Trump was stretched thin this week

It has been such a busy week, that I’m going to split things in two. All the goodies in this blog. Any goodies plus the leftovers in the next blog.

There is talk that Donald Trump will decertify the nuclear arms agreement with Iran. If so, the deal will be terminated. At this time, no word given if Iran broke the deal’s agreement. If there is no valid reason for decertifying the agreement then this administration will have a hard time to come to agreement with others because they think this administration will kill those agreement for no reason or nothing valid.

Tom Price paid the price [you know I was going to say that!] and was dumped by Trump for his overspending on government aircrafts to various trips – some with his wife. He paid back almost $52,000 but he had raked up a huge bill of over $1 million. This makes 8 senior Trump administration officials who “resigned” in under 9 months. [You know that most were probably fired by Trump.]

But Price was fired [or resigned] not because of the more than two dozen private flights he took at taxpayer expense. He was fired [or resigned] because he violated Trump’s first principle: Never, ever make the boss look bad – especially in the press [if you read between the lines in Trump’s comments just prior to Price’s “resignation”]. For example, on a week that Trump wanted the focus to be on his tax reform proposal, Price made the storyline all about how the President wasn’t draining the swamp as promised.

BTW, the 7 trips Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took on government planes for $811,800 but were done so for national security reasons. The inspector general has no issues with them. If you get rid of the two North American trips, it is 5 overseas trips at about $780,000.

Some reports say Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could be next out. He held a surprise news conference to address the reports that have emerged of increasing tensions between himself and Trump. NBC reported that Vice President Pence had to intervene as Tillerson could quit and that Tillerson described him dismissing Trump as a ” f?cking moron”. After pointedly refusing to answer if he called Trump a “f?cking moron,” Tillerson had a spokeswoman deny he used such language. Sounds guilty to me.

Because Tillerson and Mike Pence said the story isn’t true, Trump called it fake news and “They [NBC News] should issue an apology to AMERICA!” Only if he [Trump] apologizes for failing to be a leader. Then Trump had to continue a day later tweeting that Tillerson “never threatened to resign” and he has “total confidence” in Tillerson. Where have we heard that phrase before. A person familiar with the conversation also disputed that the vice-president sought to coax the secretary of state into not quitting.

More than a dozen sources inside the administration and in diplomatic circles describe the relationship between Tillerson and Trump as reaching a new low. The two men have failed to develop the type of close relationship that Trump enjoys with other members of his Cabinet.

While taking photos alongside military leaders and their spouses before a dinner at the White House, Trump made an ambiguous statement, citing “the calm before the storm”. When asked what he meant, Trump said only: “You’ll find out”. Now he is probably going to kill the nuclear deal with Iran next week. Could he be planning some military action? Or maybe North Korea [been quiet there]?

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said, “We’re dying here. We truly are dying here. I keep saying it: SOS. If anyone can hear us; Mr. Trump can hear us, let’s just get it over with and get the ball rolling.”

Trump tweeted later “The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump… Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.” This didn’t sit too well for those on the island. [He probably didn’t know the mayor’s name – so he took the easy route out.

He later tweeted “Results of recovery efforts will speak much louder than complaints by San Juan Mayor. Doing everything we can to help great people of PR!” [Wouldn’t that be “San Juan major” otherwise it sounds a bit like someone’s name.]

Then Trump tweeted that “… Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.” How is his leadership?

Mayor Cruz responded to reporters’ questions about the next batch of Trump tweets by saying “Let him tweet. I don’t mind. I’m busy.” Then start walking away but turned around to say “Plus I don’t have internet most of the time, so I can’t get ahold of the tweets.” Barring some major “fubar” by her, she’ll be reelected.

Trump still hasn’t visited but was trying to visit both Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in one day, which posed logistical challenges. Exactly why does he have to do it in one day? Surely he can stay on a warship nearby for one night – and maybe even give a morale boost to them?

Trump also lashed out at the media for what he said was biased coverage, saying that the “Fake News Networks are working overtime in Puerto Rico.”

His comments sparked a firestorm of reaction online, including from the creator of the Broadway musical “Hamilton”, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who said “You’re going straight to hell, @realDonaldTrump. No long lines for you. Someone will say, ‘Right this way, sir.’ They’ll clear a path.”

Russel Honoré, the retired general appointed by Bush to take over the federal response to Katrina in 2005, said “The President has shown again he don’t give a damn about poor people. He doesn’t give a damn about people of color. And SOB that rides around in Air Force One is denying services needed by the people of Puerto Rico.”

Dan Scavino, the White House social media director, tweeted in a claim that Mayor Cruz “has been hating on @realDonaldTrump long before he was our President.” [She made a comment about him in May 2016.] Then described San Juan’s mayor as “the perfect example of an opportunistic politician.”

Meanwhile the day after the storm hit, he was golfing and a brief trip to a rally in Alabama. He said nothing during the first weekend and days after. There was a meeting of senior people but they discussed the next travel ban and not the devastation plus tweeting about Kin Jun Un. So for the first week, he did nothing.

He finally approved of suspending the Jones Act – 8 days after the storm. He suspended the same act for Florida and Texas almost immediately following their hurricanes. Trump claimed “a lot of shippers and . . . a lot of people that work in the shipping industry” didn’t want it lifted. So he prefers to have some of his shipping buddies make money while  the islanders get stuck in misery – let alone pay maybe double or more for basic food items and more.

FEMA said only 5% of electricity had been restored in the island after 12 days. He said 33% of the telecommunications infrastructure is back up and close to 50% of water services have been restored. This is nothing compared to Florida and Texas who weren’t far from normal within days of their hurricanes.

When it was known that only 20% of truck drivers were working to transport stuff in Puerto Rico, right-wing media sites created fake news stories about lazy, greedy Puerto Rican truck drivers going on strike instead of delivering critical supplies The U.S. Naval Institute reports that as of Tuesday afternoon “only 10 of the island’s 69 hospitals were fully reconnected to the electrical grid”, this after Trump said “Most of the hospitals are open-or at least partially open.” Most is not 10%.

Trump has defended his administration’s response to a recent hurricane in Puerto Rico by explaining that “This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water,” he said at a tax reform speech in Washington. He added that local governments had been “totally and unfortunately unable to handle this catastrophic crisis on their own – just totally unable to.” What a genius!

On his visit to San Juan, Trump threw paper towel rolls at citizens. Along with a can of tinned chicken, a pack of batteries, and flashlights [even though he said “you don’t need them anymore” Trump reportedly picked up items and randomly handed them out. He also complained that the hurricane is doing a number of the federal budget – as if hitting Florida and Texas did little to it. [Too bad someone didn’t throw it back at him.]

San Juan major Cruz wasn’t even on Trump’s schedule until the day of the trip. Still with hard feelings there? Trump seemed to take all the credit when the Puerto Rican governor praised the government efforts [which was obviously a big suck up]. Trump was also saying how few lives lost compared to Katrina.

5+ hours after the mass shootings in Las Vegas, Trump tweeted: “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” Warmest?

The official presidential Twitter account is just retweets of “normal” tweets primarily from Melania Trump, Mike Pence, and his own.

So it took Trump nearly 2 weeks to go to Puerto Rico but less than 2 days to go to Las Vegas.

With at least 42 guns owned by the 64 year old killer, the topic of gun control has come up again. What does someone need with 42 guns? Yet trump has started to avoid the question knowing that the powerful right-wing National Rifle Association won’t be too happy if Trump goes against them. Trump and other Republicans made no mention of firearm restrictions in his speeches since the shooting.

A pro-Trump political website “The Gateway Pundit” named a different person as the Las Vegas shooter, citing a Facebook page to claim the individual was “a far left loon” and “a Democrat who liked [MSNBC host] Rachel Maddow.” Great journalism there. Basing everything on a Facebook page.

Meanwhile, some posters on the anonymous, anarchic forum likewise trumpeted supposed findings that the same individual was both the shooter and a “social democrat.”

Shockingly “The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles [like bump stock] should be subject to additional regulations.” Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo is planning to introduce legislation Thursday to ban the sale of them. We’ll see how that goes.

And why hasn’t Trump banned the bump stock or tried to. Meanwhile she failed to mention how the trump administration will deregulate silencers as well as allowing those with some mental illnesses to purchase guns. The killer bought 33 guns within the past 12 months. No flags?

Before he was a candidate, Trump at one point favored some gun restrictions. He has more recently cast himself as an ardent protector of the Second Amendment because the Republican Party and the NRA want that control.

He told the National Rifle Association this year that it had a “true friend” in the White House, and he signed a resolution passed by the GOP-led Congress blocking an Obama-era rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of certain mentally disabled people.

Why am I not surprised, not even 24 hours after Las Vegas, Trump signed an order to repeal the ban on guns for certain mentally ill people. I guess Trump can finally buy guns now.

I was just asking someone this week, where is Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway. Well The Witch is back. She complained that various Democrats said nothing about gun control this past year but complained about the Russian meddling. She blamed Barrack Obama for the “bump stock” mechanism that turns a semi-automatic gun into an automatic gun. Bump stock was available since 2010. The Witch blames Obama but during a part of Obama’s period, he could not ban it because the Republicans wouldn’t allow it.

[BTW, she should go trick or treating as a witch. All she needs is a hat and a cape.]

Employers may now have more leeway to withhold birth control coverage on religious grounds, according to new rules issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services. This rolls back controversial contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Healthcare Act. The rules would let a broad range of employers — including nonprofits, private firms and publicly traded companies — stop offering free contraceptives through their health insurance plans if they have a “sincerely held religious or moral objection”. Already the ACLU will file a lawsuit.

On Twitter, he avoided the kind of inflammatory statements he has issued after some previous tragedies, such as last year’s Orlando nightclub shooting. So for certain issues he tries to act presidential but in other issues [North Korea, London UK mayor after their attacks in June, the San Juan mayor, etc.] he doesn’t.

The US Chamber of Commerce, usually neutral when it comes to politics, has warned that killing the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico will have consequences to America. Trump has threatened numerous times to kill the agreement.

Trump is urging the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate American news outlets for publishing “fake” stories. I guess they’ll laugh the same way he was laughed at regarding his 3 million illegal votes [besides Jared Kushner, see last week’s blog if unsure why I mentioned that].

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained that the President was within his rights to hit back at critics. “When the President gets attacked, he attacks back.” There is hitting back and there is stomping on repeatedly.

Even though Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is working with China on trying to do something about North Korea, Trump tweets Tillerson is “wasting his time trying to negotiate”.

A report says White House accounts sent internal White House documents to an email address shared by Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and their household staff. They had previously exchanged emails with White House officials about government business using their personal email addresses. White House officials sent hundreds of emails that included “non-public travel documents, internal schedules and some official White House materials” to the email address shared by Kushner and Trump.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said last week that “all White House personnel have been instructed to use official email to conduct all government-related work” and to forward “work-related communication on personal accounts” to their official account. Isn’t that still a problem?

Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and former chief strategist Steve Bannon also exchanged emails with White House officials using their private accounts.

Is someone bonkers? Trump is one of something like 200 people nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He has the same chances of winning was the Miami Marlins winning the World Series this year. He didn’t win. Surprised he didn’t have a twitter-storm because of it.

Trump has been in office for 9 months but only managed to have a full cabinet for roughly 94 days.

The Justice Department has released a trove of decades-old internal legal memos concluding the President should be legally barred from appointing a relative to a position in the White House, shedding new light on just how sharp a departure the department’s more recent interpretation of federal law under the Trump administration compares to past practice. This surprised legal experts after the Justice Department approved Jared Kushner posting as advisor. For example, President Jimmy Carter could not appoint his son to an unpaid position on the White House staff in 1977.

And now Wifegate in GOP politics

Well, they are calling it Wifegate.

[The UDS seems to like their “gates”!]

Donald Trump [in his usually obnoxious way] tweeted a picture of Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi next to his wife Melania saying how hot is wife is compared to Heidi.

Now if you ever seen them, Heidi Cruz is around Ted Cruz’s age group while Melania Trump is older than the Cruzes but younger than Donald. the picture was when she was younger.

Of course that’s when a bit of hell broke loose. Cruz [among other things, said not to bring his wife or kids into their battles.

The episode, dubbed Wifegate, appeared to be retaliation for an anti-Trump Super PAC ad using 15-year-old images of Trump’s wife, Melania, in a nude photo shoot for British GQ.

Add to the fun, everyone’s favorite lack of journalism skills paper, the National Enquirer, had a story based on anonymous sources implicating Cruz in a series of extramarital affairs – some say five. The Texas senator flatly denied the story and labeled it a Trump smear.

Wow. Five affairs. Where did he get the time? And of course it came from a paper that has been sued more times than Donald Trump [the latter probably in second place].

Meanwhile it boiled over on CNN when host Don Lemon had on former Apprentice contestant Omarosa [she goes just by that name – so it seems] as well as Kellyanne Conway, who runs a pro-Cruz Super PAC.

Lemon asked Omarosa first regarding Wifegate and right away Omarosa went off topic, starting a tirade about SuperPAC. Lemon threatened to stop the “conversation” and when she continued, he cut things off and they went to a commercial.  You can view it here.

Not really surprising, right wing sites defender her! They called Lemon [who is African-American] a racist and a bigot and commented about the CNN/left wing censorship.

Huh? Who went off topic? As the host/moderator, he is supposed to keep on topic.

Then on Sunday on CNN, there was a senior advisor for Trump who also went off topic and went ballistics accusing another commentator [a former RNC director] of things which didn’t make sense. Don’t expect him to be on CNN.  You can see that tirade and more details of Wifegate here.

A number of polls give Cruz a decided edge over Trump in a hypothetical matchup against Clinton, though the many polls also show Clinton beating both. Of the three Republicans left, only Kasich beat Clinton in a new Monmouth University poll, which is interesting since Kasich has no chance of winning.

Cruz is not the GOP’s establishment. He is supposedly hated by many in the Senate. Republicans who remember Cruz’s leading role in the 2013 government-shutdown to block Obamacare still have been slow to come around.

Trump isn’t much better. He’s probably last on any GOP list. Trump’s past record includes supporting liberal politicians and causes.