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Trump Changes Subject (Again)

Don Rose 22 August 2017 No Comment

It’s an established, transparent pattern by now. When Trump is having a bad week or seriously under fire, he has a near-genius for changing the subject by week’s end. Sometimes it’s an outrageous tweet to distract attention–sometime an overt action, such as this past Friday’s firing of “Darth” Bannon.

Most White House observers knew Bannon’s days were numbered. He actually submitted his resignation on August 7, but Trump held it for use at an appropriate time–such as following his week-long  berating from Democrats and Republicans alike for his tacit support of the neo-Nazis, antiSemites and KuKluxers who marched on Charlottesville.


Four of his business and arts councils disbanded in protest of his “moral equivalency” speech, while military leaders and GOP senators spoke out in what was the worst week of a presidency that has had a succession of “worst” weeks.

To change the subject, came the announcement of Bannon’s removal–in large part with the hope that much of the blame for the Trump Administration’s racist, authoritarian and cryptofascist statements and actions would be blamed on Bannon. Trump’s history of course demonstrates he didn’t really need much help from Bannon to display those traits.

I don’t know enough about Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly’s body language to state with surety, but he sure seemed to be hanging his head in shame during Trump’s horrendous outburst–leading many to wonder whether he, along with National Security Chief H.R. McMaster or Secretary of Defense James Mattis might quit in frustration with the totally undisciplined president. It’s said, disgusted as they might be, that they believe it’s better to stay on to provide a line of defense against a more bizarre Trumpian action that could land us in a war, because who knows what kind of a loon Trump would replace them with. They make a respectable point.

Meanwhile, the great Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Michael Chabon and another Jewish writer issued an open letter to all the Jewish members of the administration–Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, economic advisor Gary Cohen and attorney Michael Cohen, among others–to quit in protest of Trump’s openly anti-Semitic ramblings. None of them would exactly be my pick for the jobs, but relative to some of Trump’s other choices–especially attorney general and head of the environmental protection administration–they are sane adults.

I hardly want to have a serious disagreement with one of my favorite authors, whose perspectives I agree with wholeheartedly, but could their resignations, borne of conscience, lead to worse choices? As a fellow but nonobservant Jew, I go back and forth on the issue. I hate to think what might happen to the economy if Mnuchin or Cohn were replaced by the equivalent of Jeff Sessions.

Back to Bannon, who has returned to leading the far-right, fake-news site Breitbart, there are hints he might now declare war on Trump. This, along with a loosening of the surgically-bound relationship between trump and Fox News, could turn out to be the actions that finally begin to crack apart Trump’s most loyal, “populist” base.  Go at it guys!

Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

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