The Trump Presidency - how I stopped worrying and learned to love the Hair

jack_christie

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Pence paints deceptive picture as Covid situation worsens

Vice President Mike Pence told Americans that things were going well. At a Friday press briefing by the White House's coronavirus task force, the first in nearly two months, task force leader Pence painted a rosy picture of a country steadily getting safer and back to normal. It was a picture at odds with reality.
 

Blind_Io

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He was briefed on it in March. How did he respond? Sanctions? Telling the world?

In April he petitioned for Russia to rejoin the G7.
 

Blind_Io

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Let me make sure I have this right.

• Trump knew since Mar 2020 that Russia paid bounties to kill American troops, yet he has done nothing.

• In May 2020, the White House decides to end National Guard deployments one day before they could claim benefits - later recorded after public outcry

• The Trump admin seized 5 million masks intended for VA hospitals. Kushner distributes these masks to private entities for a fee, who then sells the masks to the government

• Trump fired the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt after he warned superiors that COVID19 was spreading among his crew. The virus subsequently spread amongst the crew.

• After Iran's retaliatory strike, 109 US troops suffered brain injuries. Trump dismissed these as "headaches"

• On July 20, 2017, in room 2E924 of the Pentagon, Trump told a room full of Generals, "You’re a bunch of dopes and babies"

• Pardoned multiple war criminals, which stomped on long standing military values, discipline, and command. Trump has no military experience (May&Nov, 2019)

• Trump mocked Lt. Col. Vindman for his rank and uniform. He threatened said purple heart officer, resulting in the Army providing him protection

• Trump’s Chief of Staff worked—in secret—to deny comprehensive health coverage to Vietnam Vets who suffered from Agent Orange.

• There is a facility in Tijuana for US veterans that Trump deported. Wounded war vet, Sen Duckworth (D) marked Veterans Day 2019 by visiting this facility

• Russia took control of the main U.S. military facility in Syria abandoned on Trump’s orders. Russia now owns the airstrip we built

• On Oct 7, 2019, Trump abruptly withdrew support from America's allies in Syria after a phone call with Turkey's president (Erdogan). Turkey subsequently bombed US Special Forces.

• Trump sent thousands of American troops to defend the oil assets of the country that perpetrated 9/11

• In Sept 2019, he made an Air Force cargo crew, flying from the U.S. to Kuwait stop in Scotland (where there's no U.S. base) to refuel at a commercial airport (where it costs more), so they could stay overnight at a Trump property (which isn't close to the airport). Trump’s golf courses are losing money, so he's forcing the military to pay for 5-star nights there.

• In Sept, 2019, Pentagon pulled funds for military schools, military housing funds, and daycare to pay for Trump's border wall.

• In Aug, 2019, emails revealed that three of Trump's Mar-a-Lago pals, who are now running Veterans Affairs, are rampant with meddling. "They had no experience in veterans affairs (none of them even served in the military) nor underwent any kind of approval process to serve as de facto managers. Yet, with Trump’s approval, they directed actions and criticized operations without any oversight. They wasted valuable staff time in hundreds of pages of communications and meetings, emails show. Emails reveal disdainful attitudes within the department to the trio’s meddling."

• Veterans graves will be "dug up" for the border wall, after Trump instructed aides to seize private property. Trump told officials he would pardon them if they break the law by illegally seizing property

• Children of deployed US troops are no longer guaranteed citizenship. This includes US troops posted abroad for years at a time (August 28, 2019)

• On Aug 2, 2019, Trump requisitioned military retirement funds towards border wall

• On July 31, 2019, Trump ordered the Navy rescind medals to prosecutors who were prosecuted war criminals

• Trump denied a U.S. Marine of 6 years entry into the United States for his citizenship interview (Reported July 17, 2019)

• Trump made the U.S. Navy Blue Angels violate ethics rules by having them fly at his July 4th political campaign event (July 4, 2019)

• Trump demanded US military chiefs stand next to him at 4th of July parade (reported July 2, 2019)

• In June, 2019, Trump sent troops to the border to paint the fence for a better "aesthetic appearance"

• Trump used his D-Day interview at a cemetery commemorating fallen US soldiers to attack a Vietnam veteran (June 6, 2019)

• Trump started his D-Day commemoration speech by attacking a private citizen (Bette Midler, of all people) (reported on June 4th, 2019)

• Trump made his 2nd wife, Marla Maples, sign a prenup that would have cut off all child support if Tiffany joined the military (reported June 4th, 2019)

• On May 27, 2019, Trump turned away US military from his Memorial Day speech because they were from the destroyer USS John S. McCain

• Trump ordered the USS John McCain out of sight during his visit to Japan (May 15, 2019). The ship's name was subsequently covered. (May 27, 2019)

• Trump purged 200,000 vets' healthcare applications (due to known administrative errors within VA’s enrollment system) (reported on May 13, 2019)

• Trump deported a spouse of fallen Army soldier killed in Afghanistan, leaving their daughter parentless (April 16, 2019)

• On March 20, 2019, Trump complained that a deceased war hero didn't thank him for his funeral

• Between 12/22/2018, and 1/25/2019, Trump refused to sign his party's funding bill, which shut down the government, forcing the Coast Guard to go without pay, which made service members rely on food pantries. However, his appointees got a $10,000 pay raise

• He banned service members from serving based on gender identity (1/22/2019)

• He denied female troops access to birth control to limit sexual activity (on-going. Published Jan 18, 2019)

• He tried to deport a marine vet who is a U.S.-born citizen (Jan 16, 2019)

• When a man was caught swindling veterans pensions for high-interest “cash advances," Trump's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined him $1 (Jan 26, 2019)

• He called a retired general a 'dog' with a 'big, dumb mouth' (Jan 1, 2019)

• He increased privatization of the VA, leading to longer waits and higher taxpayer cost (2018)

• He finally visited troops 2 years after taking office, but only after 154 vacation days at his properties (Dec 26, 2018)

• He revealed a covert Seal Team 5 deployment, including names and faces, on Twitter during his visit to Iraq (Dec 26, 2018)

• Trump lied to deployed troops that he gave them a 10% raise (12/26/2018). He tried giving the military a raise that was lower than the standard living adjustment. Congress told him that idea wasn't going to work. Then after giving them the raise that Congress made him, he lied about it pretending that it was larger than Obama's. It wasn't.

• He fired service members living with HIV just before the 2018 holidays

• He tried to slash disability and unemployment benefits for Veterans to $0, and eliminate the unemployability extrascheduler rating (Dec 17, 2018)

• He called troops on Thanksgiving and told them he's most thankful for himself (Thanksgiving, 2018)

• He urged Florida to not count deployed military votes (Nov 12, 2018)

• He canceled an Arlington Cemetery visit on Veterans Day due to light rain (Nov 12, 2018)

• While in Europe commemorating the end of WWI, he didn't attend the ceremony at a US cemetery due to the rain -- other world leaders went anyway (Nov 10, 2018)

• He used troops as a political prop by sending them on a phantom mission to the border and made them miss Thanksgiving with their families (Oct-Dec, 2018)

• He stopped using troops as a political prop immediately after the election. However, the troops remained in muddy camps on the border (Nov 7, 2018)

• Trump changed the GI Bill through his Forever GI Act, causing the VA to miss veteran benefits, including housing allowances. This caused many vets to run out of food and rent. (reported October 7, 2018)

• Trump doubled the rejection rate for veterans requesting family deportation protections (July 5, 2018)

• Trump deported active-duty spouses (11,800 military families face this problem as of April 2018)

• He forgot a fallen soldier's name (below) during a call to his pregnant widow, then attacked her the next day (Oct 23-24, 2017)

• He sent commandos into an ambush due to a lack of intel, and sends contractors to pick them up, resulting in a commando being left behind, tortured, and executed. (Trump approved the mission because Bannon told him Obama didn't have the guts to do it) (Oct 4, 2017)

• He blocked a veteran group on Twitter (June 2017)

• He ordered the discharge of active-duty immigrant troops with good records (2017-present)

• He deported veterans (2017-present)

• He said he knows more about ISIS than American generals (Oct 2016)

• On Oct 3, 2016, Trump said vets get PTSD because they aren't strong (note: yes, he said it's 'because they aren't strong.' He didn't say it's 'because they're weak.' This distinction is important because of Snopes)

• Trump accepted a Purple Heart from a fan at one of his rallies and said: “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.” (Aug 2, 2016)

• Trump attacks Gold Star families: Myeshia Johnson (gold star widow), Khan family (gold star parents) etc. (2016-present)

• Trump sent funds raised from a Jan 2016 veterans benefit to the Donald J Trump Foundation instead of veterans charities (the foundation has since been ordered shut because of fraud) (Jan, 2016)

• Trump said he has "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military" because he went to a military-style academy (2015 biography)

• Trump said he doesn't consider POWs heroes because they were caught. He said he prefers people who were not caught (July 18, 2015)

• Trump said having unprotected sex was his own personal Vietnam (1998)

• For a decade, Trump sought to kick veterans off of Fifth Avenue because he found them unsightly nuisances outside of Trump Tower. 1991

• Trump dodged the draft 5 times by having a doctor diagnose him with bone spurs.

• No Trump in America has ever served in the military; this spans 5 generations, and every branch of the family tree. In fact, the reason his grandfather immigrated to America was to avoid military service

I'm sure the yellow magnetic ribbon next to the MAGA bumper sticker makes it all better. How does his base reconcile his actions with their "support the troops" mentality?
 

Blind_Io

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@Blind_Io, your post broke my insanometer.
Don't worry, it's all worth it because the market is up! /s

On today's episode of "Trump isn't a racist", Trump retweets a video featuring two of his supporters on a golf cart with "Trump 2020" and "America First" signs saying "White Power!" to protesters. Trump retweeted the video with thanks for their support.

3 hours later Trump's nanny woke up and deleted to tweet, unfortunately, nothing on the Internet is ever deleted; you can view all of Trump's deleted tweets here: https://factba.se/topic/deleted-tweets

Here is the video he retweeted:
It's not exactly subtle. Way to prove you're not a racisnt when called a racist. 🙄
 
Last edited:

CraigB

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Thanks to @Redliner for sending me to this crazy conspiracy site, complete with terrible Trump ad.
 

jack_christie

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Let me make sure I have this right.

• Trump knew since Mar 2020 that Russia paid bounties to kill American troops, yet he has done nothing.
January !!!!!!!


United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter. They believed at least one U.S. troop death was the result of the bounties, two of the officials said.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/28/us/politics/russian-bounties-warnings-trump.html
 

GRtak

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https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/29/politics/trump-phone-calls-national-security-concerns/index.html

From pandering to Putin to abusing allies and ignoring his own advisers, Trump's phone calls alarm US officials


(CNN)In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America's principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials -- including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff -- that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations.

The calls caused former top Trump deputies -- including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials -- to conclude that the President was often "delusional," as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders. The sources said there was little evidence that the President became more skillful or competent in his telephone conversations with most heads of state over time. Rather, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest.


These officials' concerns about the calls, and particularly Trump's deference to Putin, take on new resonance with reports the President may have learned in March that Russia had offered the Taliban bounties to kill US troops in Afghanistan -- and yet took no action. CNN's sources said there were calls between Putin and Trump about Trump's desire to end the American military presence in Afghanistan but they mentioned no discussion of the supposed Taliban bounties.

By far the greatest number of Trump's telephone discussions with an individual head of state were with Erdogan, who sometimes phoned the White House at least twice a week and was put through directly to the President on standing orders from Trump, according to the sources. Meanwhile, the President regularly bullied and demeaned the leaders of America's principal allies, especially two women: telling Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom she was weak and lacked courage; and telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she was "stupid."


Trump incessantly boasted to his fellow heads of state, including Saudi Arabia's autocratic royal heir Mohammed bin Salman and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, about his own wealth, genius, "great" accomplishments as President, and the "idiocy" of his Oval Office predecessors, according to the sources.

In his conversations with both Putin and Erdogan, Trump took special delight in trashing former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and suggested that dealing directly with him -- Trump -- would be far more fruitful than during previous administrations. "They didn't know BS," he said of Bush and Obama -- one of several derisive tropes the sources said he favored when discussing his predecessors with the Turkish and Russian leaders.


The full, detailed picture drawn by CNN's sources of Trump's phone calls with foreign leaders is consistent with the basic tenor and some substantive elements of a limited number of calls described by former national security adviser John Bolton in his book, "The Room Where It Happened." But the calls described to CNN cover a far longer period than Bolton's tenure, are much more comprehensive — and seemingly more damning -- in their sweep.

Like Bolton, CNN's sources said that the President seemed to continually conflate his own personal interests -- especially for purposes of re-election and revenge against perceived critics and political enemies -- with the national interest.
To protect the anonymity of those describing the calls for this report, CNN will not reveal their job titles nor quote them at length directly. More than a dozen officials either listened to the President's phone calls in real time or were provided detailed summaries and rough-text recording printouts of the calls soon after their completion, CNN's sources said. The sources were interviewed by CNN repeatedly over a four-month period extending into June.

The sources did cite some instances in which they said Trump acted responsibly and in the national interest during telephone discussions with some foreign leaders. CNN reached out to Kelly, McMaster and Tillerson for comment and received no response as of Monday afternoon. Mattis did not comment.


The White House did not respond to a request for comment before this story published. After publication, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews said, "President Trump is a world class negotiator who has consistently furthered America's interests on the world stage. From negotiating the phase one China deal and the USMCA to NATO allies contributing more and defeating ISIS, President Trump has shown his ability to advance America's strategic interests."
One person familiar with almost all the conversations with the leaders of Russia, Turkey, Canada, Australia and western Europe described the calls cumulatively as 'abominations' so grievous to US national security interests that if members of Congress heard from witnesses to the actual conversations or read the texts and contemporaneous notes, even many senior Republican members would no longer be able to retain confidence in the President.
Attacking key ally leaders -- especially women
The insidious effect of the conversations comes from Trump's tone, his raging outbursts at allies while fawning over authoritarian strongmen, his ignorance of history and lack of preparation as much as it does from the troubling substance, according to the sources. While in office, then- Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats expressed worry to subordinates that Trump's telephone discussions were undermining the coherent conduct of foreign relations and American objectives around the globe, one of CNN's sources said. And in recent weeks, former chief of staff Kelly has mentioned the damaging impact of the President's calls on US national security to several individuals in private.
Two sources compared many of the President's conversations with foreign leaders to Trump's recent press "briefings" on the coronavirus pandemic: free form, fact-deficient stream-of-consciousness ramblings, full of fantasy and off-the-wall pronouncements based on his intuitions, guesswork, the opinions of Fox News TV hosts and social media misinformation.
In addition to Merkel and May, the sources said, Trump regularly bullied and disparaged other leaders of the western alliance during his phone conversations -- including French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison -- in the same hostile and aggressive way he discussed the coronavirus with some of America's governors.


Next to Erdogan, no foreign leader initiated more calls with Trump than Macron, the sources said, with the French President often trying to convince Trump to change course on environmental and security policy matters -- including climate change and US withdrawal from the Iranian multilateral nuclear accord.
Macron usually got "nowhere" on substantive matters, while Trump became irritated at the French President's stream of requests and subjected him to self-serving harangues and lectures that were described by one source as personalized verbal "whippings," especially about France and other countries not meeting NATO spending targets, their liberal immigration policies or their trade imbalances with the US.
But his most vicious attacks, said the sources, were aimed at women heads of state. In conversations with both May and Merkel, the President demeaned and denigrated them in diatribes described as "near-sadistic" by one of the sources and confirmed by others. "Some of the things he said to Angela Merkel are just unbelievable: he called her 'stupid,' and accused her of being in the pocket of the Russians ... He's toughest [in the phone calls] with those he looks at as weaklings and weakest with the ones he ought to be tough with."
The calls "are so unusual," confirmed a German official, that special measures were taken in Berlin to ensure that their contents remained secret. The official described Trump's behavior with Merkel in the calls as "very aggressive" and said that the circle of German officials involved in monitoring Merkel's calls with Trump has shrunk: "It's just a small circle of people who are involved and the reason, the main reason, is that they are indeed problematic."


Trump's conversations with May, the UK Prime Minister from 2016 to 2019, were described as "humiliating and bullying," with Trump attacking her as "a fool" and spineless in her approach to Brexit, NATO and immigration matters.
"He'd get agitated about something with Theresa May, then he'd get nasty with her on the phone call," One source said. "It's the same interaction in every setting -- coronavirus or Brexit -- with just no filter applied."
Merkel remained calm and outwardly unruffled in the face of Trump's attacks —"like water off a duck's back," in the words of one source -- and she regularly countered his bluster with recitations of fact. The German official quoted above said that during Merkel's visit to the White House two years ago, Trump displayed "very questionable behavior" that "was quite aggressive ... [T]he Chancellor indeed stayed calm, and that's what she does on the phone."
Prime Minister May, in contrast, became "flustered and nervous" in her conversations with the President. "He clearly intimidated her and meant to," said one of CNN's sources. In response to a request for comment about Trump's behavior in calls with May, the UK's Downing Street referred CNN to its website. The site lists brief descriptions of the content of some calls and avoids any mention of tone or tension. The French embassy in Washington declined to comment, while the Russian and Turkish embassies did not respond to requests for comment.


Concerns over calls with Putin and Erdogan
The calls with Putin and Erdogan were particularly egregious in terms of Trump almost never being prepared substantively and thus leaving him susceptible to being taken advantage of in various ways, according to the sources -- in part because those conversations (as with most heads of state), were almost certainly recorded by the security services and other agencies of their countries.
In his phone exchanges with Putin, the sources reported, the President talked mostly about himself, frequently in over-the-top, self-aggrandizing terms: touting his "unprecedented" success in building the US economy; asserting in derisive language how much smarter and "stronger" he is than "the imbeciles" and "weaklings" who came before him in the presidency (especially Obama); reveling in his experience running the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow, and obsequiously courting Putin's admiration and approval. Putin "just outplays" him, said a high-level administration official -- comparing the Russian leader to a chess grandmaster and Trump to an occasional player of checkers. While Putin "destabilizes the West," said this source, the President of the United States "sits there and thinks he can build himself up enough as a businessman and tough guy that Putin will respect him." (At times, the Putin-Trump conversations sounded like "two guys in a steam bath," a source added.)


In numerous calls with Putin that were described to CNN, Trump left top national security aides and his chiefs of staff flabbergasted, less because of specific concessions he made than because of his manner -- inordinately solicitous of Putin's admiration and seemingly seeking his approval -- while usually ignoring substantive policy expertise and important matters on the standing bilateral agenda, including human rights; and an arms control agreement, which never got dealt with in a way that advanced shared Russian and American goals that both Putin and Trump professed to favor, CNN's sources said.
Throughout his presidency, Trump has touted the theme of "America First" as his north star in foreign policy, advancing the view that America's allies and adversaries have taken economic advantage of US goodwill in trade. And that America's closest allies need to increase their share of collective defense spending. He frequently justifies his seeming deference to Putin by arguing that Russia is a major world player and that it is in the United States' interest to have a constructive and friendly relationship -- requiring a reset with Moscow through his personal dialogue with Putin.


In separate interviews, two high-level administration officials familiar with most of the Trump-Putin calls said the President naively elevated Russia -- a second-rate totalitarian state with less than 4% of the world's GDP -- and its authoritarian leader almost to parity with the United States and its President by undermining the tougher, more realistic view of Russia expressed by the US Congress, American intelligence agencies and the long-standing post-war policy consensus of the US and its European allies. "He [Trump] gives away the advantage that was hard won in the Cold War," said one of the officials -- in part by "giving Putin and Russia a legitimacy they never had," the official said. "He's given Russia a lifeline -- because there is no doubt that they're a declining power ... He's playing with something he doesn't understand and he's giving them power that they would use [aggressively]."
Both officials cited Trump's decision to pull US troops out of Syria -- a move that benefited Turkey as well as Russia -- as perhaps the most grievous example. "He gave away the store," one of them said.
The frequency of the calls with Erdogan -- in which the Turkish president continually pressed Trump for policy concessions and other favors -- was especially worrisome to McMaster, Bolton and Kelly, the more so because of the ease with which Erdogan bypassed normal National Security Council protocols and procedures to reach the President, said two of the sources.


Erdogan became so adept at knowing when to reach the President directly that some White House aides became convinced that Turkey's security services in Washington were using Trump's schedule and whereabouts to provide Erdogan with information about when the President would be available for a call.
On some occasions Erdogan reached him on the golf course and Trump would delay play while the two spoke at length.
Two sources described the President as woefully uninformed about the history of the Syrian conflict and the Middle East generally, and said he was often caught off guard, and lacked sufficient knowledge to engage on equal terms in nuanced policy discussion with Erdogan. "Erdogan took him to the cleaners," said one of the sources.
The sources said that deleterious US policy decisions on Syria -- including the President's directive to pull US forces out of the country, which then allowed Turkey to attack Kurds who had helped the US fight ISIS and weakened NATO's role in the conflict -- were directly linked to Erdogan's ability to get his way with Trump on the phone calls.


Trump occasionally became angry at Erdogan -- sometimes because of demands that Turkey be granted preferential trade status, and because the Turkish leader would not release an imprisoned American evangelical pastor, Andrew Brunson, accused of 'aiding terrorism' in the 2016 coup that attempted to overthrow Erdogan. Brunson was eventually released in October 2018.
Despite the lack of advance notice for many of Erdogan's calls, full sets of contemporaneous notes from designated notetakers at the White House exist, as well as rough voice-generated computer texts of the conversations, the sources said.
According to one high-level source, there are also existing summaries and conversation-readouts of the President's discussions with Erdogan that might reinforce Bolton's allegations against Trump in the so-called "Halkbank case," involving a major Turkish bank with suspected ties to Erdogan and his family. That source said the matter was raised in more than one telephone conversation between Erdogan and Trump.
Bolton wrote in his book that in December 2018, at Erdogan's urging, Trump offered to interfere in an investigation by then-US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman into the Turkish bank, which was accused of violating US sanctions on Iran.
"Trump then told Erdogan he would take care of things, explaining that the Southern District prosecutors were not his people, but were Obama people, a problem that would be fixed when they were replaced by his people," Bolton wrote. Berman's office eventually brought an indictment against the bank in October 2019 for fraud, money laundering and other offenses related to participation in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade the US sanctions on Iran. On June 20, Trump fired Berman -- whose office is also investigating Rudy Giuliani, the President's personal lawyer -- after the prosecutor refused to resign at Attorney General William Barr's direction.
Unlike Bolton, CNN's sources did not assert or suggest specifically that Trump's calls with Erdogan might have been grounds for impeachment because of possible evidence of unlawful conduct by the President. Rather, they characterized Trump's calls with heads of state in the aggregate as evidence of Trump's general "unfitness" for the presidency on grounds of temperament and incompetence, an assertion Bolton made as well in an interview to promote his book with ABC News last week: "I don't think he's fit for office. I don't think he has the competence to carry out the job," Bolton said.
More at the link, site won't let me add the rest.
 

CraigB

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Oh the irony....
 

Blind_Io

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There have been some cases of people fired for not wearing the business-issued Trump 2020 facemask at work.
 

Blind_Io

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It's mid-summer, temperatures are in the 90s where I live.

Still waiting for that virus to "disappear, like a miracle" with the heat.
 
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