Yesterday morning, I ranked the five known Presidents. Donald Trump, or “Dolt 45”, as at least one Twitter wag named him, came in third behind Presidents Kushner and Pence.
Last night, the third-ranked Dolt 45 sent a flurry of nearly 60 tomahawk missiles to be dropped on a Syrian airstrip.
We need some context here.
Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad authorized sarin gas attacks on some of his own people. Over 70 people were killed. After the bombing commenced, Trump gave a brief statement from the ad-hoc press room at his estate in Florida. He read from a teleprompter and occasionally ad-libbed. MSNBC’s Brian Williams couldn’t contain his excitement as he looked at file footage of Tomahawk missiles. He even quoted a Leonard Cohen lyric.
We need even more context here.
Last week, depending on which poll you look at, Trump’s approval rating sat anywhere from 35 to 40 percent. That’s historically low for someone in the first 100 days of a new administration. Earlier in the day, Senate Republicans (and a few Democrats) voted to change the rules on approving a Supreme Court Justice from sixty votes to a mere majority of fifty-one. The Republicans eliminated the filibuster and employed the nuclear option in order to ensure the induction of Neil Gorsuch into the Supreme Court. . . a vacancy that had been unfulfilled since the death of Antonin Scalia nearly fourteen months ago during the Obama administration. Even as many of them said it would be a dark day for the Senate, Republicans like John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Rand Paul voted in favor of changing the rules permanently. They could have dumped Gorsuch and made a deal on a more mainstream candidate, perhaps, but. . . rules are rules unless they need to be changed, especially in Mitch McConnell’s eyes.
Both the Senate and House Ethics Committees are looking into potential ties between the Trump campaign/administration and the Russian government, going back several years. Many of the claims made in the infamous Buzzfeed “Pissgate” dossier have turned out to be verified (not the actual piss-related claims, though), which seemed impossible at the time. Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor, offered to testify in exchange for immunity and was rejected. Steve Bannon, Trump chief strategist, was removed from the National Security Council. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Attorney General, had to recuse himself from the Russian investigation after he perjured himself during testimony before a Senate subcommittee.
We now know that Trump did not solicit Congressional approval for the bombing and has received mixed reviews for his actions from both sides of the aisle. Rand Paul, who spent the previous weekend golfing with him, criticized him for not bringing this to Congress to deliberate.
In 2013, Obama wanted to attack Syria and asked for Congress approval. He did not get it. Trump attacked Syria without seeking approval first. This may have been a violation of the Constitution.
Will this mean anything? Doubtful. al-Assad will likely continue slaughtering his own people, never mind the many warring factions in Syria trying to upend and oust him. The middle east is a delicate situation and our actions don’t seem to help much. If we act tentatively, we accomplish nothing. If we go all-in like 2003 Iraq, we make things actively worse. Trump, for his part, never thought Obama should go into Syria. So much so that he tweeted about it at least a dozen times.
Obama, for all his mistakes, tried to be careful. Trump is the kind of guy who treats everything like a nail and he’s got the hammer for it. If a Muslim came to him with a case of dandruff, Trump would cure it by having him guillotined. Subtlety and modesty is not his forte.
Last night, the TV news media said Trump finally became Presidential. I’ve heard that one before. It was the night he gave the speech in front of a joint session of Congress. Within a day, the Russia deal inflammed and grew worse and any goodwill Trump gained in his reserved Congress speech evaporated. This Syrian action may likely result in a short-term gain for him and his approval rating.
And all he had to do was drop some bombs?
The non-Trumpers (like me) will never like him and never approve of him and his illegitimate actions. That leaves the diehards and the indifferent and he was steadfastly losing them. Maybe he’ll get them back for a few weeks but not for long. I still don’t think he will be President by the end of the year. There are at least three ongoing investigations on this adminstration. We are looking at a potential Summer of Impeachment.
It’s gonna be a hot one.