Category: Gail Collins
Hell of a busy time for concerned citizens. Donald Trump just kicked off his re-election campaign, leaving his supporters cheering while less enthusiastic citizens kept yelling “That’s just not true!” at the television.
Meanwhile, we’re racing toward the big Democratic presidential debates. People, are you ready? Some of you may be concerned that you don’t know the names of all the candidates. Some of you who do know all the names may be concerned that means you have no life.
Relax. Everything political is interesting right now.
The Democratic setup is more evenhanded than the Republican debates in 2015, when lower-ranking contenders were relegated to what was unkindly known as the “kids’ table.” Afterward, many of them vanished from view forever. However, Rick Santorum is still around, now busy promoting the idea of a Catholic cryptocurrency. And Rick Perry is one of the few early Trump cabinet members who has not had to resign to spend more time with his family.
Everybody gets a fair shake next week, and the Democrats who do well will be elevated to a whole new level on the Trump enemies list, assigned a dumb nickname and attacked in the rants our president thinks of as speeches.
He’s in desperate need of new material. Trump spent a good part of his big kickoff rally attacking Hillary Clinton (“33,000 emails deleted! Think of it!”). His speech was pretty much the same one he’s been making to his fans for the last four years.
The only fresh information Trump brought to the party was an announcement that he’s retiring his Make America Great Again slogan, since, of course, that has been accomplished. The successor will presumably be Keep America Great. Try to imagine all those KAG hats floating around. It suggests either a drunkenly misspelled beer bash or a hitherto unknown arm of the Russian secret police.
So, KAG everybody! Otherwise the president’s big address was a combination of over-the-top attacks — the Obamacare individual mandate was “one of the worst things anybody’s ever had to live through” — and semi-insane boasts about what he’s accomplished.
Pick your favorite historical comparison:
A) No president has ever “done what we have done in two and a half years.”
B) His race in 2016 was “the greatest campaign and the greatest election probably in the history of our country.”
C) “Abraham Lincoln was treated supposedly very badly. But nobody’s been treated badly like me.”
O. K., the last one was from George Stephanopoulos’s ABC News interview. But when you’ve got somebody believing he’s been more abused by his opponents than a victim of assassination, that information needs to be shared.
Also, at the rally Trump referred to himself as “your favorite president,” while comparing himself to George Washington.
First time around, it’s sort of fun yelling back whenever you hear Trump tell a whopper. But the president is utterly indifferent when his facts turn out to be lies. He just keeps rolling along, and after you’ve heard him announce for the millionth time that he had the biggest tax cut in American history, you’re more inclined to curl up under the bed whining “No he didn’t. …”
The rally took place in Orlando, and Trump told the exuberant crowd that Florida is “my second home. In many cases, I think I could say it’s my first home.”
Sometimes those of us in other states are a little jealous of all the attention Florida voters get. However, on behalf of Donald Trump’s first home, I think I can safely say that New York is willing to turn him over to the competition. Really, he’s yours.
The alleged kickoff rally began with an appearance by Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen. It was Mrs. Pence who reportedly told her husband, when he tried to kiss her on election night: “You got what you wanted, Mike, now leave me alone.” The story is from Michael Lewis’s book “The Fifth Risk” and I am repeating it today for absolutely no reason except that I enjoy it.
Trump holds rallies about as frequently as TV newscasts mention the weather. They’re always almost exactly the same, but if you weren’t a regular viewer, you might have been surprised this week at how much time he spent promising to “drain the swamp.” That worked well during the last campaign, so now the president continually assures his followers that the drainage is well underway.
“We stared down the unholy alliance of lobbyists and donors and special interests,” announced the owner of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which is packed with guests who are there to do business for foreign governments.
“Many times I said we would drain the swamp, and that’s exactly what we’re doing right now,” he added. One of the reforms in question required all his political hires to restrict their lobbying the government for at least five years after they leave office.
Given the revolving door at the White House, that would be a ton of people left out in the cold. Except that a ProPublica investigation found the rule has been skirted at least 33 times.
Ex-lobbyists are as thick in the administration as, um, alligators. But nobody’s perfect. Leave the man alone. He’s suffered more than Abraham Lincoln.
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