(Tom Toles)
Editorial cartoonist

You have to watch the news carefully these days for clues to the ultimate Trump plan. He throws up so much chaff and so many red herrings that it’s enough to make you sick … sick enough to throw up chaff and red herrings yourself.

In his barrage of outrages big and small, no area is safe from the stubby, probing, malevolent fingers of the occupant of the White House, sometimes ironically referred to as the president of the United States. He apparently can’t wait for his climate policy to wipe out all the struggling major species of wild animals that are left; he apparently feels the need to unleash rich hunters to accelerate the process. He is opening a loophole in the ban on ivory to allow hunters to bring back their elephant trophies.

But appearances can be deceiving. Why would a president stoop to such a low level as this? Okay, it’s Donald Trump. But still, is there political gain to be had here? Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum thinks it’s simply part of an effort by Trump to rescind every single thing that Barack Obama did in office. While there is plenty enough evidence for this theory, think again. What larger interest could Trump possibly have in elephant trophies?

That’s right! He’s after the biggest one of all! He has been stalking the Republican Party since his glide down his escalator into the GOP nomination process, and has been wearing out the beleaguered beast ever since. Just yesterday, he was silent about the Roy Moore situation, as silent as a hunter creeping ever closer for the kill. The elephant itself doesn’t know quite what to do about this.

A smart elephant would run as fast and as far away from Trump as its soon-to-be-wastebasket feet could carry it. But not this elephant. This elephant is tired, and hungry. And Trump has set a large table of delicious tax cuts for the rich just ahead in the clearing. And there is a steaming side dish of repealed Obamacare, too, and a big sign reading, “This is not a trap.” What to do?

Republicans try to console themselves by asking, why would Trump kill his own party? But that’s just what he wants them to think! Because it isn’t his own party. Yet. Think back to what Trump has always done: put his name on things. Yes, the Trump Party is what he wants, and he will be head of it in the big white Trump House on Trump Avenue, (the avenue with the big Trump Military parades), in Trump, D.C. Make that Trump, D.T. And what does the elephant get to be head of?

Of the big trophy over the fireplace.