Trump Puts the “BS” in BSA

trump scoutsI’ve made no secret about my feelings regarding the current president. In my opinion, he is a disaster for this country — unmoored, unhinged, and unreliable. He is incapable of controlling himself, showing proper decorum, and acting like someone who is supposed to be our leader. The president is not an honorable man. He is vulgar, short-tempered, and unwilling to learn what it takes to do the job properly.

Yesterday, President Trump gave a speech to nearly 40,000 Boy Scouts at the National Jamboree. This is traditional. So one can forgive the BSA for extending this invitation to the president. It isn’t a hard gig — you get up there, you say some words about the Scout Law or the Scout Oath, you encourage these young leaders to go into public service and government work, and you inspire them to be loyal to their country.

What you don’t do is tell stories about cocktail parties you attended where you rubbed elbows with billionaires infamous for their sexual exploits. You don’t curse. You don’t encourage these young people to “boo” your political adversaries. You don’t rehash an election. You don’t undermine national institutions. You don’t bring up old grievances. You try to embody the 12 points of the Scout Law and you end with “God bless the United States of America.”

It should be a break from the scandals and headaches of the office. No one expects you to talk about your struggles in passing legislation or your fights with other members of your party. These are kids. Try to inspire something in them besides pettiness and avarice.

I was a Cub Scout, a Webelo, and a Boy Scout. I spent the summer before my freshman year of high school hiking the Rocky Mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico (one of the BSA’s High Adventure camps). I spent the two summers after that as a camp counselor at Boxwell Scout Reservation teaching young people first aid, cooking, signaling, and wilderness survival. I was a patrol leader, a senior patrol leader, a den chief, and a Scoutmaster. The accomplishments I achieved during my years in Scouting remain some of my proudest. And while the BSA has struggled at times with 21st-century realities, those early stumbles are being addressed. The organization is more inclusive now than when I was a young man in olive drab.

So Scouting holds a special place in my life. That’s why President Trump’s speech makes me so angry.

The president embarrassed himself out there and probably doesn’t even know it. He also embarrassed the BSA. This will be a real test of BSA leadership. Those of us who follow this stuff are looking to see how the organization will react to this speech. How will they address the angry parents, troop leaders, and former Scouts who were appalled by this display of vulgarity and ignominy?

It is hard to describe how much the president betrayed the traditions of Scouting with that speech. Boy Scouts are taught from the beginning to be of service to others. To not make it about them. They are discouraged from appearing in uniform at political events. The National Jamboree is there to celebrate Scouting and Trump made it about himself — his electoral college victory, his perceived lack of respect in Washington, and his petty feud with the media. It was shocking because it was so out of place. Presidents have spoken at the National Jamboree since its inception in 1937. This is the first time the president’s speech has been controversial because this president is incapable of propriety. He cannot control himself. You may say “Mike, how can you say that about a grown man you don’t know?” Because if he could control himself, this would have been the speech to show it. These are kids. They don’t need to hear about your beef with Hillary Clinton. They don’t need to be encouraged to boo anyone, much less the former president who was a Boy Scout. This president does not embody the Scout Law. I’ll show you.

A Scout is Trustworthy:

President Donald Trump has told so many lies while in office that major news organizations are keeping a running list. He lies about big things. He lies about little things. He lies when the truth will suffice. He lies about things that don’t matter. He lies about things no one cares about. He lies to make himself look better. He has a plaque at his Trump National Golf Course commemorating a Civil War battle that never happened. It also features a Trump family crest that he stole, replacing the word “integrity” with “Trump.” Trump is not trustworthy.

A Scout is Loyal:

Much has been made about the president’s demands for personal loyalty. When he began to quote the Scout Law in his speech, he paused at “loyal” to make some snarky comments about the lack of loyalty in Washington. But loyalty goes both ways and the president doesn’t demonstrate loyalty to the people around him. For example, he has been openly criticizing Attorney General Jeff Sessions (an Eagle Scout who was not invited to the National Jamboree with the president). Sessions was one of the earliest politicians to support Trump. He’s now holding onto his job by a thread, while Trump floats replacing him because he is under the mistaken impression that the attorney general works for him and not the people. Trump is not loyal.

A Scout is Helpful:

Trump helps himself and his family by giving them access to government largess and allowing them to grift from the seat of power. But that’s not what the Scout Law is about. Trump helps ISIS by criticizing Islam and changing sides in the Syrian civil war. But he doesn’t help the American people by undermining our national institutions, attempting to take away their health insurance, and breaking his campaign promises with regard to the social safety nets of Medicaid and Social Security. Trump is not helpful.

A Scout is Friendly:

Trump claims to have lots of friends. Sometimes he makes them up, like his friend “Jim” who doesn’t go to Paris anymore. Sometimes he lies about his friendships like with Pavarotti. Sometimes he pretends to be his own friend so he can brag to reporters about how great he is. Trump is not friendly.

A Scout is Courteous:

giphy

The president doesn’t hold his wife’s hand while she negotiates stairs in heels. He doesn’t open the car door for her or even allow her to get into the car first, using the door closest to the entrance. People who know Trump use a lot of adjectives to describe him. “Courteous” isn’t on the list. You have to have respect for others to be courteous to them. Trump demands respect from others, he doesn’t offer it in return. Trump is not courteous.

A Scout is Kind: 

Eric Trump’s charity, which raises money for childhood cancer research, was recently embroiled in a scandal when researchers discovered that Donald Trump insists on gouging his son’s charity for the use of his golf course, which is the venue for Eric Trump’s big annual fundraiser. All told, Trump skimmed $1.2 million in charitable donations from kids with cancer to the Trump Organization. Trump is not kind.

A Scout is Obedient:

The president was having trouble hiring a personal lawyer to help him with his Russia problems. Four of the top D.C. law firms turned him down citing two specific issues with having Trump as a client: 1) he doesn’t pay his bills and 2) he doesn’t do what he’s told. When you sit in the big chair, it is easy to believe that no one tells you what to do and even if they did, you’re in charge, so you don’t have to listen. But the president works for the people. He’s not a ruler. He doesn’t reign over us. He’s our leader. He is answerable to us. Trump is not obedient.

A Scout is Cheerful:

To be cheerful is to be noticeably happy and optimistic. The president is neither of those things. His entire campaign was based on the idea that America is no longer great. His convention speech highlighted his perceived problems in the country and how only he could fix them. Since taking office, he’s complained and grumbled about how things are done in Washington. His Twitter feed, his main form of communication with the American people,  is a litany of petty grievances, deflection, and lies. Trump is not cheerful.

A Scout is Thrifty:

trump towerBefore becoming president, Trump lived in a golden tower surrounded by golden furniture, golden fixtures, golden wallpaper, etc… Before this speech, the president’s previous interaction with the BSA was in 1989 when his son, Don, Jr. joined a local Scout Troop. The fee to join was $7. Trump didn’t pay it out of his pocket. He had his “charity” pay it — the smallest “gift” the Donald Trump Foundation has on record. A man who will spend millions on golden thrones to rest his ample backside, but requires his “charity” to pay the $7 for his son to join the Boy Scouts is not thrifty. Trump is miserly.

A Scout is Brave: 

In 1968, Donald Trump was 22 years old. He was playing football, tennis, squash, and was taking up golf. He was an athlete in high school and college — the picture of health. But when the government enacted the draft for the Vietnam war, he suddenly developed bone spurs in his feet which wouldn’t allow him to serve. Years later, when he ran for president, he often referenced his time in the New York Military Academy as a place where he got “more training” than people in the military. In an interview with Howard Stern, Trump claimed avoiding the STDs from all the women he slept with was his own personal Vietnam. Trump is not brave.

A Scout is Clean:

It is a well-established fact that the president is a germaphobe. He said as much when rumors about urinating Russian prostitutes were in the news. This point of the Scout Law doesn’t just refer to literal cleanliness. Scouts spend a lot of time in dirty situations. It is more about “clean living” than compulsively washing your hands or eating fried chicken with a knife and fork. The president has been ensnared by his celebrity and has used that celebrity to live a life that borders on debauchery. He makes comments about being attracted to his daughter. He was caught on tape bragging about grabbing women, pursuing married women, and using his status to influence them. Trump is not clean.

A Scout is Reverent: 

One would be hard pressed to find an instance of Trump being reverent. He shows no respect for others. He’s not one to defer to tradition or decorum. He acts as if the rules do not apply to him. He carries grudges. He spreads lies. He’s greedy and ignorant. He hasn’t got a solemn bone in his body. He may have the support of a slice of Evangelical Christians, but he has no respect for them. If he did, he wouldn’t get up on a stage in front of 40,000 young people and tell a meandering story about one of his billionaire friends known for hosting orgies on his yacht. Trump is not reverent.

The president owes the Boy Scouts an apology. The BSA owes the Scouts who attended this event some guidance as to how to process what they heard and how, despite much of it going against everything they’re being taught as Scouts, they should continue to better themselves and not model the President of the United States, because that man is no Scout.

Operation Sketchbook: (The Trump/Nixon Tapes Part 7)

trump courtroom sketch

[What follows is a transcript of President Donald Trump speaking into the Oval Office recording device originally used by President Richard Nixon. This series of recordings encompass the president’s communication to his inner circle.]

To: The Trump Circle of Trust (TCT)

cc: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Majority Leader Mitch McConell

As all of you should know by now, I don’t watch CNN anymore. I think I made that clear to the AP when they were here this week. Where is it? Here: (sound of second tape recorder button clicking)

TRUMP: OK. The one thing I’ve learned to do that I never thought I had the ability to do. I don’t watch CNN anymore.

AP: You just said you did.

TRUMP: No. No, I, if I’m passing it, what did I just say (inaudible)?

AP: You just said —

TRUMP: Where? Where?

AP: Two minutes ago.

TRUMP: No, they treat me so badly. No, I just said that. No, I, what’d I say, I stopped watching them. But I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC. I don’t watch it.

(recording ends)

So I was passing by CNN and noticed Sean was looking less fat. I was thinking that maybe we could put him back on camera, but then Steve pointed out that it was just a drawing by a CNN sketch artist. It was such a beautiful drawing I couldn’t get over it. So I got my own courtroom sketch artist. I like how honest he is about my hairline and number of chins. I’m thinking we just use this guy from now on: Operation Sketchbook. We can get him to draw me standing behind the podium and we’ll blow it up and stand it up there. The dishonest media can shout questions at it then go write their fake news.

Speaking of “fake news,” what about my big reveal on the Comey tapes? Pretty fantastic, right? Sean Hannity loved it. Wait. I’ve got that (button press)

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I’m sorry, this was one of the most brilliant, strategic, doubt-inducing, mind-messing tweets in the history of mankind, because he basically said to Comey, “Well, if there’s tapes, you’re in trouble with the deep state,” it was also a nice shot at them. 

Ha ha ha. Oh and Fox and Friends thought it was pretty brilliant, too. I mean everybody is saying what a great Tweet it was. (click)

AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Big news today. You said you didn’t tape [former FBI Director] James Comey. Do you want to explain that? Why did you want him to believe you possibly did that? 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well I didn’t tape him. You never know what’s happening when you see that the Obama administration, and perhaps longer than that, was doing all of this unmasking and surveillance. And you read all about it and I’ve been reading about it for the last couple of months about the seriousness and horrible situation with surveillance all over the place. And you’ve been hearing the word “unmasking,” a word you probably never heard before. So you never know what’s out there, but I didn’t tape and I don’t have any tape and I didn’t tape. But, when he found out that there may be tapes out there, whether it’s governmental tapes or anything else, and who knows, I think his story may have changed. I mean, you’ll have to take a look at that because then he has to tell what actually took place at the events. And my story didn’t change. My story was always a straight story. My story was always the truth. But you’ll have to determine for yourself whether or not his story changed. But, I did not tape. 

EARHARDT: That was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in those hearings. 

TRUMP: Well, it wasn’t very stupid, I can tell you that. He did admit that what I said was right. And if you look further back, before he heard about that, I think maybe he wasn’t admitting that, so, you’ll have to do a little investigative reporting to determine that. But, I don’t think it’ll be that hard.

See? The honesty is really striking, right? Why can’t they get that over at CNN? It’s a disaster over there. What did I ever do to Jake Tapper? I mean who cares, right? I never said I had tapes. I just waited for 41 days to say I didn’t have tapes. I’m busy. I got a lot of things on my plate. Sheila? What’s for lunch? No. I want one of those shark steak sandwiches like Jeff Bridges got in that movie where he was president. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m not going to eat that. Get me a QPC from McDonald’s. Extra ketchup.

Okay. So what was I talking about? Sheila? Sheila? She’s gone already? Man, she moves fast. She’s a go-getter, Sheila. I mean she’s really going and getting, right? That’s the way it works.

You know, the more I look at that sketch of me, the more I like it this Operation Sketchbook. We should all just not appear on camera anymore. Jared gets the idea. He’s off solving the Middle East thing and nobody even knows what he sounds like because he can keep his mouth shut. Jared, you’ll have to tell me how you managed to talk a journalist from the AP into deleting photos of you from his camera. That must have been some talk.

Whoever is covering Jared’s muffin basket duty while he’s bringing an end to a centuries-old conflict this weekend should send Jared a muffin basket. Wait. Never mind. He’s done.

Will somebody bring me something else to sign? What is taking so long with that health care bill? Are the Democrats being obstructionists again? Just pass something so I can sign it and tell everybody how great your “mean son of a bitch” bill is.  Mitch, you fixed all that right? You told me to leave it to you and I said “Happy to do it” because one less thing for me to do, right? But you fixed it, right? I’m sure it’s okay. Here’s an idea! Must credit Trump!

Send it over, I’ll sign it before you vote on it. What about that, huh? Is that a great idea or what? I sign the bill before you bring it to a vote and you can say, “Look, it’s a done deal. The president has already signed it, so you need to get on the right side of this thing or you’re going to be left behind.” I think that would be beautiful. Can you imagine the look on Chuck Schumer’s face? [laughter]

But seriously, send me some legislation to sign. It is the best part of this job, showing off for the cameras and . . . hmmm. That’s . . . that’s tough . . . Guys, I’m not sure Operation Sketchbook is going to work out. Let me think about it. I’ll let you know something in two weeks.

I’ve been hitting the Russia thing pretty hard on Twitter. You know, I had no idea when I took this job that so many people would turn on you so quickly. I was just saying to Nixon’s ghost the other night. Nixon’s ghost is a good friend of mine, let me tell you. He’s the one who told me to tweet about the Comey tapes. “Keeps everybody honest,” he said. Ole Honest Nixon, they used to call him. Good times.

Anyway, I was telling Nixon’s ghost, “Look, it is nobody’s business who I call or when I call them or what we talk about when I call. Don’t give me “Presidential Records Act” this or “You can’t block people on Twitter” that.” The president deserves a little privacy to yell at his lawyers. Nixon’s ghost agreed with me, except for the Twitter part. He died in 1994. He doesn’t know what Twitter is. But I believe 90 percent of the ghost presidents living in the White House would agree with me. If not 95 percent.

So I don’t want to read in the paper about me making my morning calls to my lawyers to get all my Russia yelling out early in the day. That’s my “me time.” The dishonest media shouldn’t be writing about that, I don’t care if it is true.

So I’ve pivoted on the Russia thing, now that I’ve figured out how to blame it on Obama. I don’t know if you noticed because it was such a subtle shift in tone:

Now:

Amazing, right? It was such a subtle pivot that no one is going to notice my tacit admission that Putin stuck his thumb on the scale. Well, Sheila noticed, but she’s a real go-getter. I wonder when she’s going to be a come-bringer-er soon? I’m starving here.

So I’m thinking about firing Mueller. I know firing Comey didn’t work out exactly as Jared said it would. But this time I don’t have to be the one firing him. I can order Rosenstein to do it. Or whoever’s next in line if Rosenstein isn’t loyal. Have we fixed that yet? Find me a Bork and let’s get this Saturday Night Massacre on the road!

Mueller can’t investigate me if he’s best friends with Comey! He can’t use lawyers who have donated to Democrats! He can’t keep expanding his investigation to include money laundering and racketeering. I didn’t sign off on that and you guys know me, I’ll sign anything. He’s going after my general, my campaign manager, my consigliere, my Jared and now me? Putin told me I don’t have to put up with it. He said if it were him, he’d be making a pot of polonium tea for Mueller. That’s not really my style. Maybe some polonium Diet Coke? I’ll ask ghost Nixon. He knows how to handle these special prosecutors.

 

Tapes? Who said anything about tapes? (The Trump/Nixon Tapes Part 6)

Trump - Nixon Ghost2[What follows is a transcript of President Donald Trump speaking into the Oval Office recording device originally used by President Richard Nixon. This series of recordings encompasses the president’s communication to his inner circle.]

To: The Trump Circle of Trust (TCT)

cc: Sen. Chuck Grassley

Okay, everyone let’s be clear. Officially, I am not taping myself talking to you. That’s not happening, okay? Also, I’m not taping each and every conversation I have with each of you. That’s also not happening. Are we clear? I don’t know what you’ve been reading in the fake news or my Twitter feed, but I’m not saying that I have tapes.

I mean okay, sure, there’s a console by my bed at Mar-a-Lago that allows me to listen in on phone conversations anywhere at the resort. But let’s be honest here. Who among us wouldn’t want to listen in on some of these guests? Have you seen the parade of trophy wives? Va va va voom, am I right? But I didn’t record them. I don’t think we even have the technology to tape phone calls, have we? Someone over at the CIA should get on that. Just be sure and tell them it was my idea. People don’t give me enough credit for the things I make up.

Now, about the Comey firing. I don’t get it. Why is that such a big deal? I mean do I have the power to fire him or don’t I? I do, right? And Democrats have been wanting me to fire him, right? Since day freaking one. They say he took the election away from Hillary with that letter. So why are they so mad that I took action? And who cares what the reason was? Hey, I’m an active president with a lot of plates spinning. You can’t expect normal people to keep up with me, much less the people dumb enough to want to work in my communications office. I could replace you all with Sheila from the Steno pool. At least she records what I’m saying accurately and can repeat it back to me. There’s an idea:

Sheila? How’s your transcribing arm? Good? Cause you might be getting called up to the majors.

So I fired a guy that I am legally allowed to fire and I don’t even have to have a reason. So why is everyone trying to make a federal case out of it? I mean, not that I’m projecting here, but he was a grandstander and a showboat. Normally, I like showboats. There’s a great one down in Nashville that makes a well-done steak like you wouldn’t believe.

Anyhoo, firing Comey should have been no big deal. It’s not like he was all that popular with the FBI. For one thing, he’s too tall. I don’t trust really tall people. It’s like they’re lording it over me. I’m the lord around here. I mean, have you seen the size of my television? That’s a presidential TV.

I mean how many times did we change our story yesterday? Sheila? You got a rundown? Uh-huh. So, first, it was on the recommendations from Sessions and Rosenstein. Then I told Lester Holt it was my idea to do it before I even met with them. That’s not bad. That can be chalked up to miscommunica . . . what? Oh. Then Mike Pence said it had nothing to do with the Russia investigation and I told Lester Holt that I was thinking about the Russia investigation. Again, no bigly deal. Pence was out of the loop. What? Then Kelly Ann went on CNN and said it had “zero” to do with the Russia investigation. Okay, first of all, who let Kelly Ann out of her office? Then what, Sheila? Spicey said it was all based on Rosenstein? Nobody believes what Sean Spicer has to say. Did he yell that out from behind the bushes? What about that other girl? The six that Huckabee sent over? She said I’d already made the decision after watching Comey testify, right? That’s close enough. The dishonest media doesn’t believe anything my people say anyway. They’re obsessed with catching them in lies. You’d think my communications staff was making a game of lying to the press.

Look, you and I and whoever is taping this all know that the Trump Russia story is a hoax right? Didn’t Comey tell me three times that I’m not under investigation? Didn’t Chuck Grassley say the Trump Russia story was a hoax? So, me firing Comey doesn’t change that. It just moves it along so we can stop talking about fake news Russia and go back to talking about the real scandal — Obama taping my conversations. Why is nobody talking about that story?

You know who should be mad about recorded conversations? Me. Who had their private locker-room talk recorded and then broadcast all over the world? Me. That was between me, Billy Bush, and the sound crew who wired us for mics shortly before we had that private conversation.

It’s not like I even like Russians anyway. Oooh, While I’m thinking about it, Jared? Send Eric a muffin basket with Vodka and rat poison. Write “Snitches get stitches on the card.” He’ll know what I’m talking about. What was I talking about? Sheila? The Russians! Right. Talk about a bunch of liars. I agreed to meet with the Russian foreign minister and that ambassador who everyone who worked on my campaign met with and forgot about. I didn’t want any press there, of course, because they’re all obsessed with Russians for some reason.  They bring a photographer and tell me it’s just for Putin’s scrapbook. I meet the guy, his name was Tass or something like that. So the ambassador gives me a fancy Russian pen and some extra batteries for it and tells me to keep it with me as a sign of friendship.

“Okay,” I say. “If you’re sure nobody is going to see me playing grabass with the Russians in the Oval Office, then fine. Take your pictures.” Next thing I know, they’ve posted them on the wire services! I was all like “Tass! I thought we were comrades!” It turns out the Russian media is just as dishonest as the American media. You know what? I’ll say it. The Russian media is the enemy of the American people.

Oh, and what about Tom Arnold! He says he has a tape of my private racist and sexist comments I made while on the set of “The Apprentice.” How is that fair? Just because I’m on a TV set and wearing a microphone doesn’t mean you should record the terrible things I say and do! When the director says “cut,” that’s me time.  Steve Harvey knows what I’m talking about.

It’s like everything you do in the White House is on tape somewhere. People seriously need to stop taping me. That’s my job. I tape you. I think there’s a Yakov Smirnov joke in there somewhere. Sheila? Call Yakov Smirnov and tell him I have an exclusive joke for him. Must credit Trump!

This whole week has me goddamned steamed.

Okay, I’m about out of tape and these reel-to-reel jobs are a disaster to change. Speaking of which, my Tivo is about 98 percent full. Someone get on there and change the tapes so I don’t miss “Morning Joe.”

They’re Coming To Take Me Away Ha Ha Ho Ho Hee Hee (The Trump/Nixon Tapes Part 5)

Trump Jackson Screwball[What follows is a transcript of President Donald Trump speaking into the Oval Office recording device originally used by President Richard Nixon. This series of recordings encompasses the president’s communication to his inner circle.]

To: The Trump Circle of Trust (TCT)

cc: Speaker Paul Ryan

I swear. You people are going to put me in the looney bin. Why is everyone talking like I’m crazy? Morning Joe? George Will? The Washington Post? CNBC? NPR? They’re all talking about how I’m losing it. Like I got a screw loose! Can you believe it? I mean, I expect that sort of thing from Keith Olberman, but Terry Gross? What did I ever do to her?

This is completely unfair. So I occasionally have trouble getting the words out. Or I confuse names. Or I repeat simple phrases over and over again. Or I talk about dead people as if they’re still alive. Or I forget how government works. Or I’m afraid of stairs. Or I compliment dictators and strongmen around the world.

Speaking of which, I heard Kim Jong-un’s dad has a hell of a golf swing. Maybe I should invite him out to Mar-a-Lago for 18 holes and we can work this whole nuclear thing out. Sheila? Get me Kim Jong-il on the phone. What? Dead? When? Does Kim-Jong-un know? He’s a smart cookie. I bet he does know. Any word on how his golf game is? If he’s anything like his old man, it’s tremendous.

Someone might have mentioned that Andrew Jackson died 16 years before the Civil War started. Or that the Civil War is one of the most researched questions historians have written about. Am I the only 70-year-old white man who hasn’t watched a thousand documentaries about the Civil War? To see my Twitter mentions, you’d think so. Don’t worry, though. I fixed it.

I genuinely believe Andrew Jackson saw the Civil War coming and was really mad about it. Look at a $20 bill. Doesn’t he seem angry? Someone ask Steve Mnuchin if we can put me on some money. I’m thinking we bring back the $20 gold coin and put my face on one side and me standing at the 14th hole at Trump National on the other. Just make sure it shows the plaque memorializing that “River of Blood” Civil War battle that the fake news people at the failing Golf Digest say never happened.

How about that health care bill, huh? Great job everybody. We twisted arms and prodded those squishy moderates then all of a sudden we got us an Obamacare replacement that does everything I promised it would do. It covers everybody. What was that, Shiela? 27 million? Really? Well, it protects people with pre-existing conditions. What? No? Are you sure? I’m pretty sure I saw Paul say it would protect pre-existing conditions. It will jack up their premiums? But I promised it would lower premiums. I said it would cost a tiny fraction of what Obamacare costs. I remember it clearly because that was a huge applause line. Ugh, am I going to have to read this bill? Shiela? Get someone in here to read this bill for me.

[tape pauses for 8 minutes]

Enough! Enough! Get out! Who knew health care could be so boring? Am I right? Shiela? Tell Paul, I’ll take his word for it. Man, I thought I was going to die listening to that. Good thing I’ve got great health insurance. Whew. I’ll tell ya, that was brutal. I did catch something about Medicaid in there. I assume we’re keeping my promise to not cut Medicaid, right? I really gave ole’ Huckabee the business on Twitter that time he copied me.

Wait, what was that, Shiela? You were mumbling something. Block grants to the states? What’s that? Oh. Well, that doesn’t sound too bad. I mean what’s $880 billion? It’s not like that’s serious money. It’s probably mostly fraud and waste, right? What? What’s a “special-needs kid?” Oh, come on. Really? What about vets? Them too? So who gets the $880 billion? Tax cuts for billionaires? And they voted for that? Wow. Unbelievable. I’m sure everyone else is okay with it, though. What? Well, yeah, I’ll sign it. I promised, didn’t I?

Man, I’m bushed. I hope I don’t say something to undercut our entire argument when I meet with the Australian prime minister tonight. You know how I get when I haven’t had my well-done steak with ketchup.

Okay. Now that we’re finished with repeal and replace can we move on to something else? I am so tired of pretending I care about health care. I need to get out of Washington for a few days. Maybe I’ll go visit Melania in New York. That’s the one place in the country where I know they love me. New York is my town. What’s that, Shiela? Mike Pence has another executive order for me to sign? I sure do sign a lot of these things for someone who used to really hate the idea of presidents signing executive orders.

What’s this one about? Religious Freedom? Is it the one where we let Christians discriminate against gay people or the one where we let churches fundraise for politicians? Both? Ask Mike if he can combine them into one, I don’t want to sign two of them. I’ve only got so much left in in the old tank today and I’m trying to make a tee time at Trump National. Oh, has Ivanka signed off on this? Well, at least no one can get mad about this one, right?

Shiela? Tell Steve Mnuchin that when he’s done with his weekly meeting with Ivanka that I need to see her. I want to give her a hug and tell her it’s going to be okay. Everybody puts fake quotes in their book nowadays. Nobody cares except a bunch of nerds that are going to find something to complain about no matter what you write. Shiela? Get the State Department on the phone. They’re not doing anything important. Maybe they can help goose her book sales a bit.

You know, I’m getting a little sick of the attitudes around here. Maybe some of you need a little refresher course in who is in charge. Shiela? What can I do to punish a bunch of federal employees that requires virtually no effort on my part?

Okay, I’m off the New York. Good job on the . . . uh . . . health care thing . . . and stuff. Just terrific. Really. I’m sure that’s going to be a huge, huge, part of my legacy.

 

Trump and Ryan Celebrate Bullying Their Own Party Into Supporting A Bad Bill That Will Never Become Law

trump-and-paul-ryanThe House voted 217 to 213 to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This cynical divisive act of cowardice served one (and only one) purpose — to give Donald Trump a legislative “victory.” But what did they win, exactly? I can guarantee you that, even as Trump talks about how great this plan is, he has no idea what the bill does. None. He just knows it must be a good plan because it passed.

During the campaign, Trump promised universal coverage at “a tiny fraction of the cost” and “it will be so easy.” It was only after he was elected that he realized how complicated health care is. By most estimates, it counts for a sixth of our economy and House Republicans passed it without knowing what was in it.

I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t Nancy Pelosi, when she was the speaker, say they had to pass Obamacare to find out what was in it? No. That’s one of the enduring myths of Obamacare — a quote, truncated and removed from its context then used as a bludgeon. The Affordable Care Act took 18 months to develop. There were hours and hours of hearings and debates. President Obama toured the country promoting it and taking ownership of it. During that year and a half, we lost Sen. Ted Kennedy and had to endure a special election. Democrats (though they controlled both houses) negotiated away popular provisions such as the public option to garner bipartisan support, incorporating demand after demand from Republicans only to have them vote no anyway. So no, the ACA wasn’t “rammed through” like so many Republicans claim.

The bill that passed the House yesterday was debated for six hours. No amendments were allowed. No hearings were held. There was no score from the Congressional Budget Office letting us know how much it would cost or what the impact would be on the people. The previous version (the one that didn’t make it to a floor vote) was going to kick 27 million people off their health insurance. It was polling at 17 percent. Somehow, I doubt this version will be any better and, when the CBO score comes out in a week or so, we’re likely to find that it is much worse.

Why did they have to rush this? What was the hurry? One reason is that the Trump administration needed some legislative victory to tout. The president just held a 100-day rally in a town he once referred to as a “war zone” and all he could say was that he nominated a Supreme Court justice (which was McConnell more than Trump) and he signed a bunch of executive orders, which were themselves broken campaign promises. The evidence of this assertion is that after voting on the bill, House Republicans got on buses and rode to the White House for a Trump victory celebration. What were they celebrating? Paul Ryan and Donald Trump had bullied their own party into supporting bad legislation? That’s a win?

Trump said Obamacare is “dead” well, “essentially dead.” He described the Republican bill as “something that is very, very, incredibly well-crafted.” I can guarantee you with all certainty that he has no idea what is in that bill. Most of the Republicans who voted for it hadn’t read it.

Now, I can break down for you all the terrible things in this bill, such as how it declares being a woman a pre-existing condition, screws over special-needs kids, cuts Medicaid funds that help the poor to fund a tax cut for the wealthy, and offers states a waiver to allow insurance companies to jack up rates on pre-existing conditions and old people. But what’s the point? This bill will never become law. The Senate is going to start from scratch. That’s the thing that really bothers me about this. The AHCA will be DOA in the Senate. So all the arm twisting and bullying to get the votes they needed in the House was just so Trump could have his Rose Garden photo op:

It was a sea of white men all celebrating killing health care for at least 27 million people and passing a tax cut for people making more than $250,000 a year. They are so proud and happy. But most of them don’t even know what they voted for because what they really voted for was for Paul Ryan to keep his leadership post. Aside from Trump’s photo op, that was the priority here. Because if Ryan failed to pass a bill on this third try, then his speakership was going to be over. In fact, the entire House leadership team would have been kicked out.

Think about that. If you were a rank-and-file member, that conversation had to go something like:

“We need you to support this bill.”

“Can I read it?”

“We don’t have draft language yet.”

“What about a CBO score?”

“Nope.”

“Is it popular with the public?”

“Polling nationally at about 17 percent.”

“This bill sounds awful.”

“Don’t worry. You and your staff will get an exemption from whatever is in it.”

“Why should I vote for it?”

“If it fails again, the entire House leadership will be fired and you might have to take one of the posts.”

“Oh hell no!”

The American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospitals Association, the AARP, insurance companies, and editorial boards across the country all oppose this bill. Perhaps the president has succeeded in uniting this country afterall.

Next week (or maybe the week after) the CBO is going to tell everyone exactly what the Republicans passed yesterday. Your congressman needs to hear from you. One of the easiest ways to make that happen is to use ResistBot to send faxes and letters to your representatives for free (though they would appreciate donations). I use it three or four times a week to let my congressman, Dr. Phil Roe, know that his district isn’t as safe as he believes. If we can’t make these people feel uneasy about something as egregious as this dumpster fire of a bill, then we’ve lost already. Next year will be the midterms and every member of congress needs to be held accountable for what they did yesterday. I’ll do my part. I’m counting on you to do yours.

100 Days. That’s Like . . . a Lot of Days, Right? (The Trump/Nixon Tapes Part 4)

Trump Button

[What follows is a transcript of President Donald Trump speaking into the Oval Office recording device originally used by President Richard Nixon. This series of recordings encompasses the president’s communication to his inner circle.]

To: The Trump Circle of Trust (TCT)

cc: Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight Committee
Steve Mnuchin, secretary of Treasury

Shiela? Make a note to tell whoever is bringing me a Coke every time I press this red button on my desk to ease up on the ice. The red button means “Coke” not “ice with some Coke splashed over it, okay?”

Okay, people, this “100 days thing” is starting to wear on my nerves. I don’t know who decided that this was going to be a big deal, but all I’m seeing on TV is how unproductive Trump’s first 100 days will be. Where did anyone get the idea that I was going to get a lot of things accomplished in the first 100? Not that we haven’t. I mean look at all the executive orders I signed. I even read some of them. Well, I skimmed them. Or I had Shiela give me the bullet points. I’m the president. I don’t have a lot of time for reading. The point is that 100 days isn’t a lot of time when you’re dealing with a Republican congress. I don’t know what Ron thinks he’s doing over there, but it’s a disaster.

That’s okay though. I know how to fix it.

It will turn around for us when those coal mining companies start hiring again. Somebody has to dump all that sludge into the rivers, right? It doesn’t dump itself.

Anyway, I knew that tax reform was going to be a beautiful thing, right? How about that Tax Reform Plan, huh? That was a huge weight off my mind, getting that done, let me tell you. People kept saying it was going to be too hard. The Commerce Secretary, what’s his name, Munchkin? He said it would be August before we’d have it. But I stepped up and said we’d have it by Wednesday and there it was. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m looking forward to my huge tax cut. Does anyone think the base is going to remember any of the promises I made on taxes? I don’t see how they will. I can’t. I’m sure I must have said something about cutting taxes on the wealthy, getting rid of the alternative minimum tax (that’s gonna save me about $23 million a year), not allowing deductions on 401(k) contributions, and paying for it all with deficit spending. Does that sound familiar to anybody? I am one thousand percent certain that’s what I promised. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be in my tax plan, right? Nailed it. There’s another 100-day accomplishment for the list. Is someone keeping a list? Jared?

You know what I miss most about my life before the presidency? I mean besides getting my Cokes served to me with the right amount of ice? Driving. No one told me the president doesn’t get to drive anymore. Half the reason I go golfing every weekend is so I can drive the cart around. Trump likes to be in the driver’s seat. This job is so much harder than I thought. I thought my life was going to be easier after the election. It looked so easy on “The West Wing.” Television wouldn’t lie to me, would it? Do these reporters know how hard this job is? If they did, I bet they’d be nicer to me. I should probably remind them I won the election.

Shiela? Have someone print me up some more electoral maps to hand out to reporters. I gave my last bunch to that group from Reuters. They seemed impressed. I made sure to tell them that the red states went for Trump. I don’t know why I’m not seeing more stories about how I won the election.

And what’s with all the nerds marching in protest against me? I don’t have anything against science? I went to Wharton. They have science classes there, I imagine. Don’t these people know that the election is over? Hold on.

That should do it. Speaking of the election being over, how are the crowds looking for my campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Day 100? Huge, right? Nobody gets crowds like us. Should I bring copies of the electoral map to hand out?

Jared? How are we coming along with dismantling the 9th Circuit? I’m pretty sure I put you in charge of that, right? Did you call them yet? If we could get that done by the 29th, I can count it as a 100-day accomplishment. Can you believe they halted my executive order on sanctuary cities? Even after my lawyers argued that the order didn’t actually do anything? Can I fire that judge? Someone ask Jeff Sessions if he can fire that judge. He’s already in Dutch with the Hawaiians and with New York, so he probably won’t mind going after San Fransisco too. You know how he is. Jared? Send Sessions a basket of pineapples and Rice-a-Roni. He’ll know what it means.

I’ll admit I haven’t been paying close attention, but did we lose eleven states while I was out playing golf? Why does the American flag on the birthday card I tweeted to Melania only have 39 stars on it? Did we exclude some of the blue states or something? Do you know how much that’s going to cost me at the Tiffany store in the lobby of my building where she lives?

I will say this. I’m getting pretty sick of everyone scrutinizing every word I say. It’s getting so I can’t josh around with people and bullshit a little without everyone making a big, fat, international disaster out of it. Take North Korea, some reporter asked me if we’re going to have a conflict with North Korea. Now, what am I supposed to say? No? That would be tipping my hand. So I said there’s “a chance” remember that. I said there was “absolutely” “a chance” we might be headed for a major, major conflict with North Korea. Then the dishonest media plays it up like I said we might be going to war with North Korea or something. Now I’ve got to smooth it all over with some Trump diplomacy.

Why are we still talking about Mike Flynn? Chaffetz? I thought you were on my side. I thought we were cool! Now all of a sudden you’re wanting paperwork on this guy? I don’t do paperwork, I’m a businessman. We make deals with a handshake. Flynn was helpful during the campaign, so I gave him the most important job I could think of that didn’t require senate confirmation. How was I supposed to know he was working for the Russians? I was working on my extreme vetting program for those Syrian refugees. I mean what the hell, Jason? You call a press conference to complain to the crooked media about paperwork? Look, I appreciate you trying to clean it up, but seriously. You just need to shut up and go away.

Maybe we need a distraction. Is there a Nazi around here we can spare?

Do Any of You Know What the Word ‘Prudent’ Means? (The Trump/Nixon Tapes, Part three)

uss-carl-vinson-cvn-70-2[What follows is a transcript of President Donald Trump speaking into the Oval Office recording device originally used by President Richard Nixon. This series of recordings encompasses the president’s communication to his inner circle.]

To: The Trump Circle of Trust (TCT)

cc: National Security Advisor H. R. McMasters,
Secretary of Defense Mad Dog Mattis

PRESIDENT TRUMP:

[Sound of fingers drumming on the desk]

[Sound of heavy sighing]

You know, people, I don’t ask for much out of you. Just some loyalty. That’s all. You don’t have to be qualified for the job you’re in. You don’t have to follow the rules and traditions set down by previous administrations. You don’t even have to like the department you’re in charge of running.

You just have to have my back. And right now, my back is so full of knife wounds, that I’m going to have to get on the phone to Mexico to have another set of Trump suits flown first class to Mar-a-Lago. Do you know how much that’s going to cost the American taxpayer? I don’t.

I mean how the hell do we lose an entire armada? I’ve been on one of those aircraft carriers during the campaign. It was huge! So many people loved it when I stood on the deck of that big boat and talked about how the military was a disaster.

When the president speaks. It has to be the truth, even when it isn’t. Understand? My credibility and the credibility of the country depends on you people getting that through your thick skulls. Nunes gets it.

So what happened? I asked Sheila in the Steno pool to look it up for me.

She says just over a week ago, someone at Defense talked to the Clinton News Network saying we were sending one of those big beautiful boats to North Korea because what’shisname was getting too big for his britches.  Sounds good to me. I don’t remember making that decision, but like I told the press after we dropped that huge bomb on . . . uh . . was it Pakistan? No, that doesn’t sound right. Afghanistan! Jeeze, I need flash cards or something.

Anyway, like I told the press, my military is fully authorized. I’ve given them total authorization. So if someone decided to take one of those big beautiful boats to Korea, then I say pick me up some barbecue on the way back after you’ve shown that inscrutable little bastard what American might is all about.

They loved it in South Korea! You should have seen that guy on CNN talking about how grave the situation was and how this armada was going to show what’shishead that he needs to sit down because he’s not messing with some squishy Democrats anymore.

South Korea was excited. North Korea was furious. The media was sporting big war boners, talking about how my decision to divert that boat to Korea signaled a new strategy in dealing with that guy. Everything was coming up Trump! And I don’t even remember making that decision! That’s just how great I am at this job.

Mad Dog! You went on TV and said the order to send the . . . damn it what’s the name of that boat? [sound of papers shuffling] It’s a guy’s name, something like Vinnie? The USS Vinnie Barbarino? [more papers shuffling] Here it is. The USS Carl Vinson (See? I knew it was Vinnie something). You said it was “on her way up there because that’s where we thought it was most prudent to have her at this time.” Do you remember me giving the order?

McMaster! You went on Fox a week ago and they asked about why I gave the order. You said, “Well, it’s prudent to do isn’t it?”

Sean! When the dishonest reporters asked you about it, you said “The forward deployment is deterrence, presence. It’s prudent.” Where did you guys get that word? Did I use it when I gave the order to send the Barbarino to Korea? It doesn’t sound like me. But it sure sounds like you guys got together and got your stories straight, which makes for a nice change of pace around here, believe me.

After all that, I felt pretty confident going on Fox Business News and telling them, “We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier.” See? Commander-in-Chief! Large and in charge! Flexing some military muscles. It was beautiful.

But now I hear that the damn boat wasn’t even going to Korea at all? The commander of the Barbarino was tweeting selfies in Singapore?

Did I give the order or didn’t I?

Well, I’m giving it now. I want the USS Vinnie Barbarino headed to North Korea now! Sean, you go back out there and tell them that was the plan all along. Blame it on a miscommunication or something. But emphasize that I definitely didn’t lose a damn aircraft carrier.

[heavy sigh]

Moving on.

Will someone please make me some flash cards so I can remember the name of the leader of North Korea? Would that be “prudent?” The press is getting wise to my trick of just calling him “this gentleman.” It turns out, there’s been three of them? Really? And no one thought to mention it?

You’re just making your own jobs harder. I mean how are you ever going to be able to convince everyone that Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un are the same person? I suppose you can play up the craftiness angle. Or maybe you could mention how they all look alike? Whatever you do, make it quick. Chop chop!

Look, I’ve been rough on you guys. But that’s me. I’m a rough guy. Tough as they come — a steely-eyed, hard-nosed, take-no-crap negotiator. But let’s end on a positive note. The Easter Egg Roll was a huge success. I want to thank everyone for hurrying back to Washington last Monday and finding all the eggs I hid when I thought it was supposed to be an Easter egg hunt. Also, I appreciate Steve Bannon dressing up as the Easter Bunny this year.

I don’t know who leaked that it was him, but I’m looking at you, Kelly Ann.

Sure, there were some hiccups, I threw a kid’s autographed Trump hat into the crowd instead of giving it back to him and had to be reminded by an immigrant to put my hand over my heart during the National Anthem. But at least the kids got to meet Jeff Sessions, am I right?

Oh, Jerrod? Send Bill O’Reilly a falafel basket and ask him if he wants Sean Spicer’s job. And send Alex Jones a chili basket and ask him to forget my number. I can’t take any more late night calls blubbering about his kids being turned gay by juice boxes.

Trump out!

[Sound of microphone dropping]