The Open Thread for March 4, 2018

President Trump announced his intention to try to be President for Life, and once again demonstrated his obsession with Hillary Clinton in closed-door remarks to a gathering of high dollar Republican donors at a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday, according to a recording of his remarks obtained by CNN.

Trump praised China’s President Xi Jinping for recently consolidating power and extending his potential tenure, musing he wouldn’t mind making such a maneuver himself. “He’s now president for life. President for life. And he’s great,” Trump said. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot some day.”

Trump pondered the happiness of his former rival, wondering aloud whether she was enjoying life after the campaign. “Is Hillary a happy person? Do you think she’s happy?” he said. “When she goes home at night, does she say, ‘What a great life?’ I don’t think so. You never know. I hope she’s happy.”

You know what, Donny, I think she is happy. She especially enjoys seeing you having so much trouble and every single one of her statements and predictions about you being proven true.  You are the one who is not happy.  Your obsession with Hillary proves it.  If you were happy, why would you care about Hillary?

“Inside the White House, aides over the past week have described an air of anxiety and volatility — with an uncontrollable commander in chief at its center,” the Washington Post reports.

“These are the darkest days in at least half a year, they say, and they worry just how much farther President Trump and his administration may plunge into unrest and malaise before they start to recover. As one official put it: ‘We haven’t bottomed out.’”

“Trump is now a president in transition, at times angry and increasingly isolated. He fumes in private that just about every time he looks up at a television screen, the cable news headlines are trumpeting yet another scandal. He voices frustration that son-in-law Jared Kushner has few on-air defenders. He revives old grudges. And he confides to friends that he is uncertain about whom to trust.”

“Trump’s friends are increasingly concerned about his well-being, worried that the president’s obsession with cable commentary and perceived slights is taking a toll on the 71-year-old. “Pure madness,” lamented one exasperated ally.”

President Donald Trump further escalated his trade war rhetoric on Saturday by threatening to put a tax on cars manufactured in European Union countries.

“If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S,” Trump tweeted. “They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!”

The declaration was likely in response to reports that E.U leaders are considering slapping duties on about $3.5 billion worth of American imports in retaliation to Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the E.U will put tariffs on “Harley-Davidson, on bourbon and on blue jeans – Levis,” according to Reuters.  “We would like a reasonable relationship to the United States, but we cannot simply put our head in the sand,” said Juncker.

You see, Donny, this is what happens when you put tariffs on other countries’ products.  They retaliate by putting tariffs on ours.  That is called a trade war.  They are not easy to win.  They make products more expensive for everyone, and economies collapse as prices rise.   Donny, you seem to think that as President of the United States, you can take whatever action you want in the world and the world cannot react because we are America.   You live under the insane white trash delusion that America Acts and the World Bends the Knee.   It has never been that way, and it will never be that way.   Sorry, that this is the real world, and it is long past time you and your insane white trash supporters grew up.

“Donald Trump is wrapping up the most chaotic week of his presidency by rolling out a major new donor push — one of his most serious steps yet to prepare for a 2020 reelection campaign,” Politico reports.

“Trump will appear before big GOP givers at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Saturday for the launch of a fundraising initiative that mimics the famed George W. Bush ‘Pioneer’ program, according to three senior Republicans familiar with the plans. As with Bush, the president will reward donors who’ve bundled thousands of dollars in contributions, giving them an entree to exclusive dinners, political briefings, and future retreats.”

“With one day of early voting to go, turnout in the Democratic primary had nearly doubled since the last midterm election in 2014,” the Dallas Morning News reports.  In contrast, early voting for the Republican primary is up just 18%. “Political experts attribute much of Texas’ increased voter turnout as a reaction to the election of President Trump in 2016, as well as the state’s eight open congressional seats.”

Politico: “Chaos here, backlash there, shock everywhere. And in Washington and around the globe another gasping chorus of WTF commentary: reckless, not normal, reality show run amok. And so on, et cetera, et cetera, for the one-hundredth-and-can’t-remember time of the Trump Era.”

“But there is something different about this week’s spasm of sudden policy lurches, graceless personal insults, oozing scandal news, and ceaseless West Wing knife fights. It is the starkest example to date of President Donald Trump’s executive style looking untenable not merely from the outside — from the perspective of establishment politicians and media analysts — but from the inside, too.”

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt dismissed evolution as an unproven theory, lamented that “minority religions” were pushing Christianity out of “the public square” and advocated amending the Constitution to ban abortion, prohibit same-sex marriage and protect the Pledge of Allegiance and the Ten Commandments, according to a newly unearthed series of Oklahoma talk radio shows from 2005, Politico reports.

Pruitt also described the Second Amendment as divinely granted and condemned federal judges as a “judicial monarchy” that is “the most grievous threat that we have today.” And he did not object when the program’s host described Islam as “not so much a religion as it is a terrorist organization in many instances.”

Former U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) “is pleading for money to pay for his legal bills as he fights a lawsuit against a woman who says he molested her when she was 14,” the AP reports.  Moore said that his “resources have been depleted” and had raised just $32,000 of a $250,000 fundraising goal.  Leigh Corfman has accused Moore of touching her when she was 14 and he was in his 30s. She is suing Moore, saying Moore and his campaign defamed her as he denied the allegations.

The New York Times say the special election in PA-18 may turn on Trump voter’s regrets:  “I thought we needed a big change, and boy, did we get it,” she said ruefully outside an I.G.A. market recently. President Trump “put his foot in his mouth one too many times,” she said.  Most of the country will have to wait until November to have another say in a federal election, but Ms. Stroud and her neighbors in southwest Pennsylvania will get their chance much sooner, in a special election March 13 to fill a vacant congressional seat. And how they feel about Mr. Trump now may make a big difference in the race…

Ms. McCoy voted for Mr. Trump — “I figured it would be a change” — but she plans to vote for Mr. Lamb, because she is worried that Republicans in Washington will cut Social Security to pay for the recent tax cut. “I’m going back to my Democrats,” she said…

Judy Dulaney, 65, a retired employee of the state Department of Welfare, voted for him too, but she said she now regrets it.  “I did not like either Clinton or Trump, but I figured the lesser of two evils was Trump,” she said. “Now I’m second-guessing myself. Because he’s nuts.”

New York Times: “For all of the attention to the process chaos in the White House, recent days have made clear that there is also a policy chaos at work. While Mr. Trump has governed from the hard right for most of his presidency, he has at times confused some of his aides with seemingly ad hoc, gut-driven proposals that conflict with Republican orthodoxy. Where other politicians strain for at least the appearance of consistency, Mr. Trump shows no reluctance to think out loud and change his mind.”

“The week of wild policymaking has left lawmakers on Capitol Hill, investors on Wall Street and leaders around the world trying to make sense of it all. Republicans in Congress are wondering if Mr. Trump really intends to defy one of the party’s most valued and powerful constituencies to push for gun restrictions that they say will never go anywhere in Congress. Corporate executives and foreign governments were guessing whether Mr. Trump will really follow through on his unscripted vow to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum and, if so, what that might mean.”

George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman and an adviser to the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates is now a focus of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, the New York Times reports.

“In recent weeks, Mr. Mueller’s investigators have questioned Mr. Nader and have pressed witnesses for information about any possible attempts by the Emiratis to buy political influence by directing money to support Mr. Trump during the presidential campaign. The investigators have also asked about Mr. Nader’s role in White House policymaking, those people said, suggesting that the special counsel investigation has broadened beyond Russian election meddling to include Emirati influence on the Trump administration.”

“Mr. Trump has closely allied himself with the Emiratis… Mr. Trump’s endorsement of an Emirati- and Saudi-led blockade against that country has put him openly at odds with his secretary of state — as well as with years of American policy.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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