Are We There Yet?

President Trump is finishing off a brutal week for the country. Have we finally reached a point in this Presidency where Republicans will stop sitting on their hands as Trump destroys everything he touches?

As the Washington Post reports…maybe:

President Trump began Thursday under siege, listening to howls of indignation from conservatives over his border wall and thrusting the government toward a shutdown. He ended it by announcing the exit of the man U.S. allies see as the last guardrail against the president’s erratic behavior: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose resignation letter was a scathing rebuke of Trump’s worldview.

At perhaps the most fragile moment of his presidency — and vulnerable to convulsions on the political right — Trump single-handedly propelled the U.S. government into crisis and sent markets tumbling with his gambits this week to salvage signature campaign promises.

The president’s decisions and conduct have led to a fracturing of Trump’s coalition. Hawks condemned his sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Conservatives called him a “gutless president” and questioned whether he would ever build a wall. Political friends began privately questioning whether Trump needed to be reined in.

After campaigning on shrinking America’s footprint in overseas wars, Trump abruptly declared Wednesday that he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, a move Mattis and other advisers counseled against. And officials said Thursday that Trump is preparing to send thousands of troops home from Afghanistan, as well…[Pols emphasis]

…Trump has been isolated in bunker mode in recent weeks as political and personal crises mount, according to interviews with 27 current and former White House officials, Republican lawmakers, and outside advisers to the president, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer candid assessments.

“There’s going to be an intervention,” one former senior administration official said speculatively. [Pols emphasis] “Jim Mattis just sent a shot across the bow. He’s the most credible member of the administration by five grades of magnitude. He’s the steady, safe set of hands. And this letter is brutal. He quit because of the madness.”

The resignation of Mattis, which came in the form of a strongly-worded letter to the President, is causing political shockwaves around the world.  Long considered to be among the most important rational voices in the White House, Mattis’ sudden announcement highlights several seemingly-haphazard foreign policy decisions by Trump that are worrying even his staunchest allies in Congress.

And the situation is only getting worse. As Politico explains, a shutdown cometh:

President Donald Trump warned Friday that “there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time” if the Senate fails to pass a spending bill that includes border wall funding, laying the groundwork to blame Democrats for a pre-Christmas shutdown that would shutter wide swaths of the government.

Trump pushed the government to the precipice of a partial shutdown on Thursday, insisting in a meeting with lawmakers that he would not sign legislation to keep the government open unless it included $5 billion for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Acceding to the president’s demand, House Republicans on Thursday rejected a short-term funding bill passed by the Senate that included just over $1 billion for border security — not a wall — and instead approved legislation that met the president’s demands for border wall funding. The House bill now goes to the Senate, where it is almost sure to fall short of the 60 votes it would need to pass.

Trump already promised that he would own a potential government shutdown — before later backing off that threat and then doubling-down again when right wing commentators criticized him on Fox News. Trump has always been susceptible to criticism from his right flank, but the timing of this reversal and the Mattis resignation really reinforces the idea that the President of the United States governs via television.

Now, can someone please change the channel?

15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55 says:

    The day when the rabid comments of Ann Coulter prompted a policy decision by the President. That, and what Putin wants to happen in Syria to expand his sphere of influence in the middle east.

    So the troops can come home, but they might not be paid or have any benefits. Families that rely on federal food and housing aid may not get it while the shutdown continues.

    And the icing on the cake, a government shutdown. Merry F*cking Christmas, everyone.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Troops will get paid. DoD appropriation has already been passed.  VA appropriation also passed. As I said in a different comment —

      no budget for:

      Departments of State, Agriculture, Interior, Treasury, Justice, Commerce, Homeland Security, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency,

      The unfunded agencies include the Peace Corps, the Small Business Administration, the General Services Administration, the National Archives and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.



  2. skeptical citizen says:

    Time for Cory to grow a pair and stand up to Trump.


  3. itlduso says:

    Are you kidding?  The right wing’s wet dream is all coming true.  And now 85 year old  Ruth Bader Ginsburg has lung cancer surgery.  So, bet on three  Supreme Court picks — one stolen from Obama, one from a retirement, and one because she thought she was immortal and refused to resign when Obama was in office (see: Justice O’Connor who knew when to retire for political expediency).

    No, we get the government we deserve.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Is jumping to conclusions your only exercise, or do you work out in other ways?

      RBG broke some ribs, the diagnostics on that showed "small nodules" in one lung. Further diagnostics said no other cancers detected. Surgeon who handled the extraction said she got it all. Follow-up seems to have confirmed no other nodules/tumors or other markers of cancer.  She's resting, expected to be back at the Court for sessions in the New Year. 


      • itlduso says:

        And if this 85 year old with broken ribs and malignant cancer dies before the 2020 winner intakes office in January, 2021 your pathetic response will be, “Oops, my bad.”  Small comfort for losing a Justice seat.  She is no heroine to me.


      • Voyageur says:

        I much prefer the leap of faith, preceded, of course, by vigorous stretching of the truth.

        • notaskinnycook says:

          I'm not worried. She's a tough old bird. She has an exercise routine that would wear most of us out and can bench press more than her own weight. She'll be back, and yes, hopefully, make it to 2021, when a reasonable president can name her successor.

  4. Early Worm says:

    Wouldn't the time for the Republicans to stand up to Trump have been on the vote for the $5 Billion wall? Trump reversed himself because the Tea Party loons in Congress (and the right-wing media that tell them what to do), threw a fit. The tea partiers are still a minority in Congress. Why did the "rational" or "mainstream" Republicans vote for a funding bill that they know is not going to pass the Senate and will result in a shutdown?

    Trump is the Republican's abusive dad, telling them to pick a fight that they are going to lose, and, more importantly, is pointless. They know how stupid Trump's wall is, and they know Mexico was supposed to pay for it. But Daddy told them not to be a pussy, so they are swinging away.

  5. ParkHill says:

    There's a movie "Do the Right Thing."

    If Mattis truly cared about the position of the United States in the world and our relationship to our allies, he would not resign, he would prevent Trump's decisions from wrecking the world order.

    On the table are:

    (1) Giving Syria to Russia and Iran
    (2) Giving Ukraine to Russia
    (3) Abandoning the Kurds, and green lighting Turkey to attack them
    (4) Leaving Afghanistan in order to give it back to the Taliban.
    (5) China is becoming the dominant world power

    Talk about Henry Kissinger's "realpolitik"!

    Great empires crumble and new ones rise. Chess pieces move on the global game-board. Wars get started. The strong grab for resources. A weak and capitulating US gives up its allies.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Mattis is in place until the end of February. He has SOME ability to shape Trump's decisions — but the larger Constitutional order does not provide him an opportunity to countermand them.

      If Congress wanted to do the right thing, there are opportunities to counter the immediate moves which triggered Mattis' resignation.  If members of the Cabinet wanted to do the right thing, there is a 25th Amendment solution. 

    • The realist says:

      I think Mattis is resigning because he cannot "prevent Trump's decisions." Trump is mentally ill, uncontrollable, and going downhill fast. He needs to be removed from office, either by impeachment or the 25th Amendment. He presents disastrous risks to this country and to the world. And the people who need to understand that – primarily Congress – do not understand.

  6. ParkHill says:

    How many times did the Republicans vote to get rid of Obamacare? 52?

    I think next year, the House under Pelosi should vote 52 time, once per week to impeachment Trump. Make the Senators go on the record 52 times unless they decide to bail earlier.

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