A Microcosmic Trump Week

Alan Zendell, August 21, 2019

By any reasonable standard this would be an insane week, but it’s a perfect microcosm of the Trump administration. This was the week of Greenland, guns, and anti-Semitism. If it had occurred two years ago, we’d have raged at how incompetent and ignorant our president was, but in 2019, we know better. We know that not one word uttered by Donald Trump this week was anything but intentional

Greenland – Whether you believe that the idea of purchasing Greenland occurred to Trump on the spur of the moment, or that he’d been floating it for weeks, it’s impossible to view this debacle as anything but a deliberate diversion to distract attention from troubling economic forecasts and discouraging poll numbers that suggest Trump could lose badly in 2020. This week’s NBC/Wall Street Journal poll reported that people saying they’d vote for a Democrat outnumbered people who said they’d vote for Trump, by 52-40%.

The United States Air Force has had a base in Thule, Greenland since 1943. It’s location on the Arctic Circle is of strategic importance for detecting long range missile launches from Russia and intercepting communications between Russian naval vessels. But with the Thule base already under our control for seventy-six years, it’s not clear what owning the world’s largest and coldest island would accomplish.

Trump is said to consider Greenland just a big piece of real estate, but that’s part of the diversion – make Trump sound like a bumbling fool and no one will take him seriously. Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen took him very seriously and called Trump’s comments absurd. Trump then “postponed” his scheduled meeting with her, whereupon Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir announced that she would be skipping Vice President Pence’s visit to her country due to “prior commitments.”

Does Trump care about alienating three strategic allies? Students of history will recall that Denmark, Greenland, and Iceland, all of which might be overlooked as critical military partners today, played critical roles in the Allies’ defeat of Germany.

Guns – In the aftermath of the murderous acts of domestic terror In Dayton and El Paso, the president gave a tortured, televised speech to the nation. He said White Nationalism had to be obliterated and that universal background checks for all gun purchases were his priority. Of course, almost no one believed him; if you’re still not sure, keep reading.

Yesterday, the Washington Post, citing several sources close to the president, reported that Trump phoned National Rifle Association chief executive Wayne LaPierre to assure him that universal background checks were off the table. Following angry pushback from both Democrats and Republicans, Trump, as is his wont, did an about face today and claimed he never said it, as West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin announced that there were a number of bipartisan efforts to draft legislation to limit gun ownership by people with criminal records and serious mental health issues. Manchin made it clear that by remaining on the sidelines, rather than publicly giving cover to Republican Senators, Trump was effectively scuttling any real effort to pass anything.

Anti-Semitism – Trump has spent this week attacking “any Jewish person” who is considering voting Democratic in 2020. He claimed that any vote by a Jew for his Democratic opponent would be against the interest of Israel and disloyal to the country that Israel depends most on for defense. What? Cries of anti-semitism arose from many quarters, as in political speak, terms like “disloyal” are viewed as Jew-hating tropes. It’s notable that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose to remain silent.

Why would Trump risk offending American Jews, many of whom make sizable political contributions, and a large percentage of whom live in suburban areas critical to his re-election hopes? While 80% of American Jews traditionally register as Democrats, wouldn’t Trump be risking losing the other 20% along with any hope of changing the minds of those who voted Democratic in the past?

As with everything Trump does it’s all about weighing what’s good and bad for his self-interest. With his standing among independents shrinking, he can’t afford to lose a single vote from his base. We don’t have to dig very deep to see what he’s up to.

Jewish people make up about 1.3% of our population. Twenty percent of them account for barely a quarter of one percent. Compare that to the number of people in Trump’s base who stand up and cheer every time he fails to condemn White Nationalism and Nazi-like hate groups. No one knows exactly how many there are, but is there any doubt that Trump has more to gain by solidifying their support than he has to lose by offending the Jewish community?

I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us to celebrate Labor Day.

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I’d Even Accept Help From the Mooch

Alan Zendell, August 19, 2019

That’s how bad it’s gotten. Short of the Devil, I’d accept help from anyone. But the Mooch?

Today, Anthony Scaramuchi, who served as Donald Trump’s Communications Director for eleven days, two summers ago, announced that he’s forming a coalition to undermine Trump’s bid for re-election. He told CNN and The Hill that he’s creating a team of former Trump Cabinet Officers who feel “exactly the same way I do.” It almost sounds like the theme of a reality TV show − Survivor: Politics 2020.

On one hand, I’m excited by the possibility this raises. I’ve believed from the moment Trump exploded onto the political scene in 2015 that people like him must lose in the end. You can only make so many enemies for so long before it comes back to haunt you. Combine that with Trump’s narcissism and you have a perfect storm for mutiny. Trump has impugned the integrity and the intelligence of a lot of powerful people over the last four years.

Given that, his fatal flaw could be likening the presidency to the business world, where having the most money often carries the day. Whenever Trump stabbed a business associate in the back, trashed a subcontractor, defrauded customers, or destroyed a city (viz: Atlantic City, NJ) he and his expensive lawyers went to court. Sometimes he won, but often he lost and paid millions in compensation or fines. Once the legal action was settled, he walked away from it and didn’t look back. But that was business; it’s different in politics.

Among Trump’s delusions is that he’s the smartest person in every room, and that he can defeat anyone one-on-one just by being shameless and intimidating. His worst misconception is believing that when he vanquishes someone in the political arena they just slink off into bushes like wounded animals. He may be about to learn how wrong he is.

Trump loves to flit from victim to victim and then forget them. But powerful politicians hold grudges that have half-lives longer than most radioactive isotopes. People like Mitch McConnell, who Trump savaged repeatedly in 2017, have memories like elephants. Once Republicans start showing some backbone and speaking out, you can be sure he’ll join right in tearing at Trump’s political carcass. But…

There’s always a but, isn’t there. In this case it’s the Mooch himself. He and Trump are very similar in many ways. They’ve both made a lot of money in business. They both love being on television. They were both Democrats who supported Bill Clinton and then Hillary Clinton when she ran for the Senate.

After that, Scaramuchi and Trump had different political trajectories. Scaramuchi supported Barack Obama, but split with him over his attacks on Wall Street after the 2008 economic crisis. Scaramuchi became a Republican, but when Fox News convinced Trump to run for president on a platform built around nativism and a racist approach to immigration, the Mooch criticized him for it. Then, when Trump won, he joined the President’s transition team.

Why? Today, the Mooch told the Washington Post that “despite his warts … I thought he could be the reset button Washington needed to break through the partisan sclerosis. [But] the negatives of Trump’s demagoguery now clearly outweigh the positives of his leadership, and it is imperative that Americans unite to prevent him from serving another four years in office.”

One might argue that turning on the President after supporting him and serving, however briefly, in his administration is Trump-like behavior. Perhaps it is. After all, most of what we know about Anthony Scaramucci is the public persona he presents. I want to believe that there’s a real difference between them, however. It’s clear that everything Trump does is out of self-interest, but it’s hard to imagine how Scaramucci profits from this. I believe he’s sincere when he says he wants to be part of the solution to the Trump debacle.

He predicts that by mid-to-late Fall, he’ll have a consortium of former Cabinet members aligned to speak out about Trump’s instability and danger to the nation, though he declined to mention who they might be. Just imagine the impact former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Chief of Staff General John Kelly could have if they spoke out in unison against Trump’s re-election.

I’m thinking about that right now and there’s a big smile on my face.

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The Long View – Why Trump Will Fail

Alan Zendell, August 16, 2019

Every day I hear people moan about how Trump is going to be re-elected. That defeatism is not only depressing, it’s dead wrong. While the Democrats proved in 2016 that they are uniquely capable of murdering a gift horse in its sleep, they got their act together in 2018, and rode the opportunity of disillusionment with Trump to a majority in the House of Representatives. Not only is Trump beatable in 2020, if they can avoid a circular firing squad within their own ranks, the Dems should score the sort of decisive landslide that history will record as a clear renunciation of fascist nativism and racism, and a re-affirmation of core American values.

What does Trump have going for him? As James Carville famously said, “It’s the economy, stupid!” In Trump’s world, the economy means taxes, market indexes, and jobs. Notably, it excludes deficits, the national debt burden we are leaving to our children, and sustainable wage growth. Even among Republicans, many who still hold to basic conservative principles abhor that. They’ve been cowed by Trump’s shameless style and take-no-prisoners approach to politics, but there are signs that they are re-awakening.

Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld was the first to challenge Trump’s right to lead the party he hijacked in 2016.  Then popular Republican Maryland governor Larry Hogan announced that he was considering a primary challenge, and this week, former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford said the same thing. We might even see the resurrection of Jeff Flake as the standard bearer of Barry Goldwater style conservatism.

But what is most likely to defeat Trump is his own limited world view. He’s not a long thinker. Everything he does is transactional, a series of knee-jerk actions and decisions that reflect on his basic nature and values. His continual attacks on perceived enemies and rivals, on virtually anyone who fails to convincingly take the knee, have caused most observers to compare him to an out-of-control child, from his five-year-old tantrums to his adolescent incapacity to feel compassion.

But it is another aspect of his inability to function like an adult that will ultimately defeat him: impatience. Trump’s style is to constantly pick fights, goad the opposition, and rely on chaos. That’s what a professional boxer does – keep the opponent constantly off guard, jab and poke at every perceived weakness, and create enough disorientation to strike a decisive blow. All of that can be very effective in the short term, but life, especially the life of a president isn’t a boxing match.

Trump cannot take the long view because it is the anathema of his strengths. Thus, his constant antagonism for allies, his willingness to be nice to anyone when he perceives it as momentarily advantageous, and his ongoing trade wars. None of these things is productive over the long term, and four years in office is sufficient for deep cracks to form in his power base. That’s why Trump is ultimately no match for adversaries like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jin Ping, and Kim Jong Un, or for politicians like Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. While Trump behaves like a hyper-active child, they all understand the long view.

Trump benefited from a stock market that bet on a business-friendly climate for two years. It rose on speculation, then plateaued waiting for his next move. But the erosion of relationships with our natural allies and his ongoing trade wars made his billionaire friends nervous which is reflected in worsening market volatility and in the dreaded inverted yield curve, both of which are established harbingers of an economy ready to crash.

(If you don’t understand the inverted yield curve thing, consider what every seven-year-old who opens a bank account knows. He can earn a paltry return in an account with no minimum time limit, or if he’s willing to let the bank keep his money for several years, he can earn much more. But what if confidence in the future is so bad that no one’s willing to guarantee a long-term return? The result is chaos, and not the kind Trump likes to create.)

Trump uses tariffs the way a professional fighter jabs. But his principle adversary, China, is known for taking the long view. Mandarin philosophy has always prioritized the thousand year view over quick outcomes. China’s leaders know they can outwait him, and they’re more than willing to suffer short-term pain for ultimate victory. As Trump’s base erodes and polls show him sliding, China has no incentive to sign a long-term trade agreement on Trump’s terms. They understand that the misguided trade war he started is what will defeat him as Americans feel the impact over the coming months.

We’ve had enough defeatism. This fight is winnable if we stay focused.

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We’d Seen This Movie Before – Until Biden Changed It

Alan Zendell, August 8, 2019

On Monday, we heard our president mouth the empty platitudes and lies we expected from him. What does it say about a leader that he can’t utter comforting words or state truthful intentions without reading them from a teleprompter? And even then, he looked so uncomfortable I thought he was trying to pass a kidney stone.

I’m all for background checks, we can’t have crazy people running around with guns! We need to wipe out White Nationalism! That’s what Trump said, as the racists and neo-Nazis winked at each other, and as Wayne LaPierre looked up the White House’s phone number so he could remind Trump that the NRA and its related gun lobbies would foment a rebellion by his base if he didn’t get back on the right course.

The moment Trump began speaking in that tortured way he has of letting everyone know he’s being coerced and doesn’t mean a word of it, we instantly recognized that this was just another rerun. We hated Act 1 the first ten times we saw it, and this time was no different. Then came Act 2, the obligatory visits to the scenes of the latest terrorist massacres.

I wonder why he does them. He always blows them. His phony adulation of the first responders and heroes was hollow the first time he tried it, and this week was no exception. Maybe if he’d said something honest like: “I wish I possessed your courage and concern for every American,” we might believe him. If he cared about those heroes he would have shared the wealth with them when he signed the enrich-the-billionaires tax bill. If he cared about sounding credible to anyone but his rabid base, he might have resisted the temptation to act like he was the victim.

But that’s not part of either Trump’s psyche or his repertoire. His day isn’t complete if he hasn’t skewered someone in the media. He is always the aggrieved party no matter how much blood has been spilled by others, and how many people are truly mourning the loss of loved ones. Poor Donald. The Senator (Sherrod Brown) and Mayor (Nan Whaley) who accompanied him in Dayton weren’t effusive enough in their praise of his meager, insincere efforts at consoling the real victims, so in Act 3, the moment he saw a TV camera, Trump spent more time attacking and lying about them than talking about the real tragedy.

If you believe for one second that Trump will direct Mitch McConnell to reach some accord on guns with the Democrats, if you believe he’d risk taking on the NRA, and if you believe that he has any sympathy for the Hispanic Community in El Paso, there’s a 130-year-old bridge not far from Trump Tower that he’d love to sell you. (It’s really a cool bridge.)

Just when we needed it, Joe Biden added Act 4 to the drama. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jonathan Capehart said it best so I’ll just let him tell you about it: “Joe Biden reminded all of us of what a presidential president would sound like.”

Biden was campaigning in Iowa, but this was not a stump speech. There’s a distinctly different tone in his speeches, compared to those of other candidates. The other major contenders earnestly want to be president. But after everything he’s been through in his life, as one of the most admired politicians of this or any other generation, Biden doesn’t need it and probably wouldn’t be running if the incumbent were anyone but Donald Trump. Biden is running because he believes he can “save the soul of America.”

Corny as that sounds, I absolutely believe him. The speech he delivered in Iowa, yesterday, was made in his classic avuncular style, yet it brimmed with eloquent sincerity and passion. He drew straight lines from Trump’s own words, delivered repeatedly in interviews and at rallies, to the hateful manifestos posted by terrorists. He illuminated the clear cause-and-effect between Trump’s hate-filled rhetoric and the words and actions of the people who decided to kill to preserve the divine right of white Americans.

Here’s the thing. When we’re done arguing about Medicare For All, abortion, and immigration, there are two realities to keep in mind. One is that presidents don’t make policy or pass legislation, the Congress does. The more important one is that if Biden were to win in 2020 and carry the Senate majority on his coattails, all of those things would be ironed out in House and Senate committees along the lines of a progressive agenda that represented the will of the majority.

If your main concern is replacing a piggish president who has no moral center with someone we can look up to and admire, Joe Biden has let us know that he is what we need to help the country heal from Trump. He may be white, male, and old, but you can’t have everything. America needs Joe now even more than it needed Gerald Ford to heal the damage done by Richard Nixon.

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American Carnage

Alan Zendell, August 4, 2019

What do Mississippi, California, Texas, and Ohio, the reddest state, the bluest state, and two red states that may be turning purple, have in common? Until this week most people would have said, “Not much.” Today they share deadly acts of hate-generated domestic terrorism. Forget technical legalistic definitions, there’s no other way to describe the murder of innocent people that occurred in those four states this week.

The El Paso perpetrator posted a manifesto on the hate-mongering online message board 8chan just before he climbed into his body armor and started shooting people in a crowded Walmart. He acknowledged his long-held fear and hate for Hispanics (El Paso is more than 80% Hispanic) but claimed it had nothing to do with Donald Trump.

The hell it doesn’t. The sociopath whose manifesto said he was expecting to be dead soon just before he began pulling the trigger in El Paso is precisely the sort of unbalanced individual who is most affected by Trump’s hate rhetoric. And the United States contains millions like him to varying degrees. In the minds of these crazies, Trump has made their hate and fear acceptable and reasonable, and he damn well knows it. He’s been told repeatedly by people qualified to know.

When our president utters his hollow sympathy for the victims, don’t believe a word of it. It’s just more of his lies and self-delusion. Because of his office and the pulpit it gives him, no reasonable person can deny that he is the chief enabler for every grudge-holding lunatic with access to weapons. How many more times do we have to live through this before it’s clear to everyone?

Law enforcement professionals will talk about swift justice for these domestic terrorists, but we’ve heard that before. Honestly, who cares? Most of them knew they were committing “suicide by cop.” How does executing the few that weren’t killed by police on the scene solve anything?

Before we restart the endless debate about gun control and the Second Amendment, let’s be clear. Trump loves those arguments because it lets him claim that Democrats want to repeal our right to own weapons, as he did for the millionth time in Cincinnati last week. Let’s also be clear that most gun owners are as sick and disgusted by the terrorist carnage as everyone else. Every gun owner I know is.

So what do we do? The El Paso shooter was the third mass murderer/terrorist to announce his intentions on 8chan, emulating similar psychopaths in New Zealand and at a California synagogue. After the El Paso shooting, one of the site’s founders said: “8chan is a Megaphone for Shooters. Shut the Site Down.” Sounds like a great idea to me. In the same way that the president’s hate-mongering enables these atrocities, sites like 8chan bolster and encourage the perpetrators, making them feel their cause is righteous.

Why wouldn’t law enforcement crack down on them? You’ll hear things like First Amendment rights and the need to monitor these crazies. But what good did monitoring the El Paso shooter’s ramblings do? And the courts have long established that incitements to violence and terror are not protected by the First Amendment. They’ve abdicated their right to have a public voice.

I’m no expert on criminally insane behavior or hate crimes. But Dayton, the scene of last night’s shooting in Ohio, is less than an hour’s drive from the site of Trump’s Cincinnati rally. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I’m not surprised than no one in the White House is eager to comment about these shootings and the possibility that the president bears some responsibility.

If you have trouble believing that living in a culture in which it’s acceptable for the president preach hate, bigotry, and xenophobia doesn’t affect the way our less stable citizens see the world, I give you North Korea, where generations of lies from their leaders have completely warped the minds of their people. There’s a sliding scale from persuasion to brainwashing, and Trump knows right where he fits on that spectrum.

I’ve said since the day he was elected that the most dangerous aspect of Trump’s presidency is the long-term effect of his constant hate-mongering and disregard for truth. For individuals who are already unstable and on the edge, believing that their president is encouraging them is all it takes to remove their last restraints.

As awful as these shootings are, the even more awful reality is having a president who can somehow turn a blind eye to the damage he does, and only we can change it. The election is only fifteen months away.

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The Six Commandments

Alan Zendell, August 2, 2019

In 2016, the Democratic National Committee effectively tilted the Primary playing field to Hillary Clinton’s advantage by controlling the so-called super-delegates. While I would hate to see that misguided abuse of power repeated, the five hours of debates on CNN this week left me hoping current DNC Chairman Thom Perez can control this bunch and set them on the right track. Unless someone does, we’ll wind up with four more years of Donald Trump.

The Democrats need a Moses to rescue them from wandering endlessly in the desert. Get out your stone tablet, hammer and chisel, Thom. It’s time for some new Commandments:

Do not forget who the enemy is. The enemy is Donald Trump, a malignant tumor that is steadily replacing American values with his own sick vision of male white supremacy and privilege. His unique combination of bullying and submissive adoration of adversarial autocrats weakens our country and leaves our allies floundering.

Yesterday alone, he offered tacit approval to Kim Jung Un’s latest round of ballistic missile tests and Xi Jin Ping’s suppression of freedom in Hong Kong. What’s next? Inviting Vladimir Putin to stage a full-scale invasion of Ukraine?

Tell voters why they should vote for you, rather than tearing each other apart. Except for their opening and closing remarks, the candidates spent almost all their time shooting holes in each other, and creating video sound bites that Trump will use against them in the general election.

A few cases in point: Kirsten Gillibrand badgered Joe Biden over the meaning of a thirty-eight year old Op-Ed, implying that he thinks women should stay home and raise children. Has she met Jill Biden? Cory Booker’s cute Kool-Aid remark suggested that Biden is clueless about crime and urban problems. He knows better. And not to be ignored, the very nasty exchange between Tulsi Gabbard and Kamala Harris helped no one.

Rein in your self-interest in pursuit of the greater good. Donald Trump pulled off a shocking primary upset by running the most appallingly negative campaign we’ve ever seen. His lies, insults, and bullying, and his successful appeals to racists and hate groups wrecked the Republican establishment. Trump, the ultimate narcissist, for whom nothing matters but winning, succeeded because he understood that in their own desperate need to win, none of his opponents would support anyone he attacked.

The Democrats will not succeed by emulating Trump. When this week’s debates ended, Americans were sick of the carnage and dismayed by what it portends for the future. A couple of candidates took a step back and said any of the twenty debaters would be better than Trump, but it came off as lip service, as the debates quickly degenerated back into carving each other up. It’s always been fair game in politics to attack the front-runner, but this is a new game. Anyone whose ambition blinds him or herself to the reality that a bloodied primary winner will likely lose to Trump is as bad as Trump.

Do not attack your strongest assets. Among potential Democratic voters, Barack and Michelle Obama are the two most admired individuals in the country, notably in critical battleground states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan. They will be formidable assets when the general election campaign heats up. Yet the Democrats spent more time attacking the Obama administration than Trump, because the front-runner they were chasing was Obama’s VP. Anyone who can’t convince voters that they’re the better choice on their own merits, they should drop out.

End the impeachment debate now. Let the Congress do its oversight and investigation. It’s their constitutional responsibility to gather evidence of Donald Trump’s crimes and post it where every voter can see it. But a candidate’s job is to defeat him at the ballot box. Continuing to call for impeachment is a dangerous distraction. There’s virtually no chance of a conviction in the Senate, and even if it were achieved, what’s the point? By the time Trump was impeached, his term would be over.

Don’t be afraid of being right. Listen to Elizabeth Warren and Jay Inslee, neither of whom spent their energy attacking other Democrats. Warren asked why anyone would go to the trouble and expense of running for president and reaching the debate stage only to argue about what can’t be accomplished. Jay Inslee argued for nothing less than the habitability of our planet, and the risks posed by Trump’s ignorance and self-serving denials.

Warren and Inslee are both right. We need big ideas to fix our system, and we can’t be afraid to fight established paradigms. Donald Trump isn’t afraid to, and the Democrats can’t afford not to.

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Maryland’s 7th Congressional District and Elijah Cummings

Alan Zendell, July 28, 2019

Context is everything. To be clear, I’m writing this as a white voter from an affluent, racially diverse county in central Maryland. Our median household income is nearly twice the national average. Our population is 51% white, 19% Asian (primarily Korean, Indian, and Chinese) and 18% African American. We have over 100 churches, many of which are inter-denominational, eight synagogues, and a mosque. While Maryland is generally considered a blue state, it has a two-term Republican governor who gave serious consideration to challenging Donald Trump’s re-election. My county is as purple as it can be.

I am in Elijah Cummings’ Congressional district, and I proudly support and vote for him. He has represented most of Baltimore and its western suburbs since 1996, a black man known for his folksy, laid back style who rarely raises his voice, and never resorts to insulting invective or divisive tactics. As such he is the perfect foil for Donald Trump’s hateful racist rhetoric, but if Trump expects to intimidate Cummings he picked the wrong opponent.

By now the entire world has seen Trump’s Twitter attack: “Cummings’ district is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous and filthy place…No human being would want to live there.”

In typical Trump fashion, every word of that tweet is either false or gross hyperbole. Cummings has devoted his entire career as an attorney and politician to improving the lives of his constituents. Like most large American cities, Baltimore has suffered greatly from poverty, drug trafficking, and gun violence, and has neighborhoods that I wouldn’t walk through without body armor. But handicapped by the loss of much of its tax base and the laughable incompetence of its local government, it has still made massive strides in transforming itself.

I spent several hours in Baltimore, yesterday with my wife and some friends. We drove across a large segment of the city, actually marveling at how impressive the new development is. We saw thousands of people, mostly diverse groups of families waiting in line to see the Ravens practice, a thriving tourist area teeming with people, and neat, older, well-maintained neighborhoods. No rats, no infestation of any kind, no garbage in the streets, no filth, and no violence. And the human beings who live there, among whom are several of my friends, seem very happy to be there.

What our president did yesterday was another despicable example of how unfit he is to serve and represent us, much less lead. And make no mistake. As inarticulate as Trump is, he knows exactly what he’s saying. As CNN’s Victor Blackwell said in his emotional defense of the city he loves, it was the word “infested,” carefully chosen by Trump that tells us what goes on in our President’s sick mind.

As Blackwell points out, even with his embarrassingly limited vocabulary, Trump is an eloquent hate-monger. He knows how to get inside the guts of people, and he understands how one word can convey the kind of racist horror much of his base responds to. Blackwell correctly and tearfully noted that infested is one of Trump’s favorite words – crime infested, rat infested, disease infested. What do you picture when you hear that? It’s what spews repeatedly from our president’s mouth, and it has nothing at all to do with leadership or trying to improve the lives of Americans.

Trump himself represents the worst possible kind of infestation, a viral corruption of soul, of intellect, of common decency and morality that diminishes everything it touches with his unique brand of hate. I believe it’s a sign of desperation by a man who wants nothing less than absolute power to transform the country in his image of white supremacy and privilege. It tells me that he knows he will never expand his base unless he can denigrate everyone else in the minds of voters, and if he continues to lose support from independent voters who now see him for what he is, he will lose.

Except for exaggerated and made up self-adulation, when was the last time we heard anything positive from our president? Does he not understand how he is destroying the fabric that made our country great? Or is it simply that in his lust for power and wealth he doesn’t care?

Donald Trump is a cancer that must be removed before it kills us.

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