Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Week in Review

What else did Donald Trump do this week?

He made clear that he will not release his tax returns, in spite of a record-breaking number of signatures on a petition asking him to do so. Every president since Nixon has released tax returns before being elected and during their terms.

He inadvertently accused his own advisor, Steve Bannon, of voter fraud. On Wednesday, Trump conflated illegal voting (extremely rare) with being registered in two places (extremely common). Bannon is registered to vote in at least two states. This is not illegal. His daughter and Treasury Secretary were subsequently revealed to have committed "voter fraud" in the same fashion.

In the wake of a diplomatic debacle with Mexico, he gave responsibility for managing the aftermath to his son-in-law. Jared Kushner, like Trump the heir to a real estate fortune, has no diplomatic experience.

Finally, he attracted a great deal of attention to his own state of mind. His press secretary said that media coverage of his inauguration was "demoralizing" to Trump, and another aide said it had prevented him from "enjoying" the weekend properly. Both the Washington Post and the New York Times ran stories citing multiple aides who painted a grim picture of Trump's mental state, alternately enraged by perceived slights and manipulated by factions within his administration.

Why should anyone care about these things?

  • Americans have a right to know about their presidents' financial entanglements.
  • Multiple registrations are not a threat to the integrity of American elections.
  • Managing relations with nations that are major trading and security partners should not be someone's first job in diplomacy.
  • It's bad if people who work with a president are openly questioning his ability to control himself.