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“Complicit,” © 2020 Jeff Gates and the Chamomile Tea Party

One of the saddest legacies of Donald Trump’s four years in office is the support he has received from Republican lawmakers and other members of the GOP establishment for his lies and baseless claims. For these men and women, party trumps country. This, above all, signals dangerous cracks in our democratic institutions.

Our Founders laid out our government with a series of checks and balances to keep our institutions intact. But they have proven to be meaningless to Trump’s sycophants. The Constitution is either ignored or interpreted in highly partisan ways.

A little over a week after our presidential election, while votes were still being counted (and amid Trump’s constant barrage of Tweets claiming the election was rigged), Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. gave what The New York Times referred to as a “caustic and politically tinged speech” to the conservative Federalist Society. His comments concentrated on the pandemic’s effects on individual liberty, specifically “that liberals posed a growing threat to religious liberty and free speech.” He highlighted Nevada’s decision to limit attendance at religious services while allowing crowded gambling rooms. Perhaps if President Trump had seen fit to initiate country-wide pandemic regulations rather than leave it to the states and individual communities, this wouldn’t have happened (and we would have had more control over both the medical and economic effects of COVID-19). Alito’s remarks were partisan and unwise. …


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“Americans Voted for Political Climate Change,” © 2020 Jeff Gates and the Chamomile Tea Party

The nightmare is over! Well, that’s an oversimplification. In my joy at Trump’s defeat, I keep mixing up the end of this election with the end of the pandemic. They sit next to each other in one big box of hope. And I have to keep reminding myself to put on my mask before I leave the house. But the votes show Trumpism is not dead. The President won 48% of the vote.

While pondering that number is numbing, it’s also deceiving. In a recent Facebook thread of decidedly progressive friends, someone said everyone who voted for Trump was a “deplorable” and lacked any sense of humanity. My reaction was immediate. “They aren’t all ‘deplorable,’” I replied. To look at these things in high contrast, as black or white, is one of our country’s challenges. Yes, there are racists who voted for Trump. And the GOP’s heavy hitters, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Mike Pompeo, and Lindsey Graham are walking a fine line between challenging votes (which is Donald Trump’s right) and partisan and often inflammatory statements which question Americans’ right to vote. …


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“Wear a Mask!” © 2020 Jeff Gates and the Chamomile Tea Party

Donald Trump has made mask wearing during the pandemic a political issue. He downplayed the efficacy of wearing one and chastised both journalists and Joe Biden for doing so. In his recent 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl, Stahl said to the president, “I wonder if you think that masks don’t work.” He first replied, “I feel masks possibly work,” then two sentences later he said, “But I would say a mask works. And I have nothing against masks. And I tell people to wear masks.” This is Trump’s usual modus operandi: he’ll sow doubt, then double back to go on record with a more palatable response. If he’s called out on his initial response, he can always fall back on his second statement. …


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“Don’t Believe All of Anything,” © 2020 Jeff Gates and the Chamomile Tea Party

Nobody likes being conned. But that is exactly what’s happened. Donald Trump has laid the biggest con on all of us. Some knew what we were getting ourselves into. In fact, almost 3 million more people voted for his opponent in the 2016 election. Yet 42% of voters cast their ballots for the president. The head scratching from the other 58% has been constant ever since. We know people were sick of the status quo, sick of “politics as usual” and they appreciated what they saw as his straight talk. Many were enamored with his status as a successful businessman, hoping that would translate into a well-managed economy. We know Hillary Clinton had an image problem. …


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“A Self-Described Billionaire President Didn’t Pay His Fair Share. This Is Why We Have Economic Inequality.” © 2020 Jeff Gates and the Chamomile Tea Party

Speculation about President Trump’s wealth, its sources, and the amount of taxes he’s paid have a long history. But they became especially important when he announced his run for the presidency in 2015. Since that time, he has vowed to release his tax returns as soon as the IRS completes his audit. That audit has been going on for almost a decade. To date, the American public has known little about Trump’s financial affairs despite efforts to prod him to divulge that information. His response: “Part of the beauty of me is that I am very rich.”

Less than a week before the President’s COVID-19 diagnosis, The New York Times published a series of articles about those tax returns. The bombshell headlines told us Trump paid only $750 in taxes for both 2016 and 2017. And he paid no taxes for 10 of the 15 years previous to 2016. …


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“Trump’s Final Act of Defiance,” © 2020 Jeff Gates and the Chamomile Tea Party

One might have thought after contracting COVID, Donald Trump would alter his behavior and his message: that the coronavirus is a disease to be taken seriously and prevention should be a top priority. But that hasn’t happened. His primary concern during his three-day stay at Walter Reed Medical Center was that he looked weak. That’s what viruses do to our bodies. But to Trump, weakness reflected a more deeply seeded issue. It made him look vulnerable: something he has feared for decades, growing up as the son of Fred Trump. He could never tolerate that. …


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“What was Trump doing while 209,603 Americans were dying? © 2020 Jeff Gates and the Chamomile Tea Party

Early on October 2, 2020, Donald Trump announced that he and Melania Trump had contracted COVID-19. It wasn’t a surprise given the recklessness he has shown in protecting both himself and the people around him. He claims he gets tested every day. But being tested for COVID is not a prophylactic for getting the virus.

We don’t know how he contracted it, nor when he knew of his positive test results. But many Republicans attending a close-packed ceremony to introduce his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, where most were not wearing masks, have fallen ill. …


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“Choose One,” © 2020 Jeff Gates and the Chamomile Tea Party

After living through four years of Donald Trump and after watching the conventions and the first presidential debate, there are two criteria driving my vote: the return of common decency and the possibility of an economic and social reset based on facts, science, and racial and income equality.

Without common decency, we have no union. President Trump’s behavior at the Cleveland debate was unconscionable. Constantly interrupting both Vice President Biden and debate moderator, Chris Wallace, we got little chance to hear how either candidate would deal with the problems this country faces. As CNN’s Dana Bash stated, it was a “shitshow.” There was no winner of this debate. The American people lost. And this is on Trump’s hands. I knew there would be a scant discussion of the President’s policy. He is purposely ambiguous when talking about both his past and future plans. “We did a great job!” is what we hear about his handling of the pandemic. “We will reveal a wonderful plan in two weeks,” when he talks about health care. But, after four years, there is no comprehensive proposal. …


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“The Only Pre-Existing Condition We Worry About Now is the Republican Party,” © 2012-2020 Jeff Gates and the Chamomile Tea Party

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), health insurance companies could no longer deny Americans insurance because of pre-existing conditions. However, the Republicans have continually vowed to take this mandate away. In fact, the Republican Party has tried to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act at least 70 times from 2011 until 2017. And in June 2020, President Trump took this battle to the Supreme Court in the middle of the pandemic!

In July 2020, Trump told Fox News that he would sign a “full and complete” health care plan within two weeks. He never did. On August 7, 2020, knowing that pre-existing conditions are a hot election topic, he said he would issue an executive order protecting citizens with these conditions. He finally issued that order on September 24. The only problem with this is that Obamacare (the very program Trump and the GOP would like to gut) already protects these. …


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“You Don’t Belong in the Picture, Mitch,” © 2020 Jeff Gates and the Chamomile Tea Party

The day Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” This was nine months before the presidential election. And he refused to allow the Senate to vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

Four years later, just hours after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, McConnell wasted no time in announcing his hypocrisy when he stated, “Americans re-elected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.” …

About

Jeff Gates

Designer and writer for publications such as The Atlantic and The Washington Post. More stories: outtacontext.com. More design: chamomileteaparty.com

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