Rub and Tug Edition
APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
FiveThirtyEight Poll: 41.5% — down from 41.8% last week
Rasmussen Poll: 48% — down from 50% 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 Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our outdated political views to make more delicious “Fake News” about our Commander-in-Chief.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:
So That’s the Rub
The week of our Trump — Mar. 9, 2019: In a week where a deadly plane crash in Ethiopia and a murderous shooting spree in New Zealand took center stage, it was our commander-in-chief and his special relationship with the truth, that was able to massage a happy ending from events that would have been disastrous to most presidents.
Given calamitous events like watching his former campaign chair being sentenced to more jail time and that chair’s closest assistant being held to provide the special counsel with even more cooperation against him, President Donald Trump gave truth the royal treatment and somehow ended up going on the offensive against the probe into his presidency.
Master manipulator Trump, aided by his associates, was able to turn the convicted into victims and co-conspirators into champions regardless of the situation.
The week ironically started off in a massage parlor.
Media reports said the owner of several explicit “rub ‘n tugs,” in Florida had worked her way into a number of high-profile Republican fund-raisers for the president. It was alleged that Cindy “Li” Yang had been selling access to the Trump family, Mar-a-Lago and other wealthy members of the GOP to Chinese investors for years.
The GOP fund-raiser, later identified as Yang, founded a chain of spas and massage parlors that included the one she used to own in Miami where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was busted in a police raid. Trump was tied to the madame after she posted a “selfie” of the two watching this year’s Super Bowl together at Mar-a-Lago.
Interestingly, the man who seems to have a comment on anything and everything has not offered one word on his ties to Yang, her ties to tawdry massage parlors, or to the GOP. Such was the week for Donald Trump.
By its end, he went to work on the story about a man who killed 49 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand, in the name of Trump and for white supremacy. Trump offered support to New Zealand and dismissed the rise of violence being tied to him and the increase in white nationalism around the world.
He said he did not believe the reports of rise of white nationalism, stating, “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”
On March 13 when former campaign head Paul Manafort was given an additional three years in prison for illegal lobbying and witness tampering, Trump was unfazed. He had no comment about the seemingly blatant begging from Manafort’s attorney, who openly lied about the judge’s ruling.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., increased Manafort’s sentence and stated that he was an experienced lobbyist who knew exactly what he was doing when he secretly ran an influence campaign for pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine. The judge said the “no collusion” mantra was a non-sequitur.
Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing, interpreted the judge’s statement to mean the opposite and said despite being sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for his crimes, Manafort’s conviction showed no collusion with any Russians.
The statement is thought to be an appeal to Trump to pardon Manafort.
However, those hopes appeared to be dashed when minutes after the sentence, Manafort was indicted on 16 charges tied to receiving more than $1 million for submitting false financial records when applying for residential mortgages by the New York State attorney general. Since a trial would be in a state court, Trump would be unable to pardon any sentence for a conviction.
However, nothing could stop Donnie’s tweeting thumbs from typing out another assault on the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference.
In a series of tweets beginning at 8:15 a.m. on March 15, the president proclaimed “new evidence” for an alleged “Deep State conspiracy” that he has been screaming about since Mueller first began his investigation into Russian election meddling and its possible ties to the Trump campaign.
By 9:47 a.m. on the same day the president launched into a twisted argument and applied logic tweet that he believed would explain away the investigation by questioning why it was started.
“So if there was knowingly & acknowledged to be ‘zero’ crime when the Special Counsel was appointed and if the appointment was made based on the Fake Dossier (paid for by Crooked Hillary) and now disgraced Andrew McCabe (he & all stated no crime), then the Special Counsel – should never have been appointed and there should be no Mueller Report.”
Trump went on to term the investigation “illegal & conflicted and in search of a crime – Russian Collusion was nothing more than an excuse by the Democrats for losing an Election that they thought they were going to win.”
This of course ignored his firing of then FBI Director James Comey, the recusal of former Attorney Jeff Sessions from the matter, and the need to have a special counsel appointed to investigate possible ties between the White House and the Kremlin.
Despite his raves and attempts to delegitimize the probe, Manafort’s sentencing is another blow to the argument that the special counsel’s probe is a “witch hunt.”
Another Trump associate, longtime confident Roger Stone, was given a trial date of Nov. 5 on charges he lied to Congress, tampered with witnesses and obstructed a congressional investigation into possible coordination of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Stone, who has pleaded not guilty, is currently under a gag order.
It all began with the presidential tour of tornadic devastation in Alabama a week ago.
Twenty-three people were killed when an EF-4 tornado touched down in Lee County, Alabama with 170-mile-per-hour winds on March 3. The president and first lady toured the damage on March 8.
While the media focused on the seemingly unprecedented move of our 45th president lending his John Hancock to the Bible, there were dark forces at play.
No, not by the thrice married chief-of-state signing the good book. After all, some believe he was placed in the Oval Office by God himself, but this time trolls were at work and they were taking aim at our precious FLOTUS.
Dressed in a blue overcoat with red, white and blue sneakers, red jeans, a white sweater and her trademark sunglasses, Mrs. Trump, and son Barron, arrived in Alabama to survey the storm damage. Labeled with the hashtag #FakeMelania, internet trolls reintroduced the theory that Melania was not actually Melania, but a clever body-double Trump drags with him on some road trips.
Some claim the height of the alleged double was off and that the real first lady would never be caught dead in a pair of simple sneakers.
Joy Behar, a co-host of “The View” on March 11 weighed in and exclaimed: “that one does not look like her, sorry.” The host explained that some believe Melania uses an impostor to stand in for her on occasion.
The next day, a spokesperson for the first lady called Behar’s comments “shameful.” President Trump stuck with old reliable and stated the pictures in question were photoshopped by the media to feed conspiracy theories.
It was hardly the first time the conspiracy theory about a fake FLOTUS has made its way into the public discourse. In 2017 while on the White House lawn, the president’s reference to his wife and insistence she was directly next to him caused rumors to flare.
Later when she disappeared from the public eye for a “kidney” procedure, many theorized she had been locked away by Trump. Later that year, during a visit to Fort Myers, Fla., to survey damage from Hurricane Irma, the president gave regards and wished his wife could have made the trip with him, though she was standing beside him at the time.
As mentioned earlier, there was an early flap about the president’s Super Bowl picture with a longtime GOP donor, who allegedly used to own the massage parlor where Trump friend and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was arrested for soliciting prostitution.
Cindy “Li” Yang, founder of Orchids of Asia Day Spa that some have described as a “rub and tug” spa where the wealthy go to relax, is alleged to also own other similar businesses, according to the Miami Herald, which have “a reputation for offering sexual services.”
Mother Jones wrote a lengthy exposé on Yang, who frequents Mar-a-Lago and allegedly has sold influence with Chinese investors to interact with Trump himself, as well as with family members and high-ranking members of the GOP.
Yang, who evidently spent Super Bowl Sunday this year at the Palm Beach resort, posted a selfie with the president.
Last month, Kraft was arrested as part of bust for what authorities say was part of human-trafficking and prostitution ring in Florida. Women were allegedly trafficked and coerced into working as prostitutes in 10 Florida spas.
Kraft, 77, was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution as one of 25 people charged with solicitation at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla.
The Patriots owner issued a statement categorically denying that he engaged in any illegal activity.
Yang, a native of China, and her husband, Zubin Gong, founded GY US Investments LLC the year the president was elected with a focus on arranging events with Trump, his family and Republican elected officials.
She is listed as a registered Republican who settled in America 20 years ago. According to published reports, she is a member of the “Presidential Fundraising Committee.” She and her relatives reportedly donated more than $42,000 to a Trump PAC and more than $16,000 to the president’s campaign.
A web site for GY US Investments LLC markets itself as a “consulting firm that provides public relations services to assist businesses in America to establish and expand their brand image in the modern Chinese marketplace.”
The web site, which is still up, has been wiped clean of all pictures of Mar-a-Lago and of pictures of Trump’s family and of GOP supporters like Fox News talking head Jeanine Pirro, former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and White House Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway.
Yang’s Facebook account was closed, but was once also loaded with photos of Yang and Republican heavyweights like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R- Fla); Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and others.
Trump has yet to comment on the matter involving Kraft or his own ties to Yang.