Trump’s Empty Threats

At least once a day–and sometimes more often– Donald Trump reminds us that he is an idiot.

Most recently, he displayed his ignorance of economics by imposing new tariffs on China, and then confidently asserting that China was paying them. Since his massive ego doesn’t allow him to learn from anyone–not even the third-rater “experts” with whom he has surrounded himself and who (dim as some of them are) still know far more than he does–he doesn’t understand that tariffs are essentially a tax on American consumers. (His steel tariffs alone have raised the price of washers and driers by more than $100 each.)

Not too long ago, Trump issued what he clearly thought was an oh-so-clever threat to those evil “sanctuary cities.” He proposed to resettle immigrants exclusively in those cities, an idea that the Brookings Institution called “part and parcel of the president’s approach to immigration, an issue on which he has always maintained a tenuous relationship to reality.”

Tenuous indeed.

He has apparently abandoned the threat, clearly puzzled by the lack of concern expressed by those he’d threatened. (Actually, “bring it on” is more than a lack of concern…)

In Trump’s view, sending immigrants to sanctuary cities is a way to punish those Democrats unwilling to “change our very dangerous immigration laws.” In the president’s eyes, because illegal immigration is so appalling to him, it must be appalling to everyone, and the transfer of refugees seeking asylum to sanctuary cities will turn voters against pro-immigration reform Democrats.

The president’s aborted plan for sanctuary cities is emblematic of everything that is wrong with his approach to immigration. Even if the claim that a disproportionate number of immigrants are criminals were true (it is not), the obvious problem with his plan is that there is nothing to guarantee that all these “bad actors” would stay in these Democratic strongholds. Once there, they might just move to places where large proportions of Trump voters and supporters live, and data the Washington Post obtained on a small sample of recent immigrants shows that occurring.

The Brookings article also noted that implementing this cockamamie policy (my terminology, not theirs) would require numerous violations of the laws, beginning but not ending with the Hatch Act.

Think of it this way: what if a Democratic president decided that Republican states who had voted against him or her on the basis of opposition to welfare programs should not get food stamps. There would obviously be howls of opposition if deep-red states were systematically deprived of federal funds, raising concerns about political abuse of power and a subjugation of Congressional intent in appropriations.

Trump constantly demonstrates that he doesn’t understand law–not only is he ignorant of specific rules that most Americans know, he clearly doesn’t understand the role of law in governance generally. (Granted, he also doesn’t understand governance…or really, much else.)

It isn’t just the legal framework that eludes him. He is also blissfully fact-free. As the Brookings analysis explains:

 As of the halfway mark of the fiscal year, 190,000 people have been apprehended in family units—almost a four-fold increase over last year. They currently make up the majority of all border apprehensions.

What would be the impact of relocating those asylum-seekers? There are eight states that have designated themselves sanctuary states (California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont) totaling a population of 80.23 million. In addition, there are another 87 counties and municipalities outside of those eight states that have designated themselves sanctuary jurisdictions, with a population totaling 39.71 million. Thus, the total population living in areas designated as sanctuary jurisdictions totals 119.94 million people.

The president believes the transfer of asylum-seekers to sanctuary jurisdictions would put such an undue burden on those local governments and populations that the people would rise up against their governments’ embrace of sanctuary status. In reality, however,… all families apprehended so far this year total an equivalent of .016 percent of the population of those sanctuary jurisdictions. Put differently, if those asylum-seekers were spread across sanctuary jurisdictions according to population, those jurisdictions would receive 16 asylum-seekers per 10,000 residents.

Hardly an unsupportable burden, even if asylum-seekers were the unproductive drains on local economies that Trump insists they are. But of course, he’s wrong about that too.

In 2017, researchers in the Department of Health and Human Services conducted an analysis of the economic impact of refugees, a very similar population to asylum-seekers. They found that in a 10-year period, they contributed $63 billion more in government revenues than they cost.

The administration rejected the report, because facts aren’t their thing.

America’s Oval Office is currently occupied by an incredibly uninformed (and embarrassingly stupid) raving bigot. If the (misspelled and ungrammatical) comments his supporters post to this and other blogs are any indication, they share those characteristics.

It explains a lot.


  1. But first, how can we stop these morons from starting a war with Iran?
    This looks like it is going to happen.

  2. “If the (misspelled and ungrammatical) comments his supporters post to this and other blogs are any indication, they share those characteristics.” I don’t recall any postings on this blog that fit this description. There are one or two on occasion which confuse me as to their message. For the most part responders regurgitate facts and add additional personal examples.

  3. “Trump’s Empty Threats” will continue, and probably come to fruition, when he is reelected in 2020 because so many Democrats are deserting their current elected positions (primarily the Senate where they are most needed) to run for president. Those sitting at 1% to 3% need to go back to work if they intend to accomplish the primary campaign promise to get Trump out of the White House. Today, DeBlasio is to announce his campaign for the presidency after espousing his deep and abiding love for his position as Mayor of the city he loves.

    “America’s Oval Office is currently occupied by an incredibly uninformed (and embarrassingly stupid) raving bigot. If the (misspelled and ungrammatical) comments his supporters post to this and other blogs are any indication, they share those characteristics.”

    Democrats are obviously more informed, far more intelligent as shown in correct spelling and grammatical outpourings but their egos rival Trump’s in believing they are the answer to our hopes, wishes, needs and prayers to remove Trump from OUR White House and return to democracy, Rule of Law and abiding by our our Constitution. They are qualified for current offices they hold and are needed there to continue their work; their popularity in those positions is not a presidential qualification when we are in the current precarious position…here in this country and internationally with allies and enemies alike. Welcoming immigrants to sanctuary states, cities and counties is a good thing but not the answer to our immigration problems which administration after administration has ignored since the end of WWII. My hopes for salvation (NO pun intended) from Trump and his administration sinks as the Democratic list of wannabes grows.

  4. It is my opinion that Donald Trump is a waste of all natural resources. Entire libraries will be written about his repugnant life. Having said that, I will give him one future attribute…..he has created a new Low Bar. From now on, when speaking of future Presidents, folks will be able to say, “Well, S/he is bad, but not as bad as Trump.” Even that is a stretch to find any iota of value.

  5. Sheila,

    “Trump constantly demonstrates that he doesn’t understand law–not only is he ignorant of specific rules that most Americans know, he clearly doesn’t understand the role of law in governance generally. (Granted, he also doesn’t understand governance…or really, much else.)”

    He understands it. He just doesn’t care. He’s a “racist, two-bit crook.” He’s only going to get worse. He can’t be stopped by partisan politics and more, importantly, he commands the largest number of supporters. There’s no front equal to his. His enemies are SO FAR incompatible with each other, very much like France in the mid-’30s.

  6. I hate to say it, but bad spelling and grammar are not exclusively Trumpian. They might be more American than a worldwide phenomenon, but not wholly. Recall the words of Professor Henry Higgins from, “My Fair Lady”: “Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?” For many years young people told me that their English Comp Professors at IUPUI didn’t care about grammar and spelling, as long as they got their ideas across. Their information was reinforced by their compositions, which were rife with errors, but sported a great big “A”.


    “Because of his vibrant Christian faith, [Deitrich] Bonhoeffer recognized earth as “the gateway to our homeland, the tabernacle of joy, the everlasting kingdom of peace.” But far from instilling a quietist or otherworldly orientation, the rooting of Bonhoeffer’s faith in the peace of eternal life engendered in him a radically engaged and sacrificial disposition toward the world.

    Bonhoeffer’s life and death, grounded in the hope of eternity, were deeply affirming of the significance of life in God’s world. “The Christian’s field of activity is the world,” said Bonhoeffer. It is in the world that “Christians are to become engaged, are to work and be active, here that they are to do the will of God.” For this reason, “Christians are not resigned pessimists, but are those who while admittedly not expecting much from the world are for that very reason already joyous and cheerful in the world, for that world is the seedbed of eternity.”

    “Bonhoeffer was executed at the age of 39, filled not with bitterness but with a deep sense of hope about God’s purposes in the world. “It may be that the day of judgment will dawn tomorrow,” he wrote, but “only then and no earlier will we readily lay down our work for a better future.” It is this world- and life-affirming hope amid suffering and loss that is, perhaps, his greatest legacy.”

    Dr. Jordan J. Ballor is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the Free University Amsterdam as part of the “Moral Markets” project.

    In other words, you have to do your best. There is no better example than Deitrich Bonhoeffer.

  8. I would like to address the issue of illegal immigration of entire families that is affecting both Europe and our country. It has caused anger among many sectors of citizens both here and in the European countries and has caused division among us about how to manage this relatively new influx of immigrant families.

    Immigrants to the U.S. used to be single men coming here mostly from Mexico to earn money to send back home to their families or to establish a life and eventually bring their families here years later. Now that entire families are escaping violence and certain death in Central America it is much more difficult to manage. The same goes for people escaping violence or starvation in African countries.

    So, what do we and the European countries need to do to help the people be able to stay in their home countries? How can we ensure that they can earn a living, have food to eat, live without fear of violence or death? That is what we need to focus on.

    Does it mean that we need to change their governmental structure? Do we need to do it by force? I don’t know. What I do know is that those people would much rather live peaceful lives in their home countries.

    Does anyone on this blog have any ideas?

  9. Peggy – Oh My God!!! re the IUPUI English comp Prof post. Not sure I will recover from that. My rural grade school teachers (and my parents) were sticklers about grammar.

    Unfortunately, I live in a county that was invaded by KY hillbillies in the ’60s-’70s. They moved to the county seat for high paying auto industry jobs that have all closed down now. Thankfully, they did not go to my rural school.

    However, they still live in the nearby city and I constantly hear this type of stuff that grates on my ears like someone just scratched their fingernails on a blackboard:
    ” It don’t matter”
    “I seen it”
    “I done it”

    I could go on and on, but you get the idea. I would love to escape this God-forsaken area, but haven’t found the escape route yet.

  10. It is a Big, Big, Big Mistake to say, “Trump’s Empty Threats”. These are not “Empty Threats”. Ask any American Farmer when they see the prices they can sell their crops for plummeting and the farmers cannot cover their expenses if these are Empty Threats. The ripple effect not only has consequences for the farmer it spreads out into their communities.

    The tariff threats impact the stock markets, plus the companies and worker bees. Hardly an “Empty Threat”.

    In terms of immigration it is easy to say – let’s relocate them and absorb them. How do you do this – specifics – please. Presumably, the immigrants are arriving here with limited or no money. Who pays for their rent, food, transportation, medical costs, etc. What working skills do they have?? Do they speak any English??? Who will perform the follow-up, or are you just dumping them off in some sanctuary city or state and telling them – You are on your own now??

    Some of the contenders in the Democratic Party have some plans and platforms, others I worry about as a lot of glitter but no gold. The Corporate Democratic Party – DNC are lashing out at that big hot air balloon – President Agent Orange. Like 2016, they have fallen into the trap of running against Agent Orange and Pastor Pence. You can list all the numerous bone head plans of President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence.

    It is easy to criticize President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence – Blah, Blah, Blah. What is are your programs? IMHO, you have to bring out policies and platforms that benefit the voters and deliver that message.

  11. The Democrats are too scared to stand-up. Who wants to end up like Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, or Robert Kennedy? At present, the “political turf” can be deadly. Let’s get real.

  12. JoAnn – tip of the hat for raising the Senate issue again. How hard is it to be a “Profile in Courage” [hello Stacey, hello Josh Stein, hello Steve Bullock, etc.] and go to the Senate to overturn MM’s rule . You can resign in 2024 and run for the big job then! Like so many folks today – it is all about ME!

    Even if the Duck won in 2020, without the Senate he is neutered.

  13. The immigration crisis (world-wide) is linked to the political rise of extreme right candidates intent on driving certain factions out of their countries and refusing to allow emigrants from other countries to enter theirs. It’s happening everywhere. That is the problem to attack.

  14. Marv,their all facist on the republican isle. just a universal knowlege,like yielding when entering a freeway… iran, this mess is just helping trump to remain in power,as usual,when a president is in office,when its ongoing war,(trump as commnader and chief,needs intelligence,he will never have any,to conduct a war,hense,bolton is general one)imagine,now the rest of the world can now call his tactics,for self greed,at the costs of lives. mcconnel is probably thinking hes on top of the heap now. latest from rob reich on a piece about taxing the rich. warming the fires,if someone would read his no non sense approach to what we need,in America. and bbc has run pieces about the euros demand to keep the iran neuclear treaty in tact.. and calling bolton out as making shit up. sounds like the euros are not buying it..(escept orban) hard not to get mad when more lives are at stake,and using the military as a mercinary tactic,to support a coup. if bolton gets his jollies off killing and supporting a useless coup atempt,hes going to send America and whats left of its remaining credibility in to the sewers… best wishes,as we sink lower..

  15. Trump has no legitimate fear of ENGAGEMENT whatsoever. We would be in the same place with him, even if he was a MONGOLIAN IDIOT.

    gage (gaj) n. [< OFr, a pledge] a glove, etc. thrown down as by a knight as a challenge to a fight.

  16. Jack,
    “…..and using the military as a mercinary tactic, to support a coup.”

    Let’s don’t forget that only a few days ago he announced a NATIONAL EMERGENCY, just a prelude for what’s to come. How do I get off this “Ship of Fools”?

  17. That modernity is intellectually challenging is a given. I can’t tell you how often every day I hear people lamenting about how difficult it is for them to adapt to the reality that they find themselves immersed in.

    Donald Trump has never struggled with complexity. He’s either been given or has stolen through bankruptcy and stiffing everyone he owes money to most everything that he has. What he learned at his daddy’s knee that has allowed him to continue being a predator is simple: lawyer up. Or in the case of the Presidency, Putin up. Of course the icing on that cake is to be a celebrity. Become famous for being famous no matter how or for what.

    While several people here lament the reality that Democrats follow the law instead of fomenting revolution against it in the end all of our hope is in democracy and 2020. We will not trump Trump by adapting his methods. We will trump Trump the American way.

  18. No one is so stupid as to invest enormous amounts of work on legislative proposals that have no chance of passing. Therefore Trump, Kushner and Graham have an agenda that we are not privy to. It can’t include playing to the base, since he/they have done that ad nauseum each and every day since January 17, 2017. Part of the base, I’m guessing, must be sick and tired of being played to. Nor can it involve solving the immigration problem since that ineffable word “compromise” would have to be included in any such discussion. So what is left to speculate on?

    Perhaps Trump wishes to deepen the wounds that separate a nation that longs to come together. Perhaps he harbors such reverence for the quality of his intellect that he can’t imagine there could be a better solution (an aberrant case of Dunning-Kruger syndrome). Perhaps he is delusional enough to think his naked cruelty will compel asylum seekers to stay where they are. Perhaps his schadenfreude worldview is slated by enjoyment of the suffering he is personally inflicting. Perhaps he has no desire to incorporate refugees into American society since they are unlikely to vote Republican. Perhaps he has forgotten how recently his own family, and that of his current spouse, were immigrants. Perhaps he wishes to further weaken America by denying this nation the productivity that immigrants provide.

    Yet the most probable answer is that he is an enfeebled man who is in over his head, who never in his life thought he would confront such complex problems, and who is surviving by dint of an unrivaled amount of denial. All this personal ugliness will soon be washed away, he has convinced himself, by testing how many Iranians and American soldiers he can kill. Considering the emotional burdens that drive him, that may turn out to be a very large number if the Democrats fail to deny him funding for his whimsical war. Can America survive as a strong country if we repeat trillion dollar mistakes that are barely 15 years old?

  19. Pete,

    I believe you have the Liberal way mixed up with the American way. I wonder when the University of Alabama will be replacing the Star Spangled Banner with DIXIE. Growing up in Jacksonville in the ’30s and ’40s, “Dixie” was our national anthem.

  20. All the comments above address the horrors of the psychopath in the Oval Office. He does have fears, of course, and they include investigations into his criminal activities. He exhibits ALL of the characteristics of a mob boss and an outright criminal. THAT is why he is running this distraction campaign.

    His disgusting and inflammatory rhetoric about Democrats “ripping babies from their mother’s wombs…” is perhaps the worst, most revolting lie ever pronounced by any President. The bar here isn’t jus low, it’s firmly attached to the ground. Immigration? Iran? China? Venezuela? They are all distractions from the real squirrel eating Trump’s brains: Conspiracy to defraud the American people and obstruction of justice. Add to that the exposure of the life of fraud he has conducted in “business” and you see someone who is terrified that his monster-like being will be exposed to ridicule.

    Being exposed to ridicule is the worst-case scenario for a narcissistic psychopath like Trump. Look for much more of this. The law suits he will lose will be replaced by other law suits. Congress will stumble and bumble through the election cycle. If it looks like Trump will lose the election and the Senate will become Democratic, Trump will start a couple of more wars, declare a national emergency and suspend the election in 2020.

    Sorry for the gloom and doom, but removing this fascist lunatic from office is the most important thing we’ll ever do for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. If it doesn’t happen, they and we won’t have a democracy in which to live. The signs are all there. I’m not being cynical.

  21. Monotonous,

    Your points on immigration have value. Living in El Paso in the late 1980s there was divided opinion on open borders, including among the Mexican American community that was about 80% of the population. Many saw the illegal influx as a great burden on the community.

    To this day, it is not hard to get into El Paso from Mexico, but if you try to migrate outward, border patrol inspection stations block the highways, are at the bus stations and airport. This was the original meaning of a “sanctuary city”.

    Immigration is a tough humanitarian issue as Europe has learned. Can you imagine how Climate Change will affect all this?


  22. The Democratic Party needs to put forth a super strong candidate, someone who can speak and write in full sentences, is emotionally mature and highly educated, knowledgeable, experienced, honest, faithful to his or her family, and honorable. Preferably good (decent) looking (yes, some people are still swayed by that!) and (somehow!) without scandal. He or she is out there somewhere!

    I have a feeling Trump is going to do something unforgivable (majorly, bigly) to defeat himself in 2020. I’m just hoping whatever it is also trickles down to sufficiently taint Pence and (more importantly) doesn’t kill us all. Also I don’t think DT is enjoying this gig because it’s got to be too much work for a guy like him. Really, has he ever washed a dish, pushed a lawnmower, fixed a car or appliance, lived in one room, cleaned out a fridge? Has he ever had to do without ANYTHING? Tweet, golf, indulge yourself elsewhere, DT. We the common and delightfully uncommon folks would like to survive these times.

  23. Marv, the liberal way is the American way.

    Our Constitution is regarded as a foundation document in the realization of liberal democracy, the gift from the Enlightenment which America was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of.

  24. Pete,

    I was referring to Liberal Democrats, which you say you’re one. As I remember best, you have also been a Republican most of your life. I don’t believe they’re mentioned in the Constitution either.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

  25. Marv, I was born a Republican and arguably still am at my core.

    They left me, not vice versa.

    I am now registered as a Democrat not because I matured but because they did.

    There is no correct political mindset as politics is merely practical.

    The extent of my political foundation now is that by actual practice the country can no longer risk Republicans so our best most practical shot is to leave them behind.

  26. Donald Trump projects his own biases and shortcomings onto everyone else. He thinks others either think like him or he’ll con them into it. Every time I see him, I see “Don the Con”.

  27. The way to defeat Trump is to belittle and emasculate him. Democrats (see Hillary Clinton) mistakenly try to win over cavemen with calculus. They need to repeatedly demonstrate what an impotent little bully-boy he is, laughing at him all the way. His authoritarian followers will only vote for an alpha.

  28. Over it,

    Not far from the truth. Take away the mask and all you will find is impotence. He’s nothing without his rotten attorneys and his neo-Nazi supporters.

  29. Sorry I don’t buy Trump as an “alpha male.” I see him as a weak, ignorant, very emotionally insecure man. That opinion gets reconfirmed virtually every day.

  30. “America’s Oval Office is currently occupied by an incredibly uninformed (and embarrassingly stupid) raving bigot. If the (misspelled and ungrammatical) comments his supporters post to this and other blogs are any indication, they share those characteristics.”

    Thanks Sheila, I think your statement posted above very succinctly describes our problem. The damage he does each and every day borders on being incalculable given its breadth and scope. As long as he’s where he is this country and all of us will continue to be in grave danger on all sorts of levels.

  31. Trump’s big problem is that his and Bannon’s ultimate strategy was “cornering the Jews,” similar to that which was attempted in South Africa between the Afrikaners and the Black Nationalists in the ’90s. It failed there and has failed twice in the past 25 years in the U.S.

    I’ve said it many times on this blog, responding through first-hand experience, that Trump and his pal, Steve Bannon, have MISPERCEIVED the situation and, consequently, have MISCALCULATED in their GRAND STRATEGY to PUT IT TO THE JEWS in the U.S.

    Consequently, Trump now has no other choice than to START A WAR. It’s an UNAVOIDABLE CONSEQUENCE, stemming from Trump and Bannon’s MISCALCULATION.

    Should we ALL forgive them for their mistake?

  32. For an understanding of the failure to “corner the Jews” in South Africa, I recommend: “A Cricket in the Thorn Tree: Helen Suzman and the Progressive Party” by Joanna Strangwayes-Booth ( Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 1976)

  33. When Helen Suzman announced her retirement from parliamentary life, she received a letter from Nelson Mandela in which he wrote:

    Dear Helen,

    The consistency with which you defended the basic values of freedom and the rule of law over the last three decades has earned you the admiration of many South Africans.

    A wide gap still exists between the mass democratic movement and your party with regard to the method of attaining those values. But your commitment to a non-racial democracy in a united South Africa has won you many friends in the extra-parliamentary movement …

    (Extract of letter written from the Victor Verster Prison on May 22, 1989)

  34. Hey Terry –
    I’m from Georgetown. I believe we have a friend in common — Hartmut.
    Trump has malignant narcissistic personality disorder. He doesn’t “think” of anyone or anything except in relation to himself. And then only if when they can further puff up his unbelievably inflated ego.
    It was my understanding that only Congress could declare war or did that also go out of favor? I seem to remember something concerning that under the Bush administration.
    Anybody out there watch “Vice”? That was a chilling reminder of what unchecked greed and need for power does to people. And now we have a anti-intellectual maniac with these needs as well. God help us all!!

  35. Trump’s strategy was clear as can be, as soon as he announced his candidacy for President, at least to me. That’s why I purchased the URL: TRUMPCARD.VIDEO, seven days later.

    Fortunately, I had the advantage of WARNING INTELLIGENCE going all the way back to 1970.

    Fascist-like movements continue to evolve over time. You have to be there at the beginning, in order to track and treat, as best you can.

  36. None of what I’ve been saying is new. I was the sole witness to testify in front of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission convened in Jacksonville in the early ’90s for over three hours. The Head of the Commission at the time was African-American. A friend of mine, who was at the hearing also attended the Black Mayor’s Conference in Baltimore, I believe it was ’94 or ’95, where they discussed my testimony.

  37. Apparently ravings, misspellings and incorrect grammar have a home in this blog, too.

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