Monday, February 20, 2017

Trump Administration As Dysfunctional As Ever

During his hastily arranged 77-minute press conference last week, Trump mystified many people, making several strange and patently false statements such as:
"They say Donald Trump rants and raves at the press-- I'm not ranting and raving!"
"[The] Russia [interference story] is a ruse" 
"It was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan”
“Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars” 
. . . and most incredulously of all:   "This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine."
That last statement is easily the most ridiculous, as his first four weeks in office have been nothing short of a disaster.  He can't get a large portion of his cabinet confirmed due to their lack of qualifications or incompetence.  His National Security Advisor was forced to withdraw due to his pre-election contacts with Russia.  His Muslim ban was blocked by the federal courts and despite his promise to "see you in court" he is quietly backing down and drafting a new executive order.  And he continues to make bizarrely untrue claims-- the latest of which was his announcement that immigrants were responsible for a terror attack in Sweden on Friday night (not true).

But even in more mundane matters, his administration continues to operate in a highly dysfunctional manner.  Over the past week, Trump foreign policy officials appeared at odds with each other, giving conflicting statements over key diplomatic issues.

United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley had to backpedal on behalf of he president after he said at a press conference that he was open to a Middle East peace agreement that didn't include a Palestinian state.    Just a day later, Haley said, "Anybody that wants to say that the United States doesn't support a two-state collation would be in error."  Ooops!

In Germany last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, meeting his Russian counterpart for the first time, had very conciliatory words for Putin, saying "The United States will consider working with Russia whenever we can find areas of practical cooperation."

But Defense secretary James Mattis, at a NATO summit in Brussels the next day, expressed a different perspective than Tillerson (and even contradicted his boss, who still claims that Russian interference stories are a "ruse") by making it clear that the United States can't trust the Kremlin-- saying, "There's very little doubt that they have either interfered or attempted to interfere in a number of elections."  Get your stories straight, guys.

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