AuthorTopic: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread  (Read 240754 times)

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🤡 Peloskaya Trumps Tumpovetskty
« Reply #1740 on: January 25, 2019, 12:03:04 AM »

Trump Makes Rare Cave on State of the Union Speech
Associated Press
Published 24 January 2019

Image via AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

WASHINGTON (AP) — The counter-puncher caved.

President Donald Trump’s decision to postpone his State of the Union address under pressure from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi surprised allies, contradicted top aides who had been working on an alternative speech plan and left all of Washington trying to determine whether it signaled new willingness by Trump to make a deal to reopen the government.

“Well, it’s really her choice,” Trump said Thursday, acknowledging Pelosi had the upper hand when it came to scheduling the traditional presidential address to Congress. The speaker had made clear Trump could not deliver his speech from the House unless he waited until the government reopens.

So Trump, who is typically loath to show any sign of weakness, made a highly uncharacteristic about-face and one that highlighted the importance the president attaches to the type of symbolism and pageantry associated with a speech from the rostrum of the House.

The president concluded that there was no viable alternative that could match the gravitas of the traditional State of the Union address, in which all three branches of government come together under one roof, drawing the president’s largest television audience of the year. An alternative speech or rally also would have been a hard sell for television networks, which took heat earlier this month for airing the president’s prime-time Oval Office address in which he largely rehashed his case for a southern border wall.

“I would have done it in a different location but I think that would be very disrespectful to the State of the Union,” Trump said Thursday. “I could have gone to a big auditorium and gotten 25,000 people in one day and you’ve been there many times. But I think that would be very disrespectful to the State of the Union.”

Trump went so far as to praise Pelosi’s move as “actually reasonable” — although he had blasted her position just a day earlier.

The reversal surprised those who have known Trump for years.

Throughout his presidency, Trump has reveled in his take-no-prisoners negotiating style — from talking tough against North Korea to slapping tariffs on allies. And he has dug in his heels time and time again, refusing to admit errors and insisting that he won’t accept a budget deal that doesn’t include money for his promised border wall.

“Nobody’s ever seen him make such a concession in public,” said former campaign aide Sam Nunberg. “The only thing I can think of is that he wasn’t going to like the optics of not giving it in the House chamber.”

As late as Wednesday afternoon, officials had been busy discussing contingency locations, including a rally-style event, an Oval Office address, a speech in the Senate chamber and even a visit to a border state.

“We always like to have a plan B,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said Wednesday.

But White House officials were caught off guard when Pelosi announced that she would block Trump from speaking until the shutdown ended. Indeed, at least some seemed unaware of rules specifying that both the House and Senate must pass a concurrent resolution formally inviting the president to address a joint session.

Late Wednesday, Trump announced by tweet that he would postpone the speech “because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber.”

“It is a stage that no modern president wants to vacate,” said Donald Ritchie, a former Senate historian. “I can understand why the president decided he’ll wait for the chamber to reopen so he can go in there.”

On the Trump-friendly show “Fox and Friends,” co-anchor Brian Kilmeade applauded the move.

“I really respect the president’s decision to keep some type of tradition and semblance of order. So I think it’s a great move to do it and it hopefully puts more pressure on all sides to get something done,” Kilmeade said.

The decision came hours before the Senate voted on — and failed to pass — dueling bills to end the shutdown. And it raised questions about what comes next in Trump’s evolving strategy on the budget fight. On Friday, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will miss another paycheck, and polls have shown a majority of voters blame the president for the mess.

Some worried the spat would further sour relations between Trump and Pelosi, who haven’t spoken in weeks. But former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal adviser to the president, argued it could be a positive step.

“I assume that it is an effort on his part to signal that he’s willing to be reasonable and find a way to get along. And now we’ll see whether Pelosi will come back and be reasonable as well,” said Gingrich. “By his conceding to her, I think he sets the stage now for her” to do the same.

If that’s the case, it would be a notable new approach for the president, said Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio. He said that, in Trump’s life before politics, he never retreated, choosing instead to deflect, blame others, or simply declare himself a success even when he wasn’t, insisting, for instance, that “The Apprentice” show was a hit even when it was lagging in the ratings and framing his bankruptcies as smart legal maneuvers.

“The president’s decision to delay the State of the Union speech is an unprecedented moment of realism in the life of a man who has always promoted himself as a fantasy figure who always wins at everything,” said D’Antonio, the author of “The Truth About Trump.”

“For him to buckle in the face of a challenge from an opponent, and a woman no less, is truly a historic event.”


Associated Press writers David Bauder and Kevin Freking contributed to this report.
By Associated Press
Published 24 January 2019
Filed Under government shutdown , president donald trump
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🤡 Bluster, bombast, backing down: What happens when someone says no to Trump?
« Reply #1741 on: January 25, 2019, 05:18:50 AM »
Heh, heh.  This Collapse Show is just too good!

This is what you get when morons elect imbeciles.


Bluster, bombast, backing down: What happens when someone says no to Trump?

New York Mayor Ed Koch with Donald and Ivana Trump in 1983. The mayor and the mogul battled publicly for years. (Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images)
By Marc Fisher
January 24 at 3:19 PM

As president and during four decades in business, Donald Trump has built his brand by promoting himself as someone who never backed down. When he was hit, he often said, he’d hit back a hundred times harder.

But at pivotal moments throughout his career, when confronted by people wielding equal or greater power, Trump has proved to be someone who does back down.

This week, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pulled her invitation to President Trump to deliver the State of the Union address in the House chamber this coming Tuesday, the faceoff between congressional leader and president seemed to portend a rift that could extend well beyond the government shutdown.

Trump’s first instinct was to double down on delivering the speech, as he told Pelosi in a letter Wednesday, “on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!”

But hours later, the president retreated: Postponing the speech “is her prerogative,” he tweeted. “I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over.”

Trump has always painted himself as an eager combatant against anyone who says no to him. And his ability to hold grudges against those who reject him is legendary.

For years, President Trump publicly mocked his political opponents. Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is using the technique on him. (Video: JM Rieger/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

“There are people — I categorize them as life’s losers — who get their sense of accomplishment and achievement from trying to stop others,” he said in his 1987 bestseller, “Trump: The Art of the Deal.” “As far as I’m concerned, if they had any real ability they wouldn’t be fighting me.”

In 1976, just as Trump was about to land his first development deal, a powerful person told him no in a very big way. Trump had crossed the bridge from his father’s real estate empire in New York’s outer boroughs into Manhattan, where the young developer got a contract to buy the Commodore Hotel building, a sad structure near Grand Central Terminal.

Now he had to pay for it. He approached Richard Ravitch, head of a state agency that had the power to give him a huge tax break. Sorry, Ravitch said: The hotel should be able to succeed on its own, without an assist from the taxpayers. No tax exemption.

Angry, Trump lashed out at Ravitch. “I’m going to have you fired,” Trump said, storming out of the office, the agency head later recalled.

Trump eventually won his tax exemption, thanks to one of his first big PR stunts: He had construction workers cover the hotel’s clean windows with dirty scrap wood to make it look like a dangerous eyesore in desperate need of rehabilitation — by Trump, with the help of public dollars.
Pelosi, Trump send dueling letters as shutdown drags on

President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have exchanged letters throughout the long shutdown fight. The latest exchange happened on Jan. 23. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

Still, Trump never forgot Ravitch’s rejection. Five years later, Ravitch got a call from New York Mayor Ed Koch. “What did you do to Donald Trump?” the mayor asked. “He wants me to fire you.”

At other times, Trump has been much less pugnacious. In 1990, deep in debt and with no clear way to crawl back to solvency, Trump was summoned to a middle-of-the-night showdown with his bankers, accountants and attorneys. He stood to lose much of his casino empire.

At first, Trump was his usual bold and bragging self, insisting that he didn’t need a bailout, that he would rally and win. Then, suddenly, he dropped the insults and boasting. People in the room said he became quiet, respectful, apologetic.

He argued that the banks needed him — his name, his celebrity were what gave his properties value. The bankers agreed to bail him out, but on their terms. They put him on a monthly allowance, put liens on his house and his yacht.

But Trump got what he wanted most: He saved face. His name stayed on the buildings.

He declared victory.

In the confrontation with Pelosi, Trump plays two roles — personal and presidential. On a personal level, his lifelong determination never to be seen as a loser pressed him toward a combative stance, leading him to declare that Pelosi “doesn’t want to hear the truth” and that he would push ahead with the speech.

But as president, Trump was hemmed in by law, tradition and political reality. So when he tweeted late Wednesday that he would yield to Pelosi’s prerogative and postpone the address, the move came as no surprise to longtime Trump watchers and scholars of the presidency.

“He caves when people are tough with him,” said Jeffrey Tulis, a government professor at the University of Texas at Austin who studies presidential rhetoric.

He pointed to the language Trump and Pelosi used in their Oval Office confrontation last month, when Trump called the speaker “Nancy” and needled her over what then seemed like her precarious hold on House leadership.

Pelosi sharply replied, “Mr. President, please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of the House Democrats.”

Tulis said: “She called him ‘Mr. President,’ and she’s remained formal in her letters to him. People talk about how Pelosi is throwing down the gauntlet, but pay attention to how carefully written and institutionally respectful these letters are.”

The effect of the formal language in Pelosi’s letters to Trump about the State of the Union address has been to constrain the president’s behavior, Tulis said: “It has forced him to act more presidential.”

Presidents and speakers of opposing parties can make life miserable for each other. They can block each other’s agendas and generally gum up the works. Or they can reach an arrangement that gets stuff done, as President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill famously did in the mid-1980s, after they had spent a couple of years going at each other, hard.

Reagan attacked O’Neill’s “sheer demagoguery,” and the Massachusetts Democrat returned fire, saying the president had “no compassion for the poor.” But in 1982, they came together and agreed to raise taxes and overhaul Social Security.

The two went out of their way to portray their partnership as a genuine friendship, but aides to both men said the relationship was more a delicate balancing of political power than a personal embrace.

Similarly, the emerging Trump-Pelosi relationship, now that she and her fellow Democrats have gained control of the House, is more about the battle between the executive and legislative branches of government than it is about two people who have little in common.

“The question of when and where the State of the Union address is given is not hugely important, but the testing of the balance of power between the branches is,” said Joanne Freeman, a historian at Yale who has written a book, “The Field of Blood,” on moments when tempers in Congress have led to violence.

“In this time when so many norms are being tested, we’re seeing two branches asserting power and now Congress claiming, as it should, that it is a coequal branch of government,” she said. “This is really in a very concrete way the will of the president against the will of Congress.”

The struggle between presidents and Congress goes back to the nation’s beginnings. President George Washington knew the Constitution required him to get the advice and consent of the Senate before signing any treaties, but he didn’t know what that directive actually meant he should do.

So when Washington made a deal with Indian tribes, he walked the text over to the Senate and read it aloud to the senators. When one senator asked the president to read the treaty again, and then said the Senate would have to take some time to think about it, “Washington gets upset and storms off and never returns to the Senate to seek advice and consent again,” Freeman said.

More recently, Congress has ceded significant authority to the presidency. Republicans and Democrats have called for Congress to reassert its power. So Pelosi’s decision to draw a line and bar Trump from delivering the State of the Union while the shutdown is still paralyzing the government may win some quiet support from Republicans, Tulis said.

“Many Republicans now are from districts where they will be besieged if they stand up clapping for the president in the middle of a government shutdown,” Tulis said. “They may not say it in public, but many of them are pleased to see Congress reasserting its authority.”

Trump, like those congressional Republicans, is highly unlikely to cede any rhetorical ground to Pelosi. And even if he stands by his position that he will delay the State of the Union until after the shutdown, he will almost surely find another way to score points against the speaker.

After all, public battles have always been the lifeblood of his branding strategy, which is in turn the core of his approach to business. People who have said no to Trump have learned through the years that he never forgets and that he often finds a way to score late, if petty, wins.

By the mid-1980s, Trump and Koch, two of New York’s most notorious mouths, had been sniping at each other for years. The developer called the mayor a “moron” and a “disaster.” Koch squawked back, calling Trump “piggy, piggy, piggy.”

In 1986, Trump saw a way to ingratiate himself with the public and diss the mayor at the same time. From his Trump Tower office, the developer could look down at the city’s long-shuttered ice-skating facility, Wollman Rink.

For six years, the city had tried and failed to reopen the rink, once a municipal gem in Central Park. After $13 million had been wasted on failed repairs, Trump offered to fix and reopen the rink in four months, free of charge — if he was then allowed to manage the facility and name it for himself.

Koch accepted the repair offer but said no to Trump managing the facility or giving it his name.

Undeterred, Trump got the job done way ahead of schedule and under budget — and the city ended up paying the bill. At the grand-reopening news conference, he posted a large sign: “Owner: TRUMP ICE INC.” The city parks commissioner ordered his staff to take down the sign.

Trump portrayed the episode as a single-handed triumph, even though the repair of the rink was well underway before he got involved. Trump’s version became the standard narrative, and his popularity soared.

For years after the rink reopened, Trump pummeled the mayor in one TV interview and newspaper story after another. Koch accused Trump of being a serial exaggerator and called him a “supreme egotistical lightweight.” But mostly the mayor backed away from further rhetorical battle with the developer.

Today, the facility is still technically named Wollman Rink. But the signage and marketing materials tell a different story. “Wollman” appears in light, thin lettering, dwarfed by the big, bold, bright red “TRUMP.”
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🤡 Down Goes Trumpsky! Down Goes Trumpsky! Down Goes Trumpsky!
« Reply #1742 on: January 26, 2019, 12:36:53 AM »
<a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>

I don't think I have ever been more pleased to embed that Video.  Trumpofsky got his ass whupped, big time.  :icon_mrgreen:  Ann Coulter is now calling him an even BIGGER Wimp than Bush I!!!   He is getting absolutely splattered by both the Right & Slightly-Left-of-Right Wings.  Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide for the Wannabee Hitler.


Trump Signs Bill Reopening Government for 3 Weeks in Surprise Retreat From Wall

Trump Agrees to End Shutdown — For Now
By The Associated Press
President Trump said he would end the partial government shutdown for three weeks while negotiations over the border wall continue. He also indicated that he was open to declaring a national emergency or shutting down the government again if Republicans and Democrats cannot reach an agreement on wall money by the February deadline.CreditCreditSarah Silbiger/The New York Times

By Nicholas Fandos, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Peter Baker

    Jan. 25, 2019

WASHINGTON — President Trump agreed on Friday to reopen the federal government for three weeks while negotiations continued over how to secure the nation’s southwestern border, backing down after a monthlong standoff failed to force Democrats to give him billions of dollars for his long-promised wall.

The president’s concession paved the way for the House and the Senate to both pass a stopgap spending bill by voice vote. Mr. Trump signed it on Friday night, restoring normal operations at a series of federal agencies until Feb. 15 and opening the way to paying the 800,000 federal workers who have been furloughed or forced to work without pay for 35 days.

The plan includes none of the money for the wall that Mr. Trump had demanded and was essentially the same approach that he rejected at the end of December and that Democrats have advocated since, meaning he won nothing concrete during the impasse.

Mr. Trump presented the agreement with congressional leaders as a victory anyway, and indicated in a speech in the Rose Garden that his cease-fire may only be temporary: If Republicans and Democrats cannot reach agreement on wall money by the February deadline, he said that he was ready to renew the confrontation or declare a national emergency to bypass Congress altogether.

“We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier,” Mr. Trump said. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 15, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.”

[President Trump’s emergency powers, explained.]

But Mr. Trump has already adopted some of the language that his Democratic adversaries have used during the longest shutdown in history. He conceded that “we do not need 2,000 miles of concrete wall from sea to shining sea — we never did” and invoked the utility of “smart walls” that substitute some physical barriers for drones and other sensors. The semantic evolution provides both the president and Democrats with a face-saving way forward if they want it.
0:41Schumer: Trump Learned ‘No One Should Ever Underestimate’ Pelosi
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, reacted to President Trump’s decision to reopen the government. Schumer praised Democratic unity during the shutdown and Pelosi weighed in on the State of the Union date.CreditCreditErin Schaff for The New York Times

The surprise announcement was a remarkable surrender for a president who made the wall his nonnegotiable condition for reopening the government and a centerpiece of his political platform. Some immigration hard-liners that make up a key part of his political base were incensed by the capitulation.

“Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States,” the commentator Ann Coulter, who has aggressively pushed Mr. Trump to keep his campaign promise on the wall, wrote on Twitter.

On Capitol Hill, though, jittery lawmakers from both parties greeted the news with relief. Mr. Trump relented as the effects of the shutdown were rippling with ever greater force across the economy, with fallout far beyond paychecks. On Friday, air traffic controllers calling in sick slowed air traffic across the Northeast; hundreds of workers at the Internal Revenue Service also did not show up; and the F.B.I. director said he was as angry as he had ever been over his agents not being paid.
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“None of us are willing to go through this again,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, referring to a half-dozen Republicans who voted on Thursday for a Democratic measure to reopen the government for two weeks. “And it’s not just a few of us. There are a great many in our conference that feel pretty strongly.”

Democrats, who declined to revel in their clear victory, said they would work in good faith to strike a deal on border security. They have raised their offer on border security funding considerably and toughened their rhetoric on stopping illegal immigration.

But Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated plainly that any compromise would not include money for a new border wall, which Democrats view as ineffective and overly costly even though many have supported border fencing in the past.
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Government Shutdown Timeline: See How the Effects Are Piling Up

The longer the federal government remains closed for business, more services are affected.
Jan. 8, 2019

“Have I not been clear on a wall?” Ms. Pelosi said at a news conference with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. The two have repeatedly said they would support allocating additional money for technology and increased patrols along the border, like the ones Mr. Trump referenced on Friday.

The cease-fire should pave the way for Mr. Trump to deliver his State of the Union address to Congress after all, but Ms. Pelosi said it would not be held this Tuesday, as originally scheduled. She had rescinded her invitation this week to come to the House chamber until the government was reopened, and on Friday, she said she would work with Mr. Trump to find a new date.

“The State of the Union is not planned now,” Ms. Pelosi said. “When government is open we will discuss a mutually agreeable date.”

As he announced the deal, Mr. Trump paid tribute to the federal workers who have endured five weeks without pay, expressing sympathy for them in a way he had not until now. “You are fantastic people,” he said.

He promised to ensure that workers would be compensated for the paychecks they have missed since the shutdown began in late December “very quickly or as soon as possible.” To that effect, the Office of Management and Budget circulated a letter to affected agencies and departments on Friday afternoon instructing management to prepare for an “orderly reopening” and to prioritize pay and benefits for workers.

But other costs will be more permanent. Many federal contractors do not expect to be repaid for their work during the shutdown. Its compounding effects will ultimately cost the federal government more money than if it was open. And though the long-term economic damage caused by the shutdown remains to be seen, it appears that at the very least the short-term pain was more costly than a down payment on the border wall.
Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, on Friday on Capitol Hill.CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times
Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, on Friday on Capitol Hill.CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times

According to an analysis from Standard & Poor’s, the ratings agency, the United States economy lost at least $6 billion in the five weeks the government was partly shuttered — more than the $5.7 billion that Mr. Trump had requested to build a steel or concrete barrier at the border.

Mr. Trump offered no explanation for his surrender, nor did he acknowledge that it was one. On Twitter on Friday night, he said: “This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!”

During the president’s speech earlier in the day, cabinet officials and White House aides lined the sides of the Rose Garden and applauded him. Mr. Trump began his remarks as if he had actually emerged victorious, saying that he was “very proud to announce” what he called “a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government.”

Few lawmakers even in the president’s own party saw it that way.

“I hail from a state that is very supportive of the president and border security with barriers, so that is a consideration for me, but there are a lot of other strategies we could employ that would work better” than a shutdown, said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia.

With polls showing the president enduring most of the blame by the public, Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, pressured Mr. Trump to agree to the temporary truce. Over the next three weeks, a House-Senate conference committee representing both parties will negotiate a border security plan, but if it fails to reach a consensus, government agencies could close again.

The president’s concession came a day after two competing measures to reopen the government failed on the Senate floor. A Democratic bill, which would have reopened the government with no strings attached, received more votes than the bill backed by Mr. Trump, which included temporary protections for some undocumented immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion for his proposed border wall.
A Typical Federal Worker Has Missed $5,000 in Pay From the Shutdown So Far

That’s a total of $200 million in unpaid wages each workday.
Jan. 16, 2019

Mr. McConnell and Mr. Schumer huddled on Thursday night after the failed votes to discuss a path forward. Mr. Schumer rejected the idea of offering a down payment for the wall to reopen the government and pitched Mr. McConnell on what ultimately became the agreement with Mr. Trump, according to a senior Democratic aide.

Mr. McConnell, who viewed the shutdown as unnecessary from the start, found Mr. Trump eager to end the impasse, and in a series of calls, they ironed out the details. To the Republican leader, it was a way to ease much of the pressure on federal workers and get the Senate back to work.

As late as early Friday morning, Mr. Trump appeared intent on declaring a national emergency at the border alongside the agreement to reopen the government, but Mr. McConnell and White House officials encouraged him to drop the idea, according to people familiar with the discussions who were not authorized to discuss them.

Republican leaders tried to rally their members during a closed policy luncheon before Thursday’s votes. But even as Republicans prepared to support Mr. Trump’s plan, the signs of mounting frustration after weeks of inaction were evident.

Republican senators rose one by one to voice concerns about the effect on federal workers and the lack of forward momentum in an impasse that felt unbearable. They swore they would never stand by another government shutdown.

“We’ve already lost,” lamented Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, according to people familiar with the remarks. “It’s a matter of the extent we want to keep losing.”

At another point, during an exchange first reported by The Washington Post, Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, vented at Mr. McConnell for putting Republicans in the position of having to vote on two competing approaches to reopen the government — one Republican and one Democratic — without consulting them first.

“You put us in this position,” Mr. Johnson said, according to one of his aides.

Mr. McConnell, who had largely been absent from negotiations to reopen the government until late last week, responded, “Are you suggesting I’m enjoying this?”

Reporting was contributed by Emily Cochrane, Catie Edmondson, Maggie Haberman, Thomas Kaplan and Alan Rappeport.
A version of this article appears in print on Jan. 25, 2019, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Shutdown Ends With No Funding for Wall. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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🤡 Trumpofsky gets his Balls handed to him on a Platter by Peloskaya
« Reply #1743 on: January 27, 2019, 02:14:43 AM »
One of the more fun Political Outcomes in quite a while.   ;D   I'm no big fan of Peloskaya, but in this case she rocked the insular world of The Donald, and he gets to eat shit.  Very Good.  :icon_sunny:


'Pelosi does not mess around’: Democratic speaker emerges triumphant from shutdown

The House joined the Senate in passing legislation to end the partial government shutdown by temporarily funding federal agencies on Jan. 25. (Reuters)
By Mike DeBonis
January 26 at 3:31 PM

Nancy Pelosi’s first showdown with President Trump began with him publicly questioning her political viability. It ended with the House speaker winning an unmitigated victory and reviving her reputation as a legislative savant.

Trump’s capitulation — agreeing to reopen the federal government after a 35-day standoff without funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall — generated rave reviews for Pelosi from fellow Democrats and grudging respect from Republicans who watched as she kept an unruly party caucus united in the face of GOP divide-and-conquer tactics.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) emerges from the shutdown as a stronger leader of her party — and more popular with the public, by early measures — as Democrats eye aggressive efforts to counter Trump’s agenda through ambitious legislation and tough oversight. That suggests the shutdown might have been a strategic misstep for Trump, in addition to a tactical error.

“He’s used to hand-to hand combat,” said former senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a longtime Pelosi friend and partner in politics. “With Nancy, it’s hand-to-hand combat with a velvet glove, and he’s not used to it.”

Even before the shutdown began, it became a clash between Trump, 72 — the political outsider, a New Yorker born to privilege and accustomed to getting his way — and Pelosi, 78 — the oft-caricatured San Francisco liberal who was actually steeped in the street politics of her Baltimore youth and years of hardball on Capitol Hill.

When the two met in the Oval Office on Dec. 11 Trump suggested she was constrained by the fact she had not yet been formally elected speaker: “Nancy’s in a situation where it’s not easy for her to talk right now.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., listens to a reporters question after signing a deal to reopen the government on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Pelosi shot back: “Mr. President, please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting.”

In retrospect, the remark was more a warning than a retort. Throughout the past seven weeks, according to interviews with dozens of lawmakers and congressional aides from both parties, Trump and White House officials appeared to fundamentally misjudge Pelosi’s support among Democrats and her resolve to hold firm against border wall funding.

As recently as Thursday, Republicans indicated that they thought they might be able to break Democrats apart by painting Pelosi as intransigent and unwilling to negotiate on the wall. “I think it’s time for the Democratic Party to have an intervention with the speaker,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the Republican Conference chairwoman, told reporters.

Indeed, not all Democrats share Pelosi’s view that the wall is an “immorality,” but she kept fractious Democrats focused on a simple message: There would be no negotiations on the wall as long as the government remained closed.

“We can’t set a precedent for holding the federal workers hostage, holding anyone hostage, and using them as a bargaining tool for a policy discussion,” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), a freshman who defeated a suburban Republican and opposes wall funding. “People have different views on the right way to get [border security] done, and there’s legitimate policy differences there, but let’s have that discussion after we get our federal workers back to work.”

Tweeting late Friday, Trump vowed to keep fighting for his wall, saying the reopening of government “was in no way a concession.”

“It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!” he said.

But there appears to be little appetite on Capitol Hill for a reprise of the draining shutdown. Trump’s Plan B — declaring a national emergency and tapping military construction accounts to fund the wall — has unnerved many Republicans and spurred Democrats to prepare for litigation that might not be settled before Trump’s term is up.

“I think he’s finally met his match,” said Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.). “The speaker always presents herself in public and in private with the utmost respect. But she’s firm, and she’s strong, and she understands how to wield that power.”

Throughout the standoff, Pelosi followed her own advice: Don’t get in the gutter with Trump — or, as she put it colorfully last month, don’t engage in a “tinkle contest with a skunk.” The episode was also influenced by her respect for the presidency, if not for the president himself, aides said.

In a central episode in the shutdown ordeal, Pelosi effectively blocked Trump from delivering the State of the Union address that they had mutually scheduled for Jan. 29. But Pelosi’s initial message to Trump did not cancel the invitation outright — instead, she suggested “that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has reopened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing.”

Her decision puzzled observers on Capitol Hill and in the White House — including the No. 2 Democrat in the House, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), who declared in a television interview moments after the announcement that the speech had been canceled outright, a step Pelosi had carefully avoided.

Several Pelosi allies said the nuance in her letter to Trump was a sign of respect, not weakness.

“There was no way on earth that he was ever going to get in that chamber if the government was shut down,” Boxer said. “But she did it in the right way. . . . Another guy might have said in a macho battle with Trump, ‘Forget it. It’s not happening. We’re canceling it.’ I think it took him off his track for a little while. It threw him back.”

Trump did not get the hint. A day later, Trump retaliated by canceling a military flight that was set to ferry Pelosi and other Democratic lawmakers on a trip that would include a visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Then this week, after Trump indicated that he had no interest in rescheduling the speech, Pelosi informed Trump that she had no intention of calling the traditional joint session as long as the government remained closed.

Finally Trump, in late night tweets, acknowledged that the speech would have to wait.

Speaking to a group of opinion journalists Friday, Pelosi explained the strategy: “You only start with a feather until you get to the sledgehammer.”

Though Trump’s legislative director, Shahira Knight, kept Pelosi’s chief of staff, Danny Weiss, abreast of developments, Pelosi and Trump had no direct interactions after Trump walked out of a Jan. 9 meeting in the White House Situation Room.

There, Pelosi had insisted that any short-term funding extension would not compel Democrats to agree to wall funding. Pelosi stuck to that position throughout the fight.

“Have I not been clear on the wall?” she said Friday when asked if her position had changed after the agreement to reopen the government was reached. “No, I have been very clear on the wall. I have been very clear.”

As the confrontation played out, the House moved bill after bill to reopen government agencies. Meanwhile, in the Republican-controlled Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to move on them without Trump’s assent — creating an imbalance of action that helped cement a perception that it was Trump and Republicans, not Pelosi and Democrats, who were keeping the government closed.

On Friday, after Trump agreed to sign the bill reopening the government, Democrats showered Pelosi with praise.

In one tweet, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said Pelosi “should give the State of the Union since she’s obviously the one running the country.” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) referred to the reported physical problem that disqualified Trump from the Vietnam-era draft: “@POTUS has bone spurs. @SpeakerPelosi has a backbone.” And the rapper Cardi B suggested that Pelosi had treated Trump like a pet dog.

One tweet also underscored Pelosi’s ability to unify her diverse caucus, from moderates in Trump districts to the party’s far left.

“I will tell you something most of the country probably already knows: @SpeakerPelosi does not mess around,” wrote freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a dominant voice in the party’s liberal wing.

Said Pelosi on Friday: “Our unity is our power, and that is what, maybe, the president underestimated.”

A CBS News poll released this week pegged Pelosi’s approval number at 39 percent, a figure higher than Trump’s and McConnell’s — and appreciably higher than seen during last year’s midterm campaign, when Republicans spent tens of millions of dollars on ads attacking Pelosi as a symbol of dysfunctional governance. Fourteen percent of Republicans surveyed said Pelosi had outnegotiated Trump during the shutdown, vs. 6 percent of Democrats who saw Trump outmaneuvering Pelosi.

Among Pelosi’s recent fans are some of the Democrats who wanted to oust her as speaker, arguing that the party needed a fresher face at the helm.

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tex.) said he was “more than pleased” that Pelosi had held the line against the wall. He represents a border district centered on Brownsville, where a coast-to-coast wall is widely viewed as folly.

“Those of us who represent these border districts who just think that the wall is just a total waste of money are grateful to Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer for the battle that they waged,” he said.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who ran against Pelosi for House Democratic leader in 2016 and tried to recruit an alternative speaker after the 2018 midterms, said, “I don’t think anyone’s ever denied her ability to negotiate, to be very tough and smart in these scenarios. The irony of the whole thing is, Trump was able to run over all of the Republicans and get them to cower with every demand he had . . . and he ran into a buzz saw.”

“People are seeing her as responsible in the face of gross irresponsibility and chaos,” Ryan added. “You don’t know who else would have been better. But she’s definitely up to the task.”
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🤡 The Clown-in-Chief makes another Boo-Boo
« Reply #1744 on: January 27, 2019, 04:44:29 AM »
More hilarity ensues.


 POLITICS 01/26/2019 09:47 pm ET
12 Undocumented Immigrant Workers At Trump Golf Course Fired, Lawyer Says

Many of the employees had worked at the club for a dozen or more years.
Bernard Condon

NEW YORK (AP) — A dozen immigrant workers at one of President Donald Trump’s golf clubs in New York who are in the U.S. illegally were fired this month even though managers had known about their legal status for years, a lawyer for the workers said Saturday.

As the president railed during the partial government shutdown against immigrants coming into the country illegally, a manager at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County called a dozen immigrant workers into a room one by one Jan. 18 and fired them, said lawyer Anibal Romero.

Many of them had worked at the club for a dozen or more years, he said, and managers knew they had submitted phony documents but looked the other way.

“This is bogus. People have been there for 12, 13, 14 years,” said Romero. He added, referring to one of the president’s sons, “One had the keys to Eric Trump’s bedroom.”

The firings come after workers at another Trump club in New Jersey came forward last month to say managers there had hired them knowing they were in the country illegally, and had even helped one obtain phony documents.

The crackdown at the New York club was first reported by The Washington Post.

The Associated Press left messages with The Trump Organization seeking comment. Eric Trump depicted the firings to the Post as a normal course of business.

“We are making a broad effort to identify any employee who has given false and fraudulent documents to unlawfully gain employment,” he said. “Where identified, any individual will be terminated immediately.”

He added that the “the system is broken.”

Trump has repeatedly cast the millions of immigrants in the country illegally as a scourge on the health of the economy, taking jobs from American citizens. He has said they also bring drugs and crime over the border.

Trump turned over day-to-day management of his business to Eric and his other adult son, Donald Jr., when he took the oath of office two years ago. The Trump Organization owns or manages 17 golf clubs around the world.

One man who was fired, a former maintenance worker from Mexico hired in 2005, told The Post that he started to cry when he was told of the news and pleaded with management to reconsider.

“I told them they needed to consider us,” said Gabriel Sedano. “I’d given the best of myself to this job.”

“I’d never done anything wrong, only work and work,” he added. “They said they didn’t have any comments to make.”

Romero, who also represents immigrant workers at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, said he has called New York state authorities and the FBI to look into hiring practices at the New York club.

“There was a don’t ask, don’t tell attitude at the club,” he said. “We are demanding a full investigation.”
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Assange Sues 45
« Reply #1745 on: January 28, 2019, 10:25:47 AM »

Last year in November the U.S. accidentally revealed sealed charges it had against WikiLeaks founder and former editor Julian Assange. Now Assange and his lawyers are suing to find out what those “sealed charges” are pertaining to, The Guardian reported.

Lawyers for Julian Assange have filed an urgent application to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), based in Washington D.C., to demand the Trump Administration unseal the charges it has secretly filed against Assange.

The Australian activist’s lawyers are further asking the Commission to compel Ecuador to cease its espionage activities against Assange, to stop the isolation imposed on him and to protect Assange from U.S. extradition.

The request is a whopping 1,172-page application for “precautionary measures” directed at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
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🤡 Pelosi re-invites Trump to deliver State of the Union
« Reply #1746 on: January 30, 2019, 12:13:08 AM »

The State of the Union is the biggest annual event for political Washington. | Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Pelosi re-invites Trump to deliver State of the Union


01/28/2019 04:38 PM EST

Updated 01/28/2019 05:15 PM EST
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Speaker Nancy Pelosi has sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to deliver the State of the Union address on February 5.

Pelosi had previously rescinded her invitation to Trump to give the address on Jan. 29, citing security concerns due to the government shutdown. Trump and Republicans were furious at Pelosi's unprecedented move, but they were powerless to prevent it.

With the shutdown ending last Friday after a five-week stalemate between Trump and Hill Democrats, negotiations began over the weekend to reschedule the State of the Union as soon as possible, according to several sources. Those calls quickly led to Pelosi extending an invitation to Trump for next week.

“When I wrote to you on January 23rd, I stated that we should work together to find a mutually agreeable date when government has reopened to schedule this year’s State of the Union address," Pelosi said in her Monday letter to Trump. "In our conversation today, we agreed on February 5th.”
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The State of the Union is the biggest annual event for political Washington, and the logistics needed to put it together are formidable. Security for the address is extraordinary, as the president, vice president, Cabinet members, Congress, Supreme Court, military leaders and diplomatic corps gather inside the Capitol.

The event is declared a "National Special Security Event," meaning extensive resources and thousands of personnel from the federal government — including some military troops — are brought in to help guard the area.

For the media — especially the TV networks — the address requires a huge investment in equipment and resources as well. Hundreds of reporters attend the session, with Statuary Hall turned into an "interview room" for dozens of TV cameras.
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🤡 Government shutdown cost economy $11 billion, budget office says
« Reply #1747 on: January 31, 2019, 01:11:58 AM »

Government shutdown cost economy $11 billion, budget office says
Of that $11 billion hit, $3 billion is gone forever, a Congressional Budget Office report found.

Image: US government in partial shutdown in Washington, DC, USA
Uncollected trash sits on the National Mall in Washington on Dec. 31, 2018.Erik S. Lesser / EPA

Jan. 28, 2019, 7:40 AM AKST
By Dareh Gregorian

Federal employees went back to work Monday after the longest shutdown in government history — but the economic effects will be felt for a long time.

A report released Monday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the economy took an $11 billion hit, including $3 billion that's gone forever, in the 35 days that parts of the federal government went unfunded.

"In CBO's estimation, the shutdown dampened economic activity mainly because of the loss of furloughed federal workers' contribution to GDP, the delay in federal spending on goods and services, and the reduction in aggregate demand," the report said.

And that may just be the tip of the economic iceberg.
Fresh off a government shutdown, another could be on the way
Jan. 27, 201913:48

"Underlying those effects on the overall economy are much more significant effects on individual businesses and workers. Among those who experienced the largest and most direct negative effects are federal workers who faced delayed compensation and private-sector entities that lost business. Some of those private-sector entities will never recoup that lost income," the report said.

The CBO said its estimates "do not incorporate other, more indirect negative effects of the shutdown, which are more difficult to quantify but were probably becoming more significant as it continued."

"For example, some businesses could not obtain federal permits and certifications, and others faced reduced access to loans provided by the federal government. Such factors were probably beginning to lead firms to postpone investment and hiring decisions," the report said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement that the report shows that "the President’s shutdown inflicted needless pain and chaos in the lives of millions of Americans, and stole billions of dollars from the economy."

"When the Congress completes its bipartisan, bicameral work to fund government, the President should swiftly sign that legislation to avert another shutdown and restore certainty to our economy and the lives of the American people," she said.
Image: A Smithsonian National Zoo employee removes a closure sign after the zoo reopened at the end of the partial government shutdown on Jan. 28, 2019.
A Smithsonian National Zoo employee removes a closure sign after the zoo reopened at the end of the partial government shutdown on Jan. 28, 2019.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The 800,000 federal workers who were either told to stay home or had to work without pay were doing their best to get their departments back up and running to full capacity.

In Washington, D.C., Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai greeted employees in the lobby, while the Securities and Exchange Commission offered returning workers doughnuts, fruit and coffee.

In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said: "We are grateful for our many dedicated professionals and their service throughout the lapse of funding. Over the coming days and weeks, the agency will assess immediate post-shutdown needs" and "prioritize those needs."

An FAA official said among the agency's top priorities will be reopening their training facility in Oklahoma City and approving new flight routes that were supposed to have been given the green light earlier this month.

Other agencies took to Twitter to express their gratitude.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture tweeted from its official account that employees were "really happy to all be back at work," repeating the word "really" 19 times.
The government shutdown was a reminder of how little Americans are saving

The FBI tweeted that it "would like to thank all the individuals, businesses, and organizations that provided support and assistance to our employees and to all federal workers during the government shutdown. We are proud to serve this country."

FBI Director Christopher Wray had sent out a video message on Friday — shortly before a temporary deal to end the shutdown was announced — saying, "Making some people stay home when they don't want to, and making others show up without pay, it's mind-boggling, it's shortsighted and it's unfair."

National parks, meanwhile, are re-opening on a rolling schedule. The Smithsonian's National Zoo — and presumably its beloved live panda cam — is set to reopen Tuesday morning. The Smithsonian museums are set to reopen Tuesday as well.

Employees who missed two paychecks were skittish that they could find themselves back in the same position in three weeks, when the deal Congress struck with President Donald Trump expires. Trump has continued to demand that Congress give him $5.7 billion in border wall funds, and suggested on Friday he could shut the government down again if he doesn't get his way.
Coast Guard employees skeptical about next funding deadline
Jan. 28, 201902:36

Willard Jenkins, a 22-year civilian Coast Guard employee in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, urged for cooler heads to prevail in the coming weeks. Jenkins, who said he voted for Trump, told MSNBC, "I understand your concept about the borders have to be secured. Yes I do. How you’re going about it, by no means do I agree. You are holding the very people who voted for you hostage. You can’t do that."

"It's very scary to know that that in 21 days it can happen all over again," Becky Mancha, a Transportation Security Administration officer at Dallas Love Field Airport, told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. She said she’d already canceled medical appointments and pushed off a deal to buy a house, and will now try to put away some money for fear of the same thing happening again next month.

"It's hard to know that I have to go through this when I'm doing my job," she said.
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🤡 Schumer: Trump administration ‘embroiled in chaos and incompetence’
« Reply #1748 on: February 05, 2019, 02:12:42 AM »
Stating the Obvious.


Schumer: Trump administration ‘embroiled in chaos and incompetence’
By Jordain Carney - 02/04/19 04:42 PM EST

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) blasted President Trump in a prebuttal of his State of the Union speech, saying the administration is mired in “chaos and incompetence.”

“The president will say predictably that the state of our Union is strong, but the truth is the state of the Trump economy is failing America’s middle class,” Schumer said. “The state of the Trump administration is embroiled in chaos and incompetence.”

“What’s the state of the Trump administration? The state of the Trump administration is chaos,” Schumer added

Schumer knocked Trump over his economic, tax and health policies, his foreign policy and shake-ups in his Cabinet.

“The president makes these off the cuff decisions based on how someone looks and we all pay the price. ... Continuity and effectiveness of American government has been deeply compromised by the turmoil and turnover at the White House,” he said.

The president is expected to focus on unity and the need to bridge the divide in the country during the Tuesday night address, which will have a theme of “choosing greatness.”

Trump will call on Congress to compromise on a number of key issues such as immigration and trade, according to a senior administration official.

"I want to see our country united," Trump said last week during a pre-speech lunch with network news anchors. "If I could unite the country, I would consider it a tremendous success."

But Schumer accused the president of trying to “ignore reality.”

“A looming question is just how many falsehoods, distortions and made up facts will appear in the president’s speech,” Schumer said.
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Re: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1749 on: February 05, 2019, 05:28:47 AM »
I would just like some democrats to have the nerve to call out LIAR even once, during the idiots speech like they did to Obama. If they were truthful they would constantly be calling out LIAR, but it probably ain't gonna happen :laugh:.
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Re: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1750 on: February 05, 2019, 06:25:28 AM »
I would just like some democrats to have the nerve to call out LIAR even once, during the idiots speech like they did to Obama. If they were truthful they would constantly be calling out LIAR, but it probably ain't gonna happen :laugh:.

It COULD happen! LOL.

I can't watch it. Absolutely cannot stomach it. I'll just have to read about the lie count afterward.

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Re: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1751 on: February 05, 2019, 09:30:24 AM »
I would just like some democrats to have the nerve to call out LIAR even once, during the idiots speech like they did to Obama. If they were truthful they would constantly be calling out LIAR, but it probably ain't gonna happen :laugh:.

It COULD happen! LOL.

I can't watch it. Absolutely cannot stomach it. I'll just have to read about the lie count afterward.

Discussed this very thing with Contrary this morning. Ain't gonna do it.
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Re: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1752 on: February 05, 2019, 08:51:31 PM »
I would just like some democrats to have the nerve to call out LIAR even once, during the idiots speech like they did to Obama. If they were truthful they would constantly be calling out LIAR, but it probably ain't gonna happen :laugh:.

It COULD happen! LOL.

I can't watch it. Absolutely cannot stomach it. I'll just have to read about the lie count afterward.

Discussed this very thing with Contrary this morning. Ain't gonna do it.

Totally what I'm doing!
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🤡 Why Trump’s zig-zagging speech made perfect sense
« Reply #1753 on: February 06, 2019, 01:56:49 AM »
I would just like some democrats to have the nerve to call out LIAR even once, during the idiots speech like they did to Obama. If they were truthful they would constantly be calling out LIAR, but it probably ain't gonna happen :laugh:.

It COULD happen! LOL.

I can't watch it. Absolutely cannot stomach it. I'll just have to read about the lie count afterward.

Discussed this very thing with Contrary this morning. Ain't gonna do it.

Totally what I'm doing!

Glad I did NOT watch this latest episode of the Clown-in-Chief trying to do some self-justification for the Deplorables to keep them in tow.  I would have spent what was left of my day heaving the technicolor yawn.  It's bad enough just to read about it in the aftermath.  ::)


Donald Trump exits after finishing his speech

President Donald Trump stood in condemnation of both parties as mired in a swamp of self-dealing and dysfunction. | Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Why Trump’s zig-zagging speech made perfect sense

The State of the Union address was designed to revive and strengthen the connection between Trump the president and Trump the candidate.


02/06/2019 02:33 AM EST
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President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, as it unfolded, was a dizzying and even disorienting experience, a cascade of rhetorical passages that seemed to contradict each other every few moments.

Appeals for unity and bipartisanship jostled with ideological and cultural scab-picking. Theatrics used by all modern presidents to swell the heart or moisten the eye — We are joined in the gallery tonight by… — were followed by the honking boasts of a MAGA rally.

At first blush this all may have seemed like incoherence, as though the speech was a composite of recommendations from warring factions, every zig offset by a whiplashing zag. But taken as a whole, the address revealed a clear strategic purpose — one designed to revive and strengthen the ideological connection between the Trump of 2019 with the Trump who first began his astonishingly effective takeover of the Republican Party four years ago.

That Trump stood in condemnation of both parties as mired in a swamp of self-dealing and dysfunction. Yes, it takes brass ones — no doubt he’s got ‘em — for this Trump to deliver a sermon on putting the national interest over vindictiveness and partisanship.

But it was also a sign that Trump recognizes the potential damage he incurred by offering to “own” the federal government shutdown and that being seen as the leader of an unpopular establishment party sacrifices the insurgent and outsider nature of his own brand.

The Trump brand is, at its core, against free trade, against illegal immigration and against “endless wars.” So, long sections of his speech Tuesday night made the case on these subjects anew, in plain-spoken language that in the past has won nods of affirmation from millions of working class white voters who in an earlier age were natural Democrats. His calls for big spending on infrastructure rubbed the same muscles; ditto for pledges to use federal power to lower what he called unfairly high drug prices.

For the social conservatives in his base there was a sharp attack on late-term abortions, which was followed with a jarring non-transition by a proposal to increase military spending. Trump’s coalition skews old and patriotic. So there was an homage to the 75th anniversary of D-Day, still several months away, by introducing very old veterans of the invasion, who actually were not all that old 35 years ago, the first time Ronald Reagan merged D-Day commemoration with a presidential reelection in 1984.

For all of Trump’s boasts that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue without dimming the loyalties of his supporters, he knows that for many of them this is not true. They vote for him because they think the alternatives are corrupt or left-wing kooks. So it was no surprise that he found time to inveigh against “the new calls in adapt socialism in our country.”
Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address

state of the union address 2019
Trump shifts from insurgent to incumbent with 2020 in mind


It can be too reductionist, arguably, to interpret every word of a major presidential address through the prism of reelection politics. Historically, though, the State of the Union immediately following a president’s first mid-term has served as the de facto first major statement of the campaign to follow. It was that for Bill Clinton (shellacked by Republicans in 1994 even more than Trump was by Democrats in 2018), and for George W. Bush (fresh off a mid-term victory in 2002) and for Barack Obama (fresh off a repudiation by the GOP in the mid-terms of 2010).

And it is precisely through this prism that all the jolts and swerves of Trump’s speech can actually be seen as logical and linear.

The speech started out with a brief glimpse into an alternative universe, one in which Trump embraces the populist rhetoric and category-killing brand of politics that propelled him past conventional politicians of both parties in 2016 but discarded the vulgarity and taunting and egomania that is also central to his persona.

It is a David Gergen-esque parlor game in which Richard Nixon was still a crafty, Machiavellian statesman but not a paranoiac law-breaker; Clinton would have unified the country if he kept certain appetites on tighter leash; Bush had not abandoned the “compassionate conservative” message of 2000 for the divide-and-conquer politics of 2004; and Obama had not led with a polarizing health care agenda and had done more outreach to Republicans.

Trump on Tuesday night played along with the what-if game for a couple minutes. “There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage to seize it,” he said. “Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country… We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution — and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.”

Trump’s alliterative lullaby soon ended. A few lines later he made clear that his notion of bipartisanship would be for the opposition would be to drop “ridiculous partisan investigations,” even as a prosecutor with a Republican lineage has already secured convictions against several of his former close aides.
Donald Trump before his State of the Union address

Trump calls for unity — on his terms


There followed attacks on Obamacare, invocation of the “caravans” of immigrants who figured so prominently in Trump’s rally-the-base speeches before the mid-terms, and new appeals to build a wall across the southern border with Mexico and halt the violence and crime that he said accompanies illegal immigration.

It was a redundant reminder to the Gergen fantasists that for Trump — and for most politicians in both parties eager to play on a national stage — modern politics is far more about mobilization of supporters through energizing confrontations than it is about persuasion of a dwindling group of people who are genuinely wavering over which side to support.

Of course with the State of the Union there are rituals that transcend changing fashions of politics. It used to be that recognizing a hero in the audience was like the salt of these occasions — a sprinkle or two to enliven the substance — but increasingly it has seemed these are more like a main course. There were a dozen occasions when Trump paused to recognize honored guests he had invited to the gallery.

In fact there is no way even the traditional pageantry and solemnity of the State of the Union can survive intact an encounter with Trump and the reactions he inspires.

The electric atmospherics between two groups of American politicians who loathe each other were more arresting than any of Trump’s specific words. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at several moments was ostentatiously rifling through her paper copy of the speech rather than looking at him.
President Trump’s State of the Union address: Fact-check and transcript

President Trump’s State of the Union address: Fact-check and transcript

Trump’s supporters chanted “USA! USA!” Women Democrats wore white, in honor of the suffragist movement, and rose in unison with a raucous mini-rally of their own when Trump extolled the new jobs he has created for women. He paused and shot them a peevish glare, then said with part playfulness and part edge, “You weren’t supposed to do that.”

But on an evening in which all the players in American politics were positioning for battles to come, they reasonably decided they were supposed to do exactly that.
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🤡 Cascade of lies from the prince of lies: But don't kid yourself, his fans lov
« Reply #1754 on: February 07, 2019, 12:35:04 AM »

Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 5, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)

Cascade of lies from the prince of lies: But don't kid yourself, his fans loved it
Trump's State of the Union was a listless torrent of falsehoods. But that doesn't mean he has been defeated

Chauncey DeVega
February 6, 2019 10:30PM (UTC)

Donald Trump is a prince of lies. possessed of a blinding lack of self-awareness and totally devoid of a capacity for critical self-reflection.

As the Washington Post has exhaustively documented, Trump has told at least 8,000 lies as president. Tuesday night's State of the Union address added to this total.

Contrary to Trump's claims, the state of the union is not strong. American democracy is imperiled by him and his party -- by their authoritarianism, petit-fascism, and total and utter disregard for the rule of law.

Trump wants Congress (read: the Democratic House majority) and the country (read: people who voted against him and continue to oppose him) to "reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution."

This is the opposite of Donald Trump's own personal life mantra and decades-long pattern of living.

Throughout his State of the Union speech Trump either lied outright or distorted the facts on a wide range of issues, including immigration, his imaginary border wall, crime, the economy, the war against ISIS, North Korea, women's rights and the drug crisis.

In his flaccid and boring address he also called back to tired Republican talking points about the evils of "socialism." Perhaps White House senior adviser Stephen Miller played the infamous 1961 recording "Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine" for our current president before his speech.

Trump also hung up political red meat for his white evangelical supporters, who are among the most devout and loyal members of the cult of Trumpism.

Predictably, Trump's address was grotesque and full of pornographic violence. Babies are being torn from their mother's wombs and killed by Democrats. Natural-born rapists and other nebulous brown people in "Mad Max"-like "caravans" are coming to America to commit horrific crimes against white people -- especially white women. The Democrats believe in "open borders" and want such crimes to occur.

Trump, a man who has called neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members "very fine people," had the unmitigated gall to use Holocaust survivors as human props. He also used a member of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 people were massacred by a far-right anti-Semite, as a human prop as well. Of course he, did not discuss how  his rhetoric and policies helped to create and inspire the conditions for the mass murder which occurred there last October.

Trump, as he has before, featured the family members of a person killed by a criminal gang of "illegal aliens." And of course he never mentions that immigrants, be they legal or otherwise, commit crimes at far lower rates than native-born Americans.

Trump claimed that "all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God." Yet it is was his administration's policy that put brown and black babies from Latin America in concentration camps.

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Perhaps most important, Donald Trump believes he is above the law. He suggested that the safety and security of the United States depends on not holding him accountable for his likely collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election, as well as his many other apparent crimes:

    An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations. If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn't work that way!

Commentator Van Jones described Trump's address afterward as "a psychotically incoherent speech mixing cookies with dog poop." That is largely accurate, yet Trump supporters and Republican voters in general will devour it as though it were a wonderful meal.

Part of the explanation can be found in Donald Trump's hostage-taking of the U.S. government to get money for his wall. The conventional political wisdom is that Trump "lost": His disapproval numbers increased among the general public and he was apparently forced to capitulate Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats "won" by forcing Trump to end the shutdown, at least temporarily.

Some observers have suggested that the longest government shutdown in U.S. history was the result of an inexperienced White House which had "miscalculated." This is one example among many where, in my judgment, Trump and his agents are playing a different game than the political pundits and so-called experts realize or want to accept.

Trump is not a video-game boss or comic-book supervillain possessed of amazing genius. Rather he and the conservative movement are simply playing a different game with different criteria for victory.

Their goal is not consensus, serving the common good or ensuring that the general will is served in the interest of democracy. It is victory at any cost for their "team" -- democracy and the American people be damned.

Trump's State of the Union address spoke exclusively to his right-wing public and the most extreme elements of the conservative movement, the only audience he cares about. It was successful on those terms.

As stated amid the mountain of lies that was this speech, Trump will try to give right-wing Christians a country where women do not have reproductive rights and the divide between church and state is torn away.

Huge corporations will be further empowered to despoil the earth for profits while workers are left more vulnerable. The social safety net will be cut still more.

Racist, bigots and nativists are empowered with hopes that they will get their wall, immigration "reform" and other policies designed to ensure, both symbolically and literally, that white Americans control every major aspect of the country's political, economic and social life.

The right-wing agenda has other elements as well, which Trump has masterfully advanced. Again, those who focus on the "horse race" aspect of American politics, and who still have faith in the power of previously-existing norms and traditions, are not looking in the correct place for answers. They made this mistake in the 2016 presidential race and continue to do so now.

One of this agenda's guiding principles is that government is illegitimate in itself. It is to be destroyed from within so it can be stripped away and sold off to the highest corporate bidder. The American people are just another product to be monetized and exploited under gangster capitalism.

Trump has appointed corporate executives, incompetents, and other self-interested actors to destroy the very federal agencies they ostensibly "lead." The shutdown and Trump's other policies are designed to undermine faith in the usefulness and legitimacy of the federal government when it comes to solving collective problems and enhancing the lives of the American people.

Contrary to Trump's lies about serving the common good and ensuring "prosperity" and "progress," his policies are designed to cause pain and harm to the American people in general, and particularly to nonwhite people and others viewed as not being "real Americans."

Evidence indicates, for instance, that the government shutdown caused disproportionate harm and pain to African-Americans. Federal employees are also more likely to be Democrats. Trump cares nothing for them and their well-being.

In Trump's State of the Union speech he continued to threaten that he may declare a "national emergency" if he does not get money for his wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. This will be another way for Trump to further cement his power and to weaken the country's democracy in the service of an extreme right-wing agenda.. Vijay Prashad expands on this in a recent essay at CounterPunch:

    It will all make a mockery of the judicial process. Trump the destroyer would have then galloped through the institutions of the state — setting them aflame with the fires of illegitimacy. The executive branch, the presidency, is already the font of mockery. His acting secretaries are going to deepen the distrust with government. The legislature, already low in public trust, will find its legitimacy eroded further. And then, the judiciary, the final branch of government, will be set aflame. At the end of Trump’s first term in office, it is likely that trust in government will be as low as it could possibly go. If Trump is re-elected, it is likely that during the second term, the government might wither away … leaving behind a police force to patrol the disaffected U.S. population and a military to discipline the world.

Will Donald Trump's government shutdown hurt him at the polls in 2020? Likely not.

Trump's Republican supporters will never abandon him. Those Americans hurt by the government shutdown were already predisposed to vote against Trump and are not going to support him for any reason. As political scientists and others have repeatedly shown, the American people are not very sophisticated politically. A broad swath of undecided and independent voters will no longer remember the shutdown or include it in their decision-making. And if low information and independent voters do actually think about the government shutdown relative to "pocketbook voting" they may not attribute the blame correctly. They may instead choose to punish the Democrats and not Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Last night's State of the Union address was unprecedented in various ways. It was unseemly and lifeless, but nonetheless still very disturbing. This fake billionaire and failed entrepreneur, turned racist demagogue president, is exactly the kind of existential threat to democracy that the framers warned the American people about centuries ago. They also provided a solution for such a disaster.

Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega is a politics staff writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show. Chauncey can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.
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