Donald Trump Vladimir Putin Helsinki Summit
Andrew Zarivny

Opinion

The President and the Puppet

The economic forecast is out and President Donald Trump, fresh from his stellar performance (according to him) overseas, is crowing about the size of the growing economy.

Buried in the statistics are the two main reasons for the continued good news: sales of Roget’s College Thesaurus is reaching astronomic levels as reporters across the world tear out pages—and their hair—trying to find synonyms for “disaster” and “chaos” when describing the Trump administration.

The production and sales of a variety of toddler-related items are also driving this economic engine. From diapers to child safety seats as well as teething rings and a variety of play toys are all selling at heretofore unseen levels as adults use these items to try and pacify the children working at the White House and in Congress.

The rest of us are reeling over the subservience our president showed our greatest adversary, Russian President “Vlad –the-Iimpaler” Putin, following a week abroad in England, Brussels and Scotland, where Trump seemed to try and outdo each embarrassing moment he had with a show-stopper that left us all saying, “Well whatever he did yesterday, it can’t get any worse today.” And everyday Trump smiled and laughed as he proved us wrong.
The Ultimate Showstopper, of course, was a press conference at the end of the Helsinki Summit when Jeff Mason from Reuters and Jonathan Lemire of the AP double-teamed the president and asked him two important questions that left Trump stumbling, bumbling, fumbling and ultimately crumbling. He caved on the international stage, bowing to Putin in such an ugly subservient manner most of the GOP—with the exception of Rand Paul, whose hair product has apparently affected his brain’s synaptic ability—had to decry their standard bearer.

Fox News, the Washington Times and other media outlets that’ve been in goose-step with Trump since his inauguration drew non-record crowds jumped on the bandwagon to criticize Trump. John Brennan, former director of the CIA, called Trump a traitor guilty of treason; Dan Coats the director of National Intelligence, rebuked the president’s statements in the news conference; and Jim Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence agreed with both men, telling me, “If this isn’t a case of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ I don’t know what is.”
Trump abandoned the role of leader of the free world in Helsinki on a day many say will live in the annals of infamy.
The condemnation was so loud and so overwhelming that for one brief second Trump was exposed for the seriously twisted fraud he really is—a man incapable of conducting himself in a presidential fashion on the stage that matters the most. His endless rounds of golf, his inability to prepare for important meetings, his lack of knowledge of the nuances of policy and issues all came back to haunt him—and worse, at first he didn’t know it.

He left Helsinki and climbed aboard Air Force One thinking he’d hit a home run, at least until he watched Fox News. It is little wonder Trump despises the press. Those two questions in the Helsinki news conference laid him out, eviscerated him and left him quivering like the child he really is and in such a manner his presidency will never recover on the international stage and faces serious problems on the domestic front.

He put the entire free world in peril. It cannot be understated. Trump abandoned the role of leader of the free world in Helsinki on a day many say will live in equality with December 7, 1941 in the annals of infamy. It took Mitch McConnell, a man almost bereft of any laudable human qualities, to tell the Russians and Putin almost two days later that we know Putin was responsible for hacking our elections and “Don’t do it again.”
Still, McConnell circled the wagon, as did most of the GOP and Fox News, and declared their fealty to Trump, who declared fealty to Russia. Meanwhile, the White House is in a state of disarray unlike anything seen since the dark days of the Nixon administration. “It’s like living in a silo,” one staffer said. “We keep our heads down and don’t talk much.”

The White House staff, already suffering from morale lower than the attendance of a “Liberal Democrats for Trump” rally has sunk even lower. Rumors of resignations, firings and spontaneous combustion abound. “Look if you’re going to be loyal, you have to be loyal enough to say the emperor has no clothes,” former Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci said earlier this week. The Mooch, looking more and more like he dodged one large destructive bullet when he lasted only 11 days in the Trump White House, says he remains loyal to the president’s cause, but he spent most of this week telling millions of people on CNN and other networks exactly where the president is wrong and why.
Trump’s insecurity with his election victory is clouding his judgment and putting the rest of us in a situation the U.S. has never been in: a secondary role.
“The White House staff needs to cancel its prescription of obsequious pills and start taking some sodium pentothal,” Scaramucci explained as he chanted the truth will set you free. “The most loyal person isn’t the guy who tells me how great I am, but the one who tells me how wrong I am,” he added.

That isn’t happening in the White House, where John Kelly is rumored to be hunkered down in his silo trying to keep the staff running with what little bailing wire, tape and Elmer’s glue he can find. Most, including Scaramucci, have a hard time disguising their disdain or outright anger with Kelly for his inability to keep things running smoothly. But Kelly isn’t the only one laying low.

New Communications Director Bill Shine reportedly has told his close friends he’s being cautious, trying to get the lay of the land and find out what’s going on in a White House dominated by caustic chaos. “I only tell the president what I think when I’m with him one on one,” many staffers have said, afraid someone else on the staff will “give the shiv” if they speak out in a group of two or more.

Trump’s bombast is adding to the increasing disintegration of anything resembling professionalism. The words “bully” and “out of control” are equally exchanged with the question, “Where’s the back door out of here?” The administration continues to try and put the best face on this mess, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent there is little to do but try and muddle through this dystopian nightmare with the hopes the country or the president will wake up sometime soon. LSD and psilocybin may be laughed at as a panacea to the horror show in the White House, but outgoing staffers say a good happy hour is within their grasp. “After all, I’d like to be happy for at least an hour,” a staffer recently opined while walking on the North Lawn. “The worse part for us was our president was left for an hour, waiting for Putin so he could make an entrance as if he were the one in charge. Then Trump even called him ‘powerful’ during the press conference. It made us all heart sick. When Putin kept him waiting, I said our president should’ve got up and left. That would’ve sent a strong message.”

But Trump didn’t send a strong message. He told us he didn’t know why he would suspect Russia of hacking our elections and then, reading from a prepared script, told a pool of reporters on Tuesday that he “misspoke” and meant to say he didn’t know why “he wouldn’t” suspect Russia of hacking our elections.

Later, the White House published a report, “President Donald J. Trump is Protecting Our Elections and Standing Up to Russia’s Malign Activities.” Grammar aside, the explanation insulted everyone’s intelligence and White House staffers, even the youngest and most gullible, had a hard time with the statement. But in Trump’s world, it’s over.

“I knew who I was this morning, but I've changed a few times since then,” Lewis Carroll told us in Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland. President Trump proved in a meeting with a Russian thug, murderer, and criminal who is guilty of hegemony and terrorizing the rest of the world that he, as our president, hasn’t the ability to do his job. He puts all of us in danger.

Trump is a frighteningly uninformed man with little desire to change and a great desire to confuse us while obfuscating the facts that expose him as the shallow cretin he truly is and will always be. “He’s off his rocker more now than ever,” a former aide told me. In his zeal to prove he didn’t collude with Russia, he is ignoring the fact that independently of what he may or may not have done, Russia did try to disrupt our election and Putin admitted on the world stage he wanted Trump to win the election. “No collusion” is the president’s refrain. That doesn’t matter.

What really matters is how Trump reacts to this act of cyber warfare. Deriding your own intelligence community and aiding and abetting our adversary isn’t the answer, Mr. President. Trump’s insecurity with his election victory is clouding his judgment and putting the rest of us in a situation the U.S. has never been in regarding Russia: a secondary role. It weakens us. It weakens the rest of the world and it is a clear and present danger to our way of life.

Now, how do we all react to that reality? Putin is grinning like Alice’s Cheshire Cat. 

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