Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday Week in Review

What else did Donald Trump do this week?

He canceled a scheduled press conference where he was to explain his plans for dealing with the conflicts of interest his business empire will create for him as president, citing his busy schedule. He then met with Kanye West. This would have been Trump's first press conference since July 27, when he famously asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton. 

He signaled, through a surrogate, that he's open to lifting sanctions on Russia that the US imposed after Russia's invasion of the Crimea. Oil and gas sales make up more than half of the country's budget, and getting those sanctions lifted has been an urgent concern for Putin's regime. Trump's nominee for Secretary of State is among those who have spoken against the sanctions.

On the post-campaign trail, Trump called his supporters "vicious," "violent," "nasty," and "mean," but expressed his hope that they would now be "mellow." During the campaign itself, Trump had blamed the many acts of violence committed at his rallies on paid Democratic infiltrators and media bias. He also told a majority-white crowd to thank African-Americans for not voting.

Finally, he named Rep. Ryan Zinke as his nominee for Secretary of the Interior, surprising many who expected the job to go to veteran Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. The deciding factor was apparently the relationship Zinke had formed with Trump's sons Donald Jr. and Eric. Trump's sons will head his business affairs.

Why are these bad things?

  • Avoiding public discussion of a problem does not resolve the problem.
  • One way for a president to prove that he is not in the pocket of a foreign power is to not give that foreign power what it most wants out of his presidency.
  • Treating supporters as a violent mob loyal only to the leader is textbook authoritarianism.
  • It is worse, not better, if the lobbyists influencing the president are family members who control his business interests.