Ever since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi masterfully forced Donald Trump to surrender his government shutdown, the President has been openly hostile to the notion of a negotiated compromise on immigration policy and border security. Within hours of forming a congressional committee to hammer out the details, Trump insisted that it was a waste of time and threatened to use his imagined imperial powers to impose a state of national emergency.
Every credible expert on the law quickly pointed out that Trump’s case for a national emergency was virtually nonexistent. And much of the evidence was provided by Trump himself by his failure to act on the matter for more than two years and his willingness to put it off while Congress debates it. The only plausible excuse for such a declaration would be Trump’s desperation to deflect the public’s attention from his troubles associated with his conspiracy with Russia to steal the election.
However, there is a crisis in Washington that isn’t getting the attention it deserves. It’s a crisis of competence and leadership. Under Donald Trump the machinery of government is crumbling. Nearly twenty percent of the cabinet offices in this administration are being run by “acting” secretaries or directors. That’s because Trump is trying to adapt his television playacting role to his new job as president. And it’s painfully obvious that isn’t working. His “skills” are utterly inappropriate for the duties of government management and national leadership. He spends more time watching TV (Fox News) and conducting made-for-the-camera photo-ops, than engaging in the people’s business.
Currently serving in Trump’s pretend regime are an “Acting” Chief of Staff (Mick Mulvaney), Attorney General (Matthew Whitaker), EPA Director (Andrew Wheeler), Interior Secretary (David Bernhardt), and Secretary of Defense (Patrick Shanahan). All to serve our Reality TV Acting “President.” None of these department heads have been vetted or confirmed by the Senate as required by law.
It is all the more troubling considering that many of the nation’s most precarious challenges are directly associated with these cabinet offices. For instance, how can Trump’s alleged national emergency be taken seriously when the nation’s top law enforcement officer hasn’t been confirmed? Not to mention the fact that the current director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is also serving in an acting capacity.
Another example of the jeopardy that America faces under the Trump regime is that we have an acting Defense Secretary just as Trump has abandoned the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia. At the same time, Trump’s Intelligence team (CIA, FBI, DNI, etc.) have publicly distanced themselves from the President’s positions on the most critical issues facing them, including Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Russia.
This is a terrible time to have a part-time cabinet and intelligence professionals who have no confidence in their boss. But as Washington burns, Trump is fiddling around with pretend declarations of national emergencies that are actually just attempts to bypass a Congress that he is totally incapable of negotiating with. Which is ironic considering the tweet he posted on November 20, 2014:
Repubs must not allow Pres Obama to subvert the Constitution of the US for his own benefit & because he is unable to negotiate w/ Congress.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2014
The outrageous constitutional breach that Trump was ranting about just happened to be related to immigration. Obama had just signed an executive order to “crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.” It was an entirely reasonable approach in response to a problem that Republicans in Congress refused to address.
But Obama did not declare a national emergency or overstep his constitutional powers, as Trump is now threatening to do. He simply took responsibility for a solution that would have passed in Congress (had the GOP allowed it to be voted on) and enjoyed widespread popularity with the public.
Trump, on the other hand, is the one subverting the Constitution with a threat to impose a bogus state of emergency because of his own pitiful negotiating skills. This is what Trump supporters got for believing the lie that he is adept at the “Art of the Deal.” And anyone who still believes that phony PR gimmick is terminally naive or firmly embedded in the Trump Cult.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.