Lewis Black used to have a line in his Bush-era routine about how he would have difficulty trying to make relevant jokes about current events because something new and bizarre would prop up every other day. One day the administration would talk about immigration, the next it’s about Iran, and after that it’s about education. It’s hard to really think clearly about what’s happening around you if the main topic of discussion keeps changing every five minutes.
That same sort of confusing milieu has returned once again, only this time it’s been given a horse pill full of adrenaline and sent out on stage without pants on. Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, the back and forth between his administration and the media about exactly what the hell is going on, Sean Spicer hiding in a bush to avoid reporters like a cartoon character, the administration pinning this all on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Rosenstein not appreciating the fact he was being dumped under the bus, Trump directly contradicting his own staff’s spin the very next day, it just goes on and on and on. What was going to be a relatively quiet week for Trump has turned into an absolute sideshow, as his absolutely least favorite story (the ties between members of his campaign and administration and the Russian government) has been brought back to the very front of the news cycle.
The timing could not have possibly been worse, given that he was having a closed door (to US media, Russian media was perfectly acceptable to come in) meeting with a Russian foreign minister and Comey being slated to give testimony to Congress soon regarding the FBI’s investigation of his campaign. Immediately, the news media began making comparisons to Richard Nixon and his hostile relationship with the FBI during the Watergate scandal. Just yesterday he did an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News in which he gave a babbling alternate reason for dismissing Comey, while openly declaring the Russia story as fake. His approval rating currently sitting at 39% according to a new Gallup poll desperately didn’t need some ridiculous stunt like this, but somehow he managed one.
All this comes down to the before-unseen levels of ineptitude seen from both Trump and his administration. There are not enough euphemisms in the world to describe it; even going for the old standbys like “he can’t find his ass with both hands” doesn’t do it justice. He’s a man that openly said that he didn’t think the job of the Presidency would be harder than his old job, which was presumably to sit in his office all day while his businesses go bankrupt. He’s had more golf trips as President than he’s had hot dinners. His healthcare bill is the scorn of the country that’s making people fear for the lives of their family. All the while his staff are barely able to get an executive order written up that isn’t inevitably sent to the courts for being unconstitutional, if they can avoid backstabbing each other in order to gain more influence with the President.
One could make the argument that this basic inability to perform basic aspects of the job may end up being a blessing in disguise. Trump’s agenda as stated during the campaign is ghoulish and cruel, but requires people who know what they are doing in order for it to be enacted. Without such a staff, it’s rendered immobile. On this aspect I can agree. It’s much better to have Trump and the gang continue to trip over their own faces over and over again than enact any of the draconian ideas they have for the country.
However, in the long run, this kind of buffoonery cannot consistently reap beneficial rewards. Eventually, Trump’s going to do something both ridiculous and harmful. The air strike in Syria gave us a small but potent example of such a thing. A war in some far flung country is definitely not something we need right now, and given that he’s Commander in Chief, he can definitely start one; and as we all know, it’s much harder to defeat a wartime president than it is to defeat a peacetime one, no matter how unpopular.