Border Wall Blues Edition
APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
Gallup Poll: 39% — up from 38% last week
Rasmussen Poll: 47% — down 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 Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our outdated political views to make more delicious “Fake News” about our Commander-in-Chief.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:
At the Crossroads
The week of our Trump -– Dec. 22, 2018: During a sad and lonely Christmas in the White House, an unhinged, but resolute President Donald J. Trump dug in on his closure of part of the federal government while demanding funding for his border wall, fence, steel slats, beaded curtain or whatever border barrier he expects.
Trump, who has taken a step back on the concept of building “a big, beautiful wall” and having it financed by Mexico in recent times, now demands that Americans foot the bill to the tune of at least $5 billion for the barrier. He is holding more than 800,000 federal employees hostage by holding their pay or keeping them out of work until he gets his way.
Over the holiday weekend, sitting in the gloaming and wallowing in self-pity, Donnie Bone-Spurs seized the opportunity to sing the Blues about his plight.
He sang the one about being alone on Christmas Eve.
He sang the one that blamed the Democrats for closing the federal government.
He even sang two new classics: “They Only Don’t Want it Because I Want It” and “Shutdown Money!”
In the end, blue and without a captive audience, Trump took to the White House State Dining Room with his ironic sense of loneliness and his better half who joined him to perform one of the many goofy presidential duties bestowed upon the office since World War II.
He smiled as he called children and checked NORAD for Santa’s whereabouts, even stopping to ruin the holiday for one youngster he had proclaimed had aged out of the fantasy portion of the celebration, “because at 7 (years old), it’s marginal, right?”
Never far from the mind of this American tyrant were the federal workers who were working for free because of the shutdown he admittedly caused. Despite days of calling for Democrats to support a wall none of them ever supported and blaming them for a shutdown he volunteered to put in motion, Donnie Bone-Spurs hoped to turn that magical phrase, but never struck the right chord.
Christmas came and kept the businessman/reality show star stuck in a cold, dreary Washington D.C. for the holidays. The first lady had returned and soon the two would embark on an epic road. One that the frat boys in National Lampoon’s Animal House could have only admired.
During his trip to Iraq, The Donald’s command of his personal reality continued to be elusive. He lied to the troops about raises they’ll receive, he donned a cool nylon flight jacket and told a few jokes, but thoughts of border security at home never left his thoughts.
In fact, it was his own words that haunted him all along:
“I am proud to shut-down the government for border security, Chuck,” he said during the Dec. 11, 2018 meeting with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D- Ca.). “So, I will take the mantle, I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”
Trump campaigned on his wall being paid for 100 percent by Mexico, and last year turned down $25 billion for the wall in exchange for DACA legislation. In recent times, he refused to sign a bipartisan bill that would have kept the government open because it did not provide for his wall. A House of Representative bill offered $5.7 billion for the wall but the measure failed to pass the Senate. The standoff led to a partial shutdown of the federal government last Friday.
Since the lights went out on federal workers, Trump has grown more desperate every day.
He’s still holding federal workers hostage, even suggesting the non-paid workers want to stay unpaid in the hopes it will bring funding for his wall. At other times, Trump has stated the Democrats would suffer for not backing his wall because most of the unpaid workers voted Democratic.
Congress returned on Dec. 27 for a five-minute pro-forma session before adjourning and not passing anything to re-open that portion of the federal government. Congress is not due to return to Capitol Hill until 2019.
Yesterday, the president stepped up the rhetoric and threatened to close the entire southern border, theorizing, in one desperate tweet that it would be a profit-making venture, given how much has been lost due to the 30-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
At press time, the country was entering its seventh day of shutdown with no end in sight.
Sub-Iraquian Homesick Blues
After hooking a “U-ey” on her holiday plans at Mar-a-Lago and hightailing it back to Washington on Dec. 22, the first lady evidently rallied the troops at home before loading President Fat Ass onto a secret shuttle to somewhere less combative than the nation’s capital — a war zone!
The FLOTUS left for the Florida White House at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach on the afternoon of Dec. 21 along with 12-year-old son, Barron. The planned 16-day trip to Florida was part of the usual Trump Christmas celebration that was pre-empted by the billionaire businessman’s vow to stay in Washington until the government is reopened.
News reports state White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner remained at the private club during the holidays. But Melania returned to the White House and stayed by her Donnie’s side on Christmas Eve, but on Christmas Day hopped on Air Force One and headed to Iraq for the president’s first visit to a combat zone in his tenure. Coincidentally, the visit came just hours before a New York Times story about relatives of Trump’s former podiatrist stating that the president was able to get a deferment from Vietnam due to a fraudulent diagnosis of bone spurs.
The mission became less secretive hours before Trump and Melania released photos of them speaking with troops abroad when a British shutterbug/aviation enthusiast caught a glimpse of Air Force One and posted it to social media.
He referred to the special jet “a VC-25” streaking through the English morning after Christmas. He went on to post the picture of the plane on his Flickr account. We all know now that the plane landed al-Asad Airbase in Baghdad for a three-hour meeting between the Trumps and U.S. troops stationed there.
As previously mentioned, the trip to Iraq did not have any effect on the president’s inability to tell the truth. He lied to the troops on a range of topics including the touting of a 10 percent raise to their pay. Trump said the raise, which amounted to about two-tenths of one percent from the last year, has been increased for the last decade by 2.4 percent each year. The raise set for 2019 would be 2.6 percent and is the largest increase in 10 years.
However, the president was unable to convey the fine points. Trump instead lied, stating that he brought the troops a more than 10 percent increase in pay during the secret visit.
“You haven’t gotten on in more than 10 years. More than 10 years. And we got you a big one,” he told the assembled troops. “I got you a big one, I got you a big one.”
If only the faux pay raise was the most diabolical of his fibs, but of course Diamond Donnie Trump was just getting started. He revisited his lie about Democrats wanting unsafe U.S. borders and then defended his decision to pull troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
The move, which roiled U.S. allies, led to the resignation of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and that of Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the international coalition fighting ISIS in the region. Both men said the sudden withdrawal was shortsighted and a breach of faith for U.S. allies.
On Dec. 26 while in Iraq Trump mused about how America has been “suckers” for participating in foreign wars like Syria and Afghanistan. He said his abandonment of the Kurds and cowing to Turkey in Syria was a good move and lied about military leadership supporting it.
The visit, although historic for Cadet Bone Spurs, was also not without warts.
President Twitter Thumbs posted a video on social media that included a montage featuring members of the U.S. Navy Seals whose identities were not obscured, possibly confirming their whereabouts and putting their safety at risk.
Newsweek reported that the tweet outed SEAL Team Five and revealed the existence of an ongoing covert op in Iraq.
Then there was the matter of the signing of all the MAGA hats.
Many have stated the visit, which is supposed to be apolitical, turned political when members of the armed forces presented their red MAGA hats for the president’s signature, along with a “Make America Great Again” flag.
The only problem is that such actions may violate a Department of Defense directive that prohibits active-duty personnel from engaging in partisan political activities that appear, imply, or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause. Defense Department and Army regulations also prohibit military personnel from showing any political leanings while in uniform.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said administration officials did not distribute any campaign gear to the troops and the president also stated he could not turn down requests for his signature from adoring members of the military.
CNN reported that Melania Trump returned to Mar-a-Lago after leaving Iraq to care for Barron. The Trumps are setting up for a high-priced New Year’s Eve celebration at the private Palm Beach resort. Tickets to the event reportedly will cost $1,000 for guests and $650 for members.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told “Fox & Friends,” President Trump was expected to miss his event and remain in Washington for the New Year.
We bid farewell to another year and prepare for a new year, but not without our final installment. For the last month we have pointed out items “that may or may not be under the Trump Christmas tree.” In closing, we couldn’t resist the President’s message on the year’s last holiday — Kwanzaa.
The Trumps made their first visit to troops in the war zone with a secret overnight mission to Iraq on the first day of Kwanzaa, which is named for the principle of “Umoja” or unity.
Given the “enormity” of the day we were at least hoping for a kente cloth MAGA hat, a stylish African broach around Melania’s neck, or a Tweet like they posted on the White House Twitter account last year.
There were no tweets in 2018 recognizing the seven principles, but at least those who celebrate got a three-line shout out — Ujamaa!
Melania and I send our greetings to all those observing Kwanzaa.
This annual celebration of African heritage, unity and culture is a special opportunity for many to reflect on their shared ancestry and values. At this time, our Nation joins in honoring the important contributions of African Americans to the strength and success of the United States.
As families, friends and communities gather this week to light the Kinara, we join in sending our best wishes for good health and happiness in the New Year.