I’m basically a retired guy. I chair the Board of one small non-profit and write this column. Those are my only “work type” obligations. I read a lot and very much enjoy my wife and grandchildren. It is Wednesday afternoon as I commence writing this. Normally the Thursday article would have been written hours ago. It just so happens that I had several meetings or events over the last three days (and another tonight). Back in my working days that was a light schedule but now it is much more than I am accustomed to. Therefore I started writing this several hours later than is the norm. That may have been a blessing in that it gave me an entirely new topic to explore, please come along.
There was an 11:15am meeting scheduled at the White House between President Trump and Democratic Congressional leadership. It was the follow-up to an earlier meeting in the hope of constructing a large legislative infrastructure package. I did not make much of the earlier meeting because I couldn’t see this “plan” going anyplace. It is not that I am against a huge infrastructure package; I am very much in favor of one! I simply couldn’t see Trump signing on to a proposal where he couldn’t either steal a lot of money or reward his financiers at the expense of the American public. I also couldn’t see the Democrats supporting such a scheme.
Trump reportedly walked into the meeting late – a common practice for most presidents so don’t take that as a criticism – scolded the Democrats with particular focus on Nancy Pelosi, turned on his heels and walked out. Obviously no deal was had, but much more importantly an even more toxic situation than we were already dealing with in Washington now exists.
At 11:18am workers started setting up the Rose Garden for Trump’s subsequent hastily called press conference. That set-up included the erection of a sign on the podium that prominently proclaimed “NO obstruction” and “NO collusion”. I guess Trump believes that if you state something in bold and large enough type it becomes the truth. The lowlight of Trump’s address was that he said, “I don’t do cover-ups.” My initial rebuttal to that lie is: Does the name Stormy Daniels ring a bell? Remember, the original meeting (which the press conference was a supposed reaction to), was slated to start at 11:15am and we know it didn’t start on time. I’m not going to get into time telling and arithmetic lessons, but you connect those dots.
Before I get into my perception of the repercussions I want to review history a bit. The Trump White House has had several of what they billed as Infrastructure Weeks in the past and they have done absolutely zero about it. In fact they didn’t even make any real publicity pushes during those weeks. If Trump really cared about infrastructure and bipartisanship he would have made infrastructure his first legislative effort. He did float a plan either in the transition or the very early days of this term but it was, typical of Trump, a scam of the first degree. What he was proposing was effectively government guaranteed loans to big or well-connected businesses who would own the project after its completion. Trump portrayed it as his business genius and a way to leverage the government’s money. In reality it was a giveaway of things that need to be in the public domain. How would you like to own the major bridge into a city on which you can dictate the amount of and collect tolls for years to come all financed by taxpayers’ money. The same taxpayers you were now charging daily to utilize it.
Trump’s attitude harkens back to his last State of the Union speech where he warned Democrats that he would not participate in any legislation as long as they were investigating him.
If Trump were capable of spending the half hour it takes to read the Constitution and its 27 amendments he would know that Congress has the responsibility to legislate as well as provide oversight. If he were paying attention to the current Democratic majority, Pelosi-led House he would see that they are doing just that. The Republican majority, Mitch McConnell-led Senate has truly become the place legislation goes to die.
Perhaps Speaker Pelosi (one of those godless Democrats) summed it up best when after the “meeting” she stated, “I pray for the President of the United States.” There never was a Trump infrastructure deal for him to present at the meeting. This was simply a pre-planned demonstration after another Trump temper tantrum.
I am among those who fear another government shutdown on October 1st. If this is Trump’s new line in the sand and the Congressional Republicans largely remain sycophants how will we get a CR or new budget by September 30th? The Trump Shutdown 4.0 looks more likely than ever.
Some may contend that this was just another chaotic Wednesday in the Trump era. I fear it is the beginning of an even uglier chapter in this horror novel; (if it were only fiction!)
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