When Trump aired his TV show, “The Apprentice,” the highlight each week was who was the next person who was going to hear the words, “You’re fired!” Surely Trump wouldn’t be able to use that approach if he ever ran for President. Yeah, right!

    Last year, well before the election, Trump was taped while he was bragging about his treatment of the ladies. Surely the voters would nail Trump’s hide to the wall. Yeah, right!

    Last year, shortly after the taped lady-killer episode, a number of prominent women went public with the news that Trump had molested all of them. This was another wonderful chance for voters to abandon Trump’s sorry ass. Yeah, right!

    But now the American voters are presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. Trump will never get away with firing Comey and playing footsie with the Russians. Yeah, right!

  11. Trump’s latest approval rating is 36% approve, 58% disapprove. Congress 20% approve, 74% disapprove. There are no polls for the cabinet but I think they might lead this race to the bottom.

    This is decidedly not democracy.

    Unfortunately the removal of Trump that seems likely at some point short of 2020 is not much of a solution. What would be is achievable in 2018 though. A Democrat Congress to surround President Pence. (Excuse me, I just threw up a little)

    Other good news. Defending blunts offensive actions. The less that gets done the less rebuilding we’ll have to do when we can.

    The time for action is now.

  12. I read Rich’s offering this morning on the advice of my daughter and, as usual, Rich is right on. He and George Lakoff are national treasures. Trump, also as usual, is playing third-grade bully in the sandbox, but I do note that he sought cover before firing Comey, which suggests that he is finally feeling the heat of public disapproval. If there ever was a case for a special prosecutor, this is it. The situation is more glaringly obvious than that of Watergate. When a prospective defendant (Trump) fires the man in charge of gathering evidence that may implicate said defendant, it is as clear as can be that he (the prospective defendant) did not like the tone or substance of an independent look into a factual basis for a possible impeachment and/or indictment of the appointing authority, i.e., Trump.

    This story has legs and will not go away with the usual daily atrocity emanating from the White House designed to make us forget yesterday’s atrocity. The other story that won’t go away is the investigation of the Russian connection with not just the “Trump campaign” but with Trump himself. I personally think and have blogged that I think he is up to his eyeballs in terms of complicity with Putin and the Russian banks and oligarchy and is desperate to change the subject with his daily goofs committed on purpose to deflect attention, and it’s not going to work.

    My advice – keep your eyes on the Bank of Cyprus, the well-known money launderer for Putin and Russian oligarchs, given Trump’s appointment of Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary. Why? Well, Ross was a co-director of the bank along with a Russian director prior to assumption of the office of Secretary of Commerce. Coincidence? Sure, and in Trump’s world of fantasy, two and two are five. So will Trump run again in 2020? I don’t expect him to survive 2017.

    The only good news out of the Comey debacle? Trump’s appointment of a new top cop will have to run the gauntlet of Senate confirmation, and I hope and expect to hear Democratic senators (and perhaps some Republicans) ask him or her if he or she has taken a blood oath from the Trump administration to back off the Russian investigation as the price to be paid for appointment to such high post.

  13. There is a madman in the People’s House! That is definitely not news to anyone here.

  14. Writing from Phoenix – how could any American approve of this megalomaniac…and yet his base still thinks he’s great. I’m 82 and have never ever been afraid for my country – through McCarthy, through Nixon, through WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the 12 year war now. Never ever have I been afraid…until now. Where are the sensible Republicans, or is that an oxymoron.

  15. I few things to keep in mind. Trump defeated the Republican Party. Given the circus performance surrounding the primaries of all the pretenders, the basic ingredient had to be extremism that appealed to the Republican Base. The Trumpet was totally aggressive and always on the attack. Facts were unimportant, just some slick, greasy, chest thumping displays with simple statements: Make America Great, Build the Wall, destroy ISIS, deportation, etc. The McMega-Media press, ever on the outlook for profits, seized on the Trumpet and provided him with virtual 24/7 coverage.

    The Republican Wall Street Establishment may not have liked the Trumpet, but in the end he was the only horse they had in the race. The selection of Pence, brought the Bible Thumpers on board.

    The Trumpet has at various times used people like Chris Christie, Flynn, and Rudy Giuliani come to mind. Once their usefulness has been expended they are discarded. Comey can be added to that list.

    It would be a mistake IMHO, to underestimate the Trumpet’s staying power. The Trumpet is providing the Oligarchy with all they could have hoped for: toss out environmental regulations, under fund various departments (except defense and the police state), de-regulate Wall Street. Oh yes, the Trumpet is the answer to the Oligarchy’s prayers.

    As incompetent as the Trumpet is as President – he is the useful dupe for the Oligarchy. At the same time the Trumpet and his family will find ways and be permitted to line their own pockets. The Republican Establishment and the Oligarchy will protect the Trumpet at all costs. The Republican base has the Trumpet’s back, and the Trumpet can deliver their votes.

    The Democratic Party does not have the power to stop the Trumpet, but they could carry on a successful guerilla war. The Democratic Party could move in a Progressive direction, but with people like Nancy Pelosi in leadership posts, the Democratic Party will stay in the minority.

  16. A lot of Trump base were voting against Hillary. That and the human tendency not to back off keeps his base.

  17. As I’ve always said, the future of this country will depend upon whether Republicans will put patriotism ahead of partisan politics and do the right thing. So far, most of them won’t even agree to a special prosecutor, which is a no-brainer. Be very afraid.

  18. I must agree with Louie. The Rs are beholden to the oligarchs who keep lining the R’s pockets. They are in power now and going against their own bread and butter to do what is right for the country does not seem likely at all. I am losing hope for our country on a daily basis.

  19. I think Gerald Stinson is right. As Trump’s own comments have indicated in the Lester Holt interview, he is concerned about whether he personally is under investigation. And my guess is money laundering will bring him down. He has sold a LOT of expensive Trump properties to wealthy Russians including one Florida property for more than twice what it was worth and then the Russian tore it down and didn’t rebuild. Hmmmmm.

    Public interviews indicate most of those inside the FBI (75%) have now doubled down on the investigations after the ham-handed, insensitive firing of Comey. A minority (25%) are said to be fearful of Trump. When Trump is in a hole, he not only keeps digging; he brings in a crane to dig bigger and faster. He doesn’t seem to realize he’s burying himself in the process.

  20. I am not underestimating Trump’s appeal to a certain group of people but I am also not going to underestimate the enormous power of an aroused electorate. Trump, after all, lost big time in the popular vote and barely won the electoral vote by scant majorities in the upper Midwest. Even if he maintains that vote, I think and hope that people will vacate the couch in the next two elections and restore some sanity to a chaotic political scene. We are not powerless, not by a long shot, and I think he may be out of office before the midterms as a result of his Russian connections and other gross conflicts of interest, so let’s hang tough and call this narcissistic jerk to account for his conduct, ranging so far from grabbing women through the Comey spectacle with more certain to come.

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