Herewith, some items that did not exactly make front page news.
Senator Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) announced that he will not seek re-election, citing the need to spend more time with his family. You may recall that Chaffetz was the father who asserted that after hearing Trump brag about grabbing women’s “privates” in the infamous “Hollywood Access” tape, said that he could not support such a man and face his daughter. Of course, no sooner had 45 been elected than the chagrined Chaffetz changed his tune and refused to use his position as Chair of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee to subpoena Trump’s tax returns.
A BOMB vs. bombs
Throughout his second term, President Obama authorized multiple airstrikes against ISIS positions in Syria. But, because he did not implement a full-scale invasion of that country, the raids were decried by conservatives as “too little/too late” and “leading from behind”. Contrast that to Trump dropping one very big BOMB on an ISIS enclave in eastern Afghanistan and 45 is suddenly seen as “presidential”. Apparently, the size of the bomb you drop makes all the difference (sic).
With his continued resistance to releasing his tax returns, Trump has effectively turned congressional Republicans into pinatas that have been subject to incessant whacking by their constituents at recent town hall meetings. One has to wonder how long those same elected officials are going to put up with being used by 45 because that is exactly what he is doing; i.e. you must defend me no matter what the political cost to you in your state/district. So, suffer the abuse from constituents for my sake.
The wrong demand
Members of the public who are insisting the Trump release his tax returns are making the wrong “ask” because it leaves open his now well-rehearsed retort that those documents are “under audit”. What should be demanded is proof of that claim since there is no reason in the world to take the word of a man who has a decades-long history of serial lying.
As a matter of fact, if 45 really is under audit, proving that would be as simple as releasing a standard letter that the IRS automatically sends to every taxpayer whose return is subject to review. The sense here is that widespread demand for the public airing of that letter with no response from Trump forthcoming will reveal that his “under audit” excuse is yet another lie. This guy really does have something to hide.
And the beat goes on
About a month ago, in a tv interview, 45 made the outrageous claim that Obama and his administration has engaged in illegal spying on him and/or members of his team. This was quickly followed by unequivocal rebuttals of that charge by FBI Director Comey and Mike Rogers, Head of National Intelligence. Unpersuaded, conservatives in and out of government then took on the unenviable task of proving that Trump was right and the aforementioned two men were wrong. That effort continues as this blog is being typed, with each “expose’ ” of the “real truth” taking one conspiratorial tack or another, each to be effectively rebutted by fact-checkers.
In response to North Korea’s provocative test-firing of missiles, Trump supposedly ordered a naval strike force, including the carrier Carl Vinson to head towards that country in a show of force. This deployment was supported in public statements by two top cabinet officials (Mattis and McMaster) and 45’s press secretary, Spicer. The trouble is that the Vinson was headed in the opposite direction towards Australia. Unwilling to admit to this major gaffe, Spicer intoned that the carrier was now headed towards North Korea; end of story/full stop.
If there is one thread that runs through each of these squibs, it is to put the party first, admit to no errors or lies, and never waiver from the 24/7 engagement in a zero sum game wherein you intend to win every point, or at least, deny a single point to your opponent whether that be the public or the Democrats.