Periodically, we at National Compass, take an inventory of the random, nonsensical, juvenile, puerile ramblings of Donald Trump. We do it periodically, because even though Trump spouts off daily and sometimes hourly – it is not possible to publish updates that frequently with all of the other issues to deal with that arise from Trump’s radioactive presidency.
Beyond that, the intervals between these examinations makes them somewhat a barometer of Trump’s mental health state. Given the fact, however, that Trump’s mental state was acutely troubled before he took office, it is a matter of speculation whether he is significantly more unhinged than he was to begin with.
Trump’s cabinet meeting for the New Year was open to some members of the White House press corps – and there were cameras and audio recorders documenting each fractured syllable noun and verb, and so we will take a choice handful of the meanderings he uttered in 90 minutes – although it must have seemed an eternity for the members of the cabinet in attendance. First up is this:
“So, if we’re building the wall, we’re paying as they build it, we pay it as they finish. This way if they don’t do a good job, we don’t pay them. So not all of the money has been paid, but the money has been used.”
There is so much here to unpack. Trump, who claims to have personally managed some of the building projects that have featured his name, is confused about how the contractors on border fencing projects are being paid and in what manner.
But the second sentence reminds us of the many instances where Trump has allowed businesspeople to perform work for him, later claiming he was displeased with the results and refusing to pay for the work. You can be assured than none of the firms involved in these border projects previously approved by Congress, would ever begin work if Trump was individually issuing the contract.
“It’s unfair when we give money to Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador and they do nothing to us.” They do nothing to us?
What would he prefer they do to us? Asking for a friend – and myself.
“But there are countries that are poor that we will — we don’t want anything from them. We want to help them. There are some horrible things going on in the world. We want to help those people. We don’t want money from them. We’re not looking for that.”
No doubt, those poor countries are sighing a collective breath of relief that Trump isn’t planning to ransack the cushions of their couch looking for loose change. Not sure if it was an inadvertent omission that he left out the adjective “shithole”.
“They (the U.S. military) have no angle. I know every angle. No, they have no angle. The military under past leadership, including for many years was taken advantage of by other countries. Allies and not allies, they were taken advantage of. Our country has to be respected.”
“Our country has to be respected”? That starts at the top, does it not? Pardon me if I wonder aloud, who it was that was laughed to scorn by the leaders of nations spanning the globe at Trump’s most recent, no good, terrible appearance at the United Nations. Trump’s self assessment as either a shrewd military strategist or a competent national leader, is repudiated by the contrary assessment of people who possess the good sense to not have been swept up in his cult.
“I could be the most popular person in Europe. I could run for any office if I wanted to but I don’t want to.”
Trump could run for any office – in Europe? Based on what reading of the election laws of those nations? Or does he still think they have an Emperor over there? How does Trump imagine he could repackage himself to any but the most rabid xenophobes and neo-Fascists in order to win any public election? This statement may be a micro indication that Trump is in a more pronounced phase of psychic disintegration.
“I get along with India and the prime minister and he’s constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan. You know what that is? That’s like five hours of what we spend. And he tells it is and he’s very smart and we’re supposed to say oh, thank you for the library. I don’t know who’s using it in Afghanistan but one of those things.”
Mr. Trump, the answer is simple, although perhaps it is difficult for you to comprehend, not being a book type. People who read books, use libraries. Does that help?
Trump uses this open cabinet meeting to take a swipe at a recently deceased man, John McCain, who is not in a position to defend his record:
“It only was kept, Obamacare, it was only kept because of the individual mandate. Now that that’s gone, I don’t know how you can possibly keep it. So that’s repeal and replace. John McCain voted against it, after campaigning for many years, John McCain voted against it. He went thumbs down and that was the end of that. For many years it was repeal and replace and then at 2:00 in the morning he went thumbs down.”
Trump, next moved on to an update of his intentions regarding healthcare – waxing vague and flatulent:
“… we will sit down with the Democrats and we will come up with great health care, far better, far better. We’ll have everything included. We’ll have everything included. Far better because Obamacare is too expensive. The premiums are way too high and the deductibles, you can’t even use it. The deductible is so high, unless up get hit by a tractor, you can’t even use it. Nobody’s ever seen anything like it.”
Actually, few, prior to your presidency, have ever seen anything like how vacuous that and the rest of your dribble here is. Was he thinking of healthcare in terms of a hamburger he ordered recently? What is the “everything” that Trump assures us will be included. Does he know? Does anyone?
Why was Trump thinking about getting “hit by a tractor”? Is the reference prominent in his thoughts because he knows the farmers in the grain belt are getting hit by his trade war in their back pockets?
Warming up for his retort against Mitt Romney and Romney’s candid, though tepid assessment of Trump and his presidency.
“I have great popularity in Utah. I love the people of Utah. And the people of Utah, we did that for a very special person who is now going to be retiring after 42 years, a great friend, a great senator, who is really a spectacular plan and also for Mike Lee, who really pressed it very hard.”
Trump, although we are not certain why, has concluded that retiring Senator Orrin Hatch, is a “spectacular plan”. Hatch, presumably, will be happy to know what a spectacular plan he is. But which Utah is Trump referring to where he has “great popularity”? Certainly not the Utah, that borders Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Not that Utah. In that Utah, they think Trump stinks and pretty badly.
While Trump was on the subject of Afghanistan, he wasted no opportunity to slander the outgoing Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis:
“But General Mattis was so thrilled. But what’s he done for me? How has he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. Not too good. I’m not happy with what he’s done in Afghanistan and I shouldn’t be happy.”
Does Trump entertain delusions that trashing a man that served him for close to 24 months, is going to be a successful tactic in attracting anyone of even moderate competence as Mattis’ replacement?
Former Secretary of the Navy, James Webb has been floated as someone on the White House’s suspect list as a replacement at that post. Most observers in D.C. assess Webb as a man with basic good sense. That leads me to believe he doesn’t need the aggravation of dealing directly or indirectly on a daily basis with a complete imbecile.
Trump gives us a pre-schooler’s conception of the post war history of Russia. I’ll probably get some flack that I am selling the average pre-schooler short here. Referring to the geo-political situation in Afghanistan, Trump issued this artless and jejune recitation:
“Russia is there. Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan. Russia. So, you take a look at other countries. Pakistan is there. They should be fighting. But Russia should be fighting. The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there. The problem is it was a tough fight.”
Putin and his subordinates must have had a chuckle or two listening to that. Here in America, some eyes rolled so violently, that following the meeting, ophthalmologists in the local area were inundated with a rash of walk-ins needing immediate attention.
“I think I would have been a good general but who knows.”
Who knows? Well, I can tell you, Mr. President, who doesn’t think you would have been a good general. That would be anyone with even a moderately functioning frontal cortex – that’s who.
The three American generals most prominent in the Military Hall of Shame; Horatio Gates, George McClellan and most aptly, James Wilkinson, would be the benchmarks Trump would measure down to as a general – and troops under their ignominious commands, would be less in jeopardy than under Commander Bonespurs.
Then came this:
“I had a meeting at the Pentagon with lots of generals, they were like …(unintelligible) … better looking than Tom Cruise and stronger. I’ve had more I said this is the greatest room I’ve ever seen. I saw more computer boards than I think that they make today”.
He saw more “computer boards” than he thinks “they make today”? What the fornication???? And the generals were “better looking than Tom Cruise and stronger”? Would they be less competent if they weren’t as good looking or as strong as movie actor Cruise? What if they were only as good looking as Chuck Norris? Bruce Willis? Frequent Trump critic, Arnold Schwarzenegger?
Perhaps a ranking system would be of assistance in such evaluations of top military brass – not their training or depth of experience, but how they visually compare with action movie icons.
Trump, not unexpectedly, goes on to trash the noble Kurds (quite likely the most committed and robust fighting force we’ve partnered with in modern history), saying:
“Now, the Kurds, it’s very interesting, Turkey doesn’t like them, other people do. I didn’t like the fact that there selling the small oil they have to Iran. But Kurds are selling oil to Iran. I’m not happy about it at all. At the same time, they fight better when we fight with them. When we send 30 f-18s in front of them, they fight much better than they do when we don’t.”
Where is Trump getting his information? Don’t ask, don’t tell. A commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces – the Kurdish contingent that has been involved in the thick of the fight against the Islamic State, fact checks Trump’s unsubstantiated claim. Commander Khalil stated:
“President Trump’s claim about Kurds selling oil to Iran is not correct for two reasons. One, the Islamic Republic is not our neighbor, and we don’t have a border with them. Country of Iraq is between us, so we can’t trade oil. And two, we only produce oil for domestic purposes because we do not have refineries. Therefore, we reject president Trump’s claims.”
If Trump is thinking of the oil wells in Kirkuk, it is plain that he has no concept. The oil fields of Kirkuk, 150 miles from Baghdad, located in Northeast Iraq, is inside Iraq’s sphere of governance – and while it they were run by Iraqi Kurdistan up until October of 2017, they are not under the control of Kurds in Northern Syria.
He might also be fascinated to learn that Israel, somewhat surreptitiously, imports a fair amount of oil from the wells in Kirkuk. The stories that Trump entertains always seem to be operating on a mental GPS system using maps from the 1950’s.
He probably gets his notion of oil heading to Iran, from 2014, when ISIS was shuttling oil from the Kirkuk region over the border to rogue markets in Iran. More recently, Iraq, now in virtual control of the Kirkuk fields, are themselves, selling oil to Iran.
If you want to get a sense of the complicated status of the struggle for hegemony over the petroleum resources of Northern Iraq – or if you want to get a headache following all the twists and turns, check out the excellent outline from Ellen R. Wald, here. It will become immediately clear, if it isn’t already, that Trump doesn’t grasp the geo-strategy of the region in question any more than he knows his lower colonic tract from a drainpipe.
Asked by a reported about the timetable for withdrawal from Syria, Trump responded, “It just over a period of time. Oh, we’re withdrawing. We’re hitting them very hard.”
Translated, he doesn’t know because his eyes glazed over after about a minute and 20 seconds during the briefing from “the generals” and because details are unnecessary fluff a president (of Trump’s caliber) has no interest in. The rest of the answer is an inscrutable pastiche of disconnected fragments of verbal rubbish strewn randomly.
Of the security detail assigned to the White House grounds, Trump relates:
“I was here Christmas evening, I was all about except for all the guys out on the lawn with machine guns. I never saw so many guys with machine guns in my life, secret service and military. These are great people but I was all alone with the machine gunners and I felt very safe they’re great people and there but they didn’t do that and that’s OK.” “I was waving to them. I — I never saw so many guys with machine guns in my life. Many people are saying it was the most — and most beautiful — machine guns ever used in one place.”
Imagine my head rotating like Linda Blair’s in “The Exorcist”.
Of his mastery of the government shutdown, Trump boasted,
“Look, I’m prepared — I think the people of the country think I’m right. Again, I could have done nothing. Could I have a lot easier presidency by doing nothing.”
Actually Donnie, you could have had a successful presidency, if you had mostly shut up, studied up on intelligence, defense and domestic policy briefings, adopted a dignified bearing worthy of the office, had an inquisitive mind, didn’t tweet, didn’t dog whistle to racists, didn’t siphon money from special interests while simultaneously siphoning it from taxpayers, didn’t perpetuate the worst insult comedy act in history and didn’t conspire with our international adversaries. Other than that, it would all be peachy.
We’ll finish up with this one. Steering away from addressing Romney’s critique of his character and competence, Trump issued this patently absurd claim:
“I think I have the highest rating — I don’t know why but they like me. They say I’m the most popular president in the history of the Republican party. You see the same news I do.”
Uh, no we don’t. The news we see indicates that a clear majority of the American public recognize you for what you are – a clown gangsta that is decidedly leading the country into treacherous waters. “Most popular president in the history of the Republican party”? Excuse me? Listen chump, Ronald Wilson Reagan will never be so far from our collective memories that you will be mentioned in any sentence in which you are anything but the punch line of the joke.
What do you do with this affront to reality? Pretty much what you do with any of Trump’s affronts to reality – you call an ass an ass, and his is arguably the biggest and dumbest sitting in the chair behind the Resolute desk that we have seen in our 230 years of history.