After some time off for illness and to let the events in Texas play out, the staff at As The Donald Turns is back. There has been so much activity from the White House in the last week, going back to the embarrassingly absurd rally in Phoenix, to present day, that a full recap would take four different postings. Donald is in Texas now, being briefed on the disaster and there are right ways to do things and there are wrong ways, and then there is “The Donald Way.”
As The Donald Turns
• Donald went to Texas Tuesday; first Corpus Christi and then Austin, to get an assessment of the damage. Now of course most of the destruction is in Houston and a presidential motorcade there would have added to the search and rescue nightmare, so good on Donald for not going. Of course, from Corpus Christi and Austin, there was not much on which he could get an assessment. He congratulated the governor for doing a great job. We are not saying he is or isn’t doing a great job, but with all the back slapping, what Donald forgot to even address was how his heart went out to the families of those who have died, and thoughts and prayers for the policeman who drowned Tuesday while on duty. We went ahead and said it here, because we are sure it was just an “oversight,” The Donald Way.
• Later in the day Donald held a pep rally. We feel quite certain the original intent was to make a speech in front of a local fire house, but as Donald stood atop an emergency vehicle, he marveled, “What a great crowd! What a great turnout!” It was awkward considering just miles away people were still clinging to life as their cars and houses flooded. We are sure Donald meant to say, “For all of those that have come out of this alright, we ask for your help in assisting those who need us all, whether it is time, money or other donations. Your fellow man needs you.” We went ahead and said it here because we are sure it was just an “oversight,” The Donald Way.
• The entire episode of Hurricane Harvey has been an odd one for Donald to deal with. It can be challenging for any new president to have to manage a major natural disaster, but most in the past have had some governmental experience at the federal, state, municipal, local-dog-catcher level, so they have some sense of bearing. Donald has been flying at this like a guy seeing the Weather Channel for the first time.
@realDonaldTrump Aug 27
“Going to a Cabinet Meeting (tele-conference) at 11:00 A.M. on #Harvey. Even experts have said they’ve never seen one like this!”
@realDonaldTrump Aug 27
“HISTORIC rainfall in Houston, and all over Texas. Floods are unprecedented, and more rain coming. Spirit of the people is incredible.Thanks!”
We are not sure if he does not yet realize it is not a contest to see which president gets the biggest natural disaster. There is no fan voting like reality TV shows and there is no prize for getting through this, other than still being president.
• All of this comes on the heels of what would have to be described as an awkward press conference with the president of Finland, Sauli Niinistö. In the question and answer period, Donald had to be told that two Finnish reporters were not the same woman. Apparently, all Finnish blondes look alike. But as to the real substance of the time and place, Donald was asked by one of the Finnish reporters if Russia was a security threat. His answer? “I consider many countries as a security threat, unfortunately. I would consider many countries threats, but these are all threats that we’ll be able to handle if we have to. Hopefully we won’t have to handle them, but if we do we will handle them.” He just cannot bring himself to ever say anything tough about Russia, no matter what. There must be a reason.
In that press conference, he defended his decision to pardon former Sheriff and convicted criminal Joe Arpaio. Trump was prepared for the question, as he had a list of controversial Clinton and Obama pardons at the ready. The problem was, as it often is with Donald, facts were not on his side. The list he read was:
• Marc Rich, a Clinton administration pardon
• Susan Rosenberg, a Clinton administration commutation
• Carlos Vignali, a Clinton administration commutation
• Chelsea Manning, an Obama administration commutation
• Oscar Lopez Rivera, an Obama administration commutation
There was only one actual pardon on the list. The rest were commutations which means, agree with them or not, they at least spent some time in prison. Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court. He had been ordered to stop violating people’s 4th amendment rights and he essentially told the federal judge to go fly a kite. He starved people to death in his prisons. He tortured animals in front of prisoners for amusement. He arrested people for being the wrong race. Maricopa County has had to pay out more than $150 million to settle lawsuits against him. He will now have his record expunged, thanks to Donald.
What was more shocking was that while we all assumed Donald announced the pardon at the onset of the hurricane Friday night to bury the story, he acknowledged Monday that he did it then because he figured MORE people would be watching the news and he woukd get higher ratings for his announcement. In other words, he used a natural calamity to get a bigger audience for his pardoning of criminal Arpaio.
• Of course, on Friday night, the White House also announced that Sebastian Gorka had been relieved of his duties from a job no one ever really knew the details about. Gorka went on media shows to defend the president while having no actual White House role other than speaking on TV in his accent, a combination of British and Ukranian, and using phrases like “oopsie doopsie.” He had no actual policy capacity although he was a devout nationalist in the ilk of Steve Bannon. Gorka insisted he resigned because the alt-right policies which got Donald elected were not winning in the White House. The administration insisted he had been fired. Tuesday, Gorka released the complete text of his resignation letter. Tuesday, the White House leaked that the administration had ordered Secret Service to ban Gorka from the White House at 4:35pm Friday. You see where this is going, right? You bet! They are going to be the best of friends. Gorka said he was going to work for a major media outlet and then signed with blog site Breitbart instead. He says he will continue to advocate for what got Donald elected. In other words, he will help with pieces that slam current administration and Trump family members.
• Speaking of crowds and staff, the White House has fired rally organizer George Gigicos. His crime? Not getting crowd sizes up to the false numbers Donald was giving people. In Phoenix last week, Donald tweeted that it was a great crowd of 15,000. The problem? According to the fire marshal, the venue holds about 4,000. There were plenty of photographs hitting social media that showed the back third of the venue completely empty. For the crime of Donald lying, Giricos had to go.
• Lastly, we make sure that no day goes by where Donald and his clan make some money. The White House has released photos of him in the Situation Room over the weekend, monitoring the storm, wearing an official USA “45” hat. Why he would need a hat in the Sit Room is anyone’s guess. He wore it today in Texas also. And what a coincidence, that very hat is for sale on the Trump campaign website for $40.
What good is a natural disaster if you can’t cash in on it as the leader of the country.
If you are looking to be un-Donald-like and contribute rather than gather, here are a couple of charities for you to consider:
Created by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner:
There is also great work being done by the American Red Cross and The Houston Humane Society which is helping shelter animals during the storm.