Donald Trump had what most people would have considered a very good week when the Mueller report came out and Attorney General William Barr wrote a four-page summary stated there was no provable collusion. But Trump couldn’t help but to screw up his own good-news cycle by stomping all over it. Even as he claimed total exoneration (there wasn’t total exoneration!), the White House had only one good day before Trump blew it all up, as usual.
Whatever happens this day or the next, or in this investigation or the next or the one after that, we should always remember this: We should expect far more from a president than merely that he not be a provably a criminal beyond a reasonable doubt.
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 24, 2019
Since there may not have been a “smoking gun,” one would have thought that the Office of White House Communications would hammer this point home all day, every day, on every channel that would have them. But instead, Trump decided that “victory” meant destroying everyone and everything associated with the Mueller Report, including, out of nowhere, the Democrats’ crowning achievement, Obamacare. Trump thought he was invincible; that he could do anything with impunity (he thought that before, too); that it would be a winning idea to wage full-on war with Democrats and to take health insurance away from 20 million people. When all the headlines should have been about his supposed total exoneration (there wasn’t total exoneration), all of the headlines were about the Trump’s unwinnable war against Obamacare.
A normal White House with a normal President and a normal communications shop would have a strategy planned to keep good news in the news — creating talking points, lining up cable appearances with Trump-shilling talking heads and politicians, and keeping Fox News tuned to Trump Victory 24/7. The White House would have issued non-stop commentary as to how the Mueller report didn’t find collusion, how it was a massive hit job, how Trump is just a misunderstood stable genius.
Instead, Trumpworld took the usual trip to Crazytown. I don’t know if he thinks everything is cool now and he’s the all-powerful Oz, but he’s clearly delusional if he thinks that going into a Presidential election year with the message that the GOP will take away healthcare is going to be a winning one. What we do know is that Trump obsessed with Obama. His campaign started with the premise of birtherism — that Obama, our first Black president, was born in Kenya and wasn’t an American citizen. We know that Trump’s insane jealousy has driven him to try and dismantle every single thing Obama did during his eight years in office.
We also know that Trump has never read the Affordable Care Act (assuming he can read), has absolutely no idea how it works, and is completely ignorant regarding health insurance in general. He campaigned on “repeal and replace,” and claimed he’d continue to protect those with pre-existing conditions. His fervent supporters, many of them on some version of Obamacare directly or through Medicaid expansion, will cheer the demise of their own health insurance along with their TV idol as he starts (well, he never stopped) to campaign.
The Republican Party will become “The Party of Healthcare!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 26, 2019
After spending 10 years attacking Obamacare and running campaign after campaign on “repeal and replace” (with what?), they could not kill it. In 2018, the GOP got slaughtered in Congressional races as the Democrats ran on healthcare and captured at least 40 seats (with one more to be decided someday). As reported in The Daily Beast:
…private data showed that the issue of health care had likely cost Republicans more than a dozen seats in the House in 2018. ‘It was mostly all pre-existing conditions,’ the pollster said. ‘Where they got the big run. Where they went from 20 seats to winning 40 seats, was on health care.’
Which explains why Trump instructed the Justice Department not to defend Obamacare as several states sue to repeal it and as a Federal Court in Texas deems it unconstitutional. So much for the Justice Department’s “duty to defend” the law, even if disagreeing with it:
The Department of Justice has a duty to defend the constitutionality of an Act of Congress whenever a reasonable argument can be made in its support, even if the Attorney General concludes that the argument may ultimately be unsuccessful in the courts. The statute at issue in the instant case could be held constitutional as applied in certain situations, and accordingly the Department will defend it.
It’s rare for a president to ask an Attorney General not to support an act of Congress in the Federal courts. In 2011, however, Obama did instruct his Attorney General, Eric Holder, not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In a letter at the time, various Republican members of Congress — including future Trumpeteers Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo — joined conservatives in signing this letter of protest. What did the letter say?
As President, you and the Department of Justice… have a duty and a responsibility to defend the laws of the United States. While it may be inevitable that you, or any other administration, may disagree with a bill signed into law by previous Presidents, that does not negate your responsibility to uphold those laws.
Well, well, well. Nine years later, and with their souls dead and their hypocrisy alive and kicking, they are now 100% cool with the Trump administration choosing not to defend the laws of the US. Of course, not all Republicans are thrilled, like those facing voters in 2020. So when Trump began to stomp all over his good news, the GOP went into complete freak-out mode:
- “It’s the dumbest thing I ever heard… It is the equivalent of punching yourself in the face repeatedly.”
- “They are completely tone deaf. How bout a few more victory laps on Mueller while you can get away with it? WTF is wrong with them?”
- “I feel comfortable saying that I speak for almost, if not all, Republican senators when I say that this is the last thing they want to discuss… Whoever planted this idea in the president’s head should be drawn and quartered.”
There are always sycophants who will always support Trump. Rep. Mark Meadows bragged to The Daily Beast about having a “framework for a comprehensive health-care initiative within months.” He knows full well there is and there will be no framework, no outline, no idea on a cocktail napkin, nothing. The GOP had nine years to come up with a plan and when they did come up with a plan, it was so bad that this happened:
After two years of Trump’s careening from one self-created calamity to another, beginning from right after his inauguration with the disastrous (and overturned) Muslim ban, all the way to his calls to abolish Obamacare, how can these people be surprised? They voted for him, they support him, they enable him. I’m not sure what they expected. This is Trump in all his glory! He wins one thing and thinks he can win everything! He thinks he beat Mueller (we’ll see when the full report comes out) so he takes a victory lap by scorching everything in his way. He wants to investigate the investigators! He wants vengeance, payback and by God he’ll take away the biggest accomplishment of that Black Kenyan Democrat.
But then Trump stomped all over that. He saw and heard the backlash and anger from the GOP and decided the thorny issue of healthcare can be punted to after the 2020 elections, when he thinks that the GOP will take back the House and the Senate and that he’s safely installed for a second (illegal) term. The dimwit doesn’t realize that he’s made healthcare the number one topic for the GOP to run on, a massive gift to the Democrats. Who will hammer home the message that the GOP, if elected, will take away your healthcare. They have 19 months to drive that message on a 24/7 basis.
And now, after unleashing that Trumpster fire of a campaign issue, the president seems bored and wants to move on to closing 1,900 miles of the US-Mexico border. Before he decided to back away from that, too, it seemed that all three Mexican countries would be closed until further notice.
No more avocados, no more guacamole, but don’t worry, he’s already on to his next self-inflicted crisis, backed by the oranges of something new and those GOP rotten apples. He does have another option, though. He could spend his time re-learning that his father was born in NYC, and how doctors diagnose cognitive decline and dementia: