This past week officially marked the first six months of President Trump’s term – and along with that milestone came another avalanche of bad news, mishaps and scandals for the feckless and hilariously chaotic Trump administration.
Beleaguered press secretary Sean Spicer abruptly quit when Trump appointed swamp-dwelling Goldman Sachs executive/hedge fund magnate Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci – a Trump loyalist with no communications experience – to be the new White House communications director. This continues the venerable Trump tradition of appointing people to positions they’re uniquely unqualified for.
The Mooch then scrubbed his Twitter feed of anti-Trump tweets calling him a “hack” with a “big mouth,” and proved his fealty by kissing Trump’s butt and praising Trump’s athletic prowess during a press conference.
Trump unceremoniously threw Attorney General Jeff Sessions under the bus in a N.Y. Times interview, claiming he wouldn’t have appointed him if he knew he was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
Apparently, Trump would’ve preferred Sessions supervise the investigation into his campaign, despite the conflict of interest of Sessions being a key member of his campaign. Hey, who wouldn’t like to serve as their own judge, right?
Things got worse for poor Sessions when the Washington Post reported that U.S. spy agencies intercepted conversations between Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and his bosses in Moscow claiming he’d discussed campaign matters with Sessions, again contradicting Sessions’ sworn testimony before Congress and exposing him to charges of perjury.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. was dealing with the fall-out caused by emails proving that he was open and eager to coordinate with the Russian government and sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign in order to help his father.
In fact, Don Jr. was so excited about working with the Russians that he convinced Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort (being investigated for his own shady Russia ties) and his brother-in-law/top Trump advisor Jared Kushner (also being investigated for shady Russia ties) to join him for the meeting at Trump Tower with a Kremlin-connected attorney.
After word of Don Jr.’s troubles exploded, reports surfaced that Trump was talking to attorneys about his presidential power to pardon people of crimes, including aides, family members and perhaps even himself.
And no sooner could Trump supporters claim this was more “fake news” from anonymous sources than Trump himself confirmed it all in a tweet, claiming that he has “complete power to pardon.”
So no problem if he and his inner circle broke the law, because Trump believes he’s above the law and has the ultimate “get out of jail free” card: if he’s caught red-handed, he’ll just let himself and his cadre off the hook. Because as he infamously told Billy Bush once upon a time, “when you’re a star, they let you do it. … You can do anything.”
The Republican Congress’s fumbling attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare after seven long years of whining about it finally collapsed due to Mitch McConnell’s strategic incompetence and in-fighting amongst Republicans themselves.
As a result, Trump’s campaign promise to supporters that “You’re gonna have such great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost, and it’s gonna be so easy” to repeal Obamacare turns out to be yet another whopper on a mountain of whoppers.
Amidst all this, Trump made history again: he scored the lowest six months approval rating for a president in 70 years: 36 percent according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll.
But as we all know from right-wing Facebook posts, since so many polls missed Trump’s victory, therefore all polls from this point on are phony and not to be believed anymore. Unless they help Trump, in which case those polls are totally reliable.
What’s still confusing, however, is Trump supporters’ fervent insistence that Trump’s troubles are all being caused by the mainstream media.
They blame the media for only focusing on the bad news coming out of the administration – as if the news has historically been about something other than reporting on the things that go wrong in the world.
Truth is, blaming the press for Trump’s woes is like blaming the weatherman for the hurricane. I guess Republicans would rather the news report on the opportunities provided by the hurricane, like creating jobs to rebuild the shattered infrastructure, rather than wasting time focusing on the catastrophic damage caused by the storm.
Trump supporters’ other favorite ploy is to automatically call any news critical of Trump “fake news,” parroting Trump’s clumsy and obvious strategy to smear critics in advance so people won’t believe them – a comically ironic gambit given that Trump is the grandmaster of fake news, incessantly lying about matters big and small to advance his interests.
Six months in, it’s pretty clear that no amount of bad news will convince the vast majority of Trump supporters to jump off the runaway train before it hits that broken suspension bridge.
Fortunately for Trump, his crude but effective marketing skills have persuaded millions of Americans that bullying, ineptitude and endless grievance are “modern-day presidential” qualities.
Charlie Vignola is a former college Republican turned liberal Democrat. He lives in Fair Oaks Ranch, works in the motion picture industry and loves his wife and kids.