Trumplandia: Dec. 15 — 22, 2018

A Christmas Carol Edition

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APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
Gallup Poll: 38% — down from 40% last week
Rasmussen Poll: 49% — up from 48% 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 Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our outdated political views to make more delicious “Fake News” about our Commander-in-Chief.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:

The Ghost of Christmas Past

The week of our Trump — Dec. 15, 2018: After backing a sweeping criminal justice reform, dumping bump stocks and initially choosing to keep the government open instead of backing his border wall, this week it appeared that something had changed in President Donald J. Trump.

Many wondered aloud: “Is this my president?”

What happened to the despicable orange beast who impugned the character of Mexicans, Muslims and the leaders of “shithole countries” full of black and brown people?

What could have turned the ever-petulant president into this seemingly fair-minded leader?

Some pointed to the tightening noose of the Mueller probe or the prospect that he could end up in a correctional facility as impacting Trump’s sudden transformation into a champion of human rights.

Here at The Shinbone Star, we’ve decided to take it further and embrace the magic of the season. Perhaps Trump was visited by three ghosts and is preparing to enter 2019 as a whole new guy.

Facetiously optimistic, the possible change seemed to occur on Monday, Dec. 17, sometime after fired FBI Director James Comey pleaded for leaders in the Grand Ol’ Party to grow a spine.

Prior to Comey’s plea, Trump, in the words of Charles Dickens remained as he had always been.

“A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say with a gladsome look, “My dear Mr. Trump, how are you? When will you come to see me?” No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o’clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Trump.

External heat and cold had little influence on Trump. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather could chill him. No wind that blew bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty.

Alone in a darkened corner of the White House, the sullen president dropped into a sumptuous cat nap and slumber washed over his cluttered mind. He dreamed a dream of the now decimated GOP’s old guard, who had been quietly laid to rest months before.

He awoke to see a ghostly image of John “Maverick” McCain. It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the room appeared, it was not angry or ferocious, but looked at Trump as McCain used to look at him with disapproving disdain.

Let it also be borne in mind that Trump had not bestowed one thought on McCain since his last mention of the former Republican senator at the funeral he was forbidden from attending.

Nonetheless, it was the face of McCain he was seeing now.

“Hear me!” cried McCain’s Ghost, “I am the ghost of Christmas Past!”

The apparition gestured toward the television to the image of the former FBI director following his testimony before Congress. Trump was very much dismayed to hear the specter rattling on at such a rate, and he began to quake exceedingly.

“I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to learn how to trust each other again and by so doing better serve the people who elected us,” said the ghost. “Let’s trust each other. Let’s return to regular order.”

“Fake News,” the miserable, immature Trump remarked. “I like heroes who weren’t captured. I never wanted to go to your stupid funeral services anyway.”

“That is no light part of my penance,” pursued the Ghost. “I am here tonight to warn you that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. A chance and a hope of my procuring, Donald.”

Trump first attempted to amble to his feet before slumping back into his comfy chair. He grimaced and then gave into slumber. He gave a mighty snore before he fell soundly to sleep.

Ghost of Christmas Present

The next day Trump awoke and sure he took to Twitter just at 6:28 a.m. to hit back at Comey’s press conference and the “witch hunt,” but it had been a whole 15-hours before Donnie’s thumbs tweeted a combative post. It took him another two hours to mention “Crooked Hillary Clinton” and the DNC — a possible record.

Had something changed?

Had the appearance of the presumed first ghost finally shaken the man to the core and brought out the good that only his family and loyal followers continued to see?

By 6:41 a.m. he was wishing former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn “good luck in court” despite having fired him almost two years prior for lying to his vice president. Flynn, of course, was later admonished by Washington D.C. federal Judge Emmet Sullivan for selling out his country. His sentencing for lying to the FBI was delayed.

By 10:16 a.m. Trump retweeted the FLOTUS post about the official 2018 White House Christmas portrait in the Cross Hall and wished the whole nation Merry Christmas.

Trump allowed Vice President Mike Pence to take the reins on the announcement of the Space Command as the 11th Combatant Command of the U.S. military and by the evening he was posting pictures of his Commission on School Safety.

By 9:07 p.m. he was praising the Senate for passing a historic Criminal Justice Reform Bill. Gone were the days of jeering at criminals and hoping police officers didn’t bang their heads on the squad cars as they were incarcerated.

No, this Trump praised those thugs and cheered the opportunity for their second chances and looked to how their release could keep American communities safer. He was no longer yelling “lock her up!”

The Donald was happy, and he gave an impish smirk to the thought of himself and Melania dressed to the nines and praising the approaching holiday.

Unlike his predecessor Mr. Scrooge, who abhorred the holiday expression, Mr. Trump often loudly proclaimed: “Merry Christmas!” to anyone who would listen.

The old codger liked to utter it and he’d actually weaponized it during the imaginary war on the Christian holiday and during the campaign of 2016. He said it all year long, but not for the enrichment of the season or good cheer, but instead to taunt and jab at all of those who did not believe in the story of the baby Jesus or the holiday held to celebrate his birth.

Each year he’d flee the snow-covered streets of Foggy Bottom for the warmth of Mar-a-Lago and lavish nights of dance and feast to celebrate the holidays, but that is a story for another day.

That night he slept and in his slumber it was then that his next specter appeared.

In fact, the air seemed filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste and moaning as they went. Everyone of them wore chains, some few were linked together, none were free. Many had been personally known to Trump in their lives. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere for good, in human matters and had lost their power.

Trump thought,” I cannot be like them. I will not be like them.”

He fancied himself a good man, despite all of the sorrow he’d reaped. The president thought, “I can change.” I didn’t even comment when asked about the delaying of Flynn’s sentencing. I said nothing to the judge. The old me surely would have tweeted a retort to his partisan attack on the general and I could have, he was always a good man.

With that Trump slept and hoped of a new day. One where he stood to improve the country’s lot. One where he would stand up to the National Rifle Association and show everyone he was indeed good and cared more for America than money.

“Humbug!” he uttered under his breath before falling off.

A Real Scrooge

The “change” in Trump itself turned out to be nothing more than a dream.

By Dec. 19 the sleepy Trump had fully awakened and wiped away any illusion of his transformation like morning eye crust.

Perhaps caught off guard by the beginning of his week, it appeared he was now reacting to new ghosts, new voices in his head — the pundits on his beloved Fox News Channel or the ambitious extremist in his own party.

Without letting out a proper “Bah Humbug,” he awoke in a foul mood on Wednesday and at 7:35 a.m. with a tweet about the need to build his wall; a lie about Mexico’s “indirect” financing of the edifice at 8:43 a.m.; and then the whopper at 9:29 a.m. that proclaimed war was over in Syria.

By the next day, still in a foul and reckless mood, Trump ordered the 2,500 troops supporting Kurdish fighters in Syria to come home despite the wishes of his military advisers, Republicans and U.S. allies. He also ordered the Pentagon to formulate a policy that would immediately bring troops home from Afghanistan.

The move, which was an outright rebuke of the advice of Secretary of Defense James Mattis, caused the former Marine General to submit his goodbye letter in protest, the first in history to do so.

Mattis’ resignation letter, which was copied and distributed by the Pentagon, questioned Trump’s foreign policy and stated because of their differences of opinion he could no longer serve in that  capacity. Mattis wrote: the president has the right, “to a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, “Mattis wrote. “I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”

Mattis, who was known as “Mad Dog” in his days in the Marines, tenured his resignation for Feb. 28, 2019, giving Trump an opportunity to find his replacement in the coming weeks.

Still stinging from Mattis’ resignation and the prospect of a partial government shutdown, Dec. 21 began with uncertainty, until several Republican members of the Senate visited to discuss ways to keep the government open for business.

Displaying the reality of his time in office, Trump reminded us that for all of his 702 days, he has been a mean and spiteful leader who will punish those who disagree with him rather than find a solution.

Facing the shutdown that he had vowed to own, Trump changed his mind about supporting a bi-partisan effort in the Senate to fund the federal government until February 2019 because none of the funds would pay for his border wall. In fact, by yesterday afternoon, he changed the message of that reversal and instead embraced a House version of the bill that provides $5 billion for the border wall.

Looking at the situation in the Senate where the chance of the bill’s passage was slim, Trump the liar did not own the shutdown, but instead blamed the minority party for not supporting a measure it has opposed since he took office.

Ironically, in a move only Scrooge could applaud, the American people have been given the choice of paying for a wall that was supposed to be paid for by Mexico, or seeing 750,000 federal employees go unpaid for the holidays.

In the end, he was exactly who we knew him to be, a real-life monster. Not a Scrooge or cartooned Grinch, for those are fictional characters created to amuse and enrich us, but instead an unindicted co-conspirator in a crime, a liar and a petty little man who dreams of being a tyrant.

And with the current Congress filled with enablers too scared to fight, we can only grin, bear it and wish all a goodnight!

6715337A-5F9E-4534-B17C-43E2D7E39181Favorite Things

As we enter the holiday season, each week we’ll take a look at an item that may or may not be under the Trump Christmas tree. Please don’t toss your cookies – leave them for Santa.

If you thought this was scary — and Trump appeared scared — well, nothing could have shaken him to his core more than images of this specter from Christmas past. I’m sure there was a hearty “Fake News!” heard throughout the White House. Or was that Bah Humbug?

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