Up until now, Trumpism has been a largely victimless crime. Or, to be exact, one whose victims were largely speculative and unnamed.
President Trump has been doing great damage to the fabric of our democracy with his venomous attacks on the free press (“Our Country’s biggest enemy”), the FBI (a “den of thieves and lowlifes”), people of color (who hail from “shithole countries” and “maybe shouldn’t be in the country” if they don’t stand for the national anthem), the political opposition (traitors who don’t “seem to love our country very much”) and other favorite targets. He has been doing just as much damage to America’s international standing by attacking our allies (e.g., calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “very dishonest & weak”) and praising our enemies (e.g., calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “tough,” “smart,” “talented,” “funny”) while launching trade wars and tearing up international agreements.
.. his barbarous policy of separating the children of undocumented immigrants from their parents, Trump has finally provided vivid, camera-ready examples of how his policies are destroying the lives of ordinary people.
.. The suffering of adults — and adult men at that — doesn’t pique popular sympathy the way that the mistreatment of children does.
..Why would Trump do something so evil? Because he is desperate.
.. for all of Trump’s “fire and fury,” he has not managed to secure the border. Failing at his top task, he is lashing out at defenseless mothers and children in the hope that his inhumanity will scare other immigrants from coming.
.. not a single Republican has signed on. Even Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the most liberal member of the Senate GOP caucus, is willing to criticize the family-separations policy but won’t support the effort to repeal it.
.. Republicans, seeing the fate of Trump critics such as Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) — who was just defeated in his primary after the president tweeted an endorsement of his opponent — are so petrified of crossing the vengeful strongman in the White House that they are voluntarily separating themselves from their sense of right and wrong.
.. His GOP enablers are so craven, so soulless, so abject in their dishonor that they will allow any amount of human suffering rather than risk suffering the wrath of Trump.
.. he won’t be forced to act by Congress.
.. If only we could keep the hard-working Latin American newcomers and deport the contemptible Republican cowards — that would truly enhance America’s greatness.
voters in South Carolina cast out Rep. Mark Sanford, a firmly conservative member of Congress who had survived earlier scandal, in favor of a state legislator who had condemned Sanford for publicly criticizing the president. In Virginia, Republicans nominated for senator a Trump-like candidate with a history of embracing, as the president has, Confederate symbols and white nationalists.
.. Meanwhile, many in the party who in the past have opposed talks with North Korea’s leader this week praised Trump for his summit with Kim Jong Un.
The week was marked by continued deference to Trump on the part of congressional leaders who have swallowed the president’s upending of long-standing party views on several major issues. Legislative efforts by some in the party to wrest trade authority back from Trump and rewrite the nation’s immigration laws in ways he has opposed both fell in defeat.
Meanwhile, many in the party who in the past have opposed talks with North Korea’s leader this week praised Trump for his summit with Kim Jong Un.
As a result, the Republican Party appears united now not by fealty to ideas or policies but to a man
.. Republican voters, who have swiftly adopted the president’s issue positions and looked the other way at a progression of missteps and conflicts that would have doomed prior presidents.
.. Despite misgivings about Trump’s behavior, Republican voters have rewarded him with support unmatched by a Republican president since George W. Bush’s tenure in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. And they have rained down punishment on those who disagree with Trump.
.. Anthony Scaramucci. “He doesn’t speak with an elitist vocabulary and the savoir faire that Washingtonians are used to,”
.. I don’t think we, or any president, demanded personal loyalty to the degree Trump has,” said David Axelrod, an Obama adviser during his first campaign and term. “We made appeals around shared goals, ideals and agendas.
.. Trump has one of Obama’s most vexing problems, the inability to transfer power down the ballot.
.. In Michigan, two Republican candidates have spent weeks squabbling over how one of them abandoned Trump after the pre-election release of a recording of Trump bragging about sexual assault.
.. Tim Pawlenty is seeking a comeback by running against benefits for undocumented immigrants and recanting the criticism he made of Trump after the tape’s release.
.. In Nevada, brothel owner Dennis Hof, the star of a TV show about prostitution and the author of “The Art of the Pimp,” blew past a Republican incumbent to win the nomination for a seat in the state legislature. In an interview, Hof said that Trump “blazed the trail” for him.
“He gave me the confidence that I could do this — I could be a reality TV star, an author and a brothel owner and then be elected to serve,” said Hof.
He called the assumption at odds with the historical record — pointing out that the current economic expansion of 94 months has already long outstripped the average American economic expansion: “But what you presume in this budget is not only will we not have a recession — though we’re in the third-longest economic expansion in history — but it’s going to keep going for another 214 months. It’s not only unprecedented; I would think that to be unreasonable.
.. “It would require either radically opening immigration or a radical change to demographics as we are having 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day,” Sanford said. “If you look at productivity growth, it would require numbers, again, that we haven’t seen since the golden days of 1958 to 1967 — in the final wave of electrification, consumer appliances and the completion of the highway system — to achieve what we’re seeing. Even if we went to 1990 numbers, we would only see one-quarter of what is necessary to achieve 3 percent growth.”
.. Mulvaney said. “We should stop and think how absurd that is to think that 3 percent growth in an American economy is to some people an absurd assumption. It used to be normal. Ten years ago it was normal. In fact, it’s been normal for the history of the country.”
.. Mulvaney added: “By the way, if you don’t, the budget will never balance. If you assume 1.9 percent growth, my guess is you’ll never see a balanced budget again. So we refuse to accept that that’s the new normal in this country.
The president, Sanford says, “has fanned the flames of intolerance.” He has repeatedly misled the public, most recently about the national murder rate and the media’s coverage of terrorist attacks. He showed a lack of humility by using the National Prayer Breakfast to ridicule Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Most worrisome, Sanford says, Trump is unprepared for the presidency.
.. he is simultaneously something of a crusader for his causes of debt, deficits, spending and government transparency. “The thing you have to understand about Mark is that he’s both quirky and professorial about his beliefs—a lot like how Ron Paul was,
.. To understand Sanford’s irreverence toward the 45th president, his friends say, you have to understand two things about him. One is his disdain for expensive clothing. “He didn’t wear a suit to his inauguration as governor
.. His father, a prominent heart surgeon, “taught his kids that everyone is the same no matter where they’re from or what they wear, and Mark took it to heart,”
.. “I believe in a war of ideas … and I tell the staff all the time: Look, we’re in the business of crafting and refining our arguments that are hopefully based on the truth,” he adds. “Truth matters. Not hyperbole, not wild suggestion, but actual truth.”
.. he is already viewed as a leader of the GOP resistance
.. “historically there’s incredible deference to the presidency from the party in power.” He understands the reluctance of rank-and-file Republicans to criticize a president who “has a proven record of taking people down.” But, he says, there must be a muscular check on Trump from somewhere inside the GOP.
.. He is the unlikeliest enforcer of honesty in politics. He knows it.
.. When he refused to accept Obama’s stimulus money in March—a position he was eventually forced to abandon—Sanford became a household name on the right... He would have been nothing without her in that first congressional race—her and her family’s money and connections.”.. “one buddy turned to me and said, ‘Well, the good news here is that you won’t have to wait until your funeral to find out who your friends are.’” He adds, moments later, “Now I consider myself blessed to have a number of good friends that, frankly, I can count on one hand.”.. Sanford was itching to redeem his legacy, and a special election in his old district offered the friendliest possible opportunity to mount the unlikeliest of comebacks... Riding sky-high name identification among his former constituents—and benefiting from a fractured, 16-way Republican primary field.. At that point, Sanford made a decision: He would hoard as much campaign cash as possible and spend none unless absolutely necessary. The strategy has been successful.. the explanation for Sanford not spending money to defeat Horne is due equally to two defining traits: cheapness and confidence... Ted Fienning, a Harvard-educated entrepreneur—who, in addition to being young, wealthy and telegenic, flew fighter jets in the Marine Corps—will give Sanford the toughest test of his career in 2018... (“[I] learned long ago not to try and discourage someone from something they think they might want to do,” Sanford tells me via email, “so [I] simply wished him well.”).. he makes repeated references to “integrity” and “honor” while taking several direct shots at the incumbent’s personal struggles... “Mark at his core is a libertarian,” Felkel says, but “South Carolina is a state that can’t afford to be libertarian. … His district benefits greatly from the federal government.”.. What I have the itch on is trying to carve out a niche on impacting the government spending.”