Trump's administration mixes malice, incompetence, ignorance, and conspiracy-theory into a totally toxic sludge. Oh, you think The Omnivore is overblowing it or just being biased? Well, behold. The Omnivore is going to stick to things you cannot in good faith disagree with! Yes, you read that right--YOU, Trump-voter, will be forced to agree with all of this.
Trump's (really Stephen Miller's) plan for dealing with illegal immigration was to change the standing policies to prosecute (refer to the DoJ) 100% of caught border crossers--even if they said they were seeking asylum.
This was done, explicitly as a deterrent. Now--why would this deter? The reason is that border crossers with young children understand that the children will be traumatized by this (even if they are kept in relatively nice places). In other words: the plan is to traumatize children to deter parents.
- What About Evil People With Fake Kids? We have stats for that. It's 1/2 of 1%. That's not the reason for doing this (although it was floated as one--ex-post-facto). Nope.
- You Break The Law--You Lose Your Kids! Simple. Firstly, no. Improper Entry--the crime for border crossing--is a misdemeanor. Can the government take your grandkids if your daughter is caught speeding? Yeah--you'd be happy with that. Secondly the kids--the ones, you know, being traumatized--are innocent. To even attempt this excuse is abhorrent.
- We Had To Do Something. We did not. Illegal crossings are down well below their historic highs. Also: parents crossing with kids are not the problem in terms of crime.
- OBAMA DID IT TOO! Look, you idiot, Obama tried to minimize separations. Don't believe The Omnivore? Obama had a pilot program for light monitoring of families with kids that cost a whopping 36.00 per day. It was shut down by Trump. Comparing policies to minimize trauma to innocents to policies designed to maximize it? If you thought that for a second, you should turn the fuck off your TV. Seriously. You don't know how to get news.
Analysis: Despite the fact that you were lied to a bunch, it should now be clear that the plan that Miller (who ditched his Latino friends in high school, telling them he could not be friends with a Latino) has enacted is, in fact, malice. A plan to maximize harm to children--no matter your political objective--is evil. You know--and you know from childhood--that the ends do not justify the means.
If parts of the Trump admin are malicious, a great deal more of it is simply incompetent. Want a prime example? North Korea.
This is a photo of Trump saluting Kim--who has his hand out to shake. What happened was that Kim saluted Trump and then Trump returned the salute as Kim stuck his hand out. It was, in fact, a human mistake to make. HOWEVER - there is a reason that presidents are usually prepped all to hell and back before meeting foreign leaders: they are to know the protocol and not give monstrous dictators huge propaganda wins.
What does this matter? This sort of thing--Kim looking dominant over Trump--improves Kim's standing with his generals. His generals are the people who would theoretically remove him if they were going to change the regime. That means Trump, fucking around, has strengthened Kim's hand in negotiations since he is stronger internally.
The summit was a disaster for other reasons. Kim got a bunch of of stuff he wanted (meetings with a world power as an equal--something generations of Kims have sought, cessation of SoK/US readiness exercises, and pleasure from China--their chief supporter). The US got nothing. Trump claimed the problem was solved--maybe you believed him? It wasn't--and now you can see that.
There is a way to avoid this nonsense: do things the right way. Your lower-level people hammer out a framework for a deal and THEN the presidents meet. Meeting Kim wasn't the problem. Meeting Kim incompetently is.
Analysis: There were a LOT of options here, honestly. The roll-out of the Muslim ban was incompetent. The DHS response to the courts ordering children reunited with their parents shows there was no planning or anything going into this policy shift. All this stuff--everything they do--is half-assed.
Is the Trump administration ignorant? It is difficult to say what they really think vs. what is "spin." For example, Trump tweeted that immigrants are coming now to get in on the DACA bandwagon (DACA only applies to immigrants who came here before 2007). The Tariffs plan seems to be ignorant as well: Trump has very little idea what trade-deficits we have with countries admitting he made up deficits with Canada and then he lied about being proven right.
When faced with his campaign promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better, he asked "Who knew health care was so complicated?" The answer, unfortunately, was everyone but him. If you think Obamacare was bad, you should place your blame squarely on Trump for failure to repeal it. He claimed he could do this easily and completely fumbled the ball--out of ignorance.
Trump seems only vaguely familiar with how the legal system works--complaining about the filibuster when a majority of Republicans cannot agree on a bill. He apparently asked if we could invade Venezuela. You might not believe these things--or believe that Trump is just pretending not to know things in order to help push his agenda--but consider this: what move has Trump actually made that shows a command of knowledge?
Analysis: It is difficult to determine if Trump policies are actually ignorant--or if that is just what he believes his base to be so he feels he can get away with things. However, we have him on the record as saying things that are, clearly, legitimate expressions of ignorance of key issues his admin has promised to tackle.
If there is one mindset that does the most damage to our country--and has all but destroyed the Republican's moral center--it is the adoption of conspiracy theory as a mindset. Trump, facing an investigation that is largely of his own making (due to incompetence in firing Comey) has settled on delegitimizing a stalwart Republican patriot in the eyes of his base. He claims that Mueller--a hero--is running a witch hunt, trying to get him by any means necessary.
He claims he was wire-tapped in his tower. He claims that an FBI "spy" was placed in his campaign. His attacks on the FBI and the DoJ have had a noticeable effect in weakening our institutions. People believe that the mainstream media literally invents stories. This is false. Trump has tried to claim sources did not exist when they were captured on audio. Trump claims millions and millions of illegals voted in the 2016 election when we know they did not.
And so on.
The damage here is that more and more Trump voters are living in a false reality--one where the FBI is massively corrupt, where Russia is our ally, where Canada is an enemy. They believe that the media is full of liars and voting numbers are counting millions of fraudulent votes. This is a disgrace to our country and dangerous for our democracy--and Trump embraces and spreads it.
We have covered this ground before--but we can see that these trends still continue and increase. Trump is damaging the fiber of America and our moral center and his enablers in government and the electorate cheer him on as we watch.