2019… The year that started with a government shutdown, the longest in American history as Trump stubbornly held the paychecks of thousands of federal employees hostage, demanding money for his border wall as ransom. But he conceded, it was all for nothing, something he was told was going to happen from the beginning. But he did it anyway. 2019… The year that ended with Trump’s impeachment. In between..? Oh, you know… Just one mismanaged situation after another. Here are some of the top dumpster fires of 2019 from The Dumpster Fire podcast:
If you'd like to listen to this list instead/also click here. We may add some here.
Vindman: A Dumpster Fire Story
The Ukraine inquiry leading to Trump becoming the third president in US history to be impeached will go down as one of the greatest political stories ever. A surreal, Inception-like ordeal, that keeps getting deeper and deeper… But one story stuck out the most, in the context of this administration being a dumpster fire… And that is the Story of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman:
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is the National Security Counsel’s Ukraine expert, the person the White House, the President, would go to for all things Ukraine. Except, Trump tweeted out that he didn’t know him, and at first we thought this just a Trumpism, but it wasn’t; we found out through the testimony’s of Vindman and other that Trump really didn’t know who he was… Why? Because he thought someone else was the Ukraine expert; a man named Kash Patel, a former flunky of Devin Nunes who works at a different department at the NSC, had presented himself to Trump as the Ukraine expert, passing still unknown materials about Ukraine to Trump. And not only did Vindman’s boss, and even the National Security Adviser, John Bolton, know about it, they told Vindman he couldn’t brief the President on Ukraine because they didn’t want to confuse him. That being able to happen at the literal top of our government is the ultimate example of this dumpster fire…
The Greenland Energy Suck
Yes, Trump wanting to purchase Greenland was a dumpster fire, with him cancelling a trip to Denmark because he felt they hurt his feelings, choosing to not discuss serious things with a country because their leader said an absurd thing was just that… But it’s a different story involving Greenland that makes this list...
Ambassador William Taylor, recruited by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to replace the ousted Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch – who was the target of a smear campaign by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and corrupt Ukrainians – testified that all top level national security advisers (Bolton, Pompeo, the CIA directory, etc.) were in agreement that the security aide Trump was withholding from Ukraine had to be released immediately, for OUR national security, and they wanted to stage an intervention, get Trump in front of them all so they explain how reckless his unexplained actions were... But they couldn’t. Taylor testified that they couldn’t all get together with the President because “this was also about the time of the Greenland question, about purchasing Greenland, which took up a lot of energy."
Chairman Adam Schiff commented, correctly, that that was disturbing on a whole other level.
The Race to Walter Reed
Trump was rushed to Walter Reed Medical Center, driving instead of taking the helicopter (so as not to alert the press?); staff at the medical center said they didn't get the usual heads up that they always do when a president is coming for an expected visit. And the excuse the White House gave was that it was part of his annual check-up, which is scheduled for February. They said he just went for some tests; tests that they can do at the White House… And then he disappeared into the White House residence for two or so days. During the first appearance after, Trump described all the coverage as nonsense. He said that when he got back from Walter Reed, Melania asked if he was okay because the news said he had a heart attack. Actually, her not asking a Secret Service agent, or trying to call his cell to see if he was okay may be the only believable part of the story.
Trump the Meteorologist
In September, Trump tweeted that Alabama may get hit hard by Hurricane Dorian. A short time after, probably in response to calls from worried Alabamians, the National Weather Service tweeted that Alabama has nothing to worry about, which was an accurate and widely agreed upon assessment. But Trump can’t be wrong, so a couple days later, he held up an old forecast map, for seemingly no reason except as an unnecessary recap of what they thought the forecast was going to be five days prior. The reason became clear when it was pointed out on the old map was a black marker line, that looked a lot like the pen Trump uses to sign bills, extending out from the projected hurricane path and circling over a small corner of Alabama. He was rightly ridiculed, which seemingly prompted Trump’s Chief of Staff to contact Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, asking him to pressure the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to disavow the at this point five-day old tweet from the National Weather Service. And they did! This action sparked an investigation by the House Science Committee because the organization we expect to provide us with facts based on science so we can keep our loved ones safe was compromised… The all happened because Trump tweeted something incorrect, and didn’t just admit he was mistaken and say he would be more careful in the future when disseminating emergency information.
The “Secret” Mexico Deal
In June, Trump said his administration was working on a secret deal with Mexico over how to handle the migrants and asylum seekers crossing through Mexico to get to the United States. Mexico denied the existence of a secret deal... Because it was supposed to be secret. They were most likely working behind the scenes within their own government to make the deal happen. On one sunny day in front of the White House, while again bragging about the secret deal Mexico is denying is in play, Trump pulled a single piece of paper from his inside coat pocket and held it up, presenting it as proof of the secret deal…
There was immediate speculation it was just some random piece of paper, because Trump’s a compulsive liar and why would he just have one page of the deal in his pocket. But here’s the thing: it was a single page of the secret deal that Mexico is denying is in play, and we know that because Trump held it up in the sunlight and we could read it… Incredible.
The Realty TV Ambush
In August, a young man named Harry Dunn was killed in a car accident by the wife of an American diplomat, who was working at a secure communications facility in England. The wife, Anne Sacoolas, was driving on the wrong side of the road when she hit Harry, who was on a motorcycle. Shortly after the accident, she fled back to the United States without telling British authorities and claimed diplomatic immunity - supported by the administration. On a visit to the United States to rally support to pressure Sacoolas to return to the UK to participate in the investigation, Harry’s parents were surprised with in invite to visit the White House. Once there, they were surprised again when they were brought to the Oval Office to meet with Trump. He expressed his condolences, and they said he was very nice… Until he announced to them that Sacoolas, the woman who killed their son, was waiting in the next room, and he’d like to bring her in, like some sort of reality TV style reveal. Harry’s parents said there were cameras in the Oval Office. They declined because… It's bonkers! And after they declined, they said Trump told them Treasury Secretary Mnuchin was standing by ready to write a check. Yeah, gross, but also, he was going to pay them off with taxpayer money!?
When asked about it, Trump said the parents were nice, distraught, but then seemed to excuse the accident because it's hard for Americans to remember to drive on the "opposite" side...
Story Update: Anne Sacoolas has been officially charged with causing death by dangerous driving; her lawyer says she won’t go back to face the charges voluntarily, but the UK may seek to extradite her.
During one of Trump's Oval Office meeting presser type things with foreign leaders, in this case Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, Khan brought up the region of Kashmir, to which Trump added that during the G-20 summit India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Trump to be a mediator in the 70-year-long conflict. But here’s the thing, if a Prime Minister of India asks anyone to be a mediator in the Kashmir conflict they will no longer be the Prime Minister of India, because in India, it is a serious, national stance that there will be no third party intervention pertaining to Kashmir. So that means Trump was lying, or he divulged a politically ultra-sensitive secret, once again… Or, the third option, Prime Minister Modi was being sarcastic, like “Oh, yeah, sure, I bet you could solve the issue with Kashmir.” And as we know, Trump doesn’t get sarcasm.
The Cosmic Flip-Off
On a call with the two NASA astronauts conducting the historic first all-female space walk outside the International Space Station, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, Trump incorrectly said it was the first time a woman had been outside of the space station. One of the astronauts corrected Trump and he immediately made a motion with his middle finger that looks like when a person is not-so-subtly flipping someone off...
The USS John McCain
Before heading to Japan in May, where Trump was to speak aboard a Japanese warship, where when he did he greeted the Japanese military with “happy Memorial Day,” because it was Memorial Day, you know, the American holiday where Americans honor the memories of American soldiers killed in battle, battles like those we had with countries like Japan... And you’d think that’s the dumpster fire, but it’s not, well, it is a dumpster fire, clearly, but there was another one that makes the list. A quick aside, if you become president, don’t say “happy Memorial Day’, obviously.
Before Trump headed to Japan, someone on his staff *cough* Mulvaney *cough* like the hurricane *cough* sent a request to the Navy that they need to move the USS John McCain, an American warship out of sight, on Memorial Day, from where Trump would be giving his speech on a Japanese warship, on Memorial Day, so Trump wouldn’t have to see the name of the late John McCain, the Senator and war hero, on Memorial Day. The ship was named after Senator McCain's father and grandfather. Trump said he didn’t know anything about it, but called the staffer well meaning… Aw, because it’s the thought that counts… But this might be worse than if he instructed it himself, because it means his staff thinks that’s how fragile his ego is, or they just didn’t want to hear him bitch about John McCain for the entire flight back. Or both. Probably both.
Trump Invited the Taliban to Camp David
Sliding Into Kim Jong Un's DMz
At the tail end of the G-20 Summit in Japan in late June, Trump, heading next to South Korea, thought he’d try to hook up with his BFF (Brutal Fascist Friend) Kim Jong Un. Now, Trump has supposedly been working toward the denuclearization of North Korea. That’s great; good goal. And there are ways to go about it without treating the leader of a murderous regime like he’s your long-lost best friend, or your younger, drug-addicted brother who you’re so proud they finally started going to meetings, or the hottest person at the bar that you can’t believe chose to talk to you… Yeah, that’s just a dumpster fire. Like when they met in Vietnam, the smile on Trump’s face and the way he acted around Kim Jong Un…
Wow, embarrassing. And how he excused Kim for the death of Otto Warmbier… devastating.
At the G-20, Trump tweeted:
"After some very important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea (with President Moon). While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”
Trump said he had just thought of it that morning, but it seemed to be more planned out; prior to the G-20, Trump told The Hill they were going to try to meet Kim at the Demilitarized Zone, but then the White House told The Hill they couldn’t print that because of national security reasons. With Trump’s tweet, it appears they wanted to orchestrate it as appearing to be on a whim - another example of how they treat running a country like a reality TV show…
Where do we stand now with North Korea? Trump and Kim Jong Un are on a break… The talks went nowhere, North Korea launched some missiles, Trump called Kim rocket man again and Kim Jong Un road a white horse up a special mountain, which is apparently the international relations version an ex-girlfriend dying her hair blonde, or whatever dramatic outward appearance change your Ex did… You just know it’s over.
His Letter to Turkey’s Erdogan
Just read it:
Also, one of the most egregious things Trump did this year, maybe in his whole presidency (though that's tough to say with him separating migrant kids from their parents) was abandoning the Kurds. Earlier this year, Trump went around with a piece of paper with two maps on it, showing the diminished ISIS control in Syria, claiming victory and responsibility. He took the credit. What he didn’t say was that almost 11 thousand Kurds died fighting the Islamic State, making it possible for Trump to hold up that piece of paper. We were allies. Then Trump had a phone call with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of Turkey, after which Trump ordered the immediate withdrawal of US forces from Norther Syria, forces who weren’t prepared for that speedy of a withdrawal. Trump claimed we were done in the Middle East, that it wasn’t our fight. It was seen as a green light for Turkey to invade the area. And that’s definitely how Turkey saw it as well, because they invaded, attacking the Kurds, causing civilians to flee what they assumed was certain genocide. Kurdish soldiers had to abandon the prisons holding ISIS fighters, allowing hundreds to escape. If there was one thing the majority of Republicans and Democrats have agreed on this year, it’s that this was one of the greatest national security blunders imaginable. Trump tried to pretend he didn’t green light the Turkish invasion, pointing at that letter to Erdogan, but the letter is dated a day or two after the invasion began, after people were being murdered. Trump sent Pence to broker a ceasefire, which they claimed they did, though it can at was seemed to be the end of Turkey's initial assault anyway, and according to the leader of teh Kurdish forces there was never a ceasefire.
Erdogan has since had a Oval Office meeting with Trump.
The Mueller Report
The details in the Mueller Report display one dumpster fire after the other. And while it may not prove Trump colluded with Russia, even though it does describe how Trump Jr. tried to - concluding he was too dumb to know better (hold on to that for when he tries to run for office). The stories from those who worked around Trump prove how incompetent he is as president.
And it did result in uncovering a massive plot by the Russians to interfere in our elections, something Mueller warned they are still actively doing.
The thing Trump did in response to the Mueller Report that I’m including in our top dumpster fires of 2019 list is this: Trump and Putin had a phone call shortly after the release of the report, and when asked by a reporter if the Mueller Report was discussed, Trump was delighted to be able to let everyone know that Putin laughed about it; the leader of a country laughed about meddling in the elections of another country, of which they are an adversary, directly to the leader of that country, and not only did the leader of the meddled with country just take it, they were stoked to let everyone know they just took it… These are the moments in which you truly get know who Trump is as a president. And they need to be remembered.
Last one, for this list, because of course there are more, like when Trump was meeting with the leader of an Eastern European country in the Oval Office, there to shore up a coalition of countries against the threat of Russia and China and Trump, seemingly forgetting who was sitting next to him and why, tells reporters how important it is to work with Russia and China, and then remembering who was there and why, Trump patted the leader of a country on the knee and said something like, “Like it’s important to work with you too.’ But we don’t have time for all of them. So last one...
The Lecherous Lean
This one is my little conspiracy that no one else gave much attention to… At the NCAA Collegiate National Champions Day at the White House, Trump was going around taking pictures with the various championship teams. As he wrapped up pictures with the Wisconsin-Madison women’s hockey team, he rubbed his arm against the chest of the woman next to him, forcefully enough that she was pushed back a bit. He played it off as though he was just leaning over to say something to the women next to him, but it’s unnecessary contact and you can see her face change and look down when he does it. She does look a little affected after as she readjusts her jersey. I may be reading too much into it, but with Trump’s P-grabbing past… I don’t think I am.
And I could go on still, because every damn day this year was another dumpster fire, as I was going through past episodes putting this together I was reminded about a bunch of things that went on this year that got covered by a pile of fiery garbage too quickly, like his racist tweet about the Squad and how we're pretty sure Trump calls Alexandria Ocasia Cortez "A-Oh-Kay" instead of "AOC" behind closed doors, how Trump wanted to hold the next G-7 at his resort and nuke hurricanes, the Iran drone situation…
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