Oh Good, A War Room. That’s Sure To Help.

Trump speaks to U.S. troops at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy, on May 27. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters).

A war room. Why? All the scandals engulfing the Tiny Tyrant, of course. The mere fact that the Tiny Tyrant feels this is a situation of war lends credence to the malignant reality reaching out with a stranglehold on us all. This is a siege mentality overlaid on an already highly unstable and paranoid mindset.

President Trump and his advisers, seeking to contain the escalating Russia crisis that threatens to consume his presidency, are considering a retooling of his senior staff and the creation of a “war room” within the White House, according to several aides and outside Trump allies.

Following Trump’s return to Washington on Saturday night from a nine-day foreign trip that provided a bit of a respite from the controversy back home, the White House plans to far more aggressively combat the cascading revelations about contacts between Trump associates, including Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Russia.

White House officials are also trying to find ways to revive Trump’s stalled policy agenda in Congress and to more broadly overhaul the way the White House communicates with the public.

That includes proposals for more travel and campaign-style rallies throughout the country so that Trump can speak directly to his supporters, as well as changes in the pace and nature of press briefings, likely including a diminished role for embattled White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

Oh right, a “return” to campaigning. A good portion of Trumpholes have now figured out that supporting him is akin to having your hands filled with a steaming pile of shit, so I don’t imagine the campaign rally trail will be quite so happy this time around. This also means that Trump will once again be preaching and hollering hate everywhere, in an attempt to provide a salve for bruised egos everywhere, a place for people to lay blame. Like last time, I also expect there will be another spike in hate fueled violence, on top of the one which is still ongoing.

It would be truly great if every person in uStates could figure out that campaigning is not the same as presidenting, and it has been made more than obvious which one Trump can manage, and which one he clearly cannot manage.

While much remained fluid Saturday, the beefed-up operation could include the return of some of Trump’s more combative campaign aides, including former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was fired nearly a year ago, and former deputy campaign manager David N. Bossie, who made his name in politics by investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton for two decades. Both of them have already been part of ongoing discussions about how to build a “war room,” which have been led in part by chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

[…]

“Go to the mattresses,” a line from “The Godfather” film about turning to tough mercenaries during troubled times, has circulated among Trump’s friends, according to two people close to the “war room” discussions.

Well, how … apt.

Meanwhile, White House counsel Donald McGahn is mulling expanding his office, and an outside legal team led by Marc E. Kasowitz is readying to meet with Trump and guide him, including on whether he should continue to comment on the Russia probes on Twitter.

Kushner has played an active role in the effort to rethink and rearrange the communications team, improve the White House’s surrogate operation, and develop an internal group to combat the influx of negative stories and revelations over the FBI’s Russia probe, said someone with knowledge of the coming changes.

“The bottom line is they need fresh legs; they need more legs,” said Barry Bennett, who served as a political adviser to Trump during the general election. “They’re in full-scale war, and they’re thinly staffed.”

[…]

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy White House press secretary, is being considered as a replacement behind the lectern and is likely to appear on camera more often in coming weeks. White House aides have also talked about having a rotating cast of staff brief the media, a group that could include officials such as national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Having several aides share the briefing responsibilities could help prevent Trump — who has a notoriously short attention span — from growing bored or angry with any one staffer.

Shuffle, move, scoot, change, whatever the fuck. The key words in the above would be: 1) Trump 2) short attention span 3) bored 4) angry. The problem? Trump. The solution? Get rid of Trump.

Aides and allies of Trump say they have come to the realization that unflattering stories about Russia will be part of the daily conversation for the foreseeable future and acknowledge that the White House has been ill-equipped to handle them.

Christopher Ruddy, a longtime Trump friend, said the White House has been caught flat-footed on many of the Russia stories.

“Because they did not believe there’s anything to it, they’re playing catch-up to get their side of the story out,” Ruddy said.

Oh, fucking bullshit! Bullshit. This didn’t take anyone by surprise, they just assumed he’d get away with it, like he has before.

Being outside of Washington among his supporters, particularly in a state he won last year, energizes Trump and provides a way for him to communicate without the filter of the media, his advisers say.

“The conventional ways of communicating are not working for them,” one adviser said, adding that Trump should consider Facebook Live sessions and get out on the road “as frequently as possible.”

“They have to get the campaign brand back,” the adviser said.

Oh yes, the brand. All you need is hate and the brand. Intelligence, compassion, competency? Nah, who the hell needs those things?

“I hope he’ll travel more and do these rallies once a week,” Bennett said. “You get to say whatever you want to say, and you don’t have to take questions.”

You know what would be great? If lots and lots and lots of people showed up at said rallies, and refused to stay quiet and listen, and yelled out all their questions about just how he’s fucking everyone and everything over, and why does he hate America so damn much.

There’s much, much more at The Washington Post.

None So Blind As The Faithful.

Screen Grab. Playable video at link.

The willful blindness of some people never ceases to baffle me. I’m not much a one for taking things on faith, and I never take any politician on faith of any kind. Politics being what they are, an arena for game playing, with rewards for lying and other duplicitous behaviour, it strikes me as pure folly to rely on faith in the words of any politician, and in particular when it comes to someone like Trump. I’m not overly inclined to being sympathetic to Trumpholes, but it’s difficult to not have compassion for those who feel betrayed as result of their blind faith in a person who did not deserve it in any way. The best they can do now is to get damn active in The Resistance, and try to atone for boosting the Tiny Tyrant into place.

An upstate New York man who sold many of his possessions last year to fund a months-long tour playing music at Trump rallies now regrets his vote for the Republican candidate.

“I had everything riding on the fact that he was going to make things better,” Kraig Moss told the Associated Press. “He lied to me.”

Then-candidate Donald Trump looked Moss in the eye at one rally in Iowa and told the grieving father he would help end the drug epidemic that had claimed his 24-year-old son, whose ashes accompanied the truck driver to 45 rallies.

“He promised me, in honor of my son, that he was going to combat the ongoing heroin epidemic,” Moss said. “He got me hook, line and sinker.”

Post-election analyses found that Trump over-performed in Rust Belt counties ravaged by public health crises — such as drug and alcohol addiction and suicide — but the president’s budget released this week slashes funding for addiction treatment, research and prevention.

Medicaid funding would shrivel under Trump’s 10-year plan, which could devastate coverage to an estimated three in 10 adults addicted to opioids.

[…]

Trump promised during the campaign and after his election to help families suffering from the opioid epidemic — but his voters feel betrayed by the president’s focus on tax cuts, military spending and border security.

“I didn’t see this coming,” said Paul Kusiak, of Massachusetts, who told Trump the candidate about his sons’ successful battles with addiction. “I’m trying desperately to have hope and take the president at his word.”

[…]

“Inside I’m screaming,” said Sandra Chavez, of Sacramento, whose son died from an infection related to drug use. “We’re going backward with Donald Trump’s plan.”

Trump has proposed cutting funds for addiction research, prevention programs, drug courts and prescription drug monitoring, as well as eliminating support for training of addiction professional.

Justin Butler, a 36-year-old Trump voter from Cleveland, fears he will be back on the streets, using drugs and selling them, if Medicaid stops paying for addiction treatment.

“He’s turning his back on people,” Butler said. “He’s a liar.”

It’s one hell of a harsh lesson, and none of these people, in spite of voting for Trump, deserves to be tossed aside like so much trash. None of us deserve that. That said, as noted earlier, being sorry isn’t enough. Regretful Trump voters need to channel that disappointment and betrayal into working for The Resistance, and to now work to get the Tiny Tyrant unseated.

Via Raw Story. There’s a similar story, about a Trump voter who is completely dependent on SSI, finding out she most likely will not have that anymore under the Tiny Tyrant.

“The Germans Are Bad, Very Bad.”

U.S. President Donald Trump looks up during a meeting about healthcare at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.

Oh, the Tiny Tyrant, Fucking Idiot in Chief, is busy spewing stupid all over Europe, and making enemies out of everyone. In this particular instance, the focus is on how absolutely evil Germans are, because cars. Yep.  Oh my, someone else is better than Grate Amerikkka™ at something, they must be squashed!

Donald Trump is ready to fight Germany in an auto battle according to Germany’s Der Spiegel.

Trump got a chilly reception at the NATO summit in Belgium after attacking fellow members. But he was caught pledging a battle with German automakers as part of his anger with “back dues” he feels the country owes to NATO. As CNN’s Jake Tapper noted Thursday, “Trump seems to think it’s like a country club.”

In a discussion about the country’s trade surplus, Trump said. “The Germans are evil, very evil.”

“Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US, and we’ll stop that,” sources told Der Spiegel.

According to the report, EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker took up for Germany explaining that “free trade is good for all.”

According to a report from the “Süddeutsche Zeitung,” the EU allies were horrified by the willingness of the Americans to view global trade with such a lack of awareness. Trump’s economic consultant Gary Cohn was said to have chided German auto trade during a discussion between the US and Germany and the USA and Belgium. Trump had previously attacked them during another conversation.

Via Raw Story.

If I Disappear…

You can blame the Evil Empire, aka Verizon. Trying to get net access has been extremely trying lately; I have to kill and reboot the wireless unit from 4 to 12 times in order to even have my connection show up, and even when it does, I keep getting kicked off, making blogging a right pain in the arse. There’s a tower down or summat like, and as Verizon doesn’t seem to be overly aware of rural users, it might be a while until it gets back to the normal level of truly crappy, overpriced ‘service.’

Anyroad, if I’m late getting started (like today), or gone entirely for a day, I’m fine, I’m just probably trying to walk off the desire to smash the wireless unit into tiny splinters.

Aaaaaaaaand, in line with this being a remarkably shitty day, just pulled a fucking godsdamned tick off my head.

Speaking of the Trudget: Poverty Is A State of Mind.

Ben Carson. Getty Images.

I just got a post up about The Trudget and Rethuglican “compassion”, and then I see this little gem from Ben Carson, who seems to think that poverty is a state of mind, rather than a very concrete situation of having no money and no resources. When it comes to Carson, Fucking Idiot is not enough of a descriptor.

During an interview with Sirius XM radio on Tuesday, Mr Carson suggested people are poor because they learned the “wrong mindset” from their parents.

The retired neurosurgeon oversees a department that manages housing for the country’s low-income population.

His comments quickly drew sharp criticism on social media.

“I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind,” he said in an interview that aired on Wednesday.

“You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there.

“And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom.”

Has someone been giving poverty-ridden peoples ‘everything in the world’? I haven’t heard anything to that effect. Most people who find themselves in poverty simply want the basics, along with opportunities to get out of perpetual poverty. Unfortunately, Amerikkka is set up to keep poor people poor, and keep the filthy rich sucking the marrow out of everyone else’s bones.

Ben Carson, there simply is not enough Fuck in the universe for you.

BBC News has the full story, along with some choice responses which were tweeted.

The Fiscal Interests of the Unborn.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney (R) listens as U.S. President Donald Trump meets with members of the Republican Study Committee at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 17, 2017.

In a stunning display of republican “compassion”, Mick Mulvaney defended the $3.6 trillion cuts to domestic programs in the tragic Trudget. Rather than address all those who desperately need assistance to simply put food on their table; people who already face a tangle of red tape to get the slimmest of benefits, Mulvaney waxed dispassionate about the fiscal rights of the non-existent. It’s great, just fabulous, to take food away from living children, because of Mulvaney’s grandchildren, who are at this point, non-existent. But hey, the potentiality of grandchildren, well, that’s important! Much more important than poor children, who barely have enough food to keep them alive.

It should not need to be pointed out that food which allows for subsistence is a terrible thing when it comes to children. Children who are not eating enough have an awful time trying to concentrate, they do poorly in school, and aren’t very active physically, because that takes energy, and when you don’t have enough fuel, well, you get the picture. The domestic programs in place can barely manage to get enough food to families, it’s not as if it’s a massive bounty. There is a massive, horrible problem in America when it comes to hungry children. That problem keeps getting buried, stuffed in the back of closet, and given the Trudget, it seems as though republicans think it’s okay if they just get on with starving, as those hungry children are not important at all when weighed against the non-existent.

During a hearing about the $3.6 trillion in cuts to domestic programs included in President Trump’s proposed budget, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney made a case that the fiscal interests of the unborn should take precedence over the lives of present-day Americans — or at least those who rely on food stamps to eat or public schools to educate their children.

During a hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) grilled Mulvaney about the budget’s 25 percent cut to food assistance for the poorest Americans.

“Mr. Mulvaney, at least 20 percent of people eligible for SNAP don’t even receive SNAP because of stigma and other reasons,” she said. “So there are more people who need SNAP benefits… And you have a 13 percent cut in the Department of Education. The most vulnerable kids who need — ”

Mulvaney cut her off and made an impassioned case that people like Lee aren’t sufficiently concerned about his “unborn grandchildren.” He said:

What about the standard of living for my grandchildren who aren’t here yet? Who will end up inheriting $30 trillion in debt? Fifty trillion dollars in debt? A hundred trillion dollars? What about their standard — who’s going to pay the bill, Congressman? That’s what this is all about. That’s what this new perspective is. Who is going to pay for all the stuff you just mentioned? Us? Or somebody else? And I suggest to you if it’s important enough to pay, to have, then we need to be paying for it. Because right now, my unborn grandchildren are paying for it, and I think that is morally bankrupt.

And there you have it, the rethuglican rationale in all its ugliness – the non-existent are paying, and that’s bad, really super-evil! I had no idea the non-existent had pockets to pick.

Think Progress has the full story.

Minnesota: “I have an eternal perspective…”

Screengrab.

Meet Minnesota Rep. Abigail Whelan, a nasty bit of work from every reality-based perspective. Ms. Whelan is a truly fine example of an asshole Christian, filled to the brim with sanctimonious hate. She hates women, and demonstrates that with anti-choice legislation. She hates transgender people, demonstrating that with anti-transgender legislation. And so on. She is, however, very pro-money, and making sure that people have a nice way to tuck all that lovely money away. She recently voted against an amendment to close loopholes for offshore tax havens. Goodness knows, hypocritical corruption must be protected, and well, why talk about that when we can talk about an eternal perspective and joy in Jesus?

Minnesota Rep. Abigail Whelan, a second-term House legislator from suburban Ramsey, was responding to a question from Democratic Rep. Paul Thissen early Wednesday morning about whether she thinks “benefiting people who are hiding money in Liberia is worth raising taxes on your own constituents.”

Whelan ignored the question and instead sounded off about her religion.

“It might be because it’s late and I’m really tired, but I’m going to take this opportunity to share with the body something I have been grappling with over the past several months, and that is, the games that we play here,” she began, leaving the tax haven discussion in the dust. “I just want you to know, Representative Thissen and the [Democratic] caucus — I forgive you, it is okay, because I have an eternal perspective about this.”

She forgives them? For what, having the spine to question the hypocritical corruption she supports? This is a very good example of just why Christians should be barred from holding office, they constantly use their particular religious belief as both a distraction and a cudgel to beat other people with, all the while indulging in the worst sort of behaviour.

Whelan went on to make a case that happiness is not to be found in good public policy, but rather in the eternal love of Jesus.

Aaaaand there it is, that high and mighty Christian “Fuck you, oh, by the way, have you heard about Jesus Juice? It will fix everything!”

“I have an eternal perspective and I want to share that with you and the people listening at home that at the end of the day, when we try to reach an agreement with divided government we win some, we lose some, nobody is really happy, but you know what, happiness and circumstances — not what it’s about,” she continued. “There is actual joy to be found in Jesus Christ, Jesus loves you all. If you would like to get to know him, you’re listening at home, here in this room, please email, call me, would love to talk to you about Jesus, he is the hope of this state and this country.”

I’d like to know why you can’t shut the fuck up about your idiotic mythos, and why you support loopholes in tax havens for filthy rich assholes fucking everyone over. Can you imagine a representative of a different religion popping off like this? There would be howls of outrage, calls for them to resign, and all manner of puffed up pissiness about them “shoving their religion down our throats.” Have that one all pictured? Good. Now, close your eyes, and imagine the impossible: an atheist representative deciding to lecture people on the improbability of gods, rather than loopholed tax havens. Yeah.

Asshole Christians, one of the most obnoxious of specimens, allowed to get away with anything and everything.

Even though she didn’t address the issue when Thissen posed the question to her, Whelan did take a stance on it. She later voted against the amendment to close offshore tax loopholes. Not a single Republican voted for it, and the amendment was defeated in a party-line vote.

You can read more about Ms. Whelan’s abominable track record, and watch a video of the Jesus Juice speech at Think Progress.

Pants On Fire: Fact Check Time!

USA Today published a highly embarrassing article about the Fuck You Care Plan, which was also highly deceptive. A good many people saw their tweet, and no doubt will simply take it on faith that it’s correct. It’s not. This sort of chicanery is not helping, it’s already difficult enough for many people to figure out what the hell is true, and what is not. Too many people rely on headlines or brief glimpses to form an opinion, then busily spread misinformation all over the place. This is the worst sort of irresponsibility.

Wednesday afternoon, the Congressional Budget Office released an absolutely brutal report quantifying the consequences of the massive health care bill that recently passed by the House of Representatives. Among other things, the report concludes that “the number of uninsured people relative to the number projected under current law would reach 19 million in 2020 and 23 million in 2026.”

That’s right, 23 million people will lose health coverage under Trumpcare.

Here’s how USA Today decided to cover this news:

USA Today: #BREAKING CBO says House Obamacare repeal bill covers 1 million more people than prior draft.

USA Today’s tweet, which also tracks a breaking news alert that appeared at the top of its website, is literally true. A previous CBO report found that an earlier version of Trumpcare would strip 24 million people of health insurance by 2026 — slightly more than the current version.

But USA Today’s take on the CBO report is also a case study in how media can mislead its audience without actually making any factually untrue statements.

Though this reality may sometimes be lost on reporters who are immersed in national political debates, most Americans don’t actually keep track of the latest twists and turns arising from the Congressional Budget Office. Outside of a small number of hyper-engaged individuals, very few voters will remember that, more than two months ago, CBO found that 24 million people will lose coverage under Trumpcare.

Think Progress has the full story.

The Disappearing Data Project.

Since President Donald Trump took office in January, thousands of government records that were previously public have gone offline—from a massive database of records on animal welfare at the Department of Agriculture to climate change data across the government.

The move has confirmed some of the worst fears of scientists who raced to back up government data on climate change ahead of Trump’s inauguration. Those efforts have archived terabytes worth of data on private servers. But government records on everything from labor violations to animal welfare are still at risk of being taken offline or destroyed altogether.

That’s why ThinkProgress is launching Disappearing Data, a project to recover government data that’s been taken offline.

[…]

To do that, we’ll need your help. If you notice that government data has gone offline, email ThinkProgress reporter Joshua Eaton at jeaton@thinkprogress.org.

Full details at Think Progress.

A $2 Trillion Error and More…

CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

The math in crafting the budget was seemingly too difficult for an administration embroiled in scandal. President Donald Trump promised that he would balance the budget for the first time in over a decade and he would do it without cutting spending for defense or Social Security. The numbers were flawed, however.

According to New York Magazine, Trump’s budget assumes a $2 trillion increase in revenue through economic growth that can’t be verified or supported by any estimations by anyone, anywhere. Even the Trump administration’s supposed economic growth wouldn’t pay for the $2 trillion error. Previously, Trump claimed his cuts would be paid for by the growth expected to come in, as a result of his tax breaks. The plan is akin to a credit card that has an interest rate that pays off your card as you spend money on it. The administration has double counted the growth.

Via Raw Story.

This whole mess is turning out to be worse than the Fuck You Healthcare Plan. Apparently, our Tiny Tyrant is not in the least disturbed by numbers which simply do not work. It will be great, yes, of course it will, because it has ‘greatness’ on the label, see, and if you have branding, you don’t have to care about anything else. Might be best if everyone prepares for bankruptcy. There’s a great deal to be disturbed about, so here’s the Oh Fuck Roundup:

Congressional Republicans balk at the arrival of Trump’s cruel budget: Not everyone’s on board; in fact, plenty aren’t.

Trump’s budget sacrifices diplomacy for bigger guns: The State Department would see massive cuts, while the Defense Department would get its budget padded further.

Here’s where the White House got its insane growth projections: Trump’s budget sets a wildly implausible growth target and then seeks to achieve it by cutting food stamps and disability benefits.

Student loan borrowers should brace themselves for Trump’s budget: The news is particularly grim for graduate students.

The outrageous assumptions hiding a $6 trillion hole in Trump’s budget: The budget is so detached from reality, it’s created its own theory of economic growth.

Trump’s budget would destroy the health coverage of at least 14 million poor people: The budget blueprint embraces Trumpcare’s massive cuts to Medicaid — and then cuts the program even more.

Trump’s ‘welfare reform’ will destroy the program: Welfare fails to help families in poverty. Trump would make it much worse.

Asshole Mulvaney’s Take.

That’s enough bad news, ennit?

$100 Million and Ethically Questionable.

Ivanka Trump participates in a presentation ceremony of The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal to President Donald Trump at the Royal Court Palace, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

Oh, palace intrigue, it never ends. Once again, a deal struck now reverberates back to the Tiny Tyrant condemning something done by others, but it’s okely dokely for him and his family. Y’know, Donny has to absolutely love it there, in spite of that little curtsy gaffe, look at all that gilt! Is it too much to hope he’ll stay?

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have pledged $100 million to the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Fund, an initiative proposed by first daughter and senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump. The fund, which was first announced in April, has already raised serious legal and ethical questions about how a White House adviser can both shape foreign policy and actively solicit donations from foreign countries for the fund.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the initiative would provide technical assistance and investments for projects that support the economic empowerment of women around the globe. Ivanka Trump does not control the money, though she first pitched the idea to World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and has discussed the idea with leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

On Sunday, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim praised “Ivanka’s leadership” in spearheading the fund, and called it “a stunning achievement.”

Getting people to shovel money your way is a handy talent, no doubt. A stunning achievement, though? Oh, I don’t think so. Could the bar for this family possibly be lower?

President Donald Trump was extremely critical of Saudi Arabia’s contributions to the Clinton Foundation while campaigning against Hillary Clinton, going so far as to call for Clinton to return all the money given to the foundation, both in speeches on the campaign trail and during the October presidential debate.

Credit: Facebook.

Donald J. Trump: Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries.

“You talk about women and women’s rights. These are people that push gays off business — off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly, and yet you take their money,” Trump said during the debate. “So I’d like to ask you right now. Why don’t you give back the money that you’ve taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money. I think it would be a great gesture.”

The Clinton Foundation received between 10 and 25 million from Saudi Arabia. Gosh, that’s barely a peach pit next to 100 million, isn’t it? Naturally, Trump has not brought up receiving that amount of money from Saudia Arabia, because now that sort of thing is just fine. Great, in fact.

Think Progress has the full story.

“Chaos. Circus. Laughingstock.”

Trump. AP News.

It’s official as it will get – the primary attitude towards the Tiny Tyrant is mockery, along with modest amusement. Those who were initially concerned with the upcoming whirlwind Regime tour aren’t so concerned now. Yes, they know they are dealing with a teensy attention span, and must give Trump tiny participation trophies of some kind, but the attitude has shifted from a fear-laced concern to a mildly amused dismissal. This is not dealing with a savvy, brutal, wannabe dictator. This is dealing with the Naked Emperor, parading his new clothes.

“Chaos.”
“Circus.”
“Laughingstock.”

Those were just a few of the comments I heard in Berlin this week from senior European officials trying to make sense of the meltdown in Washington at just the moment when a politically imploding President Trump embarks on what he called “my big foreign trip” in this morning’s kickoff tweet.

[…]

Many I spoke with said they had made a fundamental mistake of viewing Trump primarily as an ideologue with whom they disagreed rather than what he increasingly appears to be: an ill-prepared newcomer to the world stage, with uninformed views and a largely untested team that will now be sorely tried by a 9-day, 5-stop world tour that would be wildly ambitious even for a seasoned global leader.

“People are less worried than they were six weeks ago, less afraid,” a senior German government official with extensive experience in the United States told me. “Now they see the clownish nature.” Or, as another German said on the sidelines of a meeting here devoted to taking stock of 70 years of U.S.-German relations, “People here think Trump is a laughingstock.”

[…]

“The dominant reaction to Trump right now is mockery,” Jacob Heilbrunn, the editor of the conservative journal the National Interest, told the meeting at the German Foreign Office here while moderating a panel on Trump’s foreign policy that dealt heavily on the difficulty of divining an actual policy amid the spectacle. Heilbrunn, whose publication hosted Trump’s inaugural foreign policy speech in Washington during last year’s campaign, used the ‘L’ word too. “The Trump administration is becoming an international laughingstock.” Michael Werz, a German expert from the liberal U.S. think tank Center for American Progress, agreed, adding he was struck by “how rapidly the American brand is depreciating over the last 20 weeks.”

[…]

Some of the reported preparations for the NATO session in Brussels this week suggest just how much the volatile-clown theory of the American president has now taken hold.

NATO has labeled the May 25 session a meeting, not a summit, and will hold only a dinner to minimize the chances of a Trump eruption. Leaders have been told to hold normally windy remarks to just two to four minutes to keep Trump’s attention. (“This is routine,” the NATO spokesperson said.) They are even preparing to consider a “deliverable” to Trump of having NATO officially join the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Syria, as Trump has said his priority is getting NATO to do more in combating terrorism. “It’s a phony deliverable to give to Trump, a Twitter deliverable,” said a former senior U.S. official, pointing out that the individual NATO member states are already members of that coalition.

The Volatile Clown Theory. Yes, that sounds right. Now we just have to kick the volatile clown out of the center ring.

The full story is at Politico.