Will there ever be a quiet week in Trumpland?

To end the week comes another resignation in Trump’s White House. Sebastian Gorka, an outspoken and combative defender of Donald Trump’s national security agenda, has left his position as a White House counterterrorism adviser. Considering his position, he did not play a major policymaking role, according to administration officials, and was not a member of the National Security Council. He was the former Breitbart national security editor.

Trump blamed the media in Phoenix for the widespread condemnation of his response to a Charlottesville, Virginia, protest organized by white supremacists that led to the killing of a counter-protester. He called the media “dishonest”. Blame the media? What about both Democrats and Republicans in Congress? They are following whatever the media says?

[Seriously, isn’t this just what a dictator would say. Blame the media for his problems. Only thing he hasn’t done is locked them up or executed them.] Trump often resurrects his free-wheeling 2016 campaign style, pinging insults at perceived enemies such as the media and meandering from topic to topic without a clear theme.

He skewered both of Arizona’s Republican senators – but coyly refused to mention their names [nemesis John McCain is one], describing his own restraint as “very presidential.”

Trump has lashed out at Sen. Jeff Flake, a frequent critic, using the same language in the past. He sided with Flake’s competitor in the mid-term elections even though it is 14 months away.

CNN listed 57 “outrageous” comments Trump said in his speech. Too many to mention here.

Trump has threatened to blow up NAFTA less than one week into the renegotiation of the trade agreement. “Personally, I don’t think we can make a deal,” Trump told a campaign-style rally in Arizona. “Because we have been so badly taken advantage of.” Hmmm. Not according to the experts who say the US has done quite well with the current deal with the only major hiccup being the tribunal to decide trade disputes.

It’s been a couple of weeks since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke with Trump even though Trump said they did recently. Hmmm. The last time, there was a shouting match. Trump continues to slam McConnell for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

A key moment in their public feud came earlier this month when McConnell told an audience in Kentucky that Trump had “excessive expectations” when it came to legislating, a statement that drove Trump to publicly attack McConnell’s leadership and Senate rules on Twitter.

Over the last several months, Trump has also threatened McConnell’s rank-and-file members, putting individual members’ re-elections and McConnell’s majority at risk.

Trump tweeted “I requested that Mitch M [McConnell] & Paul R [Ryan] tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval.” Unsure what one has to do with the other but one could drag down the other.

Trump suggested night that he would be willing to risk a shutdown if he didn’t get funding to build his long-promised border wall. Now this is Trump. Unknown if he is serious as he has threatened before and the threats whimpered out. Speaker Paul Ryan rejected a threat by Trump to shut down the government to force Congress to approve funding for a border wall with Mexico.

If Congress fails to increase the debt ceiling before the beginning of October, the federal government could struggle to pay nearly 25% of the country’s bills for the month. The Bipartisan Policy Center calculates that Treasury would fall short by $80 billion in October [$347 billion normally spent per month]. Credit ratings agency Fitch said it would review the United States’ sterling AAA credit rating “if the debt limit is not raised in a timely manner prior to the so-called ‘X date’ [the first day that Treasury won’t have enough money on hand to pay all the bills due that day].”

Terminating NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] would put any industries in Canada, US and Mexico into turmoil, including the auto industry, lumber and even shipping items across the border by container. The other sides know that it is a threat but doubt if it will improve a US deal. Others say just more whining from Trump like a spoiled little child.

An international economic law professor and former State Department lawyer said he believes it would ultimately end up in court where U.S. courts would ultimately conclude that the president can’t rip up NAFTA without congressional support. That’s because Trump can’t just erase the 1994 NAFTA Implementation Act passed by Congress. Only Congress can pass laws. In addition, the U.S. Constitution makes clear that Congress has power over international commerce. So more hot air for nothing. All show and no tell.

McConnell has said that the US actually has a trade surplus. So he doesn’t know why Trump would claim that various trade deals currently in use are not good for the US.

Trump laid out goals for the war in Afghanistan, saying he will not announce dates or troop levels but “from now on victory will have a clear definition.” During the election campaign, he kept on saying that he would pull troops from Afghanistan. He also contradicted himself on whether the war should have been fought. Now he will be adding.

Trump said a rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan is not feasible, pointing to the lessons the US learned from Iraq, where a vacuum allowed ISIS to grow in the wake of the American withdrawal from that country.

Trump was in Arizona and had discussed a pardon for Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, who was found guilty of criminal contempt of court when he defied a judge’s order in a case involving racial profiling. Arpaio was accused of disregarding a 2011 order from a federal district judge prohibiting deputies from detaining people simply because of immigration offenses.

Well Trump did pardon Arpaio. A pardon could deepen the racial wounds exposed recently and compound Trump’s political problems.

“Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe?” Trump asked during the Aug. 13 Fox News interview. “He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”

The ACLU tweeted: “No, President Trump. Arpaio was not ‘just doing his job.’ He was violating the Constitution and discriminating against Latinos.”

Very odd people seem to support Trump. Case in point is “Michael the Black Man” in Phoenix. He has appeared in probably all Trump events since during the elections and generally gets to stand a bit behind Trump with his sign “Blacks for Trump”. He once belonged to a black supremacist who was acquitted in the early 1990s in 14 murders and firebombing and later acquitted in 2 murders. He has called president Obama “The Beast”, Hillary Clinton belongs to the KKK and Oprah Winfrey is the devil.

The Washington Post has been keeping track of how many false or misleading claims by Trump. He hit 1,000 on August 4th or 5th and now stands at 1,057.

The Trump administration has halted a study of the health effects of a common mining technique in Appalachia, which is believed to deposit waste containing toxic minerals in ground waters. “The Trump Administration is dedicated to responsibly using taxpayer dollars and that includes the billions of dollars in grants that are doled out every year by the Department of the Interior,” the statement said.

Secret service can’t afford to protect Trump’s family. More than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances — which were meant to last the entire year.

In Trump’s administration, 42 people have protection, which includes 18 members of his family — an increase from the 31 people who had Secret Service protection in Obama’s administration.

In April, CNN reported that Trump’s travel to his private club in Florida has cost more than an estimated $20 million in his first 80 days in office, putting the President on pace to surpass former President Barack Obama’s eight years of spending on travel — in only his first year in office.

In 2014, Trump tweeted: “We pay for Obama’s travel so he can fundraise millions so Democrats can run on lies. Then we pay for his golf.”

New York City megachurch pastor A.R. Bernard said he left Trump’s unofficial evangelical advisory board after having distanced himself for several months as “it became obvious that there was a deepening conflict in values between myself and the administration.” The remainder of the board haven’t left.

The Trump administration has fired another shot at the scientific community, this time dismantling a federal 15-member advisory committee on climate change. It was done cowardly by Email.

Hillary Clinton has released some excerpts of her new book “What Happened” that goes though the elections last year. Clinton says Donald Trump’s pacing, hovering demeanor onstage during an October 2016 presidential debate made her so uncomfortable “my skin crawled.” Of note, excerpts of Clinton reading from the book had aired on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Yes. The same couple Trump went after a while back.

White House director of rapid response Andrew Hemming became the latest communications and former Republican National Committee staffer to depart the Trump administration. Hemming’s role involved circulating positive news articles, often from conservative media outlets, about the Trump administration to reporters.

Egypt’s top diplomat was to meet with Kushner and the U.S. delegation, but a modified version of the minister’s schedule showed the meeting had been called off, shortly after the Americans landed in Cairo.

The protest came after the Trump administration on Tuesday cut nearly $100 million in military and economic aid to Egypt and delayed almost $200 million more in military financing, pending human rights improvements and action to ease harsh restrictions on civic and other non-governmental groups.

At a show in Madison Square Garden in new York City during an encore, Billy Joel & Patty Smyth sing “Goodbye To You” with images of Stephen Bannon, Sean “Garlic” Spicer, Anthony Scaramucci and others on the big screens.

9 scheduled events at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago have been canceled since Trump’s original comments about Charlottesville. Included are those from The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, and The American Cancer Society.

Interesting that when it was announced on Wall Street that Steve Bannon had resigned, there was quite a big cheer by traders at the New York Stock Exchange.

With this past weekend protests, Trump flip flopped even in tweets. First he whined about the [anti-racist] “anti-police antagonists” in Boston and then shortly after praised those same people for going against racism, bigotry, etc.

German police say they have seized thousands of tablets of the party drug ecstasy in the shape of Donald Trump’s head, a haul with an estimated street value of $45,900. Yikes!

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Another wicked week with Trump

Wow. Never though a week in Washington could get any nuttier. But it did.

Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is out of the White House. Breitbart, in a report, claims Bannon handed in his resignation on August 7th. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Bannon’s departure, but claimed the decision for him to leave was mutual.

Seems like he doesn’t like to play with fellow staffers and has already been at odds with Chief of Staff John Kelly. His job was on the line in April after Trump grew frustrated with his inability to cooperate and work with others. The chilling came as Bannon fought with Jared Kushner, a top Trump aide and Trump’s son-in-law. He also had run ins with chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and other more moderate members. Good riddance.

Bannon dismisses the ratcheting up of tensions stemming from North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile activity as “just a sideshow” and argues there is “no military solution” to the growing crisis. Trump was furious with his chief strategist after he was quoted in an interview with the American Prospect contradicting Trump on North Korea and asserting that Bannon was able to make personnel changes at the State Department.

Meanwhile, Bannon’s rivals inside the White House and some of the Trump’s outside advisers, including the conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch had urged Trump to fire Bannon.

In a bit of a surprise [considering where he came from], Bannon also offered criticism of white nationalists in the interview, rebuking them as “losers” and a “fringe element” in days just prior to leaving. This after a period of time where he had kept very quiet on things that were happening. This could be the period after the day he handed in his resignation.

The initial plan was to fire Bannon and then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at same time but Trump was told not to do so from a faction in the Republican party.

Bannon had advocated that the president delve into racial issues and applauded Trump’s widely criticized handling of the Charlottesville situation.

Following news of Bannon’s exit, he returned to Breitbart immediately, who started to prepare stories critical of people in the Trump White House. It’s most likely the site will not directly attack Trump, but will focus its fire on people in Trump’s circle who had clashed with Bannon, or who are viewed as Democrats, soft Republicans or “globalists.”

At one point Bannon said this “presidency was over”. Already Breitbart went after Trump after Trump went after Attorney General Jeff sessions – who is very popular with the alt-right media outlet.

The move also will bolster Bannon’s rivals within the administration, including National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and top economic aide Cohn. His departure strengthens Kelly, who has sought to better organize a West Wing known for chaos and disorder.

Sebastian Gorka, a Bannon ally who previously worked with him at Breitbart News, also faces possible removal from his post as a counter-terrorism aide to Trump.

Trump himself said goodbye to Bannon in a tweet and then made a comment about the campaign and “Crooked Hillary Clinton”. That is all he seems to call her. Meanwhile to describe Trump would take quite a few tweets to do.

A car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting against a white nationalist rally last Saturday in Charlottesville, killing one person, hurting at least two dozen more and ratcheting up tension in an increasingly violent confrontation.

Trump condemned “in the strongest possible terms” what he called an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” after the clashes. He later read a scripted page before going off script and talking about how great the economy is doing in the US. Huh? Trump also failed to call it what it is – domestic terrorism.

At no time did Trump mentioned white supremacy and yet he said “on both sides”. The anti-racist demonstrators were peacefully demonstrating. The car’s drive is obviously not one of those. Trump tried to say that these kind of issues were around long before he was in charge. But many are saying Trump himself has elevated the issue by allowing violence like this, bombings of mosques, desecration of Jewish cemeteries and other actions go unpunished.

Over 24 hours later, there was a statement released by the White House saying Trump “condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups”. But it was not “signed” by anyone which eliminates an individual’s responsibility for its truthfulness and often undercuts its significance.

Trump says the groups protesting against white supremacists in Charlottesville, were “also very violent.” Trump is calling those protesters the “alt-left.” He says there is “blame on both sides”. Trump says some of the facts about the deadly violence in Charlottesville still aren’t known. Like?

Trump denounced the removal of monuments to Confederate figures. “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it.” Removing a statue or plaque doesn’t change history.

“Before I make a statement, I wait for the facts” was why Trump claimed it took him over two days to respond. Seriously?

“Changing history. Changing culture” is what Trump said regarding taking down statues and plaques. The history is there.

Descendants of both Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are OK with the removal of the statues of their relatives.

Almost a week after the rioting and killing Trump still hasn’t spoken to the Charlottesville mayor. A White House representative claim that Trump is waiting for the right time…. Like never. The victim’s step-mother doesn’t want to speak to Trump.

Trump also claimed that the alt-right actually had permits while those against them didn’t. He claimed to have one of the largest wineries in the United States [but of course how many works at the winery aren’t Americans].

Some of the senior staffers in the administration from Vice President Mike Pence and on down claimed that Trump did condemn those groups. But unless they were interpreting Trump’s Saturday’s comments, that wasn’t specifically aimed at those groups.

During the elections Trump was claiming that both President Obama and Hillary Clinton would not say the words radical Islamic terrorism – and yet he couldn’t condemn by name the groups involved in Charlottesville.

Trump’s homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, defended the president’s initial statement by suggesting that some of the counter-protesters were violent, too. Only after pushed on, Bossert included the various hate groups. Was it so hard?

Trump’s initial comments drew praise from the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, which wrote: “Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. … No condemnation at all.” The Daily Stormer lost their domain provider [GoDaddy] after showing an article on their web site about the derogatory story about the woman killed in Charlottesville.

But some of the white nationalists cited Trump’s victory as validation for their beliefs, and Trump’s critics pointed to Trump’s racially tinged rhetoric as exploiting the nation’s festering racial tension. Former KKK leader David Duke said the far right and other white supremacists had voted for Trump in the November elections.

Trump plagiarized a racist web site by claiming what will the left go after next? Slave owners? Some of the early US presidents were also slave owners.

A Twitter handle identified as “@MikeHolden42” tweeted to Trump “He’s a fascist, so not unusual.” The user suggested in subsequent tweets that he was calling Trump a fascist, not another individual. Trump retweeted the message to his massive following, triggering an avalanche of replies. @MikeHolden42 responded: “I’m announcing my retirement from Twitter. I’ll never top this RT.” After about 5 minutes, Trump deleted his retweet. Trump has a tendency to retweet things not taking a good look at what they are about.

Someone tweeted: “White supremacists are bad & wrong. There. Just copy & paste this, @POTUS. That’s all we need from you right.” Too hard for Trump.

And what did trump do the day after Charlottesville? Released [already] a campaign re-election ad. Does he think people will like this or that he will get elected? He still has to with the party’s candidacy in 3 years.

A personal lawyer to Trump, John Dowd, forwarded an email comparing Confederate General Robert E. Lee to founding President George Washington, and saying that the activist movement Black Lives Matter “has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups”. The email was originally written by Jerome Almon, an online writer and government conspiracy theorist.

Trump had promised a “pretty big press conference”. Instead he was using a teleprompter so he wouldn’t go off script and say something [as usual] that is wrong. After reading, he walked away. Journalists and historians all agree that a “press conference” is a structured, seated event. That’s not what Trump did. His last actual press conference was 5 months ago.

Trump started the “press conference” by talking about the economy saying “Our economy is now strong. The stock market continues to hit record highs, unemployment is at a 16-year low and businesses are more optimistic than ever before….” Wasn’t this about Charlottesville? Trump almost didn’t seem to feel like he needed to give the follow-up remarks because he had already said it just fine the day of the riot.

Trump condemned the terrorist attack in Barcelona within hours, but resurfacing a myth about a general using pig’s blood on bullets to kill Muslims. In the myth, General John Pershing allegedly dipped bullets in pig’s blood, which is not halal under Islamic law, to execute early 20th century Muslim insurgents in the Philippines. There were no executions and the fact does not appear in Pershing biographies. So he “commented” about the Barcelona attack with 3 hours but not an attack on American soil?

Billionaire investor, Carl Icahn has quit as a special advisor to Trump amid allegations that the recommendations he was giving could benefit his own fortune. Icahn denied it though but he drew criticism for pushing a change in US biofuel policy that would benefit the company. Separate questions were raised last month regarding his role in regulatory decisions affecting American International Group Inc. (AIG), an insurer in which he holds a significant stake.

In a picture of Trump talking to Vladimir Poutine in January, Trump and Pence are the only one left in the group of 6 people in the picture [picture included Sean “Garlic” Spicer, Reince Priebus, Bannon, and Michael Flynn.

In a letter to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook has slammed Trump’s position on the recent violence between neo-Nazis and protesters in Charlottesville. “I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights,” Cook said. “Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.”

In an apparent reference to Kim Jong-Un’s suggestion that he could delay a decision to send a nuclear strike to Guam, the President praised the North Korean leader for his actions by saying “very wise and well-reasoned decision”.

Not surprised here:  Why the Trump administration is cutting teen pregnancy prevention funding.

Tony Schwartz, the man behind Trump’s biography in 1987 and who knows him well, claims that Trump will resign by the end of the year if things don’t improve. But already, some Democrats [even with minorities in both sides of Congress] have started articles of impeachment.

One of America’s most prominent black CEOs, Kenneth Frazier of Merck, quit Trump’s manufacturing council over Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacists saying “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy.” On the same day, Trump went after Frazier on Twitter by saying the resignation would give him “more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”. So he goes ballistics over the CEO but still hasn’t publicly gone against the far right groups [at that point].

Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour, quit the American Manufacturing Council later in the day followed by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich followed by Scott Paul, head of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Then the president and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company and the chief executive of 3M quit.

General Electric, Dow Chemical, Whirlpool, International Paper and Nucor said that they would remain with the council because it was important as the CEO of GE said to “participate in the discussion on how to drive growth and productivity in the U.S.” OK, maybe the like to work with a man who doesn’t seem to care about hatred, bigotry and group supremacy.

Shortly thereafter Trump tweeted [of course] that Trump has closed the manufacturing council and another advisory council for good.

The council started with 28 members and has dwindled over time for various reasons including these resignations plus retirements, replaced at the company, etc. If the council gets too small, it probably won’t be too useful.

Previously, in June, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk and Disney’s Bob Iger quit Trump’s business council in protest of his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. Goldman Sachs’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein CEO criticized Trump in his first tweet ever because of the Paris climate accord.

A stunning 50% of the CEOs, executives, government officials and academics surveyed at the Yale CEO Summit in June gave Trump an “F” for his first 130 days in office. Just 1% gave him an “A.”

Then the remaining 16 members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned in protest. After looking at the list of members, I don’t recognize any except the actor who made the announcement: Kal Penn. [Of note, Penn is on the TV show Designated Survivor as the White House Communications Director and was in the Obama administration as well.]

Senior communications adviser Hope Hicks has been named as the interim White House communications director. She is 28 years old but also shy. Odd for her new job. Good luck to her. I wonder what the odds before she’s kicked out except she is supposedly very close to Trump.

Again, unsure what Trump is doing sometimes. He called Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo to give him support but then he takes a jab at his predecessors, telling Calvo, “They should’ve had me eight years ago, or at least somebody with my thought process because that was the time. Frankly, you could’ve said that for the last three presidents.”

And in more head scratching he says “your tourism, you’re going to go up like tenfold with the expenditure of no money, so I congratulate you”. Congratulate for what?  I don’t think Governor Calvo asked North Korea to point missiles at his island and I don’t think tourism is a priority at this time.

A web hosting provider, DreamHost, is fighting back against a search warrant that it claims would require them to turn over information on visitors to a website used to organize protests against Trump in January, according to court filings first published on the company’s blog. Federal prosecutors in DC are seeking “all records” related to the website disruptj20.org, which organized protests against the Trump administration. The warrant includes “all files” in DreamHost’s possession, as well as information on “subscribers” to distruptj20.org and information on those who “participated, planned, organized, or incited” the January protests.

Trump had also recently retweeted and deleted a cartoon showing a train labeled “Trump” running over a man with “CNN” covering his face. Unsure why he pulled that tweet as he’s hammered CNN in the past.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump will not attend the annual Kennedy Center Honors in December, the White House announced saying “The President and First Lady have decided not to participate in this year’s activities to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.” I guess they don’t expect it to be any better by then.

Protests planned at Google offices around the country over the firing of an employee who questioned company diversity efforts have been postponed. A statement on the “March on Google” website says recent one day protests were being cancelled because of threats from what it called “Alt Left terrorist groups.”