Donald Trump capped another extraordinary — and yet, by now, routine — week as president Friday by ridiculing the idea that a chief executive with his epic record of achievement could be removed from office.
How do you impeach a President who has helped create perhaps the greatest economy in the history of our Country? All time best unemployment numbers, especially for Blacks, Hispanics, Asians & Women. More people working today than ever before. Rebuilt Military & Choice for Vets...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2019
Trump’s ellipses led on to a familiar litany of self-praise that included his two Supreme Court picks and the specious claim that he has “done more than any President in first 2 1/2 years,” before concluding with an oddly punctuated fragment — “WIN on Mueller Report, Mueller Testimony & James Comey..” — whose meaning is clearly best understood by those in red MAGA hats.
Trump’s tweet was in response to a vote Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee to establish rules for eventual hearings that could, in theory, lead to the president’s possible impeachment and ultimately his potential removal from office.
This is, clearly, a hypothetical scenario. But while Democrats remain divided on whether to pursue impeachment ahead of the 2020 election, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., summed up the committee majority’s view that the ground rules resolution was a “necessary next step in our investigation of corruption, obstruction and abuse of power.”
Nadler didn’t mention the “greatest economy” or the low unemployment figures for “Blacks, Hispanics, Asians & Women,” apparently unpersuaded by Trump’s conviction that those are all that matter. Nadler’s view would seem to be supported by the Constitution, which specifies impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” without an exception based on employment data or the stock market averages.
One person who disagrees with Trump’s formulation is Gregory Cheadle, who was singled out by Trump at a campaign rally in Redding, Calif., on June 3, 2016, as “my African-American.” On Thursday, Cheadle made headlines by announcing he was leaving the Republican Party, in part because he has come to conclude that the president is a white supremacist.
“When you look at his appointments for the bench: white, white, white, white, white, white, white,” Cheadle told NPR. “That to me is really damning to everybody else because no one else gets a chance because he’s thinking that the whites are superior, period.”
Asked about Cheadle’s defection on Thursday as he departed for a speech in Baltimore — the city he described during his feud with Rep. Elijah Cummings as “a disgusting rat and rodent-infested mess” — Trump said he had no recollection of the man. He went on to boast about how much black people like him.
“I have tremendous African-American support.” said Trump, who received just 8 percent of the African-American vote in 2016. A CNN poll released this week showed him with an approval rating among black women of 3 percent.
In Trump’s world, the boundary between truth and falsehood is often blurred.
On Tuesday, Trump lashed out at an ABC News/Washington Post poll showing his approval rating falling 6 points in two months to just 38 percent. He explained it away by alleging conspiracy.
One of the greatest and most powerful weapons used by the Fake and Corrupt News Media is the phony Polling Information they put out. Many of these polls are fixed, or worked in such a way that a certain candidate will look good or bad. Internal polling looks great, the best ever!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2019
Also in on the conspiracy, it seems, were Gallup and CNN, both of which conducted separate polls showing Trump’s approval rating to be at 39 percent. In August, a Fox News poll put the president’s approval at 43 percent.
For its part, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform is looking into other potential conspiracies, including the possibility that Trump is profiting from his presidency. In a June 21 letter, Chairman Cummings wrote to acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan requesting further information on military bookings at Trump’s Turnberry golf resort in Scotland — a property, Cummings noted, that “has lost millions of dollars every year since its purchase.”
While Trump has scoffed at claims that he may be in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause, he got more bad news on Friday when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated one of many emoluments-related lawsuits filed against him.
Despite a campaign pledge to divest himself of his business interests after assuming office and subsequent assurances that becoming commander in chief has cost him “$3 to $5 billion,” his 2018 financial disclosure form showed he made at least $434 million in gross income last year.
From big issues to seemingly small ones, Democrats have no trouble coming up with reasons to call for the president’s impeachment. Take the latest turns in “Sharpiegate.” On Wednesday, both the New York Times and the Washington Post, citing anonymous White House sources, reported that Trump himself told his staff to get NOAA officials to retract a statement that corrected the president’s assertion that Alabama was threatened by Hurricane Dorian.
“My understanding is that this intervention to contradict the forecaster was not based on science but on external factors including reputation and appearance, or simply put, political,” NOAA’s chief scientist, Craig McLean, told his colleagues in an email. NOAA’s coerced correction, McLean said, “compromises the ability of NOAA to convey life-saving information necessary to avoid substantial and specific danger to public health and safety.”
Last week, when asked who had altered an outdated NOAA map showing Dorian’s path, Trump responded, “I don’t know.” The Post later reported, based on anonymous sources, that Trump was the artist in question.
In a week when Trump fired national security adviser John Bolton over various disagreements — including Bolton’s opposition to the president’s secret invitation to Taliban negotiators to Camp David — he also repeated a widely disputed assertion about his own involvement with the effort to find survivors after the 9/11 attacks in New York City.
“I went down to Ground Zero with men who worked for me to try to help in any little way that we could,” Trump said at Wednesday’s 9/11 commemoration at the Pentagon.
Maybe Democrats will ultimately decide that impeachment hearings aren’t worth the risk of alienating voters and squandering their chances to retake the White House and Senate in 2020. Maybe all of this news from the past week is nothing more than further evidence of the vast media/Democratic conspiracy that Trump and his diehard supporters see aligned before them. African-American unemployment is at an all-time low, after all.
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