Opinion: Nero fiddled. Trump plays golf


First, Trump vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act that funds our military. This action was slammed by numerous members of Congress, including Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who said this funding is “absolutely vital to our national security and our troops.”
Trump’s given reasons for the veto — that “the Act fails to include critical national security measures” and includes provisions “that fail to respect our veterans and our military’s history” — had more to do with two of his pet issues than with helping our troops. First is ensuring that military bases named after leaders of the Confederacy are not renamed. Trump probably cares less about the Confederate traitors and protecting the women and men in the armed forces today than about playing to fans of the Confederacy in his political base.
Second, Trump conditioned funding our military on Congress repealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects companies like Facebook and Twitter from liability for what is posted on their platforms. At the time of the veto, Trump claimed that Section 230 is a “very dangerous national security risk.” But the reality is that Trump has called for that law to be repealed in the past, including in early October when Facebook and Twitter removed his lies minimizing the threat posed by Covid-19. Trump clearly seems to believe that social media companies played a role in his defeat.
Then there’s Trump’s threatened refusal to sign the bipartisan $900 billion Covid-19 relief bill that his own administration played a lead role in negotiating over the past two months. After the measure finally passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support, Trump took a break from tweeting lies about “election fraud” to insist for the first time that Americans receive a direct stimulus check of $2,000 — up from the $600 in the proposed plan — in exchange for removing “pork” from the bill. If Trump sincerely cared about helping Americans in need — like the nearly 30% of families with children who have reported food insecurity in the time of Covid — he would’ve been a part of these talks from early on.
Trump’s threatened refusal to sign comes across as more callous given that he’s currently in the confines of his ritzy private country club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he has been spotted playing golf, despite promising to “work tirelessly.” Nero fiddled; Trump played golf.
The result of Trump’s refusal to sign this relief bill is an estimated 12 million Americans losing unemployment benefits as of Sunday. It has so far also put the kibosh on funding to help small businesses and $20 billion in funds for the purchase of vaccines so it can be available at no charge for Americans in need.
Trump’s last-minute surprise could cause one more horrible consequence: A partial government shutdown starting Monday at midnight if it doesn’t get the vital funding included in the relief bill to keep it open.
Trump's wrecking ball of a transition
When you look at what Trump has inflicted upon America, it brings to mind the warning that his niece, psychologist Mary Trump, delivered on my SiriusXM radio show on December 15. Mary Trump stated that she believes her uncle he “hates this country now because he was rejected.” She warned that as a nation, “we need to be prepared for anything,” adding that her uncle was not only going to continue to attack Republicans who wouldn’t join in his efforts to overturn the election, but he would also “go after the rest of us.”
Mary Trump’s warning was prescient. As she predicted, the President has not just lashed out at Republicans — as he did again Saturday on Twitter when he slammed GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans for refusing to join his conspiracy to overturn the election — but he has come after “the rest of us.” And the rest of us includes everyone from those in our military to the millions in need of economic relief from the economic pain caused by the coronavirus closures to those who rely on the federal government being fully open for business.
Trump has even come after the US Supreme Court, slamming it on Saturday as being “totally incompetent and weak” on the “massive Election Fraud” that he claims cost him the race. (Twitter tagged the election fraud claim as disputed — in fact it is false.)

When you look at Trump’s latest actions it’s hard not to believe he’s trying to tear down the country on the way out the door. Is this because the notoriously thin-skinned Trump is simply lashing out? Or is it, as his niece stated, it’s because he now “hates” this country because we rejected him? Everything we know about Trump tells us it’s likely a bit of both. For the good of our nation, President-elect Joe Biden’s January 20 inauguration can’t get here soon enough.

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