That Trump is clearly bothered by his low poll numbers can be seen in the way that he is now desperately trying to do whatever he thinks will bring the numbers back up. His attacks on Joe Biden don’t seem to have any effect and Biden’s lead seems to be steadily increasing. His rallies have flopped and none are being scheduled. Anthony Fauci is more popular than him. The problem with Trump is that all he cares about are the ratings for his events (either in terms of the size of his live audiences or the TV ratings) and his standing in the polls. That may be a mistake since those are capricious and it is hard to know what will change them. So he flails away, trying to find the formula that keeps eluding him, and this makes him look increasingly desperate.
The public’s rising disapproval of the way he has handled the pandemic has rattled him as can be seen in his abrupt reversal of his stance on wearing masks. After ridiculing the idea earlier, he then said that he had never opposed it although he had even childishly boasted about how he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing” him wearing one. Then just yesterday he tweeted a photo of himself wearing a mask. Being Trump, he had to invent some cockamamie claim to explain his reversal, and said that it was patriotic to do so and there was no greater patriot than he.
We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President! pic.twitter.com/iQOd1whktN
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2020
Trump’s Surgeon General is also pleading with the anti-mask zealots that his boss coddled and encouraged for so long.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams says on Fox News, "I'm pleading with your viewers, I'm begging you, please understand that we are not trying to take away your freedoms when we say wear a face covering."
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) July 20, 2020
This is going to cause serious whiplash among his followers who took his cue and declared war on mask wearing. Now they are being told by their Dear Leader that they are not patriots, the worst insult you can hurl at them. I wonder what they will do now? Will they sheepishly start wearing masks? Will they suddenly start attacking people who are not wearing masks?
Trump had abandoned his daily press conferences with the pandemic task force where he had extended meanderings on the benefits of ingesting bleach and disinfectants to cure coronavirus, leading to widespread concern and ridicule. Apparently he got bored with the pandemic after the ratings for these conferences started slipping. Now he is going to have them again starting today, no doubt to try and regain the public’s confidence that he is engaged with combating the pandemic.
That is not all the waffling.
In an interview last week with a Spanish language station and in a clear attempt to win back some support from the Hispanic community, Trump also made an about-face on DACA after the Supreme Court ruled that he could not end it in the ‘arbitrary and capricious’ way that he had tried to. Trump now suggests that he supports DACA and might, by executive order, provide a path to citizenship for those covered by DACA
President Trump said Friday he intends to sign an executive order on immigration within the next month that he said will include a “road to citizenship” for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“The deal was done. DACA is going to be just fine. We’re putting it in. It’s going to be just fine. And I am going to be, over the next few weeks, signing an immigration bill that a lot of people don’t know about. You have breaking news, but I’m signing a big immigration bill,” Trump told Díaz-Balart.
“Is that an executive order?” the anchor asked.
“I’m going to do a big executive order. I have the power to do it as president and I’m going to make DACA a part of it,” Trump responded.
Asked whether the executive order would provide temporary relief for DACA recipients, Trump said its scope would be much wider.
“No, what I’m going to do is that they’re going to part of a much bigger bill on immigration. It’s going to be a very big bill, a very good bill, and merit-based bill and it will include DACA, and I think people are going to be very happy,” said Trump.
“But one of the aspects of the bill is going to be DACA. We’re going to have a road to citizenship,” he added.
This reversal caused the heads of those xenophobes who felt that he shared their belief that all the DACA recipients should be expelled to explode.
The comments sparked immediate outrage among conservatives and allies of the administration who have been expecting Trump to rescind DACA following the Supreme Court ruling.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) warned on Twitter that it would be “a HUGE mistake” if Trump were to create a path citizenship via executive order.
Clearly Trump thinks that time is running out on him to show his followers that he is leading and that he cannot afford to wait around for the normal channels of government to work. He is now trying to arrogate to himself extraordinary powers so that he can rule by decree and take immediate action on a variety of fronts, whatever he thinks might help him get re-elected. To this end, he has got on board the infamous John Yoo, the person who provided Bush-Cheney with the authorization for committing war crimes by saying that waterboarding and other forms of torture were not torture. Yoo seems to have an even more expansive view of presidential power than attorney general Bill Barr.
As an example of what Trump might achieve in the same way, Yoo suggested the president could declare a national right to carry firearms openly, in conflict with many state laws.
“He could declare that he would not enforce federal firearms laws,” Yoo wrote, “and that a new ‘Trump permit’ would free any holder of state and local gun-control restrictions.
“Even if Trump knew that his scheme lacked legal authority, he could get away with it for the length of his presidency,” he said. In a telephone interview, he added: “According to the supreme court, the president can now choose to under-enforce the law in certain areas and it can’t be undone by his successor unless that successor goes through this onerous thing called the Administrative Procedure Act, which usually takes one to two years.”
Constitutional scholars have rejected Yoo’s arguments as ignoring limits on the executive powers of the president imposed by the founders, who were determined to prevent the rise of a tyrant.
Tribe called Yoo’s interpretation of the Daca ruling “indefensible”.
Trump also wants to invoke that old Republican campaign standby of ‘law and order’, as can be seen by his deliberately sending in federal forces in unidentifiable uniforms and unmarked vehicles to attack protestors and cart them off to unknown locations, a classic tactic of dictatorships. They have done this in Portland and now plan to do so in other cities as well such as Chicago. in the face of fierce opposition from the mayors, governors, and congresspeople from those states, who have accused him of inflaming tensions. A group of women calling themselves the ‘Wall of Moms’ formed a barrier to protect the protestors from the secret forces.
A crowd of about 400 has now occupied both SW 3rd and SW Main.
The moms are chanting, “Feds stay clear! Moms are here!” at the federal courthouse.
All three fences are still up. pic.twitter.com/jhJ09NUxGW
— Lindsey Smith (she/her) (@LindseyPSmith7) July 19, 2020
No doubt Trump thinks that this show of force will cause his supporters to rally behind him but I am not so sure. There are dark suspicions on the right of there being a deep state that seeks a takeover of the US. Wouldn’t these kinds of paramilitary actions by a secretive armed force be seen by them as evidence of such an effort? Shouldn’t they be out on the streets protesting against the abuses of the very freedoms that they say they care so much about?
It is becoming increasingly hard for Trump’s supporters (and anyone else for that matter) to know where Trump stands on anything. Does he want to end DACA or not? Does he want people to wear masks or not? Is he a friend of Russia and Putin or not? Does he want to increase trade with China or not? Is his relationship with Kim Jong Un good or bad? Does he want to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq or not? The only constant is his unwavering support for (1) anything that benefits him and his family personally, and (2) anything that enriches the wealthy.
This is what happens when you hitch your wagon to a politician who has no principles or morals or ethics whatsoever. The rug will constantly be pulled from under your feet.
Careful now, if Trump goes much further he’s going to start looking like he’s more left-wing than his opponent!
Marcus Ranum says
Being Trump, he had to invent some cockamamie claim to explain his reversal, and said that it was patriotic to do so and there was no greater patriot than he.
Gotta wear a mask when inspecting the underground bunker, because there might be coal gas, which is to say: fracking is great!
(This is a reconstructed cross-post from poopyhead’s current [Pandemic and] Political Madness All the Time thread here at FtB, with some added commentary at the end.)
Trump consults Bush torture lawyer in bid to skirt law and rule by decree:
(Added commentary: Whilst there are reasons to be suspicious of this — the report is of claims made by Yoo, who is notoriously unreliable and is (presumably) trying to drum up interest in his forthcoming book — it also seems to fit the “thinking” of both Yoo and hair furor. However, whilst Yoo’s article has been seen on hair furor’s desk, that could just be theatrical antics. But with the enabling dalekocrazy supporting and surrounding hair furor, and the (now) nazi-packed federal courts (not just the Supreme Court), plus the (current) nazi-dominated Senate, plus the gestapo now in Portland (and apparently soon coming to Chicago), some sort of hair furor “rule-by-decree” hair-brained idea is difficult to dismiss outright.)
Pierce R. Butler says
Will they sheepishly start wearing masks?
Not the hardcore wingnuts like Michelle Malkin:
“This is not patriotic.”
I suspect the neofascist dedication to emotive performance theater surpasses even their führerprinzip fixation on personalities.
Pierce R. Butler says
… when you hitch your wagon to a politician … The rug will constantly be pulled from under your feet.
Looks like an education in theoretical physics teaches you not to mix metaphors, but to Large Hadron Collider-ize them.
Mano Singham says
I try not to mix metaphors but this one slipped through my mental filters.
Who Cares says
It wouldn’t surprise me if they resurrect the 1918 anti mask league of San Fransisco. When purity is the only thing that matters and someone as important to the purity as Trump betrays the purity the only option is to be even more pure.
I have no aversion to the miscegenation of metaphors, have at it it. Some of the hybrids are zingers.
I think John Yoo feels that Trump should have more power than Louis IV or Caesar Augustus ever did.
Tabby Lavalamp says
And to top it off, the Hamberdler wished Ghislaine Maxwell well, so there have to be a lot of melting QAnon brains right now.