The staff had a theme for this episode of As The Donald Turns, but could not decide to whom we should dedicate it. There is the late Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green with his media tirade about the Chicago Bears, “They are who we thought they were!” Or there is my wife’s favorite, poet laureate Maya Angelou and her quote, “When someone shows who they are, believe them the first time.” We never thought Dennis Green and Maya Angelou would be in the same blog and it is giving us a collective headache, so let’s move forward with “Who They Are.”
- Tuesday the United States started a trade war with another country. We know who Donald is and so we knew this would happen. Candidate Donald spent a year telling us China and Mexico and India were ripping us off. So Tuesday his Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced trade tariffs with….Canada. Last week in Wisconsin, Donald decried that Canada was making life hard for American dairy farmers. He reiterated that via twitter Tuesday.
@realDonaldTrump 6h6 hours ago
“Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult. We will not stand for this. Watch!”
So, we watched and Trump hit back at five Canadian lumber companies with tariffs between 3% and 20% on their imports. To be fair, American lumber companies have regularly complained that their Canadian counterparts get government subsidies and thus it is harder to compete. To be fair, only about 10% of Wisconsin dairy farmers are actually being hurt by Canadian trade policies. To be clear on facts, the US does $400 million a year in agriculture business with Canada, so a fight over milk and toothpicks may not be the best way to make your point. Oh and there is this that we know….Canada is the largest trading partner for 22 different states in the US. Well, at least they were….
- So Mike Flynn is back in the news. We know him well and he continues to be who we thought he was. As a matter of fact, we have said in this space that we have not heard the end of him. According to folks on the House Oversight Committee, Flynn, the former national security adviser, appears to have violated the law when he took payments from groups associated with foreign governments and never reported them. OOOPS! This just getting started sports fans….Carter Page, Michael Flynn…we have a hunch it does not end with those two.
- At his press briefing Tuesday, Sparkle Pony Spicer said the White House did not have the paperwork the House committee was seeking on Flynn, “because the paperwork was done before we took office on January 20th.” Wait, what? That means you have nothing on any of your nominees for any position until after January 20th? Is it because you knew who they were?
- Hey did you hear the one about the government shutting down Friday? So a president walks into a bar and tells the bartender he’ll have a great, big, beautiful wall….ok….we don’t really have a punch line. It just felt natural to go there. The government officially runs out of operating money Friday night. The normal course, assuming there is no new budget to vote on, is to pass a “continuing resolution,” or CR, for an agreed upon amount of time, (usually at least a couple of weeks), in which Congress agrees to continue to fund all government operations, so people get their social security checks, tax refunds, and parks stay open and government employees continue to come to work. But a rumor broke out early in the week that Donald was going to demand that the first one-billion dollars in funding for his wall along the Mexico border was going to be attached to the CR. That means a vote to continue to operate the federal government was going to include money for the wall. No one really thinks the wall is ever actually going to be built, so this was problematic for lawmakers as they prepared to vote by Friday’s deadline. But we know Donald and we knew the guy who wrote some book about business deals would fold like some well-worn origami. All of a sudden, after phone calls from House and Senate Republicans, the one-billion dollars for the wall is no longer an issue this week. Financing for the wall will not be needed until Fall according to Donald. You know, because Mexico is going to pay for it.
- Speaking of not knowing how to manage the art of the deal, Donald also promised a big tax cut proposal this week. Said it will probably be the largest tax cut in US History. We are talking bigly stuff here. It is supposed to be announced Wednesday, but it leaked out that he plans to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%. We knew he would. He said as much on the campaign trail and we knew who he was then just as we know now. In other words, the tax cut ain’t happening. At least not to the level Donald thinks it is. See, one of the things he has missed is that the US Government is not run like one of his hotels. He doesn’t just say it, and thus it happens. Budget hawks in Congress have already made it clear that anything that adds to the national deficit will not pass. Sorry, Donald. If it makes you feel any better, your tired old bromide about the exorbitant corporate tax rate in the US turns out to be garbage anyway. With all of the tax loopholes, most corporations are paying around 15% in tax, not 35% as you claim. You can announce your “plan,” as long as you know what it is…just a plan.
- Most of you saw the dreadful display Monday, when a web site run by the state department had a fluff piece promoting life at Mar a Lago, Donald’s weekend getaway in West Palm Beach. It even went so far as to call it the “Winter White House.” Uh…no…The White House, in any form, does not charge people $200k per year to belong like Mar a Lago does. Fortunately someone realized that the government promoting the private business enterprises of the president was exceptionally illegal. If there is one thing this administration knows, it is what is illegal.
- They are who we thought they were when it came to writing emergency measures also. First it was getting smacked down twice by federal judges when it came to the immigration ban, then on Tuesday a federal judge beat down their initiative to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities. Donald is who we thought he was….someone who believed he could govern by executive fiat. A Republican House, a Republican Senate, A Republican president and he can’t get anything of any significance passed to this point.
- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson knows who he is….the cabinet member who hates talking to the press, ditches them on foreign trips and says he feels no need to have his name in the papers. So he finally hired a spokesperson for the department, Heather Nauert. She used to read three minute news briefs on the Fox morning coffee clatch show, so these press conferences ought to be fun.
- So a functional illiterate, a self-acknowledged racist and a has-been rocker walk into a room together and it happens to be the Oval Office. Yes, most of you have now seen the people who are who we thought they were. Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent and Kid Rock had dinner with Donald over the weekend. Nugent once called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel who should be hung.” Ok, I was referring to Palin as the illiterate but let’s throw Ted in there as well, because juries are hung, people are hanged and Ted failed basic grammar. None the less being a treasonous threat to the nation’s first black president is good enough to get you a dinner invitation with Donald these days.
For some, Donald is who we thought he was. For others, he showed who he was last year. They just did not believe him.