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Trump and “gay slurs”: The Buttboy controversy


Mika Brzezinski, the co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” news show, got into hot water the other day, after calling Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, what the media are calling “a gay slur” because they’re too squeamish to quote her real word: “buttboy.”

I’ll explain what that means (if you don’t already know, and I suspect you do) in a minute. First, here’s what Mika meant: that Pompeo was and is Mohammed bin Salman’s lapdog, apologist and ass kisser, after Pompeo lied to the world and said there’s “no direct evidence” MBS ordered the torture and murder of Jamal Kashoggi. Of course there is. Everybody knows it. But Pompeo, on the instructions of his boss, Trump, is covering up that fact, for reasons best understood by him.

Now, as to the slang meaning of “buttboy,”the Urban Dictionary defines it as “a sexual boy toy who belongs to an older man. The younger guy is ‘a bottom’ or anal receiver while the older guy is the pitcher, or ‘top.’”

Well, that about sums it up! As for Mika, a lot of people piled up on her. Fox “News” reported that Trump’s ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who apparently is gay, tweeted

Then there was Trump himself, a famous defender of LGBTQ people (I’m kidding, folks), who in the middle of his latest tweetstorm about Michael Cohen and Robert Mueller, pretended to give a rat’s ass about gay slurs, professing faux outrage on Twitter: “If it was a Conservative that said what ‘crazed’ Mike [sic] Brzezinski stated on her show yesterday, using a certain horrible term, that person would be banned permanently from television… Congratulations to Richard Grenell, our great Ambassador to Germany, for having the courage to take this horrible issue on.”

A couple things. First, there’s no doubt that when Trump decided to go after Mika, a fierce Trump critic, he had someone look around his administration to find possibly the only gay person in a high-level position, and then he ordered the unlucky victim, Grenell, to tweet what he did. That makes Grenell Trump’s buttboy.

Secondly, as a gay man, I can promise you that no gay person in America took any offense whatsoever at Mika’s remark. (Believe me, I know this is true: We all conference-call every night over Chardonnay.) There was nothing, absolutely nothing, homophobic about Mika’s remark! As the Urban Dictionary definition makes clear, “buttboy” is exactly the role that Pompeo served under MBS, and it also happens to be the role Pompeo serves under Trump. Pompeo knows exactly what happened to Kashoggi, and he knows who made it happen. So does Trump. So Pompeo is a double buttboy (MBS and Trump) and that makes Grenell also a double buttboy (Pompeo and Trump). You see how complicated things can get when we stray into the exotic realm of anal sex!

I tweeted Grenell to tell him how sordid and disreputable his tweet was, and that he ought to be ashamed of himself. I’ve also sent a copy of today’s post directly to Mika because I want her to know that most of us realize this brouhaha over her “buttboy” remark is a made-up controversy on the Right, invented and brought to the boil by Trump. It’s just another distraction. Show me a single instance in Trump’s entire life where he showed any empathy at all for the problems gay people face. For that matter, homophobia is a sickness that occurs, not in the Democratic Party, not among the liberals Trump hates, not in Mika Brzezinski’s mind, but in Trump’s own Republican Party. It is rightwing evangelicals and so-called Christians who discriminate against gay people—the same gaybashers whom Trump ass-kissed at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University during his speech there last year,  which I guess makes Trump Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s buttboy.

So to Mika, I say: You go, girl! To MSNBC I warn: hands off! Leave Mika alone. She did nothing wrong or improper. If you try to punish her, you’ll be Trump’s buttboy, and you’ll make a lot of us who watch MSNBC very angry.

The people will revolt?


That’s what the traitor, Trump, said: if he’s Impeached, “the people will revolt.”

 Really? Bring it on.

I mean, what the hell are these rightwing nutbags going to do when we Impeach Trump? Look, if they want to “revolt,” they’re going to do it where they live, right? Revolutionaries don’t take the bus or fly away on jets to where they make their revolutions, they do it close to home. The Boston Tea Party patriots did it in Boston, not Hoboken. That was a long time ago, but things aren’t that different now: If you have a committed core of angry neo-fascist white guys determined to shoot things up, they’re not going to form a caravan and travel for hundreds of miles, they’re going to do it close to where they live.

Here’s a list of the most Republican counties in America. I’ll use Blount County, in Alabama, as an example. (It was named after Gov. Willie Blount, a slaveowner.) The county seat is Oneonta, population 6,638, whose residents are overwhelmingly white and working class. The nearest big city is Birmingham, about 37 miles away. When Trump is impeached, as I hope and assume he will, you will have great anger in Oneonta. The under-educated, Limbaugh-addicted white men and women will be mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. So what do they do? They grab their weapons and take their grievances to the streets.

Where do they gather? Probably in front of the Blount County Courthouse. That’s a nice placeto start a revolution! The Swamp Tails Restaurant is just across the street on 1st Avenue East, where the revolutionaries can buy good old Southern food, like crawfish eggs and grits—and Lord knows, making a revolution makes you hungry! Miss Kelley’s School of Dance is down the block, so the Dads and Moms can drop the kiddies off for “preschool combo” until the revolution is over and it’s time to head back home. Weathers Ace Hardware is easy walking distance, so if the revolutionaries need, say, masking tape they can easily find it. Also nearby is the Silhouette Beauty Salon. Hey, a revolutionary gal wants to look her best while she’s shooting at pictures of Hillary!

I’m exaggerating, of course, but here’s the point. If “the people revolt” against Impeachment, they’re going to do so in these hokey little redneck towns where Trump’s base lives. They’re not going to do it in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Oakland, Austin, Boston, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles and so on. The open-carry NRA wackos wouldn’t dare show up in those places because they’d get their behinds whipped. So who the hell are these “people” who would “revolt”?

 They’rejokes, that’s who. Let them shoot up their Red towns all they want. If they hit the road and try to bring their violence someplace else, they’ll be stopped—by local police and Sheriff’s officers, who I have to believe still believe in the Constitution and the rule of law. I’ve seen no evidence at all that Trumpism is making inroads into our law enforcement agencies. There may be individual officers who are Trumpists, but a few bad apples don’t spoil the entire crop.

So I’m not worried. The Breitbart neo-fascists can make all the revolutions they want to, in the places where they live. They can burn down the Oneonta County Courthouse, they can have torchlight parades screaming “Lock Her Up!”, they can fulminate and rant until the cows come home—literally, in these cow towns—but they’ll be doing it for nothing and nobody. Sure, a few T.V. crews will show up with their cameras for the nightly news, and the “revolutionaries” will be laughingstocks—fodder for Saturday Night Live. Eventually, the “revolutionaries” will get bored and go back to watching the Crimson Tide on the Swamp Tail’s big-screen T.V. while they get soused on Pabst Blue Ribbon. It will be the shortest revolution in world history, an asterisk to the sad, sordid tale of the Trump regime.

So,Mister President, don’t count on your base to get you out of this. You are toast, Sir. I guarantee it, and you brought it upon yourself. Have a nice day.

Guess who the new Chief of Staff might be!


It is with great pleasure that I can inform you my dog, Gus, is on the short list to Chief of Staff to President Donald J, Trump.

 “This is a singular honor,”Gus told me, when I told him I’d read about it at @realDonaldTrump. He added, “I’m looking forward to serving the president, and to finding all kinds of new places to go pee pee and poo poo in the Rose Garden.”

 Trumpsaid in his tweet that he had to choose among “many verry fine cannadates. The choise is hard. It’s all down to 1 persson and 1 dog.”

Trump is not known to be a “dog person,” but a source close to the Oval Office, who did not wish to be identified because he was not authorized to speak with the media, said Trump gets along fine with his daughter, Ivanka’s, poodle, Stormy, and would be fine with Gus. “I don’t foresee any problems, unless Gus poops on the White House floor.”

When this remark was pointed out to him, Gus grew indignant. “I’m a very well-trained dog. My Daddy taught me manners, unlike some humans I could name. Besides, if I poop on the floor, it’s because I’m sick! And you can’t blame a dog for being sick.”

The other candidate said to be under consideration for the Chief of Staff job, Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, came under criticism last night when his ties to the Ku Klux Klan were revealed. In 1994, Meadows, then an altar boy, attended a KKK rally led by the group’s then Imperial Wizard, David Duke, and he took an oath to “make America white, straight and Christian again.” Although Meadows has since called statement “ill-chosen…if I offended anyone, I’m sorry,” he has never formally repudiated the KKK. Trump is said to be “concerned” that hiring Meadows would be bad optics for a Republican Party already widely perceived as racist.

Meadows also has struggled with reports that he leads a secret life as a homosexual. Although he and his wife, Debbie, have two children, Blake and Haley, Capitol Hill insiders insist he’s frequently spotted in gay bars, cross-dressing as a curvaceous blonde with a certain similarity to Kellyanne Conway or Ann Coulter.Said one LGBTQ leader in the Washington, D.C. area, “Some of us think Mark AKA Marsha looks more like Kellyanne than Mistress Ann. But I, myself, think he looks more like Mistress Ann. Don’t you? Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter, though, does it?”

Meadows is said to be the choice of Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. Kushner’s religion, Orthodox Jewish, is strongly anti-gay, and he himself has professed a “distaste” for homosexuals. When he spoke at a graduation ceremony at Liberty University last year, Kushner said, “I’m not in favor of punishing homos at this time. We’ll wait until Moshiach returns, and then we’ll deal with them.” But Ivanka, who had many gay friends before her father became president, is said to be something of a “fag hag.” One source close to the First Family says Ivanka and Mark AKA Marsha “frequently have intimate luncheons at which they discuss fashion, celebrities and musicals.” More recently, Meadows was implicated in the infamous “pool boy” scandal involving Jerry Falwell, Jr.

As Gus’s father and Guardian, I realize that my life will be changed when and if he accepts the new job. I spent a lot of time in the White House during the Clinton administration, and also visited from time to time when Barack Obama was president, so I’m somewhat familiar with the routine. It can be grueling. Your life is turned upside down; the demands are such that you can be summoned to a meeting 24-7.  And, of course, with the likelihood that whoever Trump’s new Chief of Staff is, he or she will have to hire lawyers as Trump’s legal problems drag in the entire West Wing staff, it’s of some concern to me (if not to Gus, who’s pretty ignorant about finances) that my meager savings might be depleted if Gus gets indicted.

Still, it’s an honor for my dog to even be considered for so important a job! By the way, requests are already coming in from the media concerning Gus’s positions on various topics. In general, he’s not very interested in politics, but he does have some views. I’m glad to share them with you.

Border Security and“The Wall.”Gus, who is half chihuahua, has very strong opinions on our Mexican neighbors. “I love Mexico, and I love carne asada.” (As Gus’s Daddy, I can confirm that Gus does indeed love beef, but I don’t give him very much, as I don’t eat meat myself.) Gus also likes walls. “People don’t stop to think about it very much,” he avers, “but walls are very nice places to stop and sniff and maybe go pee pee.”

RussiaGate. Gus doesn’t watch the news at all. To him, it’s just noise coming from a box; he sleeps right through it. But I’m sure that, if Gus were to take a position on the Trump-Russian collusion scandal, he’d be against it.

Social Media. Gus doesn’t have atwitter account, or a Facebook one, or Instagram, or any other social media. Ashe puts it, “Dogs can’t really perceive images on computer screens, so don’t show me a picture of beef, give me real beef!”

Extra-Marital Sex. Full disclosure: Gus was “cut’ when he was a puppy, so he doesn’t have a sex drive. And, as a libertarian dog, he doesn’t really care if Trump smuggles porn stars into the White House for his sexual relief. “As long as they’re nice to me and give me doggie treats, who am I to judge?”

We’re on pins and needles here in the Heimoff household waiting for the final word on whether Gus gets the job. We’re told that the president himself will phone us if the answer is Yes. So exciting! I’d love to meet him, and Ivanka, and Donald Jr. (my favorite Trump, after the president himself), and, of course, Melania and Barron. We’ll keep you posted; I know you’re as anxious as we are to find out what happens!

The streets of France may soon be the streets of America


The French like nothing more than a good riot. Some of us remember May, 1968, when general strikes, university sit-ins and widespread civic mayhem almost brought that country to the edge. Now, they’re at it again.

 Whatare the French upset about this time? Just about everything, which makes it hard to Macron to figure out what to do. Some want France to leave the European Union; others want it to leave NATO; others want taxes lowered, or plastic bottles banned. Some, no doubt, are just pissed off at life.

Well, that’s France’s problem, right? Not ours. But there’s a lesson to be learned from France’s travails, and we might be learning it pretty soon.

 Thefirst part of the lesson is that if people are stirred up enough, they’re capable of rising up out of their everyday lethargy and behaving in boisterous ways. It’s been a long time since America had an uprising. We have to go back to that same year of the French riots, 1968, for our version. Then, it was Vietnam that, in a very general way, stirred people to something akin to rebellion. (I say “very general way” because Vietnam often provided the umbrella beneath which many other disgruntlements gathered.) In the intervening fifty years, we’ve seen nothing similar. Yes, we’ve had massive outpourings (The Women’s March, for example), but mostly they’ve been peaceful. Still, just below its surface, America bubbles with all kinds of ill-defined seething and resentment. All it might take is a spark of some kind to ignite things to conflagration.

There are many possible scenarios. Might the rioting stem from the Left or the Right? Might it be some kind of weird amalgam of the two? Might it be a clash between the two? My own hunch is that it will arise under the following circumstance:

Trump, cornered, confused, angry, with massive evidence of criminality piling up all around him, decides he’s had enough. Until now, his lawbreaking has been fairly subtle: yes, he’s broken all kinds of laws, but they’re hard to prove, and hard to understand: campaign finance violations are not as readily appreciable by the public as, say, murder. But by and large, Trump has covered his tracks fairly adroitly (adroitly enough, that is, to require a multi-million dollar investigation by dozens of the best lawyers in the country). His crimes have not screamed to high heaven. People who are inclined to give him a pass have found it easy enough to convince themselves he’s being framed.

But with the end-game impending, Trump throws caution to the winds and goes full-tilt boogie. He fires people—a lot of people. He gives orders to his law enforcement agencies to investigate his enemies (journalists, Democrats, Hollywood) and arrest them (orders which his Justice Department may or may not obey). He is capable of some very rash decisions: he might shut down the Congress by surrounding the Capitol with troops and not letting anyone in. He might order martial law throughout the land, suspending civil liberties. He might declare entire sections of the U.S. Code to be null and void. He might shut down the borders, or create a wag-the-dog situation by waging a foreign war or inciting a domestic terrorist act. He might issue an order shutting down the ACLU, or the DNC, and he might detain elected Democratic officials and hold them in “protective custody.” (For a full-scale list of the possibilities, one has only to look at what dictators, like Hitler or the Kims of North Korea, have done to protect their power.)

The difference between Hitler’s Germany and the Kims’ North Korea, on the one hand, and America, on the other, are vast and profound. We have in America a proud, glorious history of civil freedom that is not to be taken lightly by those who would muck with it. We have an aroused public, already disgusted with Trump, able to instantly communicate with each other through cell phones and social media; such a group can make fast decisions, such as where to assemble. We have, still, a good chunk of media that has not succumbed to Trumpism, and is able to blow the whistle on his lawbreaking. And we have, importantly, a military and local police departments in which the love of freedom and the hatred of dictatorship overwhelm any tendencies to obey orders at any cost. (At least, I hope we do…)

Therefore, when and if Trump decides in favor of his Gotterdammerung-esque final drama, tens of millions of Americans are prepared to rise up and tell him, “NO.” And the streets of America will look like the streets of France. Of course, Trump will still have his morally bankrupt defenders, but I don’t believe there are more than a fraction of them compared to the masses that will demand the end of Trump and Trumpism.

I don’t want to see violence, destruction and civil unrest. But that may be what it takes to finally stanch this wound and bring about healing. Remember, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

I Got Those Impeachment Blues


NINETEEN YEARS AGO Bill Clinton was impeached for saying “I did not have sex with that woman” when everybody knew he did. Now we have Trump insisting “I did not collude with the Russians” when everyone knows he did.

 Clinton, famously, was impeached. And Trump?

 For three years—one year of primaries and two years of administration—there has been a single overarching question: What will it take for Republicans to turn against Trump? The conventional wisdom is that they never will. We can debate the reasons why (and in fact we have to, because those reasons will determine, in part, the fate of our country), but the sad fact is that his base shows every sign of sticking with him.

Clinton’s base, too, stuck with him. I remember the period well. The overwhelming impression from everyone was, “Who gives a damn about his sex life?”, a reaction which led to Kenneth Starr’s reputational diminishment as a prudish voyeur. This pro-Clinton sentiment (his approval rating actually hit its all-time high, 73%, during the Impeachment hearings) protected him in the Senate, which refused to convict him.

Trump has no such protection. His approvals consistently land somewhere in the 40s, highest in Rasmussen, lowest in YouGov, but generally between 42% and 45%. This is not a number designed to inspire Republican Senators with confidence in their leader, but the statistics, of course, mask individual races, and the voter suppression machine Republicans have created certainly offers many GOP Senators a guaranty despite the popular opinion against Trump. So we can’t look to Trump’s low polling to assure us that, when and if the House impeaches, the Senate will convict.

How much more can Senate Republicans learn about their president’s malfeasance before they start peeling away? The answer appears to be, Plenty. They haven’t peeled yet, not even after Friday’s and Saturday’s revelations about Manafort, Flynn and Cohen. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, that poker-face, brazen liar, insists there’s no there there. Trump’s breathtaking lie on Twitter (“Totally clears the President! Thank you!”) continues his maniacal resistance to, and denial of, The Resistance. The coverup goes on at Fox “News”and Breitbart. So there’s very little motive for Republican Senators to turn against Trump at this point.

I do expect the House to Impeach.Impeachment has become an irresistible force within the Democratic Party. More than 60% of Democratic voters “want Congress to begin impeachment proceedings next year [i.e. 2019], and that brings a lot of pressure to bear on the new House. And we’re only at the beginning of the cornucopia of shockingevidence emerging against Trump and his family. As each new bit of informationtrickles out, sentiment for Impeachment inches upward. Slowly, inevitably,pro-Impeachment force will sweep Congressional Democrats as strongly as theBlue Wave brought them into the House majority. Jerry Nadler can fiddle-faddle all he wants, but he’s going to have to “go there”or face a major backlash from his voters in 2020.

Will Impeachment tear the country apart? Not any more than Trump already has. Republicans will howl the moment Nadler announces hearings, but Republicans howl anyway. The far-right media will go ballistic, but they do every day, so there’s nothing new there. The base, or the whiter, poorer, more rural, less educated Christian extremes of it, will snarl and threaten, but then, they do that all the time; a little more will only add to the cacophony on the Right. Aside from these predictable responses, there’s nothing Republicans can do. They’re not about to start shooting, are they?

Clinton’s Impeachment hearings lasted for two months and six days, from Oct. 5, 1998, when the House Judiciary Committee voted to launch the proceedings, until Dec. 11, when the committee approved its first three articles. Let’s say that the new House begins Impeachment hearings against Trump (in the Judiciary Committee) in March, with an end date sometime in June. That gives the House plenty of time to settle down and its new members to orient themselves. It also gives Mueller a few months to prepare and release his Report (assuming there is a report, instead of simply a mass of indictments and sentencing statements). A lot can happen between now and whenever this is over, but whatever happens, two things are clear: there will be no exculpatory facts in Trump’s favor, and plenty of damning evidence against him.

We don’t know what Trump will do when Impeachment hearings begin. He might completely freak out and pull some stunt so outrageous (like surrounding “his” White House with troops and daring anyone to come and get him) that even some Republicans, especially in Congress, and especially those up for re-election in 2020, would begin to abandon ship. Or he might go quietly, something he’s never done before and, at 72-1/2, angrier than ever, is unlikely to do now. Meanwhile, Nadler’s Judiciary Committee will subpoena all sorts of interesting people and wrest from them all kinds of juicy details that will further undermine Trump’s patently insulting (to our intelligence) claims of innocence. If you’re a Democrat, this Winter and Spring are going to bring a bumper crop of good news—welcome relief after years of bad news—and, let us hope, the End of this sad, corrupt, evil regime.

Mueller: If worse comes to worst


There could be a huge, unpleasant surprise at the end of this.

Remember, Trump surprised us all on Election Day of 2016 when, with Putin’s help, and Republican voter suppression efforts, he actually won. Is he capable of surprising us again, by being let off scot-free by the Special Counsel?

Like the rest of you, I’m a pretty good consumer of the news, and I try to figure out what’s really going on with the investigation from the [admittedly scant] pieces of evidence we get from Mueller from time to time.

My latest thinking (aside from the “feeling” that Trump personally has committed numerous felonies) is that no smoking gun has yet emerged. If Mueller has one, we certainly haven’t heard about it. Those individuals who have already been indicted, or have pleaded guilty, committed acts that were relatively minor, or were peripheral to the Trump campaign. Yes, we don’t know what we don’t know, including whether or not Donald Jr. and/or Jared will be indicted. We also have no definite outcome on the Flynn or Manafort cases. But right now–and it pains me to say it–there is some suggestion that Trump is correct when he says he did nothing provably illegal, even if his actions were questionable from an ethical point of view.

So it’s entirely conceivable that when Mueller issues his report (if we, the public, are allowed to see it), his conclusion will be that Trump skirted the boundary of illegality, but never actually crossed it. If that happens, we have to be ready for an extraordinarily violent reaction from the White House.

VINDICATED! will be Trump’s triumphant battle cry. The tweets will be all caps: I TOLD YOU ALL ALONG IT WAS A WITCH HUNT! I TOLD YOU ALL ALONG THERE WAS NO COLLUSION OR OBSTRUCTION! NOW I’M PROVEN RIGHT! As soon as the exculpatory report comes out, we can expect a Tweet Storm of unprecedented magnitude from the tweeter-in-chief, leading to what might be called the Witch Hunt of the Witch Hunters.

And his allies will be right behind him. Breitbart will scream for blood—Mueller’s, Hollywood’s, Democrats’, Hillary’s, anybody whom they deem a traitor. Limbaugh will demand that Democratic heads roll. The Republican Senate, already deeply compromised, will go to war with the Democratic House.

And what of that House? Democratic morale will collapse. The Adam Schiffs, Eric Swalwells, et al., who have been T.V. stalwarts in the anti-Trump Resistance, will find themselves embarrassed, reduced to sputtering protest. With a get-out-of-jail-free card, a victorious and vindictive Trump will be at the height of his powers—bloodied and battered, for sure, but ready to lick his wounds and march back into the arena, intent on extracting vengeance. And his legions of poor, white, rural followers will be emboldened as never before.

This is admittedly a worst-case scenario. But it’s a plausible one. There is of course an opposite one: that the Mueller report is highly condemnatory of Trump. That is what Democrats hope and pray for. And then, as is usual with clashingly different potential outcomes, there is the possibility of some wishy-washy middle ground: Mueller ultimately cannot determine if Trump committed specific crimes, because potential witnesses take the Fifth Amendment, or they live abroad and cannot be subpoenaed, or the documentation has been lost or destroyed or never existed. This would be the most unsatisfactory development of all: neither side would like it, because it would leave the whole issue hanging fire. Democrats would insist on digging deeper (which they would have the ability to do in the House). Senate Republicans would refuse to cooperate with any further investigations, and accuse Democrats of only trying to hurt Trump based on the hatred of “the mob” or a dozen angry Democrats. The end result: more stalemate. And before you know it, we’re into the 2020 election cycle.

The mood of Democrats is key. Despite reports of “pro-Impeachment” versus “anti-Impeachment” sentiment in the newly elected House, Democrats around the country remain enormously angry at Republicans, and especially at Trump. The Blue Wave which captured the House (and it was a Blue Wave, no matter how much Republicans deny it) was fine recompense for nearly two years of slander against Democrats (three years, if you count the campaign and the run-up to it).

But the piper has not yet been paid. Democrats, deeply wounded by and resentful of the non-stop horrors they’ve witnessed from the Republican Party and its president—horrors that continues to this very moment–demand more. They—we—want nothing less than tit-for-tat, karmic payback: Trump’s job and reputation, for starters. We want the prosecution of Donald Jr. and Jared. We want his remaining supporters in the Congress driven from office. We want the Republican Party entirely purged of extremist, evangelical-white supremacist elements. We want to see the McConnells pilloried before the Bar of History. We want to see Republican voters confused, frustrated, lost. We want Breitbart, the NRA, the anti-choice and homophobic wing of the Christian party broken and crushed. That sounds pretty rough, I realize; but what Trump and Trumpism have put America through has been simply terrible. Democrats will not settle for crumbs, not this time.

The George H.W. Bush Memorial: Nobody Wanted Trump There

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The Bush family made sure Trump kept his mouth shut at yesterday’s memorial service for George H.W., at Washington’s National Cathedral. Has there been any service for a deceased president in our nation’s entire history, when a sitting president was not allowed to deliver public remarks? I can find none.

And then there was John McCain’s memorial service, which the McCain family didn’t even invite Trump to. And those two men—George H.W. Bush and John McCain—were Republicans!

How will history account for this phenomenon of—let’s call it what it is–complete, utter disrespect? We here today understand that the two families loathe Trump, and consider him a disgrace, not only to the presidency but to American politics. Not inviting him to a memorial service, and not letting him speak at one, are forms of the middle finger given to a thoroughly disreputable bastard. There’s no sugar-coating it.

The Bush and McCain families, of course, have nothing to fear from the infamously vindictive, retaliatory Trump. None of them currently holds public office. Trump can hurt none of them. Isn’t it telling how powerful Republicans who aren’t afraid of losing their jobs (Floyd Flake, for example) stand up to him, while those who have jobs to protect lack the courage and decency to do so? As examples of the latter group, I cite every Republican Senator and representative, every Republican governor, every Republican state legislator, every smalltime Republican elected official across this great land, from D.A. to dog catcher. You can divide Republican politicians into two groups: a small one that speaks the truth, and a big one that lies and covers itself in shame.

It must hurt Trump, this public, undeniable rebuke. He’s a rationalizer, a guy who refuses to recognize reality if it’s in the least derogatory to him, who can convince himself that up is down and day is night, if it helps him look in the mirror without wincing. But in some deep-down place in his mind, he must know how hated he is, how much he has failed in this, the most enormous test of his life. When does this realization strike hardest? In the middle of the night, in his big bed, sans Melania, as he tries to fall asleep and can’t, but tosses and turns, for all the nightmarish thoughts swarming in his head. That would be my guess: the middle of the night, when the ego’s censor is relaxed, and the phantoms of the id slither forth, whispering, in unfiltered honesty, J’accuse. This is when Trump most clearly has to confront his own loathsomeness. This is when, irritable and exhausted, he raises his fleshy bulk from the bed, wanders over to his laptop, and tweets.

By the next morning, of course, he’s back to his old self. Another day, another round of lies, insults, smears, dog whistles to the neo-nazis. Another round of wrecking American institutions, of slandering decent individuals, of spitting on our Constitution.

I spoke in the opening paragraph of the Bush family inviting Trump to the service but not letting him speak. But there’s more to the story. Trump insisted, in advance of attending, that no one say anything negative about him in the public remarks part of the ceremony.

Can you imagine Trump presenting such an insulting ultimatum to a family in mourning? Like a mean little boy, he scolds the Bushes, in essence, “I won’t come unless you promise nobody will say anything mean about me.” The Bush family reluctantly agrees. Suddenly, in the midst of their grief, and amidst the pressures of schedules and organizing this epic service, they now have to reach out to the Obamas, to the Clintons, to the younger Bush family members who read from the Bible, to Brian Mulroney, to Jon Meacham, to Alan Simpson, to all the other speakers and dignitaries, and have that conversation. “Please don’t even mention his name. Don’t refer to him. Just pretend he’s not there.”

And they obeyed. But, fortunately for the sake of truth, their references to George H.W. Bush’s humility and spiritual grandeur spoke more loudly about Trump’s vileness than any words could have.

It’s come to this: the President of the United States, at a memorial service for a former President of the United States, is the 800 pound gorilla in the room, whose name none dare speak. Good job, Donald J. Trump, outlier, outcast, outré among presidents, ordure of American history.



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