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Opinion: Another week of Trump’s inane tweets, dishonesty and unfitness

President Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Nov. 1.
(Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

Good morning. I’m Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. Exactly one year ago today, almost every poll had Hillary Clinton with a small lead heading into election day (with one very notable exception). With that in mind, let’s take a look back at the week in Opinion.

Donald Trump is not fit to be president; this much was clear both long and immediately before his election victory (read prescient warnings here, here and here, and one from yours truly here), and it grows frighteningly more clear now that Trump and the Republicans have a monopoly on governance until at least 2019.

The weight of the president’s responsibilities, the need to respond to crises and national tragedies calmly and reassuringly, the existential threat that the special counsel indictments pose to his presidency — none of this appears to have turned Trump away from his impulsive ways. Just this past week, Trump called the American justice system a “joke,” demanded that the suspected New York attacker receive the death penalty (due process be damned, apparently) and complained of the difficulty in launching criminal investigations against his political opponents.

As we’ve come to expect, Trump committed some of these offenses against democracy via Twitter. Editorial writer Scott Martelle explains that each tweet adds to the pile of evidence of his incompetence:

And he keeps proving his unsuitability, most recently in a series of tweets late Wednesday in which he called for the speedy trial and execution of Sayfullo Saipov, accused in the New York City truck terror attack, and publicly mused about whether Saipov should be sent to Guantanamo Bay for military trial or remain in New York to face charges in the civilian courts. These aren’t the actions of a president; they are the inane chatter from the loudmouth at the end of the bar. Or the leader of a mob. ...

At a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the president addressed the terror attack and said that “we need quick justice and we need strong justice – much quicker and much stronger than we have right now. Because what we have right now is a joke and it’s a laughingstock.” A short time later, a reporter asked his spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “Why did the president call the U.S. justice system a joke and a laughingstock during his comments in the Cabinet?” Her answer: “That’s not what he said.” Both statements were included in official White House transcripts. There is no truth with this White House.

So how does the nation deal with such unreliability from the president and his staff? Keep the spotlight on. Keep exposing the lies (Politifact has been keeping a running log, though it’s usually a few days behind) and the inconsistencies, and hope that truth will win out.

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The GOP tax plan gets poor reviews. In an op-ed article, Scott Lemieux is especially harsh: “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reveals that President Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are, in different ways, utter frauds.” The Times Editorial Board warns that the tax plan, by relying on budget gimmicks and having been written as if its sponsors forgot that Washington relies on the revenue generated to pay for crucial government services, “is likely to raise the federal deficit more than its supporters acknowledge, with predictable and unwelcome results.”

The Dodgers lost the World Series but won the moral contest. An Astros’ player’s racist taunt of Los Angeles pitcher Yu Darvish in Game 3 prompted the flimsiest of punishments from Major League Baseball and a round of approving columns by sports pundits. Writes journalist Fern Shen in an op-ed article: “I’m not big on baseball, but I became a Dodgers fan this week, and I think a lot of Asians and Asian-Americans joined me. ... Many Asian people are upset about the slick and spineless handling of the incident by the commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred.” New York Times

Yes, radical Islamic terrorism is different. It isn’t just the violence that ought to trouble us, writes Dan McLaughlin, but also the political ideology of radical groups like Islamic State, which appears to have inspired the accused killer behind this week’s attack in New York: “It compels its believers to make war not only against Israel, the West and India, but especially against Muslims who reject their political vision. That vision includes killing people who convert from Islam, brutally murdering homosexuals, the forcible subjugation of women and reclamation of any land that has ever been in Muslim hands.” L.A. Times

Scary as the New York attack was, it shouldn’t have prompted Trump’s blustery reaction. His statements that the accused attacker should get the death penalty and that the U.S. justice system is a “joke” are worrisome given the president’s authoritarian tendencies, writes The Times Editorial Board. “Lessening freedoms and legal protections will not make us safer,” says the board. “It will make us prisoners of our fears.” L.A. Times

Can work and romance or sexuality ever mix? The stream of allegations against men of offenses that do not come close to what Harvey Weinstein is accused of doing suggest no, writes Cathy Young. She believes we may be taking “Weinsteining” too far: “As we grapple with these issues, we desperately need nuance. Let’s distinguish between abuse, minor bad behavior and innocent miscommunication. And let’s not demonize men or patronize women.” L.A. Times


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