In this week’s CNN Town Hall, President Biden referred to his predecessor as “the former guy.” I love this. For someone with as fragile an ego as Donald Trump, it must make him crazy to see his successor—whose victory he has never acknowledged—mention him in such a pedestrian manner.
President Biden continues to quietly and competently go about the business of being President. Whew. Think of the future possibilities—we can have reasonable discussions about policies instead of constant reactions of indignation to the chaos in the White House. And yet, Trump still shapes the conversation, even without his twitter feed. My good friend and former colleague Randy Varcho (a frequent and thoughtful contributor to this space) recently chastised, “Donald Trump’s entire career is built on publicity fueled by the media’s obsession for covering car wrecks with far more gusto-driven headlines than they do car safety. Trump is world-class narcissist and the media is his biggest fan. Trump’s followers are, by and large, no different than the tens of millions who tune into the “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” They’re not looking for substance, they just want to be entertained. With all due respect, don’t be a Trump enabler. Change the channel.”
Randy is, of course, right. And the fledgling Biden presidency gives us the perfect opportunity to re-direct our emphases. I was about to follow his advice this week when I received a re-posted email from a friend (I am not certain of the original source, but the language indicates it is no Trump supporter). I started reading, and reading, and reading… With a four-year deluge of inappropriate comments, destructive actions, short-sighted policies and outright lies, I had already forgotten much of why I have found Donald Trump’s legacy so dispiriting. Shame on me.
So, rather than include a link as I normally do when directing you to additional sources, I am re-printing the entire email below, within the body of this post. It is my parting shot to “the former guy.” From here on, I will try to take Randy’s advice and “change the channel.”
I know people have been highly critical of the Trump presidency.
But to be fair, and in the spirit of ❤️ and Presidents Day I’m here to apologize for all my rants and just admit that President Trump wasn’t that bad, other than when he incited an insurrection against the government, mismanaged a pandemic that killed nearly half a million Americans, separated children from their families, lost those children in the bureaucracy, tear-gassed peaceful protesters on Lafayette Square so he could hold a photo op holding a Bible in front of a church, tried to block all Muslims from entering the country, got impeached, got impeached again, had the worst jobs record of any president in modern history, pressured Ukraine to dig dirt on Joe Biden, fired the FBI director for investigating his ties to Russia, bragged about firing the FBI director on TV, took Vladimir Putin’s word over the US intelligence community, diverted military funding to build his wall, caused the longest government shutdown in US history, called Black Lives Matter a “symbol of hate,” lied nearly 30,000 times, banned transgender people from serving in the military, ejected reporters from the White House briefing room who asked tough questions, vetoed the defense funding bill because it renamed military bases named for Confederate soldiers, refused to release his tax returns, increased the national debt by nearly $8 trillion, had three of the highest annual trade deficits in U.S. history, called veterans and soldiers who died in combat losers and suckers, coddled the leader of Saudi Arabia after he ordered the execution and dismembering of a US-based journalist, refused to concede the 2020 election, hired his unqualified daughter and son-in-law to work in the White House, walked out of an interview with Lesley Stahl, called neo-Nazis “very fine people,” suggested that people should inject bleach into their bodies to fight COVID, abandoned our allies the Kurds to Turkey, pushed through massive tax cuts for the wealthiest but balked at helping working Americans, incited anti-lockdown protestors in several states at the height of the pandemic, withdrew the US from the Paris climate accords, withdrew the US from the Iranian nuclear deal, withdrew the US from the Trans Pacific Partnership which was designed to block China’s advances, insulted his own Cabinet members on Twitter, pushed the leader of Montenegro out of the way during a photo op, failed to reiterate US commitment to defending NATO allies, called Haiti and African nations “shithole” countries, called the city of Baltimore the “worst in the nation,” claimed that he single handedly brought back the phrase “Merry Christmas” even though it hadn’t gone anywhere, forced his Cabinet members to praise him publicly like some cult leader, believed he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, berated and belittled his hand-picked Attorney General when he recused himself from the Russia probe, suggested the US should buy Greenland, colluded with Mitch McConnell to push through federal judges and two Supreme Court justices after supporting efforts to prevent his predecessor from appointing judges, repeatedly called the media “enemies of the people,” claimed that if we tested fewer people for COVID we’d have fewer cases, violated the emoluments clause, thought that Nambia was a country, told Bob Woodward in private that the coronavirus was a big deal but then downplayed it in public, called his exceedingly faithful vice president a “p—y” for following the Constitution, nearly got us into a war with Iran after threatening them by tweet, nominated a corrupt head of the EPA, nominated a corrupt head of HHS, nominated a corrupt head of the Interior Department, nominated a corrupt head of the USDA, praised dictators and authoritarians around the world while criticizing allies, refused to allow the presidential transition to begin, insulted war hero John McCain – even after his death, spent an obscene amount of time playing golf after criticizing Barack Obama for playing (far less) golf while president, falsely claimed that he won the 2016 popular vote, called the Muslim mayor of London a “stone cold loser,” falsely claimed that he turned down being Time’s Man of the Year, considered firing special counsel Robert Mueller on several occasions, mocked wearing face masks to guard against transmitting COVID, locked Congress out of its constitutional duty to confirm Cabinet officials by hiring acting ones, used a racist dog whistle by calling COVID the “China virus,” hired and associated with numerous shady figures that were eventually convicted of federal offenses including his campaign manager and national security adviser, pardoned several of his shady associates, gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom to two congressman who amplified his batshit crazy conspiracy theories, got into telephone fight with the leader of Australia(!), had a Secretary of State who called him a moron, forced his press secretary to claim without merit that his was the largest inauguration crowd in history, botched the COVID vaccine rollout, tweeted so much dangerous propaganda that Twitter eventually banned him, charged the Secret Service jacked-up rates at his properties, constantly interrupted Joe Biden in their first presidential debate, claimed that COVID would “magically” disappear, called a U.S. Senator “Pocahontas,” used his Twitter account to blast Nordstrom when it stopped selling Ivanka’s merchandise, opened up millions of pristine federal lands to development and drilling, got into a losing tariff war with China that forced US taxpayers to bail out farmers, claimed that his losing tariff war was a win for the US, ignored or didn’t even take part in daily intelligence briefings, blew off honoring American war dead in France because it was raining, redesigned Air Force One to look like the Trump Shuttle, got played by Kim Jung Un and his “love letters,” threatened to go after social media companies in clear violation of the Constitution, botched the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, threw paper towels at Puerto Ricans when he finally visited them, pressured the governor and secretary of state of Georgia to “find” him votes, thought that the Virgin islands had a President, drew on a map with a Sharpie to justify his inaccurate tweet that Alabama was threatened by a hurricane, allowed White House staff to use personal email accounts for official businesses after blasting Hillary Clinton for doing the same thing, rolled back regulations that protected the public from mercury and asbestos, pushed regulators to waste time studying snake-oil remedies for COVID, rolled back regulations that stopped coal companies from dumping waste into rivers, held blatant campaign rallies at the White House, tried to take away millions of Americans’ health insurance because the law was named for a Black man, refused to attend his successors’ inauguration, nominated the worst Education Secretary in history, threatened judges who didn’t do what he wanted, attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci, promised that Mexico would pay for the wall (it didn’t), allowed political hacks to overrule government scientists on major reports on climate change and other issues, struggled navigating a ramp after claiming his opponent was feeble, called an African-American Congresswoman “low IQ,” threatened to withhold federal aid from states and cities with Democratic leaders, went ahead with rallies filled with maskless supporters in the middle of a pandemic, claimed that legitimate investigations of his wrongdoing were “witch hunts,” seemed to demonstrate a belief that there were airports during the American Revolution, demanded “total loyalty” from the FBI director, praised a conspiracy theory that Democrats are Satanic pedophiles, completely gutted the Voice of America, placed a political hack in charge of the Postal Service, claimed without evidence that the Obama administration bugged Trump Tower, suggested that the US should allow more people from places like Norway into the country, suggested that COVID wasn’t that bad because he recovered with the help of top government doctors and treatments not available to the public, overturned energy conservation standards that even industry supported, reduced the number of refugees the US accepts, insulted various members of Congress and the media with infantile nicknames, gave Rush Limbaugh a Presidential medal of Freedom at the State of the Union address, named as head of federal personnel a 29-year old who’d previously been fired from the White House for allegations of financial improprieties, eliminated the White House office of pandemic response, used soldiers as campaign props, fired any advisor who made the mistake of disagreeing with him, demanded the Pentagon throw him a Soviet-style military parade, hired a shit ton of white nationalists, politicized the civil service, did absolutely nothing after Russia hacked the U.S. government, falsely said the Boy Scouts called him to say his bizarre Jamboree speech was the best speech ever given to the Scouts, claimed that Black people would overrun the suburbs if Biden won, insulted reporters of color, insulted women reporters, insulted women reporters of color, suggested he was fine with China’s oppression of the Uighurs, attacked the Supreme Court when it ruled against him, summoned Pennsylvania state legislative leaders to the White House to pressure them to overturn the election, spent countless hours every day watching Fox News, refused to allow his administration to comply with Congressional subpoenas, hired Rudy Giuliani as his lawyer, tried to punish Amazon because the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post wrote negative stories about him, acted as if the Attorney General of the United States was his personal attorney, attempted to get the federal government to defend him in a libel lawsuit from a women who accused him of sexual assault, held private meetings with Vladimir Putin without staff present, didn’t disclose his private meetings with Vladimir Putin so that the US had to find out via Russian media, stopped holding press briefings for months at a time, “ordered” US companies to leave China even though he has no such power, led a political party that couldn’t even be bothered to draft a policy platform, claimed preposterously that Article II of the Constitution gave him absolute powers, tried to pressure the U.K. to hold the British Open at his golf course, suggested that the government nuke hurricanes, suggested that wind turbines cause cancer, said that he had a special aptitude for science, fired the head of election cyber security after he said that the 2020 election was secure, blurted out classified information to Russian officials, tried to force the G7 to hold their meeting at his failing golf resort in Florida, fired the acting attorney general when she refused to go along with his unconstitutional Muslim travel ban, hired Stephen Miller, openly discussed national security issues in the dining room at Mar-a-Lago where everyone could hear them, interfered with plans to relocate the FBI because a new development there might compete with his hotel, abandoned Iraqi refugees who’d helped the U.S. during the war, tried to get Russia back into the G7, held a COVID super spreader event in the Rose Garden, seemed to believe that Frederick Douglass is still alive, lost 60 election fraud cases in court including before judges he had nominated, falsely claimed that factories were reopening when they weren’t, shamelessly exploited terror attacks in Europe to justify his anti-immigrant policies, still hasn’t come up with a healthcare plan, still hasn’t come up with an infrastructure plan despite repeated “Infrastructure Weeks,” forced Secret Service agents to drive him around Walter Reed while contagious with COVID, told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” fucked up the Census, withdrew the U.S. from the World Health Organization in the middle of a pandemic, did so few of his duties that his press staff were forced to state on his daily schedule “President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings,” allowed his staff to repeatedly violate the Hatch Act, seemed not to know that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, stood before sacred CIA wall of heroes and bragged about his election win, constantly claimed he was treated worse than any president which presumably includes four that were assassinated and his predecessor whose legitimacy and birthplace were challenged by a racist reality TV show star named Donald Trump, claimed Andrew Jackson could’ve stopped the Civil War even though he died 16 years before it happened, said that any opinion poll showing him behind was fake, claimed that other countries laughed at us before he became president when several world leaders were literally laughing at him, claimed that the military was out of ammunition before he became President, created a commission to whitewash American history, retweeted anti-Islam videos from one of the most racist people in Britain, claimed ludicrously that the Pulse nightclub shooting wouldn’t have happened if someone there had a gun even though there was an armed security guard there, hired a senior staffer who cited the non-existent Bowling Green Massacre as a reason to ban Muslims, had a press secretary who claimed that Nazi Germany never used chemical weapons even though every sane human being knows they used gas to kill millions of Jews and others, bilked the Secret Service for higher than market rates when they had to stay at Trump properties, apparently sold pardons on his way out of the White House, stripped protective status from 59,000 Haitians, falsely claimed Biden wanted to defund the police, said that the head of the CDC didn’t know what he was talking about, tried to rescind protection from DREAMers, gave himself an A+ for his handling of the pandemic, tried to start a boycott of Goodyear tires due to an Internet hoax, said U.S. rates of COVID would be lower if you didn’t count blue states, deported U.S. veterans who served their country but were undocumented, claimed he did more for African Americans than any president since Lincoln, touted a “super-duper” secret “hydrosonic” missile which may or may not be a new “hypersonic” missile or may not exist at all, retweeted a gif calling Biden a pedophile, forced through security clearances for his family, suggested that police officers should rough up suspects, suggested that Biden was on performance-enhancing drugs, tried to stop transgender students from being able to use school bathrooms in line with their gender, suggested the US not accept COVID patients from a cruise ship because it would make US numbers look higher, nominated a climate change sceptic to chair the committee advising the White House on environmental policy, retweeted a video doctored to look like Biden had played a song called “Fuck tha Police” at a campaign event, hugged a disturbingly large number of U.S. flags, accused Democrats of “treason” for not applauding his State of the Union address, claimed that the FBI failed to capture the Parkland school shooter because they were “spending too much time” on Russia, mocked the testimony of Dr Christine Blasey Ford when she accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, obsessed over low-flow toilets, ordered the rerelease of more COVID vaccines when there weren’t any to release, called for the construction of a bizarre garden of heroes with statutes of famous dead Americans as well as at least one Canadian (Alex Trebek), hijacked Washington’s July 4th celebrations to give a partisan speech, took advice from the MyPillow guy, claimed that migrants seeking a better life in the US were dangerous caravans of drug dealers and rapists, said nothing when Vladimir Putin poisoned a leading opposition figure, never seemed to heed the advice of his wife’s “Be Best” campaign, falsely claimed that mail-in voting is fraudulent, announced a precipitous withdrawal of troops from Syria which not only handed Russia and ISIS a win but also prompted his defense secretary to resign in protest, insulted the leader of Canada, insulted the leader of France, insulted the leader of Britain, insulted the leader of Germany, insulted the leader of Sweden (Sweden!!), falsely claimed credit for getting NATO members to increase their share of dues, blew off two Asia summits even though they were held virtually, continued lying about spending lots of time at Ground Zero with 9/11 responders, said that the Japanese would sit back and watch their “Sony televisions” if the US were ever attacked, left a NATO summit early in a huff, stared directly into an eclipse even though everyone over the age of 5 knows not to do that, called himself a very stable genius despite significant evidence to the contrary, refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power and kept his promise, and a whole bunch of other things I can’t remember at the moment.
But other than that…