Trump Thinks If He Brings Cookies In On His Last Days Of Work, Maybe They’ll Let Him Stay
If that’s not what all this craziness with suddenly refusing to sign a COVID-19 relief bill, then suddenly caving is kind of all about, then what is?
All we can see is an effort to rev up hatred for the government — regardless of whether Republican or Democrat — while holding out some hope of bringing some love to Trump. And if that’s the note on which he goes out, it’ll say a lot about Congress’ loss of power, and a gain if not by Trump, immediately, himself, by the idea Trump’s tried to plant in the heads of many Americans all along: that a dictatorship wouldn’t be all that bad; at least it’d mean “much more money is coming”. And with that, Democracy becomes something to fight, not cherish, because it means somebody other than you might win.
We’re seeing this spotlighted in multiple tantrum-related moves by Trump just now:
- COVID-19 relief. After it passed in the House and Senate, Trump refused to sign it, saying one-time relief payments should be $2000, not $600. But then, on the eve of people losing thousands in additional unemployment benefits, he did sign it. We’re all for pushing for the larger dollar amount, just that it could’ve been done a long time ago, but Trump was not caring about it then. Now, Trump’s trying to look like he alone cares about American families, while Congress doesn’t. Fact is the $600 amount was proposed by the Trump administration itself. Was the President not paying attention? His own Treasury Secretary called the bill Trump initially refused to sign “fabulous”. Trump called it “a disgrace”, but then signed it a few days later anyway. Also, Democrats way back in October passed a COVID-19 package with a much bigger one-time payment, and the Republican-controlled Senate just ignored it for months. So did Trump. At one point when legislators finally sat down to hammer it out, a larger dollar amount was discussed, but that would’ve been instead of continuing federal unemployment benefits through March, which for many people are far more valuable. Let’s not forget then, that in holding up the bill to get one-time payments up from $600 to $2000, Trump was preventing people from getting $300 a week in additional unemployment insurance. So by the end of January, for most people, that would’ve been worth not $600, but $1800. Now all that still might be delayed. All because of Trump at first refusing to sign something his own people negotiated. So who’s doing the best job of getting their point across on this? Not sure yet.
- Trump vetoing to sign bill to fund military. He’s citing two reasons. First, because the bill includes changing the name of military bases commemorating Confederate generals. Second, he wants the bill to repeal something called Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Because he says that hampers free speech on the internet. His speech, in particular. And gives massive internet companies too much protection and control. Thing is, while Section 230 protects internet companies from liability in the event they take down or flag content they consider to be “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable”, even if “such material is constitutionally protected,” it also protects those companies from liability that might arise from distributing false or objectionable content they do not create. As is also stated as part of Section 230: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” So it cuts both ways. Meaning, if Trump gets what he wants, internet companies will not be as protected against lawsuits over content they choose to flag or block. Which Trump likes, because he likes to sue a lot for everything. However, because all of a sudden Facebook, Twitter, et al, will be suddenly become more liable for all content they deliver, it’ll also make it a lot more likely they will try to limit their liability by choosing to publish a lot less stuff than they do now. Which very likely would include giving Trump and his cronies less free access to post fact-free content to their platforms, not more. So either Trump doesn’t realize that or he’s just not worrying about the facts of the situation. It sounds good to him if he appears to be fighting for “freedom of speech” and particularly the rights of right-wing voices online. Does he win this? Not if his veto of the defense bill is overridden. And based on the margin by which it passed, there is every likelihood this will happen. But Trump’s been working on some buddies in the Senate to change their minds on this. So we’ll see…
- Russia, Russia, Russia Look, this one Trump already won. He won it when he was impeached but not removed. Even though that didn’t really have to do with Russia at all; it was Ukraine. But he mixed it in with the Mueller report. Which did have to do with Russia. And now he’s mixing it in with a gigantic hack of federal departments and agencies, of which Trump’s own Secretary of State says “pretty clearly it was the Russians”, but Trump says “It may be China (it may!)”, and blames the media for not chasing his preferred alternate-universe angle. And he’s consistently gotten this message across the way he wanted it: that all Democrats were dead set on delegitimizing his presidency by alleging links to Russia and some strange submissiveness by the President to Russian President Putin. “Russia, Russia, Russia”, as he Tweeted this weekend, is just shorthand now in all cases for Democrats abusing him. Meanwhile, more than a year ago we questioned why Trump was elevating “Space Force” to a separate branch of the military, but was not doing the same with U.S. Cyber Command, which until then had been on equal footing. And we argued that hackers, not astronauts (or “Guardians” as they’re now called) were more important. At least for the foreseeable future. But now, as then, we think the answer’s pretty obvious…