Jinxes, Lies and Anti-Semitism: Week 1 in Trump’s America
On Nov. 8, 2016, this country did the unthinkable: it elected a xenophobic, misogynistic, mentally unstable fascist as its 45th president.
Donald Trump’s campaign was unlike any in history. It was was filled with so many bad decisions, so much deceit and so many lies. His presidency is poised to follow suit.
In the coming months, I will attempt to curate a weekly list of the lies, the deplorable comments, and the horrifying decisions that will define the Trump presidency. For now, I expect it simply to act as a personal catharsis as I adjust to this calamity that has been visited upon the nation.
So, let’s begin.
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Today is Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. It has been seven days since America elected Donald J. Trump president. He is 66 days away from inauguration. There are 1,449 days until the 2020 election.
№1: He made practically no preparations for his transition and remains woefully unprepared to govern
As reported by the notoriously liberal Wall Street Journal (emphasis mine):
Mr. Trump’s victory surprised even his own top advisers, who, before Tuesday, were unable to focus the New York businessman on the 73 days between the election and inauguration, a senior aide said. They said Mr. Trump didn’t want to jinx himself by planning the transition before he had actually won.
During their private White House meeting on Thursday, Mr. Obama walked his successor through the duties of running the country, and Mr. Trump seemed surprised by the scope, said people familiar with the meeting. Trump aides were described by those people as unaware that the entire presidential staff working in the West Wing had to be replaced at the end of Mr. Obama’s term.
After meeting with Mr. Trump, the only person to be elected president without having held a government or military position, Mr. Obama realized the Republican needs more guidance. He plans to spend more time with his successor than presidents typically do, people familiar with the matter said.
Running a country requires careful planning, and it’s almost unfathomable that a 70-year-old real estate mogul was too afraid of “jinxing” such a high-stakes venture to properly plan its aftermath.
If he insisted on being so childish, perhaps his staff could have suggested that Trump knock on wood following every transition conversation.
№2: He lied while trying to defend himself from a New York Times report
In a story published Friday, the Times wrote “Mr. Trump has suggested that more countries should acquire nuclear weapons, to protect themselves without Washington’s help.”
On Sunday, for the first time as president-elect, Trump took to Twitter to attack the Gray Lady.
He did say that, during a March town hall with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, arguing that it may be time for Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and others to get nuclear weapons in order to properly protect themselves without American intervention.
“Let’s go to the tape” will be a common refrain on this blog as we move forward.
№3: He blamed “professional protesters” for gathering on the streets of America’s cities
Again, on Twitter.
It’s unclear what the hell he’s trying to say. Is he arguing that someone is paying these people to go out there and protest? Or just that they’re liberal malcontents who spend all their time in Zuccotti Park drum circles when they should be out looking for a job?
Either way, it’s a disgusting comment. He is supposed to be president of all people, and it’s revolting that Trump’s knee-jerk reaction to this situation is to attack his opposition and stand up the media as a straw man.
Early the next morning, he rolled back the comments in yet another Tweet, attempting to appear magnanimous.
You’re a flip-flopping Internet troll, Mr. Trump.
№4: He hired Steve Bannon as his chief strategist, an avid anti-Semite
The CEO of the Trump campaign and former head of Breitbart News, Bannon was tapped to be President Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor.
In his last job, Bannon oversaw the publication of far right-wing commentary such as:
That background alone should be disqualifying. But Bannon does us one better.
In a sworn statement in 2007, his ex-wife told a California court that Bannon didn’t want his daughter going to school with Jews, according to the New York Daily News.
Mary Louise Piccard said in a 2007 court declaration that Bannon didn’t want their twin daughters attending the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles because many Jewish students were enrolled at the elite institution.
“The biggest problem he had with Archer is the number of Jews that attend,” Piccard said in her statement signed on June 27, 2007.
“He said that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats’ and that he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews,” Piccard wrote.
“I told him that there are children who are Jewish at (a competing school), and he asked me what the percentage was. I told him that I didn’t know because it wasn’t an issue for me as I am not raising the girls to be either anti-Semitic or prejudiced against anyone,” she wrote.
Bannon asked his ex-wife if it bothered her that a second school, the Willows Community School, used to be a Temple.
And while checking out yet another school, Bannon asked the director during a sit down why there were “so many Chanukah books in the library.”
Bannon has denied these comments, but their plausibility, coupled with his background at Breitbart, has caused the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish groups to denounce Trump’s hiring of Bannon.
But hey, maybe Newt Gingrich is right on this one: Bannon worked on Wall Street and in Hollywood, and nobody hates Jews there.
Throwback Deplorable Comment of the Week
“Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”
— Donald J. Trump, to “Playboy,” May 1997
That’s it for this week. What did I miss? Tweet @bargnes