I now understand the term “political junkie.” For better or worse, there is no denying The Trump Show is an international phenomenon. How could it be “for better?” Well, if the Mueller and other investigations result in revelations of Trump criminality and corruption, who knows how many high and mighty Republican political figures will crash and burn with him? Dare we say, perhaps the death of the Party itself? Or at least a serious course-correction.
We can only hold our breath and hope the rest of the world will be able to separate the madman from the country and forgive us our electoral sins. It shouldn’t be too difficult if it’s proven that Putin’s dirty fingers were involved.
But there it is, on TV 24/7. It’s impossible to look away. I’ve taken to recording CSPAN Capitol hearings and scouring White House transcripts. Saturday I was up until 3:00 AM watching reruns of news programs I missed earlier that day. I routinely watch MSNBC with one eye and read the Washington Post live feed with the other. And another confession – it’s riveting. And addictive. Seriously, if the man didn’t have the launch codes it would be the most entertaining reality TV show in history. And there is no denying the star power of it’s host. Trump has succeeded in becoming the most famous man in the world. I’m sure Hitler did too, in his day, but this level of celebrity is beyond any modern comparison.
So just to illustrate how much The Trump Show has taken over my life, here is my MLK weekend in a nutshell. We were supposed to spend a quiet weekend in the mountains. Didn’t quite work out that way:
2pm – Mike and I pre-record the program so we can get a jump start of the traffic when we head up to the mountains.
5pm – We see Molly safely on the travel bus with her choir-mates as they head to Orlando for a 3-day trip to Universal Studios, with performances. We’re listening on the radio as the SHITSTORM news hits the airwaves. It seems the president characterized entire countries and continents as “shitholes” and lamented the fact that we don’t have enough Norwegian immigrants. Surely this is the last straw. What rational politician could support him after such blatant racism, and on MLK weekend?
6pm – It is revealed that minutes after Trump made the “shithold” comment he recorded a message honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Surreal.
6-9pm – We make the three-hour drive north as we listen to non-stop coverage on SIRIUSXM, stopping only to pee and let the dogs run around.
9pm – We arrive at our rental and unload the car. Wait-what was that? Who is Stormy Daniels? Oh my God, Trump’s personal lawyer paid this porn star $130K hush money right before the last election. She had an alleged year-long (gag-worthy) affair with The Donald. Any what was that? The National Enquirer paid off a different porn star earlier in the campaign? Race inside to catch Rachael Maddow. Holy shit, Trump’s doctor’s report might have been forged? Say what? The WH doctor misspelled his own first name?
11pm – Crawl into bed and watch Brian Williams. Scan online news agencies for verifiable sources of the stories. Tweet and re-tweet. Marvel at how this maniac has managed to remain in office an entire year.
8am – Wake up and turn on TV, grab phone, see what we missed overnight. Trump tweeted “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!” Hmmmm – what kind of “tough” language could he mean? Saying Haitians all have AIDS? Talking about Africans returning to their huts?
Newer tweet: “Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!” Recordings are a GREAT idea! Wish they would hurry up with that. But since Kelly has banned cellphones and recording devices from the West Wing, who would set that up?
Let the dogs out to pee. Make coffee. Watch as conflicting reports on the “shithole” comment make the rounds on the telescreens. Watch US political figures and world leaders react in horror to the latest racist comments. Still no official statement from the White House.
10am – Trump just tweeted: “I don’t believe the Democrats really want to see a deal on DACA. They are all talk and no action. This is the time but, day by day, they are blowing the one great opportunity they have. Too bad!” We leave to explore Asheville, buy New York Times and find a coffee shop. Do a little sight-seeing and shopping.
noon – drive around a bit looking for a good lunch spot, listen to replay of Paul Ryan calling Trump’s comments “unfortunate and unhelpful.” No Paul, it’s unfortunate when you break the heel on your shoe and unhelpful when someone gives you wrong directions. Not when the leader of the free world says Haitians come from a shithole country and orders (someone to) “Take Them Out!” That’s not unhelpful – that’s an undeniable outrage and affront to every black and brown person on earth.
What happened to the Stormy Daniels story? Guess it went down the memory hole, or shithole…..
12:30pm – stop for lunch
1:30pm – return to car. What the hell –Hawaii was under a false ballistic missile attack for 38 minutes? “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
Jesus, can’t even stop for lunch! How did this happen? Who was in charge? Where is the President? (golfing) How do we know for certain it was a false alarm? What is the reaction from N. Korea? China? The State Department? Hello . . . . anybody? Vacationers in a panic, parents shoving kinds into open manholes, people running thru the streets seeking shelter. Jesus God, what the hell is happening?
And bodies are still being discovered from Tuesday’s mudslide in California, death toll approaching 20.
2pm – return to take dogs for a walk and hike around the area. We keep our cellphones in hand for breaking news. African Union and the African UN envoys demand Trump apology. A former Idaho lawmaker kills himself after coming under a sex abuse investigation. Damn, that’s hardly news-worthy these days.
4pm – decide to stay home for dinner and go out later to hear some live jazz music. Take a bath (with cellphone handy). There is flooding in Maine and Connecticut from “ice jams” clogging the rivers. And Trump has cleared the way to attach work requirements to Medicaid. Because of course he did.
5:15pm – In his first statement after the false alarm, Trump tweets: “So much Fake News is being reported. They don’t even try to get it right, or correct it when they are wrong. They promote the Fake Book of a mentally deranged author, who knowingly writes false information. The Mainstream Media is crazed that WE won the election!” Nothing to the citizens of Hawaii.
6pm – eat while watching evening news. Senators Perdue and Cotton who were in the Thursday meeting with Trump “don’t recall” hearing his say “shithole,” directly contradicting Senators Durbin and Graham. This is getting juicy, now the senators are turning on each other. Unreal. More backlash from NAACP and MLK family members. Haitian government wants the US diplomat to explain Trump’s remarks. Still no response from the golfer on Hawaii crisis.
8pm – leave for jazz club. Spend a blissful 2.5 hours not focused on the orange lunatic.
11pm – return to watch news. Trump is still at Mar-a-Lago, still hasn’t reacted to the horror the people in Hawaii underwent earlier. Did nobody tell him?
1am – stay up to read the entire Wall Street Journal Trump interview and more excerpts from Fire and Fury. Jesus, Trump is deranged. He can’t string together a single coherent sentence.
8am – wake up, check cell phone for news. Make coffee, walk dogs, etc. Oh, Trump just tweeted: “The Wall Street Journal stated falsely that I said to them “I have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un” (of N. Korea). Obviously I didn’t say that. I said “I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” a big difference. Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters….and they knew exactly what I said and meant. They just wanted a story. FAKE NEWS! And “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.” Just the usual propaganda.
9:30am – go for a hike. Take phones. Seems the Stormy Daniels story is gone. Thanks, Hawaii. Watch CBS Sunday morning tribute to Dr. King. Can’t believe it’s been 50 years and we are more racially divided than ever.
11am – switch to ABC – there are Sen. David Perdue lying thru his teeth about Trump’s comments, now claiming he regained his memory and Trump never said “shithole countries” in the Thursday meeting. Unbelievable. Calling Sen. Durbin a liar.
On way to lunch following a golf game at Mar-a-Lago Trump tells reporters “I’m the least racist person you’ll ever interview.”
noon – head back into town to hear a Celtic band and have lunch. MSNBC is reporting that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, also in the Thursday meeting, said on “Fox News Sunday,” “I don’t recall him saying that exact phrase.” CA Attorney General Becerra, appearing on “Fox News Sunday” after Nielsen, said, “it’s disturbing to see so many people with such short-term memory losses and the inability to recall a conversation, important conversation that has taken place just a few days ago.”
Ben Marter, a spokesman for Sen. Durbin, then tweets “Credibility is something that’s built by being consistently honest over time. Senator Durbin has it. Senator Perdue does not. Ask anyone who’s dealt with both.”
1pm – leave the car and spend another couple of Trump-free hours.
3pm – Return to check on dogs, stop and grab Sunday NY Times. Still nothing from Trump on Hawaii.
. . . . . . .
This is just part of the weekend. Just some hilights, but it completely illustrates the totality in which The Trump Show has dominated my life. It is the first thing I think about in the morning and almost always the last thing I think about before turning out the lights at night. It is all-consuming and inescapable, even in the middle of the beauty and splendor of the Smoky mountains.
Being at the mercy of a 24-hour news cycle is one of the realities of this business, but The Trump Show eclipses anything I’ve ever experienced, and I lived thru the Bush Crime Family years. But I still believe, even in all my cynicism, that America will recover. We are a resilient nation, we’ve survived the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and much more. We were founded on honorable principles and a system of morality I still believe most Americans admire and aspire to. Trump cannot change the words on the Statue of Liberty or the US Constitution, no matter how much he denigrates them.
The Trump Show will be canceled one day, either by Mueller or by voters or by some other means. Maybe it’s just me, but I sense a change. Trump’s first-year anniversary is approaching and his presidency is collapsing under the burden of his utter incompetence – the center cannot hold. He cannot sustain this level of ineptitude, ignorance, and outright racism without consequence forever.
And the Republicans who stand with him now better be prepared to be remembered in the history books as complicit in Trump’s crimes, whatever they may be.
Trump? He’s s superstar. Not even a cell in Leavenworth will change that.