In his 1952 book All Gall is Divided the dour Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran wrote, “Not content with real sufferings, the anxious man imposes imaginary ones on himself; he is a being for whom unreality exists, must exist; otherwise where would he obtain the ration of torment his nature demands?” Donald Trump has been president for 57 days and this is his presidency in a nutshell: It is intent on imposing its own unreality—which is born out of the anxious, self-defeating ravings of Donald Trump—on the world. And it’s working!
Friday started on an Orwellian note, as most days do nowadays. After claiming for years that the Obama administration was faking jobs numbers, Trump leapt at the February jobs report, which showed that the economy added 235,000 new workers that month, putting it roughly on par with the last few Februarys. But for Trump, these pretty good numbers, roughly consistent with several years of job growth, were a HUGE WIN and proof that he was MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN by JUMPSTARTING OUR FAILING ECONOMY. Things got even more absurd when Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the White House press corps that Trump told him to say that the jobs reports “may have been phony in the past” but are “very real now.”
The White House press corps took a lot of shit for laughing at this but, like, what are you supposed to do when somebody says something this insane and dishonest? Anyway, for these numbers to be right and the others to have been wrong, the economy would have had to add something like 60 million jobs in February.
Friday ended with a bombshell, as most Fridays now do. Forty-six U.S. attorneys, all of whom were appointed by former President Barack Obama, were asked to submit their resignations. One of those attorneys was the strident anti-corruption advocate Preet Bharara, who had been asked two days previously to investigate whether or not Trump had violated the Emoluments clause of the Constitution. Getting rid of U.S. attorneys appointed by predecessors is not abnormal, but the process by which these attorneys were removed was deeply abnormal: The attorneys were given almost no notice and Bharara, for instance, had been previously told that he was going to be kept on.
Over the weekend, Bharara took to his shiny new Twitter account to let the people know what really happened—and to take a shot at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who didn’t have anything to do with his firing but totally deserves it.
On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence took a trip down to Kentucky so he could try to neg Senator Rand Paul into supporting Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan’s terrible health care bill. “We need every Republican in Congress—and we’re counting on Kentucky,” the vice president said, while looking like an unwanted Lego. It didn’t work.
On Sunday, excrement-filled Jell-o mold Steve King was slightly more racist than usual.
King would not only refuse to apologize for this tweet, but would double down on it later in the week. And he took basically no shit for it from his own party. The modern GOP, folks!
The iron rule of the Trump administration is that each day is slightly worse than the day before. The silver lining seems to be that every day is also worse for the American Health Care Act. On Sunday, Trumpcare continued its long and slow descent into failing to pass a Republican-controlled Congress. When asked by Face the Nation if people would lose their health insurance, the anti-poverty warrior/infected dumbbell Paul Ryan wouldn’t answer, instead asserting that it would be “up to people” whether or not they have insurance. This is obviously garbage—a typical low-income 64-year-old would see their out-of-pocket premium jump from $1,700 a year to $14,600 a year by 2026 under Ryan’s plan. But mostly this just tells you how bad things were going for Trumpcare: Ryan’s best argument was that the plan would give people “freedom,” which is not really what people are asking for. They want better coverage (which the AHCA does not provide) for less money (nooooooope).
On Monday, the CBO released its estimate for what would happen if Trumpcare was passed, and it was worse than anything Ryan could have dreamed. (It wasn’t worse than anything Trump could have dreamed because the Trump White House’s estimate was even more dystopian.) According to the CBO, 24 million people would be without health insurance by 2026—and 14 million of them would be uninsured in the next calendar year. The CBO would be devastating for low-income Americans and, especially, older Americans, who would see their premiums jump by staggering levels.
The plan would cut taxes for the rich by $883 billion, while cutting Medicare by $880 billion—a possibly unprecedented transfer of wealth from the poorest to the wealthiest. Trump had promised “insurance for everybody” and that Americans would be “beautifully covered,” but it was now clear that the AHCA would make things even worse than they were before Obamacare, especially for the poor, the elderly, and the vulnerable. Republicans started fleeing the sinking ship almost immediately. To top off a bad day, Monday ended with Breitbart shiving Ryan—the first attack in what will become a blame war, should the AHCA fail to pass—by posting audio of him effectively abandoning Trump in October. (To be fair, it was a good time to abandon Trump.)
On Tuesday, people kept jumping ship. Trump’s good buddy Chris Ruddy wrote in Newsmax that now was the time to abandon the Freedom Caucus and side with Democrats on health care. Lou Dobbs went on air to say “Paul Ryan retire bitch.” Unwanted White House pet Sean Spicer, Get Out villain Tom Price, and GNC frequent builder cardholder Paul Ryan did their damnedest to sell the bill, but their arguments just didn’t make any sense. Spicer and Price argued that, actually, the AHCA is a fork with three prongs and the CBO only addressed one of the prongs. But this theory is insane because Republicans can only pass one bill via reconciliation (i.e. with a simple majority) and would need Democrats to pass anything else, which ain’t gonna happen. Ryan, meanwhile, tried to steer the conversation away from the whole “This bill will kill people” thing.
This is bonkers. Premiums go down in part because costs shift to older Americans, whose premiums would skyrocket—and these are the people who need coverage the most! The deficit goes down because of the cuts to Medicaid, which would be a public health disaster. And the tax cuts only go to Paul Ryan’s rich buddies and would not help anyone pay for health care.
Tuesday, an insane day, ended in the most insane way possible. Rachel Maddow promised she had Donald Trump’s tax returns, but forgot to mention that the tax returns were a two page summary from 2005. It was dumb.
On Wednesday, Trump proved once and for all that he is the ur-Fox News viewer by tweeting about Snoop Dogg. Trump is your uncle’s Facebook wall.
Also, I can imagine that, because Ted Nugent did it.
Trump then traveled to Detroit and Nashville, where he laid a wreath at Andrew Jackson’s grave. Trump deserves some points for picking an unorthodox president as a model—most people just say “Lincoln” and move on—but he loses all of those points because of genocide.
But the real news of the day was that a Hawaii federal court blocked Trump’s second Muslim ban, which had been out of the womb for just over a week—and the court did so by citing Trump’s own words about “banning Muslims.” Donald Trump, who is very smart, responded by saying some stuff that would ensure that no ban would ever get through a federal court. “The order he blocked was a watered down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with,” Trump declared. Oops! Trump also talked to Tucker Carlson about what a good tweeter he is and how health care is Paul Ryan’s fault.
On Thursday, health care took a backseat! That would be good news, except it was overshadowed by the Trump administration’s budget, which would basically finish the job that the AHCA started in terms of the poor, the elderly, and the vulnerable. Government departments would be decimated, as would government programs that help anyone making less than $500,000 a year (but especially those making less than $50,000 a year). All of the money saved would instead go to buying big guns and cool tanks. But most of all, the budget solidified what has always been true, that despite his supposedly populist touch, Donald Trump is a Republican whose primary motivation is making himself and people like him richer on the backs of everyone else.
Also on Thursday: Sebastian Gorka might be a Nazi! Sean Spicer almost cried! And, best of all, Trump got owned by fucking McDonald’s.
What a time to be alive.