This is the victory not only of a Trump personality cult, as it has been described, but also of an ideology, one closer to Putinism than Reaganism.
.. Back then, you may recall, some of the “crazies” — such as national security adviser Michael Flynn — had left the White House, and supposed pragmatists had taken charge: H.R. McMaster for national security, Gary Cohn for economics, Jared and Ivanka for — well, for general reasonableness.
.. There was talk of working with Democrats on infrastructure. Trump wanted to help the “dreamers,” those blameless young immigrants brought to this country as children. It seemed that existing international agreements — NATO, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Paris climate accord — might be preserved, with some face-saving adjustments. Trump was still the politician who had spoken tolerantly on LGBT issues.
.. The White House defines itself and prepares to motivate its voters by the “enemies” it constantly creates, refines and rediscovers, including African American athletes, the press (“Our Country’s biggest enemy,” in a recent Trump tweet), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (“very dishonest & weak”), and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III (directing a “Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats”). Also: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Democratic leaders in the Senate and House, former FBI director James B. Comey, his own attorney general, his deputy attorney general . . . The list will never end.
.. But Bannonism is not just a snarling attitude. It encompasses a contempt for democracy and a respect for authoritarianism. When Trump refused to sign a statement of solidarity with the world’s other six leading industrial democracies and then proceeded to slather praise on North Korea’s dictator (“a tough guy . . . a very smart guy”), this was not just a sign of personal pique or favoritism: The U.S. president raised questions in the minds of other leaders about whether the concept of the West itself can survive his presidency.
.. It encompasses an “America First,” for-me-to-win-you-have-to-lose philosophy
.. It encompasses a contempt for immigrants, for outsiders of any kind. Certainly it is possible to support lower levels of immigration without being a racist. But to countenance the deliberate policy of tearing away small children from their parents that we are seeing today on the U.S.- Mexico border is consistent only with a worldview that deems Mexicans and Salvadorans somehow less human, less worthy, than white Americans.
..it’s no coincidence that Trump, who boasted about being the first Republican to say LGBTQ in his convention acceptance speech in 2016, has, as The Post’s James Hohmann noted last week, tried to ban transgender people from the military, removed protections for transgender inmates, employees and students, failed to acknowledge Pride Month and disbanded the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. As in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, this revival of bigotry dovetails with an effort to woo the conservative Christian establishment.
.. Finally, Bannonism encompasses contempt for the government itself.
.. his constant disparagement of the Justice Department and the FBI; his at times insultingly unsuitable appointments (such as his personal physician to head the mammoth Department of Veterans Affairs); and his generally cavalier attitude toward staffing. Even today, 17 months into his first term, fewer than half of the 667 key positions tracked by The Post in collaboration with the Partnership for Public Service are filled, and for almost 200 there are no nominees.
.. But another answer came from Trump himself, who said after Bannon’s firing: “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency. . . . Steve was a staffer.”
Even discounting for Trump’s normal petulance and self-aggrandizement, there may have been an element of truth in what he said. The anti-democratic, protectionist, anti-immigrant, pro-authoritarian administration that has now taken shape, in other words, is not only Bannonism. It is raw and unvarnished Trumpism, too.
his Justice Department quietly indicated last week that it would not defend major parts of the Affordable Care Act that pro-Trump forces, having failed to kill it in Congress, are now trying to kill through lower courts. And this includes the requirement that insurance companies guarantee access to coverage without bias against people with pre-existing medical conditions.
The implications? Senator Susan Collins, the Maine Republican who voted against repealing Obamacare, put it best: The decision not to defend key provisions of Obamacare — in a suit filed by Texas’ attorney general and 19 other states — “creates further uncertainty that could ultimately result in higher costs for millions of Americans and undermine essential protections for people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.”
.. Trump just picked a fight with our closest NATO allies, including Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who Trump’s team said “stabbed us in the back” after Trudeau’s mild-mannered defense of his own country’s trade policy on dairy imports. This after Trump has had nary a word of censure for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who stabbed us in the chest with the biggest cyberattack on our democracy ever... But in the case of climate change — where an overwhelming majority of scientists in Trump’s own government say human-induced climate change is 100 percent real and we need to join with the other major industrial powers in the Paris climate agreement to reduce carbon emissions to avoid the unmanageable aspects of climate change and manage the unavoidable ones — Trump chose to scrap Paris, throw away any insurance and move to revive coal... Sure, if climate change turns out to be a hoax, it won’t matter that we have a president who doesn’t believe in science. And sure, if we get consecutive years of exceptionally high growth, and no recession, maybe we’ll grow out of the massive increase in the national debt Trump took on with his corporate tax cuts.
Maybe China, Canada and our European allies will indeed bend to our will on trade and it really will be easy to win multiple trade wars at once. Maybe if another 9/11, or global recession like 2008, never materializes we won’t need allies and we really can cozy up to Putin. And, sure, if health care costs miraculously drop on their own, it won’t matter that Trump destroyed Obamacare without putting anything in its place, let alone something better and cheaper, as he vowed.
February 2016, I warned in an article co-written with economist Benn Steil that “a Trump presidency threatens the post-World War II liberal international order that American presidents of both parties have so laboriously built up — an order based on free trade and alliances with other democracies. His policies would not make America ‘great.’ Just the opposite. A Trump presidency would represent the death knell of America as a great power.”
.. In just the past few weeks, he has taken a giant step toward destroying the global system that the United States created after 1945.
.. Trump has now exited three major treaties — the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear accord — and thrown into doubt the future of another — the North American Free Trade Agreement — while launching a reckless trade war against our closest allies.
.. Trump continued to push his irrational idée fixe that the United States — the richest nation in the world — has been victimized by its friends.
.. Trump looks like a defendant who has just been found guilty by a jury of his peers.
.. Justin Trudeau did not mince words, calling the U.S. tariffs “insulting” and saying: “Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”
.. No U.S. officials have ever spoken this way about any U.S. ally, ever. These are the kind of words that normally precede military action.
.. Trump seems amazed to discover that the European Union (gross domestic product: $17.1 trillion), Japan ($4.8 trillion), and Canada ($1.6 trillion) — which together produce more than the United States ($19.3 trillion) — will not be pushed around as easily as the contractors he has gotten used to stiffing.
.. add Russia. This was a bizarre suggestion, given that Russia is not only an international outlaw but also an economic pygmy whose GDP does not even rank in the top 10.
.. If the G-7 were to expand, it should include India and Brazil, both democracies that have larger economiesthan Russia’s.
.. invasion of Ukraine — an act of aggression for which Trump perversely blames President Barack Obama — and it has done nothing since 2014 to deserve readmittance. Instead, its meddling in U.S. elections its and war crimes in Syria demand more punishment.
.. Trump is doing precisely what Putin hoped would happen when he helped Trump get elected.
.. A new poll finds that only 14 percent of Germans consider the United States a reliable partner, compared with 36 percent for Russia and 43 percent for China. That the citizens of one of America’s staunchest and most important allies now look more favorably upon our illiberal foes is a testament to Trump’s unrivaled wrecking abilities.
.. none of those disputes called into question the fundamental unity of the West in the way that Trump’s stupid and self-destructive actions do. The Atlantic alliance was born in Canada in 1941 and may well have died there in 2018.
The Drive-bys see Chaos, brain drain. It signals that there is no one left who can contain Trump’s wacko impuses.
It’s not a problem, its an opportunity. Gary Cohn was in favor of the Paris Convention. This is an opportunity to get a Republican Economic Adviser.