Who's ready to watch Mike Pence watch Donald Trump? #SOTU https://t.co/QqHUeAaXAq— The Daily Show (@The Daily Show)1549406769.0
On Monday afternoon, President Trump tried once again to declare victory in the fight against what he calls "the invisible enemy" by holding one of his so-called briefings in the Rose Garden to celebrate America's allegedly successful testing program. As one would expect, trying to sell the assembled press on such a blatant lie did not go well. At best, the testing program has been "anemic and spotty," as former President Obama has put it, and the long delays and dithering in the response have led to the deaths of 83,000 people, and counting, within just a couple of months.
President Trump's Oval Office speech last week was a massive dud and the stock market took a huge dive last Thursday. So Trump decided to take the bull by the horns and held a press conference in the Rose Garden with a group of CEOs just before closing time the next day. The market made a sharp upward turn as he spoke and the president was extremely pleased with himself. Numerous reports about the deliberations within the dysfunctional White House over the past week, however, have made it clear that was the only thing that pleased him.
Weirdly enough, Tuesday night wasn't the first time a president delivered a State of the Union address in the middle of his impeachment trial. Back in 1999, Bill Clinton delivered one in the same circumstances. It's hard to believe the timing would work out almost exactly the same way but it did.
It feels as though every week during the Trump administration is a year and every year a decade. Every day there is a crisis or an outrage or a revelation that takes your breath away. But the underlying dynamics always seem to be the same no matter what. The press reports the story, the Democrats get outraged, the pundits analyze it, the president rages and then Fox and the Republicans all line up like a bunch of robots and salute smartly. Then we reset until the next crisis, outrage or revelation. It's an exhausting cycle that never seems to get us anywhere and it's bred a fatalistic response in many of us: "Nothing matters."
When President Obama took office in January of 2009, the country was still reeling from the trauma of a war begun on the basis of lies and obfuscation. We were deep in the throes of an epic recession caused by rampant greed and flagrant malfeasance on the part of the financial leaders of the country. Many of the people who voted the new president and a Democratic congressional majority into power expected there would be a reckoning for those responsible. Instead, Obama and Democratic leaders decided that it would be a mistake to "look in the rearview mirror" or "play the blame game," and a full account of what had happened was left for history to sort out.
Trump Now Thinks Kim Jong-un is His New Best Friend. When He Figures Out That’s Not True, John Bolton is Waiting
Now that the dust has settled on the Singapore summit and we've all watched that bizarre White House produced propaganda film at least half a dozen times just to be sure we weren't dreaming, it's worthwhile to look at the event with fresh eyes and ask ourselves if it really was as surreal as it seemed to be. As I wrote on Tuesday, the signed agreement didn't add up to much, despite's Trump's predictably tiresome hype that it was the most spectacular deal any two leaders had ever made in the history of the world. It's basically a watered-down version of earlier deals that ultimately fell apart and a recommitment to the one that Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in signed a couple of months ago.
On Monday, the horrors of Charleston brought about a symbolic, but meaningful change: Republicans who had previously been unwilling to offend the neo-Confederate faction of their party took a deep breath and recommended the Confederate flag be removed from the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse. It had been flying on the grounds somewhere since the early 1960s when white political leaders all over the South suddenly had an overwhelming urge to officially celebrate their “heritage,” just as African Americans were agitating for civil rights. In South Carolina, it was recently moved from the capitol to the grounds as part of a ”compromise,” and Republicans swore they’d been pushed to the brink and would move no further. But a massacre of nine people in a historic African American church by a white supremacist seems to have made them re-evaluate the value of their 50 year heritage of celebrating their resistance to civil rights.