Oh, The Horror Edition
PRESIDENTIAL RESULTS – CBS NEWS:
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 might have heard about but were too busy to care. Because most of this minutia occurs just below the massive headlines, it’s in a land of its own. Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our 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:
A Real Drama Queen
The week of our Trump — Nov. 14, 2020: When Joe Biden won the White House more than three weeks ago, many wondered what type of mess current impeached POTUS Donald Trump would make during his exit. Some expected resistance to any loss with a show of force. Others worried he might somehow encumber the traditional peaceful transition of power by refusing to leave.
But now, 18 days after Americans cast their votes for Joe, what we’re getting from Trump is a lot of sulking and an open assault on the U.S. election system.
The 74-year-old commander-in-chief is in the middle of a three-week hissy fit, replete with incendiary tweets and a laughable press conference from Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney and co-star in a Borat comedy movie.
With almost 80 million votes, Biden’s victory breaks the previous record set by President Barack Obama, who in 2008 earned 69,498,516 votes for president. Trump, on the other hand lost with the second most earned votes with over 73 million, which is about 12 million more votes than he earned in 2016 when he won the White House but lost the popular vote to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Despite the staggering numbers, the prospect of losing an election to Biden has caused normally bombastic Trump to hide in the White House and avoid public events. It even appears his annual Thanksgiving jaunt to Mar-a-Lago in Florida has been put on hold so he can chase windmills in Foggy Bottom.
Trump’s freak-out, including his absence from public view, baseless legal challenges and refusal to accept his loss, has bastardized democracy and marked the first time in American history that a president-elect was not granted ascertainment after winning an election. Called a “shock opera” by one television host, Donnie’s rocky horror picture show has been a ratings flop with more than 30 of his challenges to a Biden victory going down in flames.
In the meantime, he has instructed Emily Murphy, general services administrator, to refrain from signing off on the ascertainment process that allows the presidential transition to begin between the exiting president and the incoming president-elect.
Despite what appears to be a clear victory for Biden, Murphy, a Trump appointee, has said she will not sign the documents that allow ascertainment before POTUS #45 concedes.
At the same time, the petty, infantile leader of the free world embarked on a national campaign to discredit free and open elections by casting doubt on the victory of his opponent with lawsuits that seek to overturn the results due to baseless claims of voter fraud.
The battle to subvert democracy continued last week when Trump fired top Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity official Chris Krebs after he publicly affirmed the election was free of fraud or foreign interference.
The move, which looked political, was just one of many that saw Trump attempt to use his power as president to overturn the election. Contentious to the end, Trump continued to challenge the validity of the election by filing lawsuits in many of the “battleground” states he would ultimately lose.
He lost three lawsuits in Michigan that challenged the certification of ballots in the Detroit area and lost an appeal in Pennsylvania that tried to block the counting of mail-in ballots. In Arizona, the Maricopa County Court dismissed a lawsuit by its state Republican Party that expected to expand an audit of Arizona’s election results and another that looked to bar Maricopa County from certifying its election results.
In Georgia, a state Biden flipped by a thin margin, Trump lawyers tried to block the state from certifying its vote totals. Judge Steven Grimberg said he was unwilling to block the certification process and further stated the Trump campaign had “no basis either in fact or law” about the claims.
The rulings came after 29 Trump legal challenges in states across the country had already gone down in defeat.
Yesterday, early reports suggested the results in the Peach State had been certified, but Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger backtracked, then later handed the 78-year-old Biden a splendid birthday present by certifying him as the winner in Georgia. The official tally gave Biden a 12,670-vote victory in Georgia and is the first time a Democrat won the state since its former governor, Jimmy Carter, ran for the White House in 1976 and won.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, an ardent supporter of President Trump, said he would “formalize the certification.” The move will allow Trump to attempt more legal options as well as a separate recount if he chooses.
With things growing dim for Dumb Donald’s chances to overturn the election, he trotted out the head of his “elite strike force” legal team, Giuliani, to right the legal ship and continue the fight to uncover all of the imaginary voter fraud that has him trailing Biden “hugely.”
Earlier in the week, Giuliani returned to court for the first time in two decades to allege incidents of voter fraud. Roasted by the legal community for entertaining Trump’s baseless claims, things literally fell apart for him during a pathetic press conference on Nov. 19 at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.
In a rambling presentation, the former mayor of New York City pointed to a number of conspiracy theories that would help Donnie Dickwad overcome a nearly 6 million vote margin and hand him the presidency. Sweating profusely and appearing to bleed black blood from both sides of his dye-darkened pate, Rudy alleged rigged voting machines, miscounted ballots, and even blamed Democratic donor George Soros as the reasons Trump lost.
Unofficial audio captured during the event seemed to catch members of Rudy’s team commenting on the ooze-fest in real time. On the official YouTube stream for Trump, someone is overheard saying:
“You see f#*king Rudy’s hair dye dripping down his face?”
Rudy’s meltdown was part of an ongoing theme in Trumplandia where only the most ardent Trump supporters believe he can overturn election results in an open democracy.
The Trump “voter fraud” hotline, which was set up at the end of the election, hit a snag when it didn’t find many instances of corruption, but instead was flooded with prank telephone calls from the public.
Reports from across the internet suggested a viral campaign on TikTok and Twitter encouraged people to call the president’s hotline with prank calls about phony instances of voter fraud. Members of the Trump campaign closed the hotline and blamed Democrats for its folly.
Eric Trump said in a tweet:
“The DNC is spamming our voter fraud hotline to bog down the thousands of complaints we are received. Wonder what they have to hide.”
With so many flubs from the hired help and his family on display this week, Trump himself tried to right the ship and continue his fight to regain the White House. In a blatant move to try to influence election results in Michigan, Trump invited Republican lawmakers from the battleground state for lunch at the White House. The meeting, which Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany called routine, appeared to be a last-ditch effort to overturn votes in Michigan after they had been certified earlier in the week.
Following the meeting, Trump made a rare public appearance as part of a press conference on an effort to lower prescription drug prices. It, too, turned into a bitch-fest and lie-a-thon.
Crybaby Donnie soon returned to his belief that pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna — both in final-stage clinical trials to develop a vaccine against novel coronavirus — purposely waited to announce their progress just to cost him the election, which he still believes he won anyway.
Trump said, reading from prepared text:
“Big pharma ran millions of dollars of negative advertisements against me during the campaign, which I won, by the way, but you know, we’ll find that out. Almost 74 million votes.”
Uncle Joe to the Rescue!
Cases of coronavirus passed the 12 million mark in the United States this week, with deaths tied to the virus setting a world record at around 260,000.
The increasing rise in COVID-19 cases and public attention to that rise directly contradicted Trump’s prediction that the nation was “rounding the turn” in stamping out the contagion. It also disproved his other prediction that talk about COVID numbers would magically vanish the day after the election.
Just yesterday, more states ordered another round of shutdowns to stem the spread of the virus in the face of a new daily record of 195,000 new infections. In what has been a ghastly daily count, Texas was the current epicenter of the contagion with 1.1 million total infections, including 13,000 just yesterday.
Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan remain among the most infected states, fueling a trend that sees an uptick in areas visited by the president earlier this month.
Infection also spread in both the White House and on Capitol Hill. Just this week, Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., tested positive for COVID-19, along with the son of the president’s personal attorney, Andrew Giuliani. In Congress, Rep. Dan Newhouse, (R-Wa.), Rep. Doug Lamborn, (R- Colo), Sen. Rick Scott, (R-Fla.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) all tested positive.
Although publicly upbeat about the virus and the prospects of slowing the spread, an internal White House report this week predicted the cases would increase and the contagion would continue an “aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration” in the coming months.
The spread of the virus has increased in all 50 states as well as in the nation’s capital, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam in the past two weeks. The report, compiled by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, stated current efforts to stop the spread were “inadequate” and had to be increased. The Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, said it expected transmission of coronavirus to amplify considerably during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Despite the sobering words in the report, members of the Trump administration still refused to grant the incoming presidential administration access to the White House and also continued to deny members of the Biden transition team any information on the virus and how it could help the current administration slow the virus.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar stated that his department, which keeps track of the data on vaccine as well as the amount of medical supplies available throughout the nation, will not work with the president-elect’s team until the General Services Administration formally accepts a Biden victory. CNN reported the HHS staffers have been told that they are not to communicate with the Biden team and should alert the deputy surgeon general of any attempts to make contact.
Undeterred, Biden has said he plans to move forward with a strategy to begin fighting COVID-19 even before he is sworn-in on Jan. 20, 2021. This week, Biden said tackling coronavirus will be “one of the most important battles our administration will face” and named the members of his 12-person Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board.
Members of the board include former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith from Yale University. Also named to the board is Rick Bright, a vaccine expert who worked under the Trump administration but resigned from HHS last month after disagreeing with the president on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in fighting the virus. Also named to the Biden team was Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and Biden adviser, who is vice provost for global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania.
The team is expected to help the Biden/Harris administration transition into the White House and set up the new federal response to COVID-19. The advisers are expected to consult with state and local leaders to determine economic steps needed to get the spread of the virus under control.
“The advisory board will help to shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective and distributed efficiently, equitably and free; and protecting at-risk populations.”
Biden has preached the wearing of face masks and maintaining social distance in the face of the exploding pandemic. He said wearing a mask should not be seen as a “political statement, but as a patriotic duty.”
Biden has had to go around the Trump administration and relies heavily on national security briefings provided by his vice president, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Ca.), who is still privy to reports she receives as a member of the Senate.
Yesterday, Biden met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D- Ca.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to discuss strategies to get the spread of the virus under control and get financial relief to the states and the American people.
Regardless of Trump’s obstruction of the incoming administration, there was positive news on the vaccine front this week, with both Pfizer and Moderna unveiling vaccines in the last stages of development that promise 95 percent and 94.5 percent effectiveness against coronavirus, respectively.
Pfizer and partner BioNTech of Germany yesterday sought approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency usage of their vaccine. Officials from the drug giant said the filing is a major step in its development.
The companies are currently in Phase 3 trials for their vaccine, which was developed in a record time of about 10 months and was one of the drugs push toward development at a faster speed due to the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed plan.
Also this week, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said his company’s vaccine also is approaching the end of critical trials and is expected to produce a drug that helps prevent contracting the novel coronavirus.
Azar said, earlier this week, the U.S. could distribute as many as 40 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of the year.
March of the MAGA Minions
Back in the good ol’ days when only 11 million Americans were infected with COVID-19 — just last week — supporters of the lame-duck president took to the streets of the nation’s capital to protest the results of the election that did not favor their hero.
Often unmasked and not practicing social distancing, Trump supporters donned colorful gear and waved American flags and Trump flags during the event. Numbering in the tens of thousands, the president’s followers held their “Million MAGA March” a week ago in Washington D.C. and parroted the 45th president’s hollow claims of widespread voter fraud.
Attendees were rewarded for their unwavering loyalty when Trump himself passed through the throngs of people in his motorcade on his way to another round of golf in Virginia. The Trumpers were delighted.
A strong run of bad news about the election mattered little to the thousands who risked their health to rally against an election that brought out a record 153 million voters. Crowds first began to gather at Freedom Plaza and ultimately flooded the surrounding streets.
Members of the right-wing extremist group known as the Proud Boys were prominently featured in media reports about the march. The racist group, which has continually announced its support for Trump, is part of the president’s base, which had been storming county and local voting commissions and calling for an end to the counting of ballots.
Many of the same dissident groups and citizens who have supported the president have been part of a disturbing trend that has mobilized people who appear more loyal to Trump than to the democratic process that is the foundation of our nation.
Chanting “Four More Years,” Trump’s cult-like supporters filled the streets of Washington ,D.C., but did not reach the million participants they expected. Participants said the event was a demonstration by those who opposed the country being taken over by a candidate placed in office by what they see as a fraudulent election.
Although never producing any evidence to suggest widespread voter fraud, 68 percent of Republicans said they are concerned the election was rigged, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, echoing the words of the president.
The widespread cognitive dissonance is the linchpin to an argument still pushed by the president and television networks that continue to air conspiracy theories that Biden is beneficiary of a fraudulent election that Trump is attempting to fight.
As darkness fell, counter-protesters harassed Trump supporters by stealing MAGA swag and setting it afire and overturning tables of vendors selling pro-Trump items. Skirmishes between the two sides continued throughout the night.