Just imagine, years from now, Melania Trump’s memoirs.
What did she say when her husband told his loved ones he’d pursue the presidency? Was she concerned for her family? Was she, presciently, worried for everyone?
Having witnessed Donald Trump’s long-running refusal to live in reality, one can only wonder.
First, on the wild, false birther theory, he held that Barack Obama was not legitimately president. Then he announced Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination. Next, he falsely insisted 3-5 million people voted illegally for Hillary Clinton.
Most recently, he erroneously tweeted that Obama ordered wiretaps of him and his associates, which would be a felony. Instead of apologizing, Trump told Congress to waste its time looking into his phony charge.
This president has no credibility with a majority of people at home and abroad. We are left to ponder what will happen when there is a legitimate world crisis and Trump simply demands, “Trust me.”
Republicans are unnerved, desperately trying to move ahead with their agenda but stunned their leader keeps going off-message. The 40 percent of Americans still loyal to Trump (mostly because they can’t admit they misjudged him) continue insulting anyone who points out the emperor has no clothes.
Not even two months into this disastrous presidency, and we’re awash in discussion of special prosecutors, FBI investigations, the Russia-loving WikiLeaks’ disclosure of CIA secrets, conflicts of interest, and the mammoth costs to ferry Trump back and forth to his Florida resort.
We have no idea what’s going on with Russia, which unquestionably interfered with the U.S. election. What’s their payoff? Why did Trump and his sons once insist they had great deals with Russia? Why won’t Trump reveal his tax returns? Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wearily says Congress is doing an investigation of all things Russia.
We can’t focus on any one issue, moving dizzyingly from tweet to tweet. But even as we’re being deflected by Trump’s verbal shenanigans, real changes are going on behind the headlines.
The health care rewrite plan being bandied about by some - but not all - Republicans would throw millions off their health care insurance or make it unaffordable. The plan would give the rich $600 billion in tax savings but cap Medicaid costs even though health care costs are rising, causing some to argue that states will simply deny costly life-saving treatments - rationing.
Forget improving gas mileage. The Trump administration is weakening fuel economy standards, thus worsening climate change.
Oh right, this administration doesn’t believe climate change is proven science, although 99 percent of scientists say it is. Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is hiring a staff of climate change skeptics. He doesn’t even think his agency should exist and is hard at work dismantling regulations that have made America’s environment cleaner.
The fledgling administration has zeroed in on nearly 100 health and safety regulations to repeal or modify. And if you are a profitable business that wants a specific regulation weakened, just make an appointment with the appropriate agency, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Meanwhile, drugmakers are confident they’re getting less scrutiny in how they market prescription drugs. Oil- and gas-drillers jump through fewer hoops. Coal miners have more leeway in what they do with toxic waste. Fossil fuel companies won’t have to pay taxpayers higher (more reasonable) royalties for taking the public’s oil, gas and coal reserves.
Financial advisers will not be directed to act in their clients’ best interests. Trump reversed a rule protecting drinking water from pollution. Corporations don’t have to publish how much executive pay exceeds worker wages. For every new rule promulgated, two others must be dropped.
Trump is creating jobs all right - for lawyers flocking to court challenging his unprecedented rash of rules-slashing.
My fellow citizens, we have a president who doesn’t know how to do the job, so far shows no interest in learning it, doesn’t read, insults his predecessors and is so psychologically insecure he is beginning to seem like our very own version of North Korea’s unhinged dictator Kim Jong Un.
Melania’s book will be a bestseller. Let’s hope it’s in English, not Russian.
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service.