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Saturday, July 22, 2017

This Bizarro Administration

Bill Moyers on Donald Trump and this Presidential administration.

We’re now six months into the Trump Presidency…and what do we have? Especially in light of the stunning new New York Times interview with Mr. Trump?

A reasonable analysis is: What we have is the weakest, most chaotic, toxic and confusing first six months of any U.S. Presidency in history. Only Abraham Lincoln got off to a worst start, with the country virulently divided over slavery and the Civil War looming. Fair to note that Lincoln went on to become one of the greatest Presidents ever, but the challenges Lincoln faced were epochal, not the self-inflicted implosion we are currently witnessing. Lincoln's successor Andrew Johnson had a rough start too. But Johnson was not an elected President; he ascended to the office upon the assassination of President Lincoln and the Civil War.

No elected President—none—has had such a tumultuous, scandal-threatened, and downright mind-boggling start, with such low public approval, as has this one. And this has happened while the President’s party controlled both Houses of Congress, now likely the Supreme Court, a majority of governorships and state legislatures—and the FBI.

It is not bias or political partisanship to conclude this. It is fact, historical and otherwise. It is those who deny this that are the ones blinded by partisanship.

With this fact—and in no small part because of it—comes a companion conclusion: that this is dangerous time. Very. No one should underestimate the potential peril. Not just for the Trump Presidency but also and more importantly for the country. Our people are troubled and divided. Friends and allies abroad are worried (as in, “what the hell has happened to America?) Enemies and competitors smell vulnerability.

In his NYT interview, Mr. Trump blasted his own appointed Attorney General, former Senator Jeff Sessions, and, in effect and not for the first time, threatened Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible crimes involving Trump family members and associates and Russia. Mr Trump specifically demanded that Mueller avoid looking into the President’s tax returns and financial dealings. In other words, “don’t follow the money,” in regards to possible Russian dealings or anything else. Thus, raising anew the question, “what is he hiding?”

So, six months in, and on and on it goes. Where it ends no one knows.

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