For the Love of Money Edition
APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
Gallup Poll: 44% — up from 43% last week
Rasmussen Poll: 47% — down from 49% last week
Welcome to Trumplandia, a place where with a bit of wit and snark, we keep the world caught up on all of the tasty Nuggets-O-Trump you may have heard about but were too busy to care. Because most of this minutia occurs just below the massive headlines about the POTUS, it’s in a land of its own. Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our outdated political views to make more delicious “Fake News” about our Commander-in-Chief.
So just like the president, we start it all with a little tweet like this:
C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)
The week of our Trump — Oct. 13, 2018: The mysterious disappearance and presumed death of prominent Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey earlier this month took center stage in Trump news this week as administration officials huddled with our allies to determine what happened to the reporter.
Khashoggi, an open critic of regimes in the Middle East, including that of Saudi Arabia, disappeared on Oct. 2, after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a marriage license.
At press time, Saudi state media finally admitted Khashoggi had been murdered in its consulate and that 18 suspects from the Middle Eastern nation were in custody. Also released was the establishment of a narrative from the Saudi government about how the journalist was killed.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency said its investigation found that Khashoggi was murdered after Saudi officials attempted to have him return to the country and a fight broke out. The melee allegedly led to the “accidental” death of the 59-year-old reporter, who Saudi officials accused of brawling with at least 18 men. The Saudi press agency did not indicate what happened to the body of the journalist, but said its disappearance was tied to the group trying to cover up the murder.
President Trump, who has been running a stall-and-cover campaign for his buddies in Saudi Arabia, said he found the Saudi account “credible”
The newly released account differs significantly from those unofficially provided by Turkish officials, who said Khashoggi’s death came at the hands of a Saudi hit squad that tortured and dismembered Khashoggi before whisking his remains away in a black van.
The Turkish account, which came shortly after the journalist’s disappearance, drove a Trumpian response from the White House that was more openly concerned about how much money could be jeopardized by pressing the Saudis than the life of an American reporter.
The response was consistent with the views of a leader who has called the press an enemy of the people, and as the first billionaire business man president, made it clear that money is all that matters.
Trump was publicly confronted about the journalist’s disappearance during a press conference in the Oval Office nine days ago. During that event, the president showed the world his priorities and said he hoped to somehow punish the Saudis without sanctions and without jeopardizing the $110 billion in arms deals he allegedly secured. He also doubted Khashoggi was an American citizen.
The response touched off a week of conjecture from the Saudis and Trump, who was at one point accused for providing cover for an assassination that was carried out at the behest of Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.
It appeared to be nothing more than a dog and pony show as Trump threatened “severe punishment” to the oil-rich nation while the Saudis said it would retaliate against any punitive measures.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was dispatched to meet with Prince Salman on Oct. 16 after speaking with Saudi King Salman the day before. Following that conversation, Trump said he was assured that the Saudis had nothing to do with Khashoggi’s murder.
Trump said King Salman’s denial of involvement “was very strong.” Gullible Donnie even aligned himself with the narrative offered by the crown that suggested the murder was the work of “rogue killers.”
Pompeo said Prince Salman had already began a transparent investigation with Turkey into the death and requested that the global community give the Saudis more time to investigate.
The president likened the growing questions about Khashoggi and push to implicate the Saudis as tantamount to the domestic push to implicate U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for sexual assault allegations from multiple women weeks ago.
“Here we go again with you’re guilty until proven innocent,” Trump told the Associated Press.
Trump’s objectives were apparent, just like it was in the Kavanaugh matter, but this time he was more focused on the alleged $450 billion worth of “things” and the $110 billion in military expenditures he expects from the Saudis than on a human life.
His true sentiments were not surprisingly echoed by his son Eric, who appeared on Fox News and said although the murder was “horrible,” it wouldn’t make good business sense to throw all that good money away.
In that light, perhaps the Saudis imagine any cover story — even one that pits a 60-year-old man against a pack of unwitting assassins replete with forensic officials, bodyguards and bone saws — would do as long as it gives Donnie something with which to work. We can only imagine why we will not be assessing sanctions on the Saudis and how the body disappeared from within a consulate after he was “mistakenly” murdered.
In the wake of Hurricane Michael’s devastation, Trump spent a day earlier this week splitting his time between touring storm damage and raging at a former paramour he now calls “horse face.”
Trump began Oct. 15 in the Florida Panhandle talking to those recovering from the winds and flooding of Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm that killed at least 26 people. During the daylong tour, he and First Lady Melania Trump visited devastated neighborhoods in Florida and Georgia, consoling residents and handing out water while crews worked to remove downed trees and restore power.
However, Trump spent another part of the day raging at Stormy Daniels, who was back in the news this week after a federal judge dismissed her defamation lawsuit against the president.
On Oct. 15, District Judge S. James Otero ruled the lawsuit could be dismissed, stating the insults Trump hurled at Daniels on social media, constituted “rhetorical hyperbole” normally associated with politics and public discourse and was therefore free speech under the First Amendment.
Daniels sued Trump after he questioned a story she offered on “60 Minutes” that alleged she was threatened by a thug in 2011 after she pondered talking about her alleged affair with Mr. Magic Mushroom.
Daniels charged that Trump had labeled her story and the sketched mugshot she posted on social media “a total con job.” The adult film star argued that Trump’s tweet had attacked her veracity in regards to her recollection of the threat and defamed her character.
Upon hearing about the ruling Trump, quickly returned to Twitter to again thumb his nose at the system and Daniels and her feisty attorney Michael Avenatti.
When the Music’s Over
Following the lead of musical acts ranging from Bruce Springsteen to the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Tom Petty and Aerosmith, the estate of the musician Prince this week ordered the president to stop playing music of the late Minnesota native.
Evidently the sight of Trump supporters swaying to the song “Purple Rain” during the president’s many campaign rallies was too much for members of the late artist’s estate.
On Oct. 11 longtime Prince associate Jeremiah Freed, a.k.a. “Dr. Funkenberry,” released a tweeted statement on behalf of Prince’s brother, Omarr Baker, who posted an unofficial cease-and-desist against the use of the tune after seeing Trump play the song during a rally in Mississippi.
No word if Trump used the song during last night’s rally in Mesa, Ariz.
In other music-related news, Melania Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham on Oct. 13 called for the boycott of rapper T.I. after the release of a video promoting his upcoming album “Dime Trap.” That used a model dressed as Mrs. Trump.
The one-minute video depicted a FLOTUS lookalike stripping in the Oval Office while wearing a jacket with the words: “I really don’t care, do u?” emblazoned on its back. The video caught the attention of the White House and Grisham encouraged people to boycott the artist, questioning whether the video went over the line.
The video opens with a stock video clip of the president getting on Marine One with voice-over from the rapper reminding Trump that he is different than his famous supporter and fellow MC Kanye West, who famously visited Trump for lunch last week. T.I. has been openly critical of West, with whom he said he was ashamed “to have ever been associated with.”
“To all the people who follow Ye (Kanye) musically, socially or even personally . . . who are confused, heartbroken, infuriated,” he continued. “Let me make this clear . . . This Shit Ain’t Cool!!!”