When the President is a Troll

The woeful spectacle of First Lady Melania Trump bestowing upon Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom midway through the State of the Union Address brought alt-right trolling to a new historic low.

Rush Limbaugh, dishonest to his core with 30 years of racist partisan venom vomiting from his loud mouth, feigned surprise when he was singled out for the honor. 

The Limbaugh stunt was a supreme act of trolling and that’s why the Republicans in the room were leaping to their feet and applauding him every five seconds like acolytes at a MAGA rally. 

Normally, the State of the Union Address is a solemn and dignified occasion where a thoughtful chief executive reports to Congress and the American people about the condition of our republic, shares a vision for the future, and outlines a legislative agenda going forward.

But these are not normal times. 

Later in the speech, when the Troll-in-Chief launched into graphic verbal descriptions of “illegal immigrants” raping, maiming, and killing innocent (white) American citizens sounding like a script of a Tarantino film he was channeling Breitbart’s white nationalist stock-in-trade: fomenting hatred for immigrants and people of color generally. 

When Trump boasted about stacking the federal courts with 187 inexperienced Republican ideologues, right-wing hacks and fanatics — at one point even acknowledging his two grinning young Republican apparatchiks, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who are supposed to be “impartial” yet obviously grateful Mitch McConnell shoehorned them onto the Supreme Court with the slenderest of majority votes in the Senate — he was trolling again. 

How many women watching the spectacle felt “triggered” by seeing Brett Kavanaugh’s youthful visage, a man credibly accused of sexual assault, smugly smiling amidst a standing ovation from the mean old white guys who make up the House Republican caucus?

Only a few short years ago it would’ve seemed far-fetched that a president would twist the State of the Union into a tawdry reality TV show with the First Lady clasping the Presidential Medal of Freedom around the neck of a hate-filled propagandist while the president trolled and triggered half of the country.

Trolling the Impeachment Trial

The Troll-in-Chief also seized his own impeachment trial in the Senate as yet another opportunity to “Own the Libs.”  Why else would he send Kenneth Starr and Alan Dershowitz over to the Senate to defend him?

Starr showed up ready to rumble in a trench coat and sporting a weird-looking black cowboy hat that made him look like an old gunslinger in a B-movie Western.  Everybody over 40 years old knows that Starr was the driving force in the most partisan and flimsy impeachment of a president in American history.

In 2020 though, Starr reversed himself 180 degrees to argue that although he was willing to impeach a president for a blowjob twenty-one years ago, Trump’s illegal withholding of appropriated taxpayer funds to shakedown a foreign government to help in his own personal reelection bid did not rise to the level high crimes and misdemeanors. 

Trump also sent Alan Dershowitz to troll the Senate.  A fixture on Fox News, Dershowitz is best known for representing O.J. Simpson who stabbed to death his ex-wife and a male friend outside his Brentwood home in 1995. 

After getting O.J. off the hook, Dersh went on to represent the now legendary pedophile and human sex trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein, in a 2007 case where he got a slap on the wrist in a plea agreement on charges of sexually assaulting multiple underage girls.  In both cases Dersh helped fabulously rich men get away with killing or exploiting women.  This background made him a perfect lawyer for the pussy grabber.   

The sweetheart deal Dershowitz cut in Florida (where else?) allowed Epstein, after serving a light sentence, to continue on his happy way partying with people like Donald Trump, flying around in his private plane “The Lolita Express,” and continuing for another decade his extravagant human trafficking and sexual abuse of under-age girls. 

Having the misogynists Starr and Dershowitz on Trump’s defense team was an act of trolling expressly designed to “trigger” and “own” the libs (especially women).

But wait, there’s more! 

Trump’s defense team also included the corrupt former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi who let Trump slide on multiple potential prosecutions in exchange for a $25,000 campaign donation; a clear case of quid pro quo corruption.  Bondi’s presence on the panel was also an act of trolling because her own corruption is widely known.  She’s another platinum blonde MAGA-head like “Reverend” Paula White and the ubiquitous Kellyanne (who, like Shakira or Cher, is now so famous she can go by her first name).

And then there was the most openly corrupt White House Counsel in U.S. history: Pat “the Chipper” Cipollone.

Cipollone is not only right out of central casting for the role of consigliere in a bad mafia movie, but he was also a fact witness neck-deep in Trump’s unlawful behavior; criminal conduct he knew all about because he was “in the loop” yet he indignantly argued in the well of the Senate that none of it ever happened.  Cipollone is an even bigger hypocrite than Representative Devin Nunes and Senator Lindsey Graham because unlike those two Trump sycophants, the Chipper is officially part of Trump’s legal Dream Team.

A White House Counsel shouldn’t be representing the president in an impeachment trial; he’s paid by the U.S. taxpayers to give legal advice to the office of the presidency.  Cipollone was a fact witness himself to Trump’s abuse of power and criminal behavior yet pretended to know nothing about it.  He should be forced to resign, disbarred from practicing law, and run out of Washington on a rail.

The sham impeachment trial has made it clear that the GOP has fully embraced its post-modern Internet alt-right persona where “Owning the Libs” is the only overarching goal as they perpetuate their power by selling out the country to the highest bidder.

The Worst Part of the State of the Union 

For me the most nauseating segment of the State of the Union Address was seeing Republicans and many Democrats applauding Trump’s assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani.

What exactly were they celebrating?  An act of aggression contrary to all of the fundamentals of international law?  A corrupt, lawless, and unbalanced Commander-in-Chief usurping Congress’s war powers?  Murdering in cold blood a high-ranking official of the Iranian government inside Iraq without even bothering to inform the Iraqi government?   

Maybe these politicians missed the fact that by targeting an Iranian military leader who was a widely admired figure in Iranian society for his dedication to defending their country Trump had crossed the Rubicon from killing leaders of stateless terrorist groups to targeting foreign government officials.  Who’s next? 

And now that fifty-two rich white Republican Senators have decided to bestow monarchical powers upon their beloved Republican president — allowing him to comprehensively stonewall Congress to the point of dismantling its oversight function and to commit any crime he wishes in pursuit of his own reelection — the United States no longer has a president.  We have a dictator.

Any incumbent president running for reelection has immense advantages, he or she can manipulate the entire government for political effect (including the Justice Department), dominate news cycles, schedule meetings with foreign leaders at politically opportune times, and milk all of the ceremonial functions of the office for personal political gain.

But an incumbent president like the one we have now who the U.S. Senate has granted carte blanche to violate any law he sees fit for partisan advantage; who is utterly corrupt and surrounds himself with gangsters and mafia lawyers; and is willing do anything to get reelected, including shaking down foreign governments for political assistance, and unleashing his venal Attorney General to open fake “investigations” of his opponents, this incumbent president wields far more power than any other incumbent president seeking reelection in U.S. history. He’s almost guaranteed four more years.

With their acquittal of Trump, Senate Republicans have decided that what the country really needs right now under the most corrupt administration in American history is to turn Congress into a doormat for the Executive Branch. This won’t end well.