31 thoughts on “Journal During the Trump Regime (6)

  1. Someone said that a lot of books will be written about Trump’s tweets. That sounds right to me. In my view, Trump’s tweets, or words in general, evoke a lot of reactions. Indeed, one common effect is speechlessness–I’m stunned, overwhelmed, and don’t know where to begin. Commenting on one thing suggests this is the most noteworthy or troubling part of the tweet, but that is often not the case. Choosing the most troubling aspect is extremely difficult, because there are often several aspect that are troubling.

    Trump’s rhetoric (and actions) also stun me because an intelligent adult would not speak and act this way. Similarly, I do not expect a leader of a liberal democracy to speak and act this way. This huge incongruence fries my brains. His words and actions make sense if he were a 10 year old boy. I would not be stunned and confused if he were a dictator in an autocracy. It is difficult and uncomfortable, even after several years, of understanding Trump in this way. He’s a 70 year old man, the POTUS. It’s hard to believe such a person can speak and act the way he does.

  2. (Note: I erroneously posted this a few days ago in the Journal (5) thread.)

    There are many moments where one could justifiably say, “Trump seems to be more unhinged; things are different, etc.” Sometimes when people say this I feel they’re not describing anything new–they’re describing what has been normal for a while. At the same time, I can understand why they would say that. Sometimes one can feel more shock and concern, while not really knowing why this specific incident or moment is more shocking and concerning than many other, previous incidents and moments. That’s how I felt yesterday (and today). Someone made a list of the incidents that occurred yesterday and the day before:

    If you haven’t seen video or read articles of the incidents above, it may not seem as bad. And really, maybe the situation isn’t more dire, maybe Trump isn’t more unhinged than a month or a year ago. But I’m feeling that way. Maybe the threat and concern can’t really have great impact all the time, so it only occurs and different times, triggered by specific events that may not be more significant than previous ones?

    Whatever the case may be, I’m feeling a little more worried–the realization that our liberal democracy is slipping; that it is under attack. I think the recent news about Trump giving special authority to investigate the start of the Russia investigation is what worries me the most. For more details on this, here’s a comment from someone who claims to have worked for WH and DOJ. (It was retweeted by someone I trust, Asha Rangappa.)

    I think this alarm bells should be ringing–the press and former officials in government, including the Trump administration, should be doing the ringing.

  3. Some comments about this:

    1. Put aside the possibility that Russia has compromising material on Trump or that Trump doesn’t want to anger Putin because he wants to do personal business with him. It’s clear to me that Trump can’t put aside his ego. It seems like he can’t separate his electoral victory from Russian interference. That is, to push back against Russia would be equivalent to invalidating his victory. How does this not make him unfit? How is this not a failure in a fundamental duty as POTUS?

    2. Mueller’s quote and remarks in general reject the claim that the Russian investigation was a hoax and witch hunt. Either Mueller or Trump is wrong. They both can’t be right.

    3. I’m not sure what Trump means by “Russia disappeared” but they’re still a threat, and we should take what they did seriously.

    4. “I had nothing to do with Russia helping me get elected” He seems to admit that they did help him here. Was that a slip? Also, he’s right if you don’t think welcoming Russia to release Hillary’s missing emails, meeting with Russian representatives relating to the campaign is equivalent to “nothing to do.”

  4. Evidence that Trump Acts like an Arsonist and Firefighter

    The phrase comes from Greg Sargent:

    The next sequence of tweets are Juliette Kayyem predicting what was going to happen.

    Thread from May 30, 2019 from Juliette Kayyem:

    Earlier today:



  5. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Hearing Today

    Some tweets on the hearing:

  6. For me, this is a transparently bad attempt to erode trust in the New York Times (and possibly the mainstream media in general). It’s also possible that this is Trump’s 9 year old MO of lashing out in frustration.

    I wonder how many other people think this is a very lame attempt at trying to undermine the paper. Or will Trump’s use of “Failing New York Times” actually cause some to think less of the paper? Will they actually believe the Times has actually revealed top secret cybersecurity maneuvers by the U.S. government? Do people really believe the Times is the enemy of the people?

    By the way, a lot of this feels like projection–
    “virtual act of treason,”
    “desperate for a story any story, even if bad for our Country,”
    “anything goes for our CORRUPT,” and
    “They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

    All of this alludes to Trump himself in my opinion.


    Also, the tweet is confusing and non-sensical:

  7. “Do you think the people will demand I stay longer?”

    Imagine if Obama said this, even facetiously. GOP would be calling for his head.

    A reminder that Stalin used the line “Enemy of the People,” and later I believe Khrushchev banned it’s use because it was so corrosive.

  8. Disappointing and Sickening, Really

    This is at campaign rally, kicking off Trump 2020.

    (This is the kind of thing that makes it virtually impossible to seriously voting for Rubio for POTUS.)

  9. This would be great if it was a line from a political satire:

  10. Is this a big deal?

    A professor on authoritarianism, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, seems to think so:

    I’m not sure, but I’m also not an expert on authoritarians. My reaction, though, is that the video is odd, and inappropriate. Can you imagine Obama or W, Clinton or any POTUS doing something similar? At best, it speaks badly of Trump–his personality, mental well-being, maybe. It suggests significant insecurity, maybe narcissism, and even a lack of a awareness that this is something inappropriate.

    I can’t rule out that he’s preparing his followers for staying in power after his term, he’s made at least one other comment publicly before (ostensibly joking).

  11. None of your business?

    Trump is the POTUS, representing our country and our country’s interests when he meets Putin. He’s not a businessman or private citizen. There are some things that he should not and need not disclose, but it is the business of the American people to know what the POTUS plans to discuss, generally, with the President of Russia.

  12. I’m very uncomfortable with this type of statement, especially coming from someone in a prominent position:

    The statement basically undermines the notion that the SCOTUS acts in a non-partisan way. Maybe this is naive of me to even suggest this, but if the general belief is that the SCOTUS and judicial branch makes decisions based on partisanship, I think that really undermines the legitimacy of the courts. If I were a senator and I decided to air these views, I would have to feel confident that the SCOTUS is totally political, and maybe broken in some significant way.

  13. Thoughts on this Thread

    1. No class.
    2. Great leaders take responsibility for their actions, and the organizations they oversee. Trump is at the other end of that spectrum.

  14. Thread:

  15. Yeah, the ending was a kicker.


    This is a good point. He speaks more harshly about Rep. Cummings and other Americans of color than dictators that are actually brutal. I think you could add Kim Jong Un, Duterte, Assad, or the Saudi crown prince killing the journalist. One counter to this is that the POTUS has to be diplomatic with other world leaders. While this is true, other presidents have harshly condemned actions by dictators. Again, my sense is that Trump will criticize Americans, or anyone who is critical of him, more than dictators or individuals who really deserve harsh criticism. He also seems to target people of color.

  16. Evidence 653 that the President really has the mind and maturity of a child

    If there is an alternate, plausible, explanation for this behavior, I’d like to hear it. Even if he’s governing the nation as a reality TV show, that’s not an explanation that dispels the impression that he acts and thinks like a child. This tweet is on the “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” level. It’s also over-the-top horrible to mock a Congressman when his house was robbed.

  17. I’m not sure if this is accurate, but if it is, it’s awful:

    Here it is:

    1. I haven’t read the article, but this headline seems really bad:

      This headline not only creates a positive impression of Trump which is undeserved on this issue, but it creates the impression that he’s acting like normal, responsible politician. They use the word “urge,” which is much more earnest and genuine sounding than the neutral “calls.” I assume the writer(s) of this headline follows the news closely; I would be surprised if they actually think this characterization is credible. There is far more evidence that Trump actually wants to keep the nation divided than wanting to unify it.

  18. I haven’t been following today’s news closely enough to know what these tweets are referring to specifically, but the tweets are not good.

    The tweets also triggered a thought I had today about the way I think people develop an understanding of our politics, particularly those who don’t follow the news closely. My sense is that a lot comes down to heuristics. One sort of obvious example, and it may not even qualify as a heuristic, is a catastrophe to signal that a politician is doing a bad job. I thought of this specifically in relation to Trump. My sense is that many Americans don’t realize how bad he is as a president. One of the few things that could possibly change this is a catastrophic event–e.g., financial crisis or use of a nuclear weapon–especially if one can reasonably draw a line from Trump’s rhetoric or actions to that catastrophe. This is not a good way for people to find out that the POTUS is unfit, though.

    Here are more details:

  19. One angle on Trump that has been at the forefront of my mind recently: He doesn’t have the capacity to put the country or other people ahead of himself. It’s all about him. He can never be the bigger person. And all of this is manifesting itself in a way that makes him seem like a child. The problem is significant enough that it is one of many things that makes him unfit and incapable of doing the job.

    In reference to a NYT headline:

    Another tweet:

    1. “Trump offers no moral leadership; he seems to have no interest in unifying the nation; no evidence that the presidency has awakened his conscience in the least.”

      “Indeed we have a president with a toxic tongue, who has publicly and unapologetically embraced the political strategy of hate, racism, and division.”

      Just want to add that intelligence chiefs have repeatedly mentioned in public that Russia is trying to sow discord and widen divisions in our country. Trump knows this, but he’s still using an approach that aids their efforts. Whatever the reason for him doing this, it seems appropriate to say he’s betraying the country.


      This is a what Trump tweeted as he visited a city that experienced a tragedy. (There’s music on this, too.)

      Not only evidence for the claim that the “the presidency has awakened his conscience,” but it’s evidence that something is not right with this guy.


  20. On several occasions I’ve mentioned the way Trump’s words and actions will leave me stunned and speechless, often because my mind can’t seem to accept reality and the number and layers of problems I have with what I’m hearing. I’ve struggled to articulate this reaction (including right now), but I recently read a few sentences that resonated with me:

    A really exceptional work of obscenity, like a really exceptional work of beauty, exceeds the ability of its viewers to fathom what they just saw. Did that just happen? But … how? What sorcery created it? Words don’t arrive, and the stammering gives way to silence.

    The latest publicity photograph of the president in El Paso, Texas, knocked me into silence for a good half hour this morning while I tried to figure out the many layers of obscenity on display.

  21. Whether this makes someone a white nationalist or not, I’m not sure. I am sure that anyone that does the above behaves and speaks like a white nationalist. And if they continue to do so they either are a white nationalist, or they don’t care if anyone thinks that they are.

    Also, politicians, pundits, and media outlets that are silent or don’t push back against this are basically enabling white nationalist views.

  22. Thought: What if General Mattis, General McMaster, and Secretary Tillerson hold a press conference saying he’s worried that the President is unstable and thinks he poses a threat to the country.

    And then suppose a prominent individual from the administration resigns and holds a press conference saying the same thing.

    And then this leads to other people coming out saying the same thing.

    In my opinion, this is the kind of thing that could be a game-changer. One, it could really get the attention of the general public, especially those who don’t really follow the news closesly. Two, Republicans on Capitol Hill could finally do something.

    In my opinion, one person saying what Scaramucci says is not enough. We need a bunch of them, doing this one after the other, like a cascade or a the breaking of a dam.

    1. It could matter at the Congressional level but it’s not going to matter among his supporters, which is all he cares about. And the Mooch is certainly not the guy to be carrying this flag, sorry as I am to say it.

    2. In addition to having an impact on Congress, I think it could really impact those the casual news consumer. I also don’t think of the Trump supporter as a monolith. The die-hard supporter won’t be affected by this, but I don’t think all of them are die-hard supporters.

      I do agree that Mooch is not the best guy. But the guy who initiates the process isn’t as important. It’s the cascade that occurs after that, hopefully. For example, if that happened right after Mattis resigned. (Alas, it did not.)

    1. I kind of thought everyone knew that the point of hanging is the quick snapping of the neck. When I read the headline about broken neck bones, I knew it was suicide.

      1. From what I recall, the problem wasn’t just a broken neck, but the number(?) of bones or the specific ones that seemed unusual for a hanging. (But I’m not sure if those who felt this way had any medical training.)

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