Entering the sixth week of the Trump presidency it has become clear that we are engaged in a battle to define reality. It has become clear that the White House has chosen mainstream media as its foil and bogeyman. If things don’t go as planned, blame the media. If his indecipherable foreign policy explodes, blame the media. If his legislative agenda fails to deliver, blame the media.
Apparently, the Democratic Party does not offer enough resistance to play its traditional role as the party of opposition.
This is the sixth installment of the Trump Diaries.
DAY 36: WHITE HOUSE OBSTRUCTION
February 24, 2017
The Associated Press obtains a Department of Homeland Security draft report that does not support the president’s Muslim travel ban.  The finding is not what the White House ordered and is sure to raise the ire of the man at the top.
The Washington Post reports that Chief of Staff Reince Preibus contacted the FBI, other intelligence personnel, reporters and members of congress to orchestrate denials of Trump connections to Russia. The contacts included Senator Richard Burr, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Representative Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Both complied with the White House request yet deny that their ongoing investigations would be compromised.
Something is rotten in Trumpland.
Representative Darrell Issa of California becomes the first Republican to call for a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump-Russia connection.
DAY 37: TRUMP CUTS NATIONAL DEBT
February 25, 2017
The president claims to have miraculously cut the national debt by twelve billion dollars in his first month in office. He is incensed that mainstream media has not reported the miracle. In Barrack Obama’s first month the debt increased by approximately $200 billion. Of course, Obama took office with the global economy tottering on the brink of collapse. The current debt figure is basically unrelated to Trump since he has not yet passed a budget. 
There can be no doubt that Wall Street loves Trump as Trump loves Wall Street but the national debt has not yet weighed in.
DAY 38: RIGGED SYSTEM
February 26, 2017
The president engages in an early morning rant against the Democratic National Committee for electing former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez as chair. He labels the process “rigged” and claims Representative Keith Ellison never had a chance.
Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders endorsed Ellison while Perez enjoyed the backing of the Clinton-Obama establishment. Adding fuel to Trump’s fire, Sanders suggested he might not be willing to give his email list of supporters to the DNC.
Why should he? This high-profile selection of a DNC chair demonstrates that the middling, do-nothing, free trade, neoliberal Wall Street loyalists of the party establishment have learned nothing from a devastating loss in the presidential election. This party paved the road for a Trump presidency by neglecting the working class, promoting free trade and collecting unconscionable Wall Street contributions while pretending to represent the common people.
Soon enough, the stalwarts of the Republican Party will cut ties with the Donald and the Democrats will revert to identity politics. If ever there was a time for a third party challenge, the time is now.
Hold on to that mailing list, Bernie, and send a message to the DNC: Can you hear us now?
DAY 39: THE NUMBERS DON’T ADD UP
February 27, 2017
The Donald announces his intention to increase military spending by $54 billion and offset the increase with cuts to non-military spending. The cuts will not include border patrol, ICE or law enforcement. It will include foreign aid, environmental protection and other “unnecessary” expenditures.
Add the estimated $20 billion to build the wall and we can say goodbye to rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure. Why build a bridge when we can build a bomb to knock it down? Gone is any hope that Trump’s version of national health care provides universal coverage at an affordable price. We all knew that was bullshit anyway.
The president renews his promise to spend big on infrastructure and his Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin assures us that Social Security and Medicare are still off the table. That might give us comfort but the numbers don’t add up.
The first rule of the con: Never ever believe anyone who says, “Believe me.”
“Mexico will pay for the wall, believe me – 100%.” NY Times, January 6, 2017.
“We’re going to knock the hell out of ISIS. Believe me.” CNN, April 6, 2016.
“I have great respect for women. Believe me.” LA Times, May 27, 2016.
“I’m the only who is going to save Social Security. Believe me.” National Review, February 13, 2016.
“Believe me, we’re going to protect our Medicare.” Trump Rally, October 11, 2016.
No, Donald, we do not believe you. We never have believed you. Even your followers know better than to believe you. You’re a con man. But the key to any successful con is to make a clean escape. You can’t escape this time, Donald. There’s nowhere to hide.
DAY 40: THE EARTH SHIFTED
February 28, 2017
President Donald Trump makes his first address to a joint session of congress. Like Jack Nicholson reading Walt Whitman, where the words don’t match the speaker, Trump delivers a striking contrast to the daily Donald. Gone are the vilifications of real and imagined enemies at home and abroad. Gone is the dark vision of American carnage. A new and gentler Trump issues a call for unity in “condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”
We can all agree with the president’s declaration that 2016 was the year “the earth shifted beneath our feet.” Where we disagree is on the results of that quake.
“It’s a total disaster.” 
Trump raises hope for comprehensive immigration reform and a trillion dollar infrastructure bill that would rely on public and private funding. Both initiatives would have to overcome stiff resistance from his own party. There is a limit to private funding that would place tolls on roads and bridges and congress approved only $787 billion when confronted with economic crisis of 2009.  Trying to get a trillion dollars from a Republican controlled congress is like asking Steve Bannon for a contribution to Public Broadcasting. It ain’t happening.
Trump spells out five criteria for healthcare reform: First, Americans with pre-existing conditions must have “access” to insurance. The word “access” is a crack in the dam that brings the whole system crashing down. Second, provide tax credits and health savings accounts in lieu of direct assistance. Twenty million people just slipped through the crack. Third, provide states with resources and flexibility. Flexibility is the key to cutting Medicaid. Fourth, limit malpractice damages to bring down the cost. Republicans hate trial lawyers. Cost savings would be negligible. Fifth, enable people to purchase insurance across state lines. It sounds good but it turns out insurance companies are not interested in selling across state lines. Insurance coverage is regulated by the states even under Obamacare. 
“Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated.” Trump, February 27, 2017.
No, Donald. Nobody knew – except everyone who has followed the news for the past three decades. Sad.
Trump embraces free choice to save education. The right to choose private for profit and religious schools, unburdened by federal mandates, special education and teacher’s unions, is the Republican prescription for eviscerating public education.
We can hardly wait for the next generation of scientists raised on biblical prophecy, alternative facts and the relative value of Moses versus Einstein.
Trump calls for unity in support of our brave men and women in blue. He has ordered Homeland Security to create a new office to support victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces his department will no longer question police killings of citizens regardless of race, creed or conscience. 
Trump continues to believe we are in the midst of a historic crime wave despite all evidence to the contrary. He is determined to be a law and order president – like Nixon.
The most disturbing theme underlying the president’s address is his overwhelming desire for greatness.
“When we celebrate our 250 years of glorious freedom, we will look back on tonight as when this new chapter of American greatness began. The time for small thinking is over. The time for trivial fights is behind us.”
This comes from a man who has spent the last two years in trivial pursuit of the White House. We can only hope he devotes his time to knocking down windmills, the monsters in his mind, and leaves the rest to individuals of substance. When presidents start thinking big, the most probable result is war.
DAY 41: THE DOW SOARS
March 1, 2017
The Dow Jones Industrial Average soars to close above 21,000 for the first time as Trump basks in the glory of positive reviews for his presidential address to congress.
One day after a moving tribute to fallen Navy Seal Ryan Owens, controversy continues over whether the Yemen raid was “highly successful” as the president claims. While no one doubts the courage of Ryan Owens, a great many doubt the efficacy and “success” of a mission that resulted in dozens of civilian deaths, the destruction of a $70 million helicopter and three wounded American soldiers in addition to Owens’ death. 
The president’s statements on the Raid in Yemen have been attempts to deflect blame and responsibility. He has suggested his predecessor approved the mission when in fact he did not. He has said that the generals made the decision when in fact the call was his and would not have proceeded without his approval.
If the president had hoped to put the Raid in Yemen behind him, his response all but guarantees an investigation will ensue.
The shadow of Benghazi lives.
DAY 42: STONE COLD PERJURY
March 2, 2017
This story broke late Wednesday night; on Thursday shit hit the fan:
The Washington Post reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on at least two occasions during the recent presidential campaign. The revelation stands in stark contrast to Sessions’ testimony in his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 
Despite the twisted, mealy-mouthed rationalizations of the Justice Department, the stone cold truth is: Sessions flat out lied.
The story holds that Sessions met with Kislyak in July and September – a fact not disputed by the Attorney General. On January 10, in response to questioning by Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, Sessions stated: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in [the Trump] campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
You cannot repair shattered glass. Recusal from the ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia is not enough. Resignation is not enough. The nation’s lead law enforcement officer should be prosecuted for perjury.
As then Senator Sessions said in January 1999: “In America…no one is above the law.”
The matter then was Bill Clinton’s sexual relations with Monica Lewinski. The matter now is collusion with a foreign agent to defraud an American election.
1/ “AP Exclusive: DHS report disputes threat from banned nations” by Vivian Salama and Alicia A. Caldwell. Associated Press, February 24, 2017.
2/ “Trump lashes out at media for failing to report debt decrease” by Michael Collins. USA Today, February 25, 2017.
3/ “Trump says EVERYTHING is broken, awful, a disaster” by Gregory Krieg. CNN Politics, October 15, 2016.
4/ “Trump’s Address to Joint Session of Congress, Annotated.” NPR: Capitol Public Radio, February 28, 2017.
5/ “AG Sessions Says DOJ to ‘Pull Back’ on Department Civil Rights Suits” by Pete Williams. NBC, February 28, 2017.
6/ “What Donald Trump left out about the Yemen raid that killed Navy SEAL Ryan Owens” by Lauren Carroll. PolitiFact, March 1, 2017.
7/ “Sessions met with Russian envoy twice last year, encounters he later did not disclose” by Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller. Washington Post, March 1, 2017.