Comey firing shows Trump presidency is exhausting — but we keep persisting
Not a day goes by when our heads don’t spin. Not a week passes without some new outrage, some new attempt at distraction, some new blatant disregard for common decency, or some new breezy way to demonstrate that, sorry, rules just don’t apply to Donald Trump’s administration.
Every day, it’s something else. The House passes a draconian version of Trumpcare, the American Health Care Act, to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that is demonstrably worse than the first version that failed, just so the Republicans’ overgrown child in the White House can claim a “win.” The sister of son-in-law Jared Kushner shamelessly uses Trump’s image to try to lure wealthy Chinese entrepreneurs into the family’s real estate deals by offering U.S. investor visas, all but promising the right to immigrate with the EB-5 (the so-called “golden visa”) for investors willing to plunk down $500,000.
There are the almost-weekly golfing visits to Trump-owned properties, which he profits from, at taxpayer expense—the $35,000 for golf cart rental charged to the Secret Service is merely chump change. There are the daily laughable claims by White House press secretary Sean Spicer trying to twist his boss’s words into something intelligible and plausible (when Spicey’s not hiding in the bushes, that is).
Recently, it was the firing of FBI Director James Comey, which came:
- Just one day after former acting Attorney General Sally Yates handed GOP senators their asses in open Senate subcommittee hearing testimony about how the White House pretty much ignored her multiple warnings about former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
- More than three months after Yates herself was fired.
- One week after Comey testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that yes, Team Trump was under investigation for its campaign’s possible ties to Russia (when Comey wasn’t making wild and inaccurate claims about thousands of emails being forwarded to Anthony Weiner’s laptop, that is).
- Days after Comey asked for more resources for the Trump-Russia investigation.
But remember: Comey was fired because of the atrocities he committed as FBI director when investigating Hillary Clinton’s email server, a word choice that Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff called “embarrassing.”
How many times can we exclaim, “Holy shit”?
There’s no shortage of instances and issues that cause our jaws to drop and our blood to boil:
- A reporter in West Virginia was arrested for asking a question of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Price and presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway (why’d they let her out again, anyway?) were in West Virginia to find out more about opioid addiction, despite the fact that opioid addiction is supposed to be on Jared Kushner’s to-do list, and Trump is proposing to slash the budgets of programs that combat such addiction, such as the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Veteran reporter Dan Heyman, clearly wearing his press credentials, tried to ask Price a question about whether domestic violence would be considered a pre-existing condition under Trumpcare, and he was arrested for “willful disruption of state government processes” and released on $5,000 bail. In other words, he was arrested for doing his job. Price “didn’t say anything,” Heyman said later in a news conference. “So I persisted.”
- Trump met with two Russian officials behind closed doors at the White House: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the U.S. The meeting was closed to U.S. press but not to Russian media. As one tweeter asked: “Was it a good idea to let a Russian gov photographer & all their equipment into the Oval Office?” And the whole friendly meeting turned out to be Vladimir Putin’s idea, anyway, so Trump was only too happy to comply.
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, no doubt inspired by Trump’s “tough talk” on immigration, are going way beyond acceptable boundaries by picking up and deporting Dreamers who were brought to the U.S. as young children, adults with minor convictions, and adults with no convictions at all.
- In a moment of sanity, the U.S. Senate narrowly defeated overturning an Obama-era rule on methane waste prevention in the Bureau of Land Management. But the Interior Department said, “To hell with them,” and apparently is deciding to rescind the rule anyway.
- And let’s not even get started on the EPA.
All the while, the media fight not to become numb to the outrage factor, picking and choosing the most egregious examples of Trumpism and letting lesser ones slide by, thus normalizing Trump’s behavior. Too many members of the American public stand by, bewildered as to what might be “fake news” and what’s real. “This White House has mainstreamed lying” to a degree that’s just staggering to watch, Republican strategist and MSNBC regular Steve Schmidt told Brian Williams on The 11th Hour.
The never-ending drip, drip, drip of Trump-rage has turned into a torrent. It has the potential to drain us. Luckily, there are growing numbers of people willing to spend the time and energy needed to keep fighting the insanity.
Attendance at town hall meetings has exploded (even when Republican members of Congress avoid them), and activism groups are giving online advice on how to find them and what to do when you’re there. The Women’s March, the Day Without Immigrants protest, the International Women’s Day work outage, the Tax Day March, the March for Science, the People’s Climate March, and the Labor March on May 1 (I’m sure I missed some) were all huge successes, and it’s easy to do online searches to find new protests wherever you are. Groups such as Indivisible, with nearly 6,000 local chapters, and Resistance offer calendars of actions to take to stay involved. The Nation has a list of the growing number of anti-Trump groups.
Local and national races are drawing big numbers of new Democratic candidates, including a record number of women. In the two years of the last election cycle, Emily’s List was contacted by 920 women running for office. Since Election Day 2016, that number has grown to 12,000.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown discussed the reasons for the change in a Q&A in USA Today. She said the new movement was all thanks to Donald Trump.
There was a level of complacency in the progressive community, and that level of complacency is gone. People have realized. I’ve got to get out there. I’ve got to march in the streets. I’ve got to register people to vote. I’ve got to help support organizations that elect progressive candidates, and I need to run for office myself.
We have daily urges to bang our heads on the nearest desk and yell “WTF?” We shake our heads and wonder if any of it is worth it. But we better keep yelling to get people to vote in 2018.
Originally posted on Daily Kos on May 14, 2017.