Screenshot of the ongoing carnage in the Republic
Almost 60 former senior national security officials and grownups, both Democrats and Republicans, just wrote an open letter protesting there is "no emergency that remotely justifies" the Trumpster Fire's illegal move to build a border wall. Noting that "collectively we have devoted a great many decades to protecting the security interests of the United States," the 58 former secretaries of state, secretaries of defense, secretary of homeland security, CIA director, head of national intelligence, national security adviser, multiple directors of counterterrorism agencies and many ambassadors declared Trump's actions "at odds with the overwhelming evidence in the public record, including the administration’s own data." Citing a mountain of documentation known to anyone not deranged - record low illegal border crossings and no terrorist, national security, violent crime, human or drug trafficking emergency threats - they find "under no plausible assessment of the evidence is there a national emergency today" that entitles Trump to carry on with his wall madness.
There is nonetheless an emergency, and - Breaking News! - he's increasingly, lamentably it. In the past few days, fumbling through ongoing trade talks with China, he's shown the acumen of your average, drunken, ignorant uncle who keeps opening his trap to spew racist fourth-grade gibberish - this, from a guy who's boasted of a country with 1.39 billion people and 56 ethnic groups, "I know the Chinese...I understand the Chinese mind." First, with cameras rolling, he bickered with his own lead trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer when he gently corrected an uncomprehending Trump by explaining their proposed “memorandums of understanding,” a basic element of any trade deal, are actual contracts. This prompted "some full-on, child-tantrum-level shit" with an aggrieved Trump pouting he disagreed “because they don’t mean anything”- at which sorry spectacle China’s Vice Premier Liu laughed in his face.
There followed a surreal exchange wherein the adult in the room desperately tried to placate a cranky toddler: LIGHTHIZER: "From now on, we’re not using the word 'memorandum of understanding' anymore. We’re going to the term 'trade agreement.' All right?" TRUMP: "Right." LIGHTHIZER: "No more. We’ll never use the term again." TRUMP: "Good. Good. I like that much better." As in, noted one commenter: KID: "I don't like cheese." ADULT: "It's not cheese, it's mozzarella sticks." KID: "Oh, okay." This, remember, is the deeply insecure easy mark who's been given the task of representing this country with world leaders, who's been left alone in the room with Putin and is at the moment carrying on his demented love affair with Kim Jong-Un in Vietnam.
While there, we can only hope he doesn't revert to Monday's cringe-worthy form, when before a group of governors he described his meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping about the release of three US basketball players detained for shoplifting with buffoonish pantomime and stereotypes. “He’s got 10 people standing behind him. Everyone is central casting," he chortled. "Central casting. Glasses, pad, boom.” Then he made a glasses gesture to look like the execrable Mickey Rooney caricature in "Breakfast At Tiffany's," a gesture known to any playground asshole from the days when it was socially acceptable to bully anyone Asian, or other, or wearing glasses, which of course today, in the real world, it's not. The miracle: He didn't quite get to the slanty-eyed thing. Still, WTF. Cohen, Mueller, Congress, the purported moral arc of the universe, please hurry.
Reuters photo of said carnage