Category Archives: Scandals

Donald Trump doubles down on ‘both sides to blame,’ energizing the alt-right

As I posted yesterday, the takeaway from Monday’s “press availabilty” is that Trump was forced to make a more forceful condemnation of white supremacist groups because he had to staunch the flood of bad press he has been getting since Saturday. The sincerity of his statement was seriously in doubt.

If you have not seen Tuesday’s press availability, you really must watch a replay. Donald Trump had a total meltdown today, returning to his “blame both sides” position on Saturday, and destroying whatever political cover he gave to Republicans yesterday with the prepared remarks that he had obviously been forced to give. Trump made things worse today.

Watch the entire heated exchange between Trump and reporters over Charlottesville.

This was a big “fuck you!” to his White House staff, to reporters and pundits, and to other critics of his belated and weak response to events in Charlottesville, Virginia. This was Donald Trump unchained and out of control.

It is being reported that Trump was not supposed to take any questions today and went rogue. His staff  is reportedly stunned by what they observed today, as were reporters.

This Washington Post report really does not do this press availability justice. You have to see it to fully appreciate what happened. Trump again blames both sides in Charlottesville, says some counterprotesters were ‘very, very violent’:

President Trump said Tuesday that counterprotesters at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville acted violently and should share the blame for the mayhem that left a woman dead and many injured.

Speaking at Trump Tower in Manhattan, the president called the events of Saturday at the “Unite the Right” rally a “horrible thing to watch,” but he emphasized that both sides acted irresponsibly.

“You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” Trump said.  “No one wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now: You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.”

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CBO: Trump sabotage of ‘Obamacare’ would send premiums and the deficit skyward

The Trump administration is going to have to file a status report in House v. Price regarding its position on the continuation of cost-sharing subsidies to insurance companies under “Obamacare.”

On August 1, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the motion for leave to intervene filed by several state attorneys general and the District of Columbia. As part of that order, the Court ordered “the case shall continue to be held in abeyance. Appellee, appellants, and intervenors are directed to file status reports at 90-day intervals.” A status report was due on or about August 22 after a continuation in May.

[T]his bizarre lawsuit could still blow up the ACA insurance markets:

A pending court case, House v. Price (née House v. Burwell — and so much turns on the name change), has given the administration a bomb it could use to blow up insurance markets across the country. At stake is the legality of the payments the federal government makes to insurance companies to help cover the medical expenses of low-income people.

If Obama’s appeal continues, then the payments continue. But if President Trump or Attorney General Jeff Sessions were to decide not to continue the appeal, that’s a game changer.

By moving to defuse House v. Price, the Trump administration could signal that it means to make the best of Obamacare. At the same time, however, the case may represent the last best chance to rip the statute up from the roots. Skittish insurers are watching closely to see what the administration will do. Time is short: Insurers will have to decide very soon whether they want to participate on Obamacare’s exchanges in 2018.

Without the subsidies, insurance markets could quickly unravel. Even more insurers could withdraw from the public marketplaces where more than 10 million Americans obtained coverage last year.

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Ally Miller face plants on Charlottesville violence

Pima County’s Queen of the Teabaggers and noted nut job, Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller, did another face plant over the weekend.

When the nation’s attention was turned to the violent protest by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia in which three people died and numerous others wer injured, Pima County’s Queen of the Teabaggers felt compelled to post this: After Charlottesville attack, Ally Miller’s Facebook post: “WHITE – and proud of it”:

Hours after a white nationalist rally and violence that rocked Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller appears to have posted from her personal Facebook account that she is “sick and tired of being hit for being white.”

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Miller was responding to a Politico article shared by former Tucson mayoral candidate Shaun McClusky that detailed President Trump’s response to the violence, in which he said that “we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides — on many sides.” Those comments were criticized for not specifically calling out white supremacists and other groups involved in the Unite the Right rally.

I am not aware of Miller ever having been criticized for “being white.” She has been roundly criticized by local media for corruption and poor personnel management in her office, her penchant for conspiracy theories unsupported by any evidence, her feuding with former Republican supervisor Ray Carroll, and for being a noted nut job. Miller is a regular carnival side show. See this compendium of articles about Ally Miller at the Tucson Weekly.

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President Trump considering pardon for Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio

The Washington Post reports,  Trump says he’s considering pardon for Joe Arpaio:

President Trump told Fox News he is “seriously considering” issuing a pardon for former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted last month of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge’s order to stop detaining people because he merely suspected them of being undocumented immigrants.

Trump told the news outlet during a conversation in Bedminster, N.J., that the pardon could come quickly, perhaps in a matter of days. The news outlet reported the conversation on its website Monday.

“I might do it right away, maybe early this week. I am seriously thinking about it,” Trump said, according to Fox News. He said Arpaio was a “great American patriot” who had “done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration.”

Arpaio was also “America’s most corrupt sheriff” who abused the powers of his office and who demonstrated contempt for the court, traits that Donald Trump shares in common with his friend.

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A failure of moral leadership

Franklin D. Roosevelt on the presidency: “It is preeminently a place of moral leadership” (quoted in The New York Times, Sept. 11, 1932).

I watched an interview with Bill Kristol of the conservative Weekly Standard, who said that he has “given up” on Donald Trump ever being capable of moral leadership. Donald Trump has no interest in providing moral leadership. Kristol called on Republican governors, mayors, civic and religious leaders to fill the void of moral leadership lacking from Donald Trump.

Kristol, as well as many Republican elected officials and political pundits, have been highly critical of Trump’s failure to condemn White supremacist groups for their violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday.

Trump’s reticence was because these white supremacist groups are a key constituency of his base. It was a crass political calculation.

Former Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard David Duke appeared at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, saying that the event represented fulfilling the promises of President Trump. David Duke: Charlottesville protests about ‘fulfilling promises of Donald Trump’.

“This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back, we’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump, and that’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back and that’s what we gotta do,” Duke said.

Trump condemned the violence on Saturday without specifically calling out white nationalist groups during a press conference Saturday afternoon. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sideson many sides,” Trump said.

Duke responded to Trump’s weak tweet on Saturday:

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White supremacists riot in Virginia, President Trump blames violence ‘on many sides’

I made the point a little more than a week ago that “if Ret. General John Kelly, Trump’s new chief of staff, really wants to right the chaos in the Trump administration, he should dismiss the nativists Steven Bannon and Stephen Miller. He will not, because Trump caters to his nativist racist base.” White nationalists making immigration policy in Trump White House.

This weekend, white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, Neo-Fascists, Neo-Confederates, Ku Klux Klan and various and sundry other white nationalist organizations — key constituencies of the Trump political base — held a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the planned removal of a statute of General Robert E. Lee.

Hundred showed up for a Friday night rally with Tiki torches ablaze that called to mind images of Ku Klux Klan cross burnings in America, and Hitler propaganda rallies in Nazi Germany (really the point they were trying to make).

Alt-RightRally

The Washington Post reports on the horrific events in Charlottesville, Va.:

Chaos and violence turned to tragedy Saturday as hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members — planning to stage what they described as their largest rally in decades to “take America back” — clashed with counterprotesters in the streets and a car plowed into crowds, leaving one person dead and 19 others injured.

Note: If the driver had been identified as a Muslim, Trump would have been tweeting about Islamic terrorism as he watched it live on cable TV. Domestic terrorism from a white supremacist … silence.

Hours later, two state police officers died when their helicopter crashed at the outskirts of town. Officials identified them as Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Va., who was the pilot, and H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian, Va., who was a passenger. State police said their Bell 407 helicopter was assisting with the unrest in Charlottesville. Bates died one day before his 41st birthday; Cullen was 48.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who had declared a state of emergency in the morning, said at an evening news conference that he had a message for “all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today”:

“Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you. You pretend that you are patriots, but you are anything but a patriot. You want to talk about patriots, talk about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, who brought our country together. Think about the patriots today, the young men and women, who with wearing the cloth of our country.

“Somewhere around the globe they are putting their life in danger. They are patriots. You are not. You came here today to hurt people. And you did hurt people. My message is clear, we are stronger than you. You have made our commonwealth stronger. You will not succeed. There is no place for you here. There is no place for you in America.”

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