Friday Talking Points [450] -- A Ping-Pong Flip-Flop Week

<p>Donald Trump ping-ponged his way from being TelePrompTer Trump to being The Real Unfiltered Trump (and then back again) this week. It started off with a rather amazing flip-flop, as Trump essentially admitted that everything he's ever said or thought about Afghanistan was wrong. Not unlike Arthur Fonzarelli, Trump's mouth couldn't actually form the words "I was wrong," but the admission was still there for all to see.</p>

<p>Trump's new Afghanistan strategy is... well, he didn't want to tell us specifics. Even Bill O'Reilly responded to Trump's speech by tweeting: "The president's speech on Afghanistan was strong in tone but cloudy on specifics." But even so, it was pretty clear that Trump's Afghanistan strategy is pretty indistinguishable from Barack Obama's Afghanistan strategy or George W. Bush's Afghanistan strategy. In other words, throw up your hands and let the next president deal with it.</p>

<p>The purpose of Trump's primetime television address to the nation was purely political, however -- to prove that he can "be presidential." This was supposed to be a giant pivot from last week, when Trump looked anything but. But while Trump did stick to the script others had written for him, the most common review was that he looked like he was in a "hostage video." We personally had a slightly different impression, that he looked like a 6-year-old being forced to apologize for something he really wasn't sorry about. Either way, it was a pretty uncomfortable speech.</p>

<p>Speaking of uncomfortable television viewing, we'd like to interrupt our weekly wrapup for a more erudite moment today, as we bring you an excerpt from George Orwell's <em>Nineteen Eighty-Four</em>, just because:</p>

<blockquote><p>The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one's teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one's neck. The Hate had started.</p>

<p>. . .</p>

<p>Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room.</p>

<p>. . .</p>

<p>In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. The little sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O'Brien's heavy face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out "Swine! Swine! Swine!" and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen. It struck Goldstein's nose and bounced off; the voice continued inexorably. In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.</p></blockquote>

<p>In other news -- <em>totally unrelated</em>, of course -- Donald Trump held a rally in Phoenix this Tuesday. The media's unfair treatment of Donald Trump seemed to be the main subject. <em>Totally</em> unrelated to that previous literary reference. After all, Big Brother only needed two minutes to accomplish his goal.</p>

<p>In Phoenix, the first ping-pong was complete. Trump ranted and raved at all his perceived enemies, whether in the media, the Democratic Party, or his own political party. The crowd ate it up, for the most part. By the next day, Trump had returned to the TelePrompTer for a speech to veterans. He later declared that this ping-ponging was actually an asset, not a liability.</p>

<p>This all led James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, to publicly question Trump's fitness for office. Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat, introduced a bill which would "quickly secure the services of medical and psychiatric professionals" to assess Trump's current mental state. As her statement <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/347156-house-dem-introduces-measure-urging-trump-undergo-mental-exam">put it</a>: "Does the President suffer from early stage dementia? Has the stress of office aggravated a mental illness crippling impulse control? Has emotional disorder so impaired the President that he is unable to discharge his duties? Is the President mentally and emotionally stable?"</p>

<p>By our count, four presidential commissions have now been disbanded because the participants don't want to be associated with the president anymore. Business executives, Union leaders, artists, and infrastructure experts have all bailed on Trump. Interestingly, there is one group which is supposed to advise Trump on moral issues, but they've only had <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/08/18/megachurch-pastor-resigns-from-trumps-evangelical-council/">one person leave</a> in disgust. So money-grubbers and artists are proving more moral than the so-called "moral leaders" -- which should be shocking, but really isn't.</p>

<p>Last Sunday, as another measure of the bunker mentality at the White House, not a single administration official was made available to speak for Trump on the Sunday morning political shows -- even <em>Fox News</em> was shut out. Other shows reported they had asked <em>every single GOP senator</em> to appear to speak for Trump, but none would.</p>

<p>Trump <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/08/19/trump-first-lady-to-skip-kennedy-center-honors-over-concerns-of-political-distraction/">announced this week</a> that he won't be attending the Kennedy Center honors, and won't be holding a reception for the award-winners, either. There's an obvious reason for this, and it's the same reason Trump refused to throw out the first pitch for the Washington Nationals this year -- he's scared of getting booed. Here are the details:</p>

<blockquote><p>The announcement comes as three of the five honorees -- television producer Norman Lear, singer Lionel Richie and dancer Carmen de Lavallade -- said they would or may boycott the traditional White House reception related to the celebration. As for the other two, rapper LL Cool J had not said whether he would attend, and Cuban American singer Gloria Estefan said she would go to try to influence the president on immigration issues.</p></blockquote>

<p>Since this would be embarrassing, Trump just decided to cancel. But it's not just business and Hollywood elites who are <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/labor-groups-step-up-pressure-on-trump-to-deliver/2017/08/20/73420b88-85ca-11e7-a94f-3139abce39f5_story.html">abandoning Trump</a>:</p>

<blockquote><p>Labor leaders, once courted by President Trump, are stepping up their campaign to turn workers against the White House if it does not deliver more on jobs and trade -- and if it does not stop undoing Obama-era regulations.</p>

<p>The most visible effort, which starts in Indianapolis on Monday afternoon, is a two-week tour organized by the coalition Good Jobs Nation that ropes in labor-friendly politicians. The coalition, launched in 2013 to pressure Barack Obama's White House on trade and wage issues, is organizing rallies throughout the Midwest through Labor Day.</p>

<p>"Trump ran as a working-class hero, so let's look at the results," said Joseph Geevarghese, Good Jobs Nation's executive director. "We're seven months into his administration, and wages are flat. People are still getting pink slips."</p></blockquote>

<p>They picked Indianapolis for a reason, of course -- to highlight the broken promises on the Carrier deal that Trump loves to brag about.</p>

<blockquote><p>Nine months later, Carrier is well into cutting 632 jobs -- more cuts than the president had promised. Chuck Jones, who represented Carrier workers as president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, said that even workers who voted for Trump have learned not to trust him. </p>

<p>"He made promises to working-class people," said Jones, who will also speak at Monday's rally. "He said that if he were president, that jobs would not be leaving this country. Guess what? They still are. He could be signing executive orders. He's not lifting a finger."</p></blockquote>

<p>Meanwhile, Steve Mnuchin's new wife Louise Linton seems to be <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/08/21/treasury-secretarys-wife-boasts-of-travel-on-government-plane-touts-hermes-and-valentino-fashion/">going out of her way</a> to do a Leona Helmsley impression. After all, there are people like her and her husband, and then there are all the little people, who are losers and deserve mocking and derision from their betters.</p>

<p>Little noticed in the furor over Louise Linton's remarks on social media was the fact that she had been in the news last year, for an article she wrote about Africa, where she attempted to channel her inner Joseph Conrad and wound up channeling nothing short of colonial patronizing nonsense. As <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/07/06/louise-linton-just-wrote-the-perfect-white-savior-in-africa-story/">one reviewer</a> put it:</p>

<blockquote><p>Linton describes experiences as an 18-year-old student who travels to Zambia in 1999, and claims that she didn’t know that war was raging in Congo. If "How Not to Write About Africa" were an Olympic floor gymnastics event, Linton's piece would be a strong contender for a gold medal, because she deploys, with maximum flourish, just about every lazy trope there is when it comes to writing about Africa.</p></blockquote>

<p>Seems to be a common thread, there, between her attitudes then and now.</p>

<p>In other "Republicans being insensitive" news, we have the Arizona GOP, who needed a photo of some "Asian-Americans" (to boast of their supposed support among this group) and <a href="https://news.vice.com/story/arizona-gop-uses-margaret-cho-sitcom-pic-to-represent-asian-americans">decided to use</a> (you just can't make this stuff up) a promo photo from Margaret Cho's 1990s-era sitcom <em>All-American Girl</em> (probably because they didn't have any authentic photos lying around they could use). Republican minority outreach is a contradiction in terms, because it usually winds up with a slap in the face.</p>

<p>Speaking of Arizona Republicans and race, the following <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/08/23/arizonas-ban-on-mexican-american-studies-was-racist-u-s-court-rules/">happened last week</a> as well:</p>

<blockquote><p>A federal judge in Arizona has ruled that the state violated the constitutional rights of Mexican American students by eliminating a successful Mexican American studies program, saying officials "were motivated by racial animus" and were pushing "discriminatory ends in order to make political gains."</p></blockquote>

<p>OK, we just have a few more odds and ends to get through before we get to the awards, so bear with us. None of these seemed to fit anywhere else, so we just tossed them in a grab bag here at the end.</p>

<p>Mitch McConnell <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-distances-himself-from-gop-lawmakers-to-elude-blame-if-agenda-stalls/2017/08/24/f5ec44a8-88e1-11e7-a94f-3139abce39f5_story.html">got a funny line off</a> last week:</p>

<blockquote><p>I'm often asked, "What is being the majority leader of the Senate like? The best answer I've been able to think of is, "It's a little bit like being a groundskeeper at a cemetery. Everybody's under you, but nobody's listening." That's what you get with 52-48.</p></blockquote>

<p>From the Boston anti-hate counterprotest came <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/08/21/daily-202-the-elites-strike-back-getting-under-trump-s-skin/599a4e1230fb0435b8208f3a/">some amusing signs</a>. The best was probably "CTRL + ALT-RIGHT + DELETE," for brevity. Also seen:</p>

<blockquote><p>LOSERS in 1865 (image of Confederate flag)<br />LOSERS in 1945 (image of Nazi flag)<br />LOSERS in 2017 (image of Pepe the Frog)</p></blockquote>

<p>And the most amusing sign of the week:</p>

<blockquote><p>Dear Lord is it<br />Time to impeach?<br />Give us a sign<br />Block out the sun</p></blockquote>

<p>Even more amusing, it took Trump <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2017/08/20/trump-mistakenly-tweeted-that-the-country-needs-to-heel-the-internet-gave-him-hell/">three tries</a> before he could come up with the proper spelling of "heal." Here are his three attempts:</p>

<blockquote><p>Our great country has been divided for decade, but it will come together again. Sometimes protest is needed in order to heel, and heel we will!</p>

<p>Our great country has been divided for decades. Sometimes you need protest in order to heel, & we will heel, & be stronger than ever before!</p>

<p>Our great country has been divided for decades. Sometimes you need protest in order to heal, & we will heal, & be stronger than ever before!</p></blockquote>

<p>Merriam-Webster had some fun, and tweeted back at Trump:</p>

<blockquote><p>heal (to become healthy again)</p>

<p>heel (a contemptible person)</p>

<p>he'll (he will)</p></blockquote>

<p>Maybe he'll get it right after Hurricane Harvey hits Texas. How hard is it, after all, to issue a statement from the president which sympathizes and empathizes with people after a disaster? Well, two weeks ago, we would also have said it'd be a pretty low bar for a president to condemn Nazis and the KKK, but look where we are now. Will we get TelePrompTer Trump, or will we hear what Trump <em>really</em> thinks? Stay tuned, everyone....</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p align="center"><img src='http://www.chrisweigant.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/midotwsm.jpg' alt='Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week' /></p>

<p>There was a lot to be impressed with this week, but we have to begin today by looking even further back. Last week it was pointed out to us in the comments that we had completely ignored the actual counterprotesters in Charlottesville when handing out awards. This was true, and there's really no excuse. We just forgot to include them, nothing more nor less.</p>

<p>So we'd like to give special note this week to those who stood up against the message of hate from neo-Nazis and white supremacists in both Charlottesville <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/08/19/thousands-expected-at-boston-free-speech-rally-and-counter-protest/">and in Boston</a>, last weekend. Anyone who has ever read the poem "First They Came For The Socialists" knows that in certain circumstances, silence is not acceptable. The alt-right certainly seems to fit that bill. Edmund Burke put it even better: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."</p>

<p>When you see tiny demonstrations by the alt-right absolutely surrounded by tens of thousands of counter-protesters, it is obvious that many agree. Rather than doing nothing, there are good people who cannot sit idly by while racists march in the streets. So peaceful protesters of alt-right deplorables certainly deserve all the recognition they can get, including a belated <strong>Honorable Mention</strong> from us. We apologize for the oversight last week, too.</p>

<p>Moving along to this week, we noticed much to be impressed by. We're not sure of his political leanings, but we feel safe in awarding at least an <strong>Honorable Mention</strong> to Daryl Johnson, the former senior analyst for domestic terrorism at the Department of Homeland Security. If you've never heard his name before, you might at least remember <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/08/21/i-warned-of-right-wing-violence-in-2009-it-caused-an-uproar-i-was-right/">what he wrote</a>, as he explains:</p>

<blockquote><p>Eight years ago, I warned of a singular threat -- the resurgence of right-wing extremist activity and associated violence in the United States as a result of the 2008 presidential election, the financial crisis and the stock market crash. My intelligence report, meant only for law enforcement, was leaked by conservative media.</p>

<p>A political backlash ensued because of an objection to the label "right-wing extremism." The report also rightly pointed out that returning military veterans may be targeted for recruitment by extremists. Republican lawmakers demanded then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano rescind my report. The American Legion formally requested an apology to veterans. Some in Congress called for me to be fired. Amid the turmoil, my warning went unheeded by Republicans and Democrats. Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security caved to the political pressure: Work related to violent right-wing extremism was halted. Law enforcement training also stopped. My unit was disbanded. And, one-by-one, my team of analysts left for other employment. By 2010, there were no intelligence analysts at DHS working domestic terrorism threats.</p>

<p>Since 2008, though, the body count from numerous acts of violent right-wing terrorism continued to rise steadily with very little media interest, political discussion or concern from our national leaders. As this threat grew, government resources were scaled back, law enforcement counterterrorism training was defunded and policies to counter violent extremism narrowed to focus solely on Muslim extremism. Heated political campaigning by Donald Trump in 2016 pandered to these extremists. Now, right-wing terrorism has become the national security threat which many government leaders have yet to acknowledge.</p></blockquote>

<p>He's right -- his warning was ignored and buried, and we are now paying the price.</p>

<p>Another <strong>Honorable Mention</strong> goes to Daniel Kammen, who just quit his post as science envoy to the State Department in disgust over Trump's reaction to Charlottesville. His letter is pretty scathing, but the amusing thing (once again) is the hidden message. If you read the first letters of all his paragraphs, they <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/08/23/trumps-science-envoy-quits-with-scathing-letter-with-an-embedded-message-i-m-p-e-a-c-h/">spell out</a> "IMPEACH." This could be a new trend, folks, after the "RESIST" letter from last week.</p>

<p>But our <strong>Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week</strong> this week goes to Chuck Schumer, who penned <a href="https://medium.com/@SenSchumer/after-charlottesville-its-time-to-end-the-assault-on-voting-rights-2afe5134097f">an interesting article</a> about what Democrats should legislatively call for in response to Trump and Charlottesville. Rather than just beating up on Trump, Schumer has some ideas about how to use this moment to achieve some good. After denouncing Trump's response, of course (emphasis in original):</p>

<blockquote><p>In the wake of the events in Charlottesville, President Trump’s refusal to promptly and unequivocally denounce the radical, white-supremacist movement in this country was disgraceful. It was shameful, un-American, and it was wrong. It was an astounding failure of both presidential and moral leadership at a time when our nation needed it most.</p>

<p>Millions of Americans watched on TV as Nazi-sympathizers marched through the streets of a college town with torches, advocating racial violence and white supremacy. They watched as many in the groups shouted Nazi, anti-Semitic and racist slogans and some even gave "Heil Hitler" salutes. They watched as a member of that hateful group drove a car into a crowd of people, injuring dozens and killing a young woman. Then they watched their president blame the violence "on many sides," drawing a grotesque moral equivalence between purveyors of hate and racism and the Americans who came to stand up to those dangerous views.</p>

<p><strong>We needed to hear from our president a message of unity.</strong> We needed to hear a consistent, unambiguous, forceful denouncement of racism, bigotry and violence and a reaffirmation of the values we all hold dear: inclusiveness, tolerance, equal opportunity for all, and non-violent protest. President Trump failed to deliver that message.</p></blockquote>

<p>But it's not just Trump, Schumer quite rightly points out:</p>

<blockquote><p>The Ku Klux Klan and its sympathizers at all levels of government denied black Americans the right to vote for decades. Today, voting rights are once again under assault. The misguided <em>Shelby County v. Holder</em> Supreme Court decision gutted the Voting Rights Act, opening the door to the same voter suppression tactics that existed before the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. In the past year and a half alone, federal courts have struck down discriminatory voting laws in North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. And some legislators, as they attempted to pass these types of bills, openly admitted their goal was to suppress minorities from voting. In the case of North Carolina, the court found that the legislature targeted African-American voters with <strong>"almost surgical precision."</strong> This is despicable. And now there is something even more ominous happening now within the Trump Administration.</p>

<p>. . .</p>

<p><strong>The president's "Election Integrity Commission" and the actions of the attorney general are wolves in sheep's clothing. They are a ruse. Their only intention is to disenfranchise voters.</strong> This is how the appalling failure to use the right words and stand up to hate in the aftermath of Charlottesville is made real in the form of policy; they are two edges of the same sword.</p></blockquote>

<p>Schumer then offers up two concrete plans for action, but we're saving those for the talking points part of the program. But for not just making political hay out of Trump's inadequate response -- for instead charting positive steps for improvement, Chuck Schumer is our <strong>Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week</strong>. Other Democrats should start echoing Schumer's call to action, and raise the level of pressure to get something done rather than just score political points.</p>

<p>[<em>Congratulate Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on <a href="https://www.schumer.senate.gov/contact/email-chuck">his Senate contact page</a>, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.</em>]</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p align="center"><img src='http://www.chrisweigant.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/mddotwsm.jpg' alt='Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week' /></p>

<p>However, in a surprise move, we're also going to award Chuck Schumer the <strong>Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week</strong> award as well. Because he inexplicably failed to come to the most obvious conclusion in his article. While calling for disbanding the "Election Integrity Commission" is a good first step, and promising to hold hearings on the issue of voting rights is also a great idea, the obvious final step was absent.</p>

<p>Why not lead Democrats in a movement to <em>pass a new Voting Rights Act?</em> Schumer correctly identifies the Supreme Court's decision as gutting the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but then fails to call for a modern replacement. All kinds of problems could be addressed in such legislation, to improve the process of voting for millions of Americans. In fact, the sustained Republican attack on voting rights is precisely the reason why such legislation is desperately needed right now. It would be the logical thing for Democrats to push for, in other words.</p>

<p>Which is why the absence of this idea in Schumer's otherwise inspirational article is downright mystifying. Sure, disbanding Trump's fake commission is important, as is listening to all sides describe the problems. But after all that is done, further action is required. So Chuck Schumer wins both the <strong>MIDOTW</strong> and the <strong>MDDOTW</strong> awards this week, for brilliantly outlining the problem but for some reason failing to offer up the obvious solution.</p>

<p>[<em>Contact Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on <a href="https://www.schumer.senate.gov/contact/email-chuck">his Senate contact page</a>, to let him know what you think of his actions.</em>]</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p align="center"><img src='http://www.chrisweigant.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/ftp.jpg' alt='Friday Talking Points' /></p>

<p align="center"><strong>Volume 450</strong> (8/25/17)</p>

<p>Have we really written 450 of these columns? Time marches on....</p>

<p>Our first three items are positive ideas for Democrats to rally around when they return to Congress next month. The final four are a wee bit more negative, directed towards Trump and his enablers. So let's get on with it (for the 450th time)....</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p><img src="http://www.chrisweigant.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/1.jpg" alt="1" align="left" /><br /><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Disband the fake commission</strong><br clear="all" /></p>

<p>These first two are the bullet points from Chuck Schumer's article on how Democrats should respond to Trump after Charlottesville.</p>

<blockquote><p><strong>Disband the Election Integrity Commission.</strong> If the president wants to truly show that he rejects the discrimination agenda of the white supremacist movement, he will rescind the Executive Order that created this commission. And if the president does not act, the Congress should prohibit its operation through one of the must-pass legislative vehicles in September. Many of us found the Election Integrity Commission distasteful when it was first created. The president’s recent failure to unequivocally condemn bigotry makes its rescission imperative.</p></blockquote>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p><img src="http://www.chrisweigant.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/2.jpg" alt="2" align="left" /><br /><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Study the problem</strong><br clear="all" /></p>

<p>Schumer continues with another good idea.</p>

<blockquote><p><strong>Hold a series of public hearings on the status of voting rights in America.</strong> Let’s have a public debate about these issues where experts can discuss policies like same-day registration as well as alleged voter fraud. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, vice chairman of the Election Integrity Commission, should testify as well.</p></blockquote>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p><img src="http://www.chrisweigant.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/3.jpg" alt="3" align="left" /><br /><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Pass an updated Voting Rights Act</strong><br clear="all" /></p>

<p>And here's the third obvious bullet point that Schumer somehow forgot.</p>

<p>"<strong>Pass an updated Voting Rights Act</strong>. The Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because they said it was too outdated. Democrats think they tossed the baby out with the bathwater, however, as recent court rulings in Texas and Wisconsin and North Carolina have proven. So we are calling on Republicans to work with us to draft an updated replacement for the Voting Rights Act. How can any true American be <em>against</em> the right to vote, after all? After we hold public hearings on the issue, we can use what we learn to draft a bill that will strengthen the right of every upright citizen to fully participate in their government."</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p><img src="http://www.chrisweigant.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/4.jpg" alt="4" align="left" /><br /><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Too bad?!?</strong><br clear="all" /></p>

<p>This doesn't exactly bode well for Trump, post-hurricane.</p>

<p>"Earlier this week, the Navy announced that another one of their ships was in a collision with a much larger vessel, resulting in the loss of life of U.S. sailors. President Donald Trump's reaction, when informed of the accident, was: 'That's too bad.' Too bad? That's it? As one <em>New York Times</em> reporter tweeted: 'Imagine the reaction if Obama, Bush, Clinton said "that's too bad" in response to missing soldiers on a military vessel.' What is really too bad is that we've got a president who seems to be lacking in basic human decency and empathy."</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p><img src="http://www.chrisweigant.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/5.jpg" alt="5" align="left" /><br /><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Trump hits a milestone, of sorts...</strong><br clear="all" /></p>

<p>....but one he won't likely be bragging about any time soon.</p>

<p>"The <em>Washington Post</em> has been busily collating all the times Donald Trump has lied since he took office, and this week it broke the barrier <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/08/22/president-trumps-list-of-false-and-misleading-claims-tops-1000/">into four digits</a>. That's right, Trump has lied to the American public a total of 1,057 times now -- an average of almost five lies per day. And those are just the ones he tells in public. There was a recent story about how Trump had <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/trump-rebuffs-coal-industry-ceo-claims-promise-broken/2017/08/22/17159934-8722-11e7-96a7-d178cf3524eb_story.html">lied to executives at a coal company</a>, which is kind of surprising since Trump's supposed to be such a big friend of coal. Trump also let the cat out of the bag about his border wall this week, when he promised to shut the government down if Congress didn't pony up taxpayer money to build it. In other words, all those promises on the campaign trail that 'Mexico will pay for it' were nothing more than <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/08/24/sorry-trump-supporters-the-white-house-clearly-isnt-going-to-make-mexico-pay-for-that-wall/">big fat lies</a> to his own supporters."</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p><img src="http://www.chrisweigant.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/6.jpg" alt="6" align="left" /><br /><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Let them eat cake</strong><br clear="all" /></p>

<p>Hoo boy.</p>

<p>"Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's wife, Louise Linton, certainly took the Marie Antoinette 'let them eat cake' prize this week, as she belittled average Americans on social media in a breathtaking display of elitism. This was in response to a photo she had posted while giving a shout-out to all the wonderful (and expensive) designers who contributed to her outfit. The outing she was photographed traveling to was to see the eclipse from Fort Knox. This led <em>Salon</em> to write <a href="http://www.salon.com/2017/08/25/steve-mnuchin-watched-the-solar-eclipse-from-atop-fort-knox-literally-a-building-filled-with-gold/">the headline of the week</a>: 'Steve Mnuchin Watched The Solar Eclipse From Atop Fort Knox, Literally A Building Filled With Gold.' Just fills you with confidence about Mnuchin leading the effort to reform our tax code, doesn't it? He'll definitely keep the middle class in mind while doing so, right? Because he and his wife so obviously care deeply about average Americans."</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p><img src="http://www.chrisweigant.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/7.jpg" alt="7" align="left" /><br /><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Pucker up!</strong><br clear="all" /></p>

<p>This one's just downright astonishing, even for him.</p>

<p>"The Trump Kiss-Ass prize of the week has got to go to Tucker Carlson at Fox News. After Donald Trump refused to wear his protective glasses and idiotically stared straight at the sun during the eclipse, Carlson had the following praise to offer his Dear Leader, calling it 'perhaps the most impressive thing any president has ever done.' Um, no. Just... no. Lincoln freeing the slaves? F.D.R. taking America through the Great Depression? George Washington's Farewell Address? All pale in comparison -- according to the biggest sycophant on television today -- to Donald Trump risking blindness even when people were screaming 'Don't look!" at him. I'd like to think he really meant to say 'least impressive,' but given Tucker Carlson's propensity to kiss Trump's ass repeatedly, I can't believe he didn't really mean it. They really ought to start calling him 'Pucker Carlson,' at this point."</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p><em>Chris Weigant blogs at:</em></p>

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<p><em>Follow Chris on Twitter: </em><a href="http://twitter.com/ChrisWeigant">@ChrisWeigant</a></p>

<p><em>Full archives of FTP columns: </em><a href="http://www.fridaytalkingpoints.com">FridayTalkingPoints.com</a></p>

<p><em>All-time award winners leaderboard, </em><a href="http://www.chrisweigant.com/ftpts/ftpawards/">by rank</a></p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

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