Ted Lieu @tedlieu
Ted Lieu @tedlieu
“I meet and talk to ‘foreign governments’ every day,” he wrote Thursday on Twitter. “I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Whales, the P.M. of the United Kingdom, the P.M. of Ireland, the President of France and the President of Poland. We talked about ‘Everything!’” he added, misspelling the title of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, before fixing and reposting it.
From the Washington Post:
“If we are able to make the deal with Mexico, & there is a good chance that we will, they will begin purchasing Farm & Agricultural products at very high levels, starting immediately,” Trump said in a tweet. “If we are unable to make the deal, Mexico will begin paying Tariffs at the 5% level on Monday!”—-Donald Trump
He sent his tweet from Air Force One as he was returning from a trip to Europe. It was not clear why Trump was suddenly tying the tariffs to trade issues rather than to Mexico’s ability to halt illegal immigration to the United States, which is what he said last week when he first leveled the threat.
From The New York Times, by Roger Cohen:
PARIS — How small he is! Small in spirit, in valor, in dignity, in statecraft, this American president who knows nothing of history and cares still less and now bestrides Europe with his family in tow like some tin-pot dictator with a terrified entourage.
To have Donald Trump — the bone-spur evader of the Vietnam draft, the coddler of autocrats, the would-be destroyer of the European Union, the pay-up-now denigrator of NATO, the apologist for the white supremacists of Charlottesville — commemorate the boys from Kansas City and St. Paul who gave their lives for freedom is to understand the word impostor. You can’t make a sculpture from rotten wood.
It’s worth saying again. If Europe is whole and free and at peace, it’s because of NATO and the European Union; it’s because the United States became a European power after World War II; it’s because America’s word was a solemn pledge; it’s because that word cemented alliances that were not zero-sum games but the foundation for stability and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.
Of this, Trump understands nothing. Therefore he cannot comprehend the sacrifice at Omaha Beach 75 years ago. He cannot see that the postwar trans-Atlantic achievement — undergirded by the institutions and alliances he tramples upon with such crass truculence — was in fact the vindication of those young men who gave everything.
As Eisenhower, speaking at the Normandy American Cemetery, last resting place of 9,387 Americans, told Walter Cronkite for the 20th anniversary of the D-Day landings: “These people gave us a chance, and they bought time for us, so that we can do better than we have before.”
That was a solemn responsibility. For decades it was met, culminating with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Doing better, however, is not rising nativism, xenophobia, nationalism and authoritarianism given a nod and a wink by the president of the United States. It’s not Brexit, Britain turning its back on the Europe it helped free.
The American moral collapse personified by Trump is not “beautiful” or “phenomenal” or “incredible” or any of the president’s other clunky two-a-penny superlatives. It’s sickening and dangerous.
My impression here is that Europe has gotten used to Trump to the point that it is no longer strange that the American president is a stranger. In less than two and a half years Trump has stripped his office of dignity, authority and values.
His foreign policy increasingly consists of a single word, “tariffs.” His contempt for allies undermines American diplomacy, or whatever is left of it, from Iran to North Korea, from Venezuela to China. His trampling of truth is so consistent that when he says in London that Britain is the largest trading partner of the United States — it’s nowhere near that — the impulse is to shrug.
Before arriving in London, Trump set the tone. He mocked the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, as short. It was a tweet in keeping with the president’s signature stunt as schoolyard bully. Khan, who had criticized “rolling out the red carpet” for Trump, responded by comparing the president to an 11-year-old.
This was generous. Most 8-year-olds know better.
Of course Khan — the brown Muslim son of a bus driver, self-made guy — would get under the skin of a man like Trump, who was born on third base and imbibed his reflexive racism in the family real estate business.
Khan called Trump’s policies — on the reproductive rights of women, on immigrant children at the Mexican border, on “amplifying messages from racists” — the antithesis of Londoners’ values and “abhorrent.” In response, Trump tweeted that Khan was as bad as the “very dumb” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, “only half his height.”
There is something so disturbing about a very small man like Trump impugning the height of the mayor of the great international city he is visiting that even 28 months of progressive inurement to his outrages feels inadequate.
America is much better than this, much better than an American president who, as the cartoonist Dave Granlund suggested, probably thinks the D in D-Day stands for Donald and spends the night of the commemoration trashing Bette Midler on Twitter.
As for the Republican Party, don’t get me started. To recover its bearings the G.O.P. would do well to recall one of its own, Eisenhower, who in that same 20th-anniversary interview said that America and its allies stormed the Normandy beaches “for one purpose only.”
It was not to “fulfill any ambitions that America had for conquest.” No, it was “just to preserve freedom, systems of self-government in the world.” It was an act, in other words, consistent with the highest ideals of the American idea that Trump and his Republican enablers seem so intent on eviscerating.
From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:
In the annals of terrible White House staff work, the decision to send Jared Kushner out there alone and unarmed against Jonathan Swan of Axios is going to rank right up there with Alexander Haig’s one-man coup d’etat after Ronald Reagan was shot. When he was not being transparently ill-informed, the Dauphin was being transparently dishonest. And in all cases, he looked like a misbegotten princeling in some kind of weird internal exile, one with pool privileges, private jets, and the ability to speak for a country he can’t begin to understand.
The sad point behind this debacle is this: Jared Kushner doesn’t care if he sounds like three geese trying to honk the Messiah. He doesn’t care that he’s supposed to be doing all these important jobs and clearly doesn’t know any more about the Middle East than he knows about the sacrificial rituals of the Aztecs. This is not a drawback in anyone’s effort to rise in this administration*. Marry the boss’s daughter is an extra, for sure. But this guy was born to be a Trump.
From The New Yorker:
“There was a concern that it was reminding the President of John McCain.”
There was a time when Republicans would have lost their shit if Obama did this over Memorial Day weekend instead of honoring fallen soldiers. Times have changed.
Memorial Day weekend, 2019
Memorial Day 2015
From the Washington Post:
A gigantic ark is built with the help of a higher power, a symbolic refuge from the depravity of humankind. It is a huge, grandiose structure constructed out of wood and is perhaps larger than anything comparable in the world. Then, heavy rains begin to fall, inundating the earth around it.
And that’s when the lawyers are called.
Genesis, this is not. This is the fate of the multimillion-dollar Noah’s Ark replica and theme park in Northern Kentucky, Ark Encounter, which is suing insurance carriers over coverage for rain-related damages to the property.
The company is seeking to recoup what it says were $1 million worth of repairs, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs, and an unspecified amount of punitive damages.
The $120 million Ark Encounter, where adult tickets cost $48, was completed in 2016, with a zoo, zip lines, and a restaurant in addition to its five-story high replica ark. It was the brainchild of Ken Ham and his ministry, Answers in Genesis, which also created the Creation Museum. Ham, is a Christian fundamentalist and creationist who argues that the Bible is a historical narrative that is meant to be taken literally.
He believes that dinosaurs lived alongside humans and that the biblical flood created the Grand Canyon. And he maintains that Noah labored seven decades to construct his vessel and was 600 years old when the storm surged.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed into law a controversial abortion bill that could punish doctors who perform abortions with life in prison.
“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature,” said Ivey, a Republican, in a statement. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”
Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, the ball is in your court. Literally.