Stumbling into 2018 things already weren’t going well for Trump and his lackeys. It was in fact a year of serious decline for the Administration’s already bad image. As we end out the year the president’s in a tenuous place both with the American People and the Law.
True to form, by the end of January the president had managed to offend almost everyone, never deviating from dark speeches where he would always claim to be a victim. He kept up his usual disrespect and trashed dying John McCain non stop among other despicable acts and statements.
As I pointed out, the year really didn’t start well, coming off failures like the months long Roy Moore debacle. Hopes weren’t high this year would be any better. For one thing, there was no course correction and a terrible atmosphere of disdain for the president became the norm. Calls for Unity we would have seen from any other administration were replaced by simply demonizing all enemies, real or perceived.
Most say he’s been a mess since the mid-term election, but anyone reading here knows the “New Level” of insanity started with the drop of the book ‘Fear’ and the “Anonymous White House Staffer” Op-Ed. I started documenting the intensifying crazy behaviors as soon as I detected them starting with the posts leading up to his disastrous 9-11 that just kept getting worse and just before as he freaked out over Woodward’s book.
The Tightly Wound Spring
It began as an unstable year but American’s had at least started developing a thicker skin to the antics of the president, who was forever rubbing salt.
2018 went awful from a publicity and legal/ impeachment stand point. If you just look at the calendar you can track the Mueller Probe “Island Hopping” from one scandal and crime to the next; hive-ing off prosecutions to other bodies, like the Southern District of New York or the DC District Attorney. Each time getting closer to the president.
By Opening Day of Baseball season the Chaos was constant. The president tweeted conspiracies regularly, engaged in pointless political shit talking and pouted angrily publicly and privately.
Summer of Scam
Between tanking on lay-up special elections to botching attempts at policy the summer was shocking, but things seemed to have a pattern. The president would hear something, blow up and make a bad decision. All the while lying about swirling clouds of scandalous garbage at the edge of ‘Trump-world’
Then something strange happened about the same time summer ended. People started flipping as other were found guilty and some Trump associates start to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as still others started heading to jail.
Maybe the lowest summer moment was mid July’s Treason Summit in Helsinki. Fresh off trashing our nations allies and NATO he unadvisedly went to hob-nob with Putin having done no preparation. He also freaked us all out when we found out he’d spent over a half hour unsupervised with Putin. No one likes the idea of him and Putin alone together cavorting. So that angered lots of people.
In the press conference afterwards Trump fell all over himself praising Putin, who was standing approvingly just a pace away. Trump spent a lot of time casting aspersion on the idea the Russians meddled in the 2016 election, to the Kremlin’s delight, and despite the US Intelligence community universally blaming them.
Siding with our biggest geo-political enemies over the CIA pissed people off good. He was so awash in criticism he made Orwellian attempts to alter the record and Un-Say things. None of it worked and he looked like a bigger liar than ever.
He saw his lowest ever approval ratings after that. Then he set some new lows.
Legends of the Downfall
Trump seems to have taken an emotional nosedive about 2 days before the anniversary of 9-11, a day that Trump has co-opted politically many times with many lies. The cable news shows were buzzing with advance quotes and outtakes from Bob Woodward’s book “Fear”.
In the book Woodward painted the president as angry and sub-juvenile. The book also provided multiple examples of people in a panic reversing course on presidential actions and attempting to muzzle their boss. One nominal cabinet member grabbed papers off the president’s desk to prevent perceived tragic mistakes.
Fear sported tales of breakroom hate rants by everyone from Cabinet Secretaries to the lowest coffee boy, serious backstabbing and a toxified White House where staffers try to filter information flow to a TV obsessed president. Criminal ineptitude and professional incompetence were the only constants in White House operations.
It sounded like a tale from the Last 10 Days of the Third Reich and started an Internal Witch Hunt that we heard about off and on, but never seemed to yield any results. The firings and chaos started ramping up.Whether or not it led to the Chief of Staff, former General Kelly to leave is up in the air.
The Chief of Staff Fiasco happened on the same moment Trump woke up and started tweeting sweet music to Putin’s ears. An undiscussed (outside Kremlin Propaganda) idea to withdraw all US troops from Syria. The reason? Unclear days later. It cost Trump his Secretary of Defense as we all saw a scathing “I Quit” letter hatemailed right to the president. Mattis didn’t even use a closing salutation, he just signed his name at the end.
The Winter of the Malcontent
As Fall turned to winter the shortening of the days lead to long cold nights of Americans actually paying attention the News, especially on sports-deprived weeknight’s and a series of ‘back to back to back’ fails.
The fact there’s really nothing much going on in the world of sports coinciding with this new, more brittle and overtly angry tone is probably not so great for Trump. More people are bound to notice.
There was some fairly credible talk of Trump blasting off by snorting Adderall in mid December that made all too much sense and was an uncomfortable parallel to Hitler no one failed to see.
December has been one long disaster for Trump. His beginners luck hadn’t had much effect to begin with and now, almost 2 full years in, the lack of professionalism is becoming more than just a little annoying.
Early in the month former President George HW Bush passed away and the biggest topic was whether Trump would be even allowed to attend the funeral. He was ultimately allowed to attend, after extracting a promise not to be criticized in exchange for his agreeing not to speak at the event. No one wanted him there. He didn’t want to be there. There was no way out of it. He handled it horribly.
At the event Trump was inappropriate the whole time, aware of the scornful side eye he was drawing from all living presidents after he flung the overcoat he should have left in the car to a bewildered Military Honor Guard Member.
Sitting at the end of the row as though he were on a toilet he looked isolated, alone and distracted. Several gaffes in prayer and when to stand or kneel followed. Trump’s clueless in a church, even a non secular one. The whole thing plays well to Black Sabbath music.
Days later he blamed the people of California for the deadly wildfires they’re experiencing in a series of deranged lies. Trump shamed the locals for not raking the vast forests clean each year. This just sounded nuts and people noticed. He’s remained consistent on this, supporting it with numerous lies.
And he literally spent Christmas telling kids that there no Santa Claus. In fact he said believing in Santa Claus was “marginal” for 7 year olds. He didn’t miss a chance to be a complete jerk at any time in December. Thankfully the months almost over.
Late December saw people’s opinions of the president bottoming out. It came out that one particularly bad day on Wall Street was triggered in the Oval Office when Trump had hard to like Mnuchin call up all the top banks to tell them there was no impending collapse of the market. This is like getting a phone call out of the blue from the local utility company to tell you that the water isn’t poison. It unnerved people and now we’re hearing that Mnuchin and the Fed Chairman are going to walk the plank next as the president fumes over a conflicted stock market that’s actually pretty far out of his control . It was a very bad idea to use the day-to-day market as a measure of success for any president. He did so anyway and now he’s freaking out.
People’s skins weren’t going to thicken anymore. A mass White House defection of staffers was either a House Cleaning or a bunch of Flights of fear, no one can tell. It doesn’t matter. The fact simply was the White House sucked to work at and the president was capricious.
The government shutdown over the border walls five days old and its the same bad negotiating we’ve become used to. He’s drawn a line in the sand and wont back off. That line is 5 billion bucks for his insane wall. Then he lied about it, saying that government employees were glad he was so resolute and wanted the shut down to continue til he got the Wall.
This doesn’t look like its going to be resolved anytime soon.
Politicizing the Military
Then there’s the Christmas visit to the troops. He had to go after the media criticized the fact that every commander-in-chief since George W Bush had visited our combat troops early in their presidencies. Draft Evading President Bone Spurs looked like a flat-out coward. He didnt want to go, but there was no way out of it so he showed up pissed and acted like a child most of the time. Dark and horrible as Black Sabbath lyrics yet again.
The pukeworthy speeches to the military, where he told them they would soon defend walls ‘at home’ were of course wrong. Also; the mission he spoke of, deploying the troops inside the United States, is probably illegal. It was blatant politicization of soldiers that American’s aren’t supposed to be comfortable seeing.
While he was there for merely three hours and didn’t venture far from the airport he managed to lie to the troops about their pay. He claimed he’d given then a huge pay raise because it had been over 10 years since they were last given a raise. This was a lie 10 years thick as they’d been given raises every year and the last year was not substantially different. It was a bad and easily disprovable lie in front of people who totally knew better. I would say that makes it a bit crazier.
I guess they knew he was wrong about them not getting a raise and I’m not sure they liked being lied to. Then some brand new MAGA hats showed up in the hands of some privates who just happened to have them with them when the president literally showed up out of the blue. Remember, the visit was unannounced.
I predict it will surface that the Trump people were just handing them to the dumber soldiers who didn’t know it was a violation of regulations and unethical. Every hat looks brand spanking new. Every hat appeared unworn and was folded the same way. Only one variation of the hat was seen and as we know there’s a dozen variations because Trump just keeps the money from that. So some people are in trouble and will be peeling potatoes for that.
New Year, New Fear?
We’re hearing more and more taped conversations, tweets and crazy statements where Trump sounds like a Mob Boss with Traumatic Brain Injury. You don’t need to be a mobster or a cop, you only need to have seen the first 2 Godfather movies. It was that blatant. From running down law enforcement to calling Michael Cohen, one time Consigliere and fixer to Trump turned cooperating witness against him, ‘a rat’.
The cabinet seems to be morphing, firings outstrip the ability to replace people and the short-staffed government was shuttered due to the presidents complete inability to deal with any criticism from his political right. Three deals to keep the Government open were approved until right-wing pundits criticized them. Each in turn was passed but the president backed out of his promises and didn’t sign them at the last moment each time. Most legislators gave up and left town, as did Trump’s family who jumped right on a plane to Florida to get away from him.
So the president ends the year screaming at the walls and hate-tweeting alone in DC due to his own ineptitude and refusal to negotiate. He doesn’t want to be there, but he can’t leave on the thin chance he gets a budget thrown on his desk, so hes stuck. And he hates it, so he’s pouting.
During all of this the Mueller Probe powers on. It’s yielding fruit and sparking other investigations. In just weeks a new Congress will be seated, this time with a Democratic Majority in the House. The subpoenanas will fly and the Trumpists will surely get blasted on TV. President Melt-Down might not handle it so well.
The president seems to have descended into Persecutory Delusions.
There’s gonna be plenty of ill advised Military moves. trump’s military thinking is confined to the Patton Biopic. He’ll be more like a dark ages warlord than the leader of the free world.
The Government shutdown may become, for awhile, a fact of life. Trump shows no inclination towards reason on this. Should the government still be closed in April he could get himself removed just on the basis of not fulfilling the Oath of Office Per Se. He’s on a bad trajectory with this, just like everything else.
My only market prediction is Extreme Unpredictability and erratic shifts. Deep uncertainty could set in and wreck the economy any given week.
I also predict the Mueller Report drops right around the Superbowl and past that anything could happen. After the Superbowl there’s another sports desert where people will pay more attention. At that point, if a couple of these predictions pan out, I see his approval spinning down to the lower 30s and upper 20s and staying there by April.