There’s no sign of them slowing down either.
With a slow drip of water into a clogged sink, the basin fills quicker than one would imagine. Donald Trump is learning that the hard way right now.
Just 14 months ago, he inherited a booming economy, U.S. military involvement was winding down, and he handpicked a team that he proclaimed would be the greatest team ever assembled. While there was planned probe into Russia interference into the 2016 election, it was predominately a fact-finding mission by the FBI to be overseen by his attorney general.
Now, Trump is learning that governing is not so easy, and as missteps build, it’s easy to become ensnared in constant turmoil.
That booming economy? It’s been tempered by Trump creating a trade war with China. As the rhetoric builds, so too does unease in the markets, creating instability leading to 500-point swings of the Dow Jones Industrial Average within hours.
Military actions winding down? Trump recently and publicly declared that the U.S. would be out of Syria soon. Days later, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad dropped more chemical weapons on civilians, as the Trump team still has no real plan in the region. The right-leaning Wall Street Journal editorial board responded with pessimism to Trump expressing disgust on Twitter and claiming Assad will pay a big price for war crimes.
His rhetorical bombs are correct, but the battle-damage assessment around Bashar Assad’s presidential compound in Damascus is: negligible. Why should Assad think he’ll “pay” any price, much less a big one?
He may also have got Mr. Trump’s recent message that the U.S. President wants nothing more than to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria as soon as possible now that Islamic State is dispersed from its Raqqa stronghold. “I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home,” Mr. Trump said last week at a White House news conference with leaders of the Baltic nations. He added on a recent trip to Ohio: “We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.”
Those “other people” include Assad, backed by Vladimir Putin and Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. When they hear Mr. Trump say he can’t wait to get out of Syria, why shouldn’t they conclude that they can get away with anything, including the use of chlorine gas?
On top of that, there’s been a troop surge into Afghanistan while thousands more remain in Iraq. Trump’s pick to be the new National Security Advisor, John Bolton, is a warmonger who continues to defend the invasion of Iraq as a rousing success.
As for Trump’s greatest team ever assembled? Over at least the last four decades, Trump easily set the record for most turnover of senior staff within the first year; one in three senior aides didn’t make the 12-month mark. Since then, Trump has replaced his second NSA in favor of Bolton; has fired his Secretary of State via Twitter; fired his Veteran’s Affairs Secretary; lost his top economic adviser; lost his fourth communications director; lost (and defended) a top aide and a speechwriter, both of whom were accused of violence against women; all the while more Cabinet members are embroiled in scandals.
And finally, on Russia, that investigation into mere meddling? It’s gotten a whole lot bigger after Jeff Sessions committed perjury during Attorney General confirmation hearings. He was forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Then, after Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey — who was investigating all things Russia and Election 2016 — the need for a special counsel was readily apparent, triggering Robert Mueller’s appointment.
The investigation has slowly turned from a general election meddling investigation into one that affects Trump and his team — including family — directly. While his lawyers scramble, Trump continues to act out as he prepares to sit down with Mueller amid indictments former team members cutting deals.
As the White House’s sink fills up, no one yet — including and especially Trump himself — has shown an ability to stem the flow of water or unclog the sink.
445 days in, 1017 to go
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