The past seven days were “Made in America” week, as dubbed by the White House.
So how’d it go?
- The Treasury Department levied a $2 million fine against Exxon Mobil, formerly run by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, for doing business in Russia that violated sanctions punishing the country for its actions against Ukraine, violations that took place while Exxon Mobil was run by Tillerson, who opposed the sanctions then but now advocates for not relaxing them until Russia reverses its actions in Ukraine. A political riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, partly but not fully Made in America.
- O.J. Simpson was paroled after serving time, on paper for the armed robbery of a memorabilia dealer, but symbolically for his acquittal in the killings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. In his hearing, when would-be parolees are expected to show remorse, Simpson argued that he had lived a “conflict-free” life, despite all that plus his repeated beatings of Brown Simpson, a chutzpah that was Made in America.
- News emerged that President Donald Trump’s team is probing his probers, trying to show that special counsel Robert Mueller’s staffers have conflicts of interest. It’s a Trump trademark — taking something he’s guilty of and throwing it back at his accusers (see: fake news). The point here is to discredit the investigation and keep it within bounds (i.e., away from Trump family finances). The conclusion: What was good for the independent counsel probe of Bill Clinton — where Ken Starr started with Whitewater and found Monica Lewinsky, a result Trump used gleefully against Hillary Clinton — is not good for Trump. Of course, Clinton’s team criticized Starr and also called that probe a witch hunt. Made in America, again.
- Republican senators kept spinning around, conjuring new iterations of their health care plan, grasping for the brass ring but grabbing only more bad scores from the Congressional Budget Office. A misanthropic merry-go-round, Made in America.
- George Romero, the Bronx-born-and-raised director of “Night of the Living Dead” and a host of sequels, died. Romero, who creeped out and freaked out millions worldwide, took zombie movies mainstream, adding social criticism and political subversion and pumping new life into the undead genre that endures to this day, and was Made in America.
- Entrepreneur Elon Musk tweeted he’d received “verbal govt approval” for his latest plans for a magnet-powered hyperloop, one that would take passengers in pods in underground tunnels from New York to Washington in 29 minutes. The tease sparked the hype that was devoured by doubt that was undergirded by a slice of reality — engineers will perform their latest test of the technology next month in Nevada, hoping a 28-foot pod can hit 250 miles per hour. The junction of innovation and skepticism, Made in America.
- Sen. John McCain’s staff announced the Arizona Republican has an aggressive brain tumor, inspiring an outpouring of support from colleagues who value his candor, feistiness and willingness to deal, who are awed by the personal bravery he showed as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and who know his absence, however long it may be, will leave a void. It was real bipartisanship, all-too-rarely Made in America.
- Trump and first daughter Ivanka announced that all of their many product lines would now be Made in America instead of overseas. Oh, wait, that didn’t happen. Instead, it was revealed that Trump’s Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, applied to hire 70 foreign workers this fall, saying it could not find Americans qualified to work there — as waiters, cooks and housekeepers. Hypocrisy, made and perfected in America.
Michael Dobie is a member of Newsday’s editorial board.