Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday Week in Review

What else did Donald Trump do this week?

Press credentialing. He gave press credentials to, allowing its DC reporter Jerome Corsi to tweet a photo bragging about it. Corsi had good reason to boast: it's not often that the White House gives credentials to websites that claim the Sandy Hook massacre of 26 children and teachers was a government hoax. The credentialing comes shortly after the sites founder, Alex Jones (whose radio program Trump appeared on as a candidate) claimed in custody filings that his endorsement of such stories is merely "performance art" and should not be taken literally or seriously.

Budget math. The budget Trump unveiled this week features what former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers branded a $2 trillion (as in two thousand billion) accounting error. In defending it, Trump's budget director Mick Mulvaney effectively promised that hypothetical tax cuts would allow for 4.5% growth over the next ten years, something even the few remaining supply-side economists think is extremely unlikely under the best possible circumstances. More mainstream economic analysis estimates the revenue cost of Trump's proposed cuts at $5.5 trillion over ten years.

Leaky war rooms. In a public relations response to the metastasizing Russia scandal, Trump authorized the creation of a "war room" to relieve some of the political pressure it is creating. Its personnel will reportedly include Jared Kushner--the recent revelation that he asked the Russian ambassador to help him conceal the Trump campaign's communications from the U.S. military and intelligence services notwithstanding--and Corey Lewandowski, whom Kushner helped oust from the campaign in June of 2016. The purpose of the "war room" is to generate favorable press, but no sooner had it been planned than one of its own members anonymously grumbled to the press that Trump's own undisciplined and chaotic approach to work was its biggest problem: "“It’s a seemingly impossible task,” one senior administration official involved with the process noted. “A disproportionate amount of our time has been spent reacting to ill-advised tweets.”

Ill-advised tweets. As though to prove the point, Trump celebrated his return to the United States with tweets that claimed anonymous sources who said bad things about him were made up by journalists.

What's so bad about these things?

  • A president who endorses "performance art" about murdered children but cannot bear to acknowledge that his own staff lacks faith in him isn't capable of leading anything, much less a country.
  • Two trillion dollars is not an acceptable margin of error.
  • Things are not lies merely because a president doesn't want to hear them.