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By Stump Connolly

Lost in the brouhaha over President Trump’s tiff with Morning Joe and Mika was news that the Ford Focus plant in Mexico President Trump browbeat the automaker into cancelling will now be built in China.

This follows on the heels of the President’s first foray into foreign relations in Europe, after which German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that Europe can no longer “fully rely” on its United States ally; and before Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’s video address to a European business conference was abruptly cut off mid-speech –– to cheers and applause from attendees.

The Trump Administration’s plan to put America First on the world stage is right on schedule. The only problem is nobody is lining up behind us. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center of people across 37 nations, confidence in America’s leadership has dropped from 64 percent to 22 percent since Trump took office, in no small part due to our President’s tweets.

What Matters

What matters most, of course, is what Americans think of Trump, and the answer is way too much. So maybe it’s time we follow the world’s lead and put this Trump sideshow where it belongs: on the Entertainment Page, as The Huffington Post first suggested the day he announced his candidacy for president.

Yes, Trump won the election and he is the President. But every month that goes by demonstrates he is woefully (and maybe willfully) ignorant of the responsibilities of the office. He likes the pageantry of signing his name to executive orders, and the adulation he can command at a cabinet meeting, and those high-level photo ops with foreign leaders. But when he wakes up every morning, what is he thinking? How did Arnold Schwarzenegger do last night in the ratings? Did China’s Xi Jinping like the chocolate cake at Mar a Lago? What are Joe Scarborough and Mika saying about him on Morning Joe?

Smoke & Mirrors

His administration is all smoke and mirrors. The smoke billows out of an economy that has seen a 3,000-point rise in the stock market and unemployment has dropped below 5%. The mirror reflects the fact this is a legacy of the economic policies of Barack Obama, which he called “terrible” throughout the campaign.

His temporary Muslim travel ban has spent more time in the courts than it would have taken to implement. He’s threatening trade wars with half a dozen of our staunchest allies. And the victory lap he took for saving 1100 manufacturing jobs at a Carrier air-conditioning plant in Indiana turns out to have been a little hasty. Only 200 union workers will actually be kept on, at a cost to the state of Indiana of $7 million ($350,000 per job).

Modern Day Presidential

He calls his Twitter feed “modern day presidential” because it allows him to speak directly to the American people. But his unfiltered, self-aggrandizing version of the facts has earned him 67 “Pants on Fire!” ratings from Politifact since he announced for office.

It’s no wonder he has started a Twitter war with the media. Their job is to search out and report the truth. This has not worked out well for our modern day President, or the citizens who are forever getting distracted from the real life and death issues facing America.

The media criticism began respectfully enough with “fact checks.” His first tweets in office were politely reported as “unprecedented.” But the more he tweeted, the further the media stretched to find words to describe them: like “surprising,” “startling,” “head-scratching,” and “beneath the dignity of the office.”

Although no one wants to flat out call him “crazy” –– a word Trump has used 100 times in his Twitter account to describe his enemies –– it’s become increasingly clear he is off his rocker.

Tweet Away!

His allies in the Republican Party only encourage him with their timid response to his latest outbursts. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say they are chagrined, but don’t want to jeopardize their chances of getting his signature on their Republican agenda. “What we’re trying to do around here is improve the civility and tone of the debate, and this obviously does not do that,” Ryan said. But that’s like telling a boy brandishing a gun in class to mind his manners.

I say tweet away! Plop your feet up on the desk in front of your widescreen TV at the White House and fuck bomb away on every dumb shit who crosses your path. (But buy a spellchecker.) Just do it in a locked room where the Secret Service can feed you executive orders through a slot in the door and run them by the sanity police before they are released.

Sticks and stones (and presidential actions) can break my bones, but tweets can never hurt me. So let the turtle out on your opinions, @realDonaldTrump. Maybe we can get The New York Times to publish a column of them every day on the Op-Ed page in a box called Fake News!

Bigger Fish to Fry

We have bigger fish to fry. Especially this week. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un celebrated our Independence Day by lobbing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead 4,000 into the Pacific. “Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” Trump responded in a tweet.

Congress reconvenes next Monday to consider a Republican Health Care that cuts 22 million people off Medicaid, gives a $600 billion tax break to the wealthiest Americans, and will likely raise insurance rates and deductibles and lower coverage for the rest of us. This slop heap of “repeal and replace” alternatives to Obamacare was put together in secret and has not undergone any hearings in the House or Senate, although it affects one of every six dollars spent in the country.

The President has tweeted that the House-passed version is both “great” and “mean.” But he’s shown he doesn’t know what’s in the legislation –– or care –– as long as he can sign something that proves he is “winning.”

And today the President flew off to Europe for his first face-to-face conversation with Vladimir Putin Friday at the G20 summit. Will they talk about Russian meddling in the American elections?

“We have no specific agenda,” his National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster says, “It’s whatever the president wants to talk about.

God help us. I hope we’re sending along adult supervision.


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