Letting It Go Edition
PRESIDENTIAL RESULTS – MSNBC:
Welcome to Trumplandia, a place where, with a bit of wit and snark, we keep the world caught up on all 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:
Something for Which to Be Thankful
The week of our Trump — Nov. 21, 2020: This week, in a move that is as close to a concession as his over-inflated ego will allow, impeached and now lame-duck President Donald Trump finally allowed President-elect Joe Biden to return to the White House and begin his transition into office.
Biden was unofficially perceived to be the winner of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election shortly after the end of Election Night on Nov. 3.
In pure Trumpian fashion, the decision over whether Biden could officially be named the winner by the White House has dragged out all month, holding up the traditional peaceful transfer of power process that has occurred since our nation was founded.
This week, Trump continued to claim victory over Biden despite the certification of ballots that stated the opposite. He continued to dodge the topic of conceding to Biden, but for the first time allowed the ascertainment process to begin.
Ascertainment is normally started when the chief of the U.S. General Services Administration informs the president-elect that vital resources are being made available to aid in the smooth transition from one administration to the next.
GSA chief Emily Murphy, a Trump appointee, officially accepted the former vice president as the winner of the election by letter on November 23. The formality had become a political issue with Murphy, who is supposed to operate separately from the White House. She said the decision to sign the ascertainment letter was her own and that she “was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official” to delay the transition.
It was obvious someone was lying.
Following the public release of the ascertainment letter, Trump issued his statement on Twitter about the pressure he was not applying. Trump recommended the stalemate should end and that the Biden team would be allowed to enter the White House and begin working on taking over the reins of power.
“I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country. She has been harassed, threatened, and abused — and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA. Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols and have told my team to do the same.”
Biden seized the moment and continued to address the nation on occasion and to name members of his proposed Cabinet.
Meanwhile, members of Trump’s party and leaders around the world began openly accepting Biden as president-elect.
Former Trump butt-boy and Republican insider Chris Christie began the public denouncement of Trump’s legal strategy and his delay of the transition process. Christie, a former U.S. attorney, called the multiple legal challenges, which to date have lacked evidence, “a national embarrassment.”
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) congratulated Biden on his victory despite multiple lawsuits being filed in his state to overturn the election.
Also, more than 100 former Republican national security officials early last week denounced Trump’s failure to concede. The group called Trump’s actions dangerous and an “anti-democratic assault on U.S. institutions.”
Comprised of a range of older Republicans including retired Gen. Michael Hayden, who served as national security director and head of the CIA; former FBI and CIA director William Webster; and John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence, the group calling itself Former Republican National Security Officials for Biden also lashed out at Republican leadership.
Described by Trump as “human scum,” members of the group wrote:
“By encouraging President Trump’s delaying tactics or remaining silent, Republican leaders put American democracy and national security at risk.”
Meanwhile, former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly spoke common sense for a change when he called Trump and asked him to concede.
And this week Chinese President Xi Jinping, who famously traveled to the U.S. in the early part of the Trump presidency and stayed at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, congratulated Biden on his win.
Xi and most world leaders — with the exception of Russian President Vladimir Putin — have congratulated Biden and accepted his being elected as the next U.S. president.
In a surprising statement that seemed to contradict his own previous blathering and social media posts, Trump said he would leave the White House if the Electoral College formalized Biden’s victory on Dec. 14.
Biden currently leads Trump in the Electoral College 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232. Anyone with more than 270 wins the election. Biden also leads in the popular vote with an estimated 80 million votes to Trump’s 74 million votes.
Still A Jive Turkey
It has been three weeks of near silence from the normally very public Donald J. Trump and this week was no different.
Speaking only on Twitter and not to any rallies full of rabid MAGATs, nor during painful early evening press conferences, Trump entered the holiday week in his newly adopted quiet fashion, but when he did speak, it was the same old Don the Con.
Trump continued to fill social media with endless conspiracy theories while sending his “elite strike force” of legal screw-ups to courtroom after courtroom in an attempt to overturn his election defeat.
Trump’s legal eagles have advanced the ongoing narrative of widespread voter fraud without any evidence. Just like on Election Night, the majority of those battles have ended in crushing defeat.
A recount paid for by Trump in Milwaukee County found that Biden received 257 more votes and the president garnered an additional 125 votes in the heavily populated Wisconsin district. In the end, Biden won 317,527 to 134,482. The rest of the state will be recounted by Dec. 1.
Michigan, which also went to Biden, certified its votes for Biden, formalizing his 16 Electoral College votes and a 154,188 lead over Trump in the popular vote. The same was true in Nevada and Pennsylvania, where Trump went down in defeat in areas he won in 2016.
With certified victories in Ohio and North Carolina, Trump remained optimistic that he would somehow to seize victory from defeat in states where his legal team filed lawsuits.
His campaign did not get much help from the Keystone State yesterday when a federal appeals court in Philadelphia rejected the Trump campaign’s latest challenge to state election results. The case was argued last week in a lower court last week by Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and things did not go well. Giuliani argued that there was widespread voter fraud, but never presented any proof.
The matter was heard by 3rd Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas yesterday. Bibas, a Trump appointee, said the claims by Trump’s attorneys had no merit. He also wrote that the charges from the president’s legal team required specific proof or specific allegations, neither of which was present.
“Voters, not lawyers, choose the president,” Bibas said in the opinion, which also stopped a request to halt state certification of the ballots. “Ballots, not briefs, decide elections.”
Bibas later joined his colleagues in not allowing Giuliani the ability to revise an amendment to the legal action, which was poorly prepared and filled with typographical errors.
It was just the latest empty action by the Trump legal team that was drubbed in the courts and failed to show widespread voter fraud the president claimed had cost him the election.
Angry that his legal team was making the wrong kind of headlines, Trump ended two weeks of sulking and hiding by rolling out a new maneuver, the quick-hitter. The new Trump tactic allows Agent Orange to surprise the media without warning and spew out only what he wants to deliver, then quickly retreat.
Trump first used the maneuver last week when he announced a health-care proposal and again tried to explain how he won the election that he lost.
Then he used the same tactic on Nov. 24 when he made an unexpected appearance to pardon his last non-human turkey in the Rose Garden.
During this surprise attack, Trump celebrated that the Dow Industrial Average finished above 30,000 for the first time in history, calling the benchmark a “sacred number” and praising his administration for its work in reaching it. He said the coming vaccines and his administration’s work somehow helped the stock market rise:
“It’s absolutely incredible — nothing like that has ever happened medically and I think people are acknowledging that and its having a big effect (on the market). The stock market’s just broken 30,000! (It’s) never been broken, that number — that’s a sacred number — 30,000. Nobody thought they’d ever see it.”
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence quickly retreated from the dais without answering questions. They even failed to mention how the “sacred number” helped more than 20 million Americans who have lost their jobs during this year’s pandemic and are receiving unemployment benefits.
Later, a mask-less Trump and First Lady Melania Trump presided over the annual pardoning of turkeys in the Rose Garden. Pardoning two turkeys, one named “Corn” and another named “Cob,” Trump and his grandchildren welcomed the lucky birds before the president formally pardoned them.
Reflecting on the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock and the anticipated coronavirus vaccines, Trump praised America’s perseverance, determination and strength throughout its history.
Trump went on to outline how the National Turkey Federation has held the event for the past 73 years, before pointing out the tradition of pardoning turkeys dates back to the administration of President Abraham Lincoln.
Eventually, he continued his theme of thanksgiving by pardoning both Iowa turkeys and then paying tribute to the armed forces, law enforcement and front-line healthcare workers who have been battling to protect Americans. He then wished all citizens a Happy Thanksgiving.
“Thanksgiving is a very special day for turkeys,” Trump said during the ceremony. “Not a very good one, when you think about it.”
The impeached president is entering the lame-duck portion of his first and only term by attempting to inflict as much damage as possible.
The Loser-in-Chief still plans to advance a number of executive actions that could impact immigration and China and cement his legacy as a spoil sport.
Donnie started his long walk into the sunset by pardoning former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn the day before Thanksgiving.
Flynn was fired by Trump in 2017 for lying to Pence about his ties to Turkey (the country, not the pardoned birds) and discussions he had with former Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions against Russia.
Flynn was first fired by the Obama administration, but was then rehired by Trump as national security adviser shortly after his November 2016 election victory. During his own lame-duck period, Obama issued sanctions against Russia for hacking of the 2016 election. He also expelled several diplomats and closed two Russian compounds.
Flynn discussed the sanctions with Kislyak shortly after they were imposed and just before Trump was inaugurated. When news of the inappropriate conversation surfaced he apologized to Pence for lying to him and then was “asked to resign” by Trump on Feb. 13, 2017. Flynn ultimately pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about that conversation in December 2017.
His pardon followed the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian election interference and possible ties to Trump’s team. When it was certain Flynn had not divulged any information that directly connected him to Trump, the president began portraying him as a victim of what he termed “the phony Russia hoax” and began laying the groundwork for an eventual pardon and disavowal of the entire investigation, which yielded criminal charges against at least six Trump associates.
“It’s my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”
The move was condemned by Democrats, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- Ca.) calling the pardon an “act of grave corruption and a brazen abuse of power.”
Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the pardon does not erase the fact that Flynn twice pleaded guilty.
For his part, Biden said he would not pardon Trump, who was impeached for blackmailing Ukraine by withholding military aid to the former Soviet-bloc country in exchange for negative information on the president-elect.
Biden suggested he would allow the law to dictate the legal fate of his predecessor and would not weigh in on what could happen to Trump:
“It’s hands off completely. The attorney general is not the president’s lawyer. It’s the people’s lawyer. We never saw anything like the prostitution of that office like we see it today.”
When he was not pardoning members of his syndicate or turkeys, Trump continued his trend of firing Pentagon employees. Yesterday, the administration disclosed changes in the membership of its Defense Policy Board. Fox News reported former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor were removed, along with at least eight others.
A U.S. Defense official quoted by Fox said Trump is expected to name new board members in the coming days in a move to “adapt the Department for great power competition.”
The Defense Policy Board is an outside advisory group of former national security officials who provide both the secretary of Defense and the deputy secretary of Defense with advice and opinions on defense policy. Trump was said to have wanted to reshape the board with people more aligned with his views on defense policy prior to the firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper earlier this month.
In addition to the personnel moves, Trump is also expected to sign legislation that would prevent a government shutdown next month and continue to occupy the Oval Office as the coronavirus pandemic — the same one he proclaimed was ending a month ago — continues to spread.
Yesterday, America marked its 13 millionth case of COVID, with daily numbers soaring to more than 160,000 cases. On Thanksgiving, the daily death rate hit a ghastly 2,332.
Trump has hailed the reported effectiveness of drugs being developed through his Warp Speed initiative from Pfizer and Moderna.
However, most expect that much of Delusional Donnie’s time will be consumed with continued efforts to overturn election results. Interviewed on Thanksgiving Day while sitting behind a tiny desk in the Diplomatic Room of the White House, Trump acknowledged he is running out of time in usurping the will of the American people, and it appears he may be beginning to feel the pressure.
When asked by a reporter about the prospect of conceding the election to Biden and why he had yet to do so, Trump had a very public tantrum and found the need to warn the media that he should be treated differently as president and even should be questioned differently than other American leaders.
He continued to claim that he won the election, cited imaginary instances of voter fraud without any evidence, and refused to divulge whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration.
“If the media were honest and big tech was fair, it wouldn’t even be a contest. And I would have won by a tremendous amount. And I did win by a tremendous amount.”