This was the second year of the roller-coaster Trump presidency, and while many of his supporters, and most of Fox News, tried to convince the country and themselves that he’d become more presidential, he didn’t. In fact, 2018 confirmed no oversight, no adult in the room, no reason for Trump to change his behavior. And why should he? Every Republican in power just let Trump be Trump to get their policies enacted. And now that James “Mad Dog” Mattis has resigned, there’s only panic as we realize that Stephen Miller is that much closer to
ruining running everything. If you haven’t read Mattis’ powerful resignation letter, you should; it is truly a rebuke of Trump’s worldview.
So much happened in January that it seemed like a year within a month. We excitedly anticipated pages of bombshells and WTFs when Michael Wolff’s aptly titled book, Fire and Fury, was released to millions of grasping hands. Women also came together again for the second annual Women’s March, held in more than 250 cities around the world, a sign of the pink wave that would hit voters in November. And even with Republicans in charge of both chambers, they couldn’t get their act together on a spending bill, so they shut down the government, the second (some might say third) shutdown in as many years with more to come. Also this month, Trump delivered his first State of the Union address — which, in full disclosure, I did not watch. And more and more Republican Representatives and Senators “retired” to spend time with their families, because “family values” suddenly seemed like a good excuse to get the hell out of Trumpland and to stop destroying their reputations.
February started with a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, that killed 17 people. The students at this high school, however, were not about to let this be just another school shooting. This time, the students screamed — and student activists, including David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, created the March For Our Lives movement. (In November, the movement won the 2018 International Children’s Peace Prize.)
Then March blew in and Trump signed proclamations to impose completely unnecessary tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from most countries. He exempted Mexico and Canada because he wanted to renegotiate NAFTA. (At the G-20 summit in late November in Argentina, new NAFTA looked much like old NAFTA except for the cumbersome name that Trump gave it but which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to use: USMCA. Let’s re-watch the reactions of Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as our idiot president mis-signed the agreement.
April showers brought horrendous new powers for the administration’s family separation policy, implemented with casual cruelty by Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Michele Nielsen. This was part of the inhumane, disgraceful Zero Tolerance policy (which I wish we had for Trump). Much of the separating of children from their parents was done in secrecy until the New York Times blew the story wide open. (In a recent blistering takedown, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) called Nielsen a liar after she said she could not tell him how many children died under her agency’s care. Then she butchered the English language by refusing to use an article before the word “wall.”
As the child-separation crisis nauseated America, now-former Chief of Staff John Kelly and now-former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the almost-former Nielsen all defended the policy. Age be damned: they even indignantly defended separating children as young as a few months old from their parents and putting them into facilities — where many still remain today. What a May: the US government stole other people’s children, put them in cages, kept terrible records by which those children might be reunified with those parents, and committed a vast array of human rights abuses all in the name of border security. May this stain on her reputation follow murderous Nielsen for the rest of her life.
By June, Nielsen’s agency finally admitted how many children had been separated due to the Zero Tolerance policy: 2,000, at least. On June 22, I wrote about this crisis for CFR and then wrote about it again in July. (Today, owing to public shame, the Trump Administration loosened security requirements for verified sponsors of the thousands of migrant children still being held in cages. I dare to hope.)
June also saw Dear Leader make an ass of himself with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un at a summit in Singapore. Trump made sure Kim got everything he wanted, like legitimacy on the world stage. Supreme Leader also got Dear Leader to stop “provocative” joint military exercises with South Korea and also to salute a North Korean general! Trump returned with a gift basket of coal scrapped from a mountain by starving political prisoners.
In July, Trump met with Putin for his yearly employee review at the Helsinki Summit and let his boss know that the FBI is totally wrong and of course he believes Putin’s denial of interference in the 2016 election:
My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.
August was sleepy as Trump decamped to his safe space at his Bedminster, NJ golf club while the White House went through renovations. Hate tweeting went on as usual.
The Republican misogyny that arose during the investigation into Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault of a high school girl grabbed the attention of the nation and sickened it. Three more allegations of sexual assault surfaced and Republicans — especially Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) — made her vote, and misogyny, clear. (Good luck in 2020, Sen. Collins!)
In October, Washington Post journalist and permanent US resident Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey. Trump refused to believe that his good buddy (and future business partner), Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, ordered his murder. This was even after a CIA report clearly pointed the finger at Jared Kushner, bin Salman’s buddy (and future business partner). There is absolutely no way that such a public and easily proven murder of a prominent Saudi Arabian journalist could be tortured, murdered, dismembered with a bone saw and brought out in suitcases to be disposed of without the knowledge and permission of the ruling head of Turkey.
Then came Nov. 6 and the Blue Wave we all hoped for and dreamed of but barely believed could happen happened! In one of the most meaningful elections in modern history, Democrats voted in unprecedented numbers, including for many women and minorities. Next January, Trump will finally face a Congress that is there to do their jobs, with actual checks and balances. The Mueller investigation will not be hindered, the investigations and subpoenas will finally have teeth and maybe, just maybe, we will get our hands on Trump’s tax returns. After two years of a GOP House under Trump’s
thumb control, we can work on putting our democracy back together again.
But for now, the year-end brought us, once again, a government shutdown — the same shutdown for which Trump claimed all credit during his meeting with “Chuck and Nancy.” Then, one harsh word from odious Ann Coulter and fraud Rush Limbaugh and suddenly Trump caved like a chastened child. Such a master dealmaker! As I write these last words, Trump’s knows he won’t get the $5 billion he wants for “wall” that Mexico was supposed to pay for. At least the Trump Shutdown will keep him from golfing at Mar-a-Lago for 16 days.
I’ll end with this hilarious tweet showing a video of all the weird times Trump acted like your doddering old grandfather but without the charm. Anytime you need a laugh, click.
President Trump randomly wandering off at major world events, a supercut pic.twitter.com/qrvET7u5RB
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) December 4, 2018
Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and may 2019 bring all your dreams to life!