While Trump is fighting the battle of Phoenix, McConnell is preparing to win the war

Describing himself as “very presidential,” Donald Trump took to the stage in front of a small crowd of supporters in Phoenix last night, and proceeded to rant for over an hour an a half about how unfairly he’d been treated by the “fake news” and “crooked media,” who, he added, don’t, for some unexplained reason, want to see America be great. Here, in case you missed it, is a brief video clip from the Washington Post.

[note: The fellow standing behind Trump, with the “Blacks for Trump” sign is Miami’s Maurice Woodside, also known as Michael Symonette, a former member of the Yahweh Ben Yahweh cult, who was sentenced back in the early ’90s to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder in Florida. When contacted by the press and asked why he supported Trump, Woodside said, among other things, “(B)ecause Hillary’s last name is Rodham, and their family members are Rothchilds, who enslaved 13,000 slaves as collateral.”]

To say that Trump came across as unhinged during the rambling would be a monumental understatement… James Clapper, the retired lieutenant general who served as Director of National Intelligence up until the beginning of Trump’s term, when being questioned about the speech on CNN afterward, asked, “How long must the nation endure this nightmare?” [Clapper, it’s worth noting, has served both Democratic and Republican administrations, having first been tapped to server as Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence by George W. Bush.] “The President exhibits a total moral, and ethical void,” Clapper went on to say, as he reflected on the speech, which drifted without focus from nonsensical rant to nonsensical rant. “Frankly, I worry about his access to the nuclear codes.”

And, for what it’s worth, Clapper has good reason to worry about those codes, as it’s absolutely true that there are no checks and balances when it comes to launching nuclear weapons. If a U.S. president wants to launch nuclear weapons, he can do so. Within four minutes, nukes can be in the air, and no one can stop it from happening.

Back to the speech, though… Among other things, Trump also threaten to shut down the government if he doesn’t receive funding for building of a wall along our southern border, attacked Arizona’s two Republican Senators, told a lot of lies, and hinted that he will pardon Joe Arpaio, the racist former sheriff of Maricopa County Arizona, who has been charged with ignoring a judge’s order to stop detaining people he thought looked like they might be undocumented immigrants. “Joe can feel good,” Trump told the cheering crowd… Here’s video of Trump discussing Arpaio.

Here, to put this particular section of Trump’s rambling speech into perspective, is a clip from the open letter Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton issued prior to Trump’s visit, asking him to reconsider.

Just days after Trump confirmed that he was “seriously considering” issuing a pardon for former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio — who was convicted in July of criminal contempt of court for defying a federal judge’s orders to stop racial profiling — the president’s campaign announced that it will hold a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center. The timing doesn’t seem coincidental.

Let’s be clear: A pardon of Arpaio can be viewed only as a presidential endorsement of the lawlessness and discrimination that terrorized Phoenix’s Latino community. Choosing to announce it in Phoenix — especially in the wake of Charlottesville — would add insult to very serious injury and would reveal that the president’s true intent is to further divide our nation.

For years, Arpaio illegally targeted Latinos in our community because of the color of their skin. Mothers and fathers lived in fear as they dropped off their kids at school. Kids lived in fear of their parents being arrested and taken away.

…Our community is moving on and moving forward from Arpaio’s divisive legacy. A pardon won’t change the fact that Arpaio was convicted of a crime, nor will it shake our resolve to keep building a city that is welcoming, is inclusive and provides opportunities for anyone willing to work for them…

Oh, and not only did Trump say a lot of terrible stuff, but he it’s also worth noting what he didn’t say. He didn’t note Arizona Senator John McCain’s battle against cancer, and he didn’t mention the fact that several U.S. Navy personnel are missing and presumed dead in the wake of the collusion earlier this week… “Very presidential,” indeed.

OK, so where does this leave us?

Well, I don’t want to get your hopes up, but my guess is that Trump isn’t long for this world. And I’m not just referring to the various investigations into his relationship with Putin, and the possibility that they worked together to change the course of the 2016 election. [Speaking of which, did you see that Glenn Simpson, the former journalist who helped Christopher Steele compile the Russia dossier, met with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for more than 10 hours today?] I think, long before anything comes of the Russia investigation, the GOP will come to the realization that Trump is an albatross around their necks that needs to be gotten rid of. And, actually, I think that decision has already been made, as evidenced by the recent leaks from McConnell’s office about how he and Trump haven’t spoken in weeks, and his opinion that there’s no salvaging the presidency at this point. [So, yeah, in retrospect, it probably wasn’t a very good strategy on Trump’s part, after failing to deliver on health care, to blame it on McConnell – someone who actually understands how this game is played.]

Trump knows it’s over. He knows the GOP is turning against him… If he wanted to stay in office, he’d make peace, and he’d focus, with McConnell’s help, on things that they have the votes to pass. He’d get a few legislative wins under his belts, and he’d go from there. It would appear, however, that Trump has chosen another path. He’s cutting ties with the GOP (by firing Priebus), and he’s pushing back by appealing to the basest instincts of the Republican base; demanding that the border wall be built, pushing for a transgender ban in the military, promising to pardon Arpaio, and casting the established GOP, like McConnell, as defenders of the status quo – people who, like the lying press, don’t want to make America great again.

So now we have both sides girding for all out war. And it looks like everything’s lined up to come to a head over the battle to raise the debt ceiling, with McConnell and Ryan wanting to keep the government operational, and Trump threatening to shut it all down if they don’t build his ridiculous wall.

No matter how it plays out, you can be damn sure it’s going to be bloody.

If I were a betting man, though, my money would be on McConnell. He may be evil, but he’s smart. And, I suspect, at the end of the day, he’ll be victorious. His party, however, will likely be in tatters.

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  1. Scott Anderson
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I agree; there are many many things lining up to indicate “it’s over.” Not the least of which: Bannon parachuting out of there.

  2. John Harwood by proxy
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink


    Prediction just in from top R strategist: Trump resigns “once Mueller closes in on him and the family,” Pence makes Rubio VP, “GOP recovers”


  3. M
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, that sounds about right. Pence has been getting ready for the past few months. You can see it in his Twitter feed. I’m not sure about that last part, though, about the GOP recovering.

  4. Chrissy LasDodo
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Whoever thought we would be rooting for the GOP. And yet, here we are, at their mercy. Go figure.

  5. Meta
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    New polls show Trump dropping fast.

    The Washington Post: “Trump is Losing”

    Trump barely has majority support (52 percent) among his most loyal segment of the electorate (whites with no college education). He has managed to turn off just about everyone else. He knows how to feed his base red meat but not how to earn the respect and confidence of everyone else. Several thousand people in an auditorium in Phoenix, it turns out, bear little resemblance to the country as a whole.

    Read more:

  6. Jeni Rivett
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    We can only hope they destroy each other and not the whole country in the process

  7. Kat
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Did you see the Roger Stone piece on TMZ?


    He says any member of Congress who votes for impeachment is “endangering their life”.

    He also says, if impeachment is pursued, there will be “a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you’ve never seen!”

  8. Lynne
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    They should just pull off the band-aid and get it over with. They will end up with Pence who actually does have an idea of how things work. That will mean lots of people get screwed because Pence is so much more competent but at least it will mean Trump will no longer be able to get us nuked.

  9. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    How is Trump going to get us nuked when YOUR Ukrainian neo nazis sold them the tech?


    But since Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was removed from power in 2014, the state-owned factory, known as Yuzhmash, has fallen on hard times. The Russians canceled upgrades of their nuclear fleet. The factory is underused, awash in unpaid bills and low morale. Experts believe it is the most likely source of the engines that in July powered the two ICBM tests, which were the first to suggest that North Korea has the range, if not necessarily the accuracy or warhead technology, to threaten American cities.

    “It’s likely that these engines came from Ukraine — probably illicitly,” Mr. Elleman said in an interview. “The big question is how many they have and whether the Ukrainians are helping them now. I’m very worried.”

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