The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The latest round of Trump chaos: No one but himself to blame

Before 9 a.m., President Trump unleashed a series of furious tweets:

Ah, yes another Friday for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to file documents with the federal court, another scene in the slow striptease that uncloaks the magnitude of President Trump and his associates' wrongdoing. (It’s interesting that his defense has now boiled down to a grotesque case of whataboutism.)

President Trump announced in a Dec. 7 tweet that he will nominate State Dept. spokeswoman and former Fox News journalist Heather Nauert as next U.N. ambassador. (Video: Drea Cornejo, Melissa Macaya/The Washington Post)

While Trump’s unraveling accelerates, he will replace departing Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley with Heather Nauert, a veteran Fox News personality whose entire experience in government consists of one year as a press spokeswoman; finally shove aside Chief of Staff John F. Kelley, who failed spectacularly at focusing the president and preserving his own integrity (e.g., misrepresenting facts in the Rob Porter case, making false accusations against an African American congresswoman, enabling Trump’s cruel family-separation policy); appoint William Barr to attorney general despite (or because of!) public comments disparaging the Russia investigation; dig himself a deeper hole on Saudi Arabia, with members of his own party convinced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi; and attempt to maintain the fiction that the China negotiations are going swimmingly.

He cannot even divert attention to the economy after a roller-coaster ride in the markets this week and a blah jobs report. (The Post reports, “The U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs in November, falling short of expectations for more robust growth, and the unemployment rate stayed at a 49-year low of 3.7 percent, federal economists reported Friday.”)

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At least we finally discovered evidence of blatant election fraud. Then again, the fraud was allegedly perpetrated by Republicans in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.

And did we mention, judicial confirmations have ground to a halt thanks to Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-Ariz.) refusal to confirm judges unless he gets a floor vote on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s measure, passed 14-to-7 in committee, to protect Mueller?

Well at least there is bipartisan agreement (and agreement between the Senate and Trump) on historic criminal-justice reform. Then again, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has stood athwart reform that could substantially benefit African Americans, shouting, “No!”

To recap, Trump has no discernible response to the tightly woven story of illegality from Mueller other to rant like a lunatic while he is losing his grip on his party (at least the Senate) and heads into 2019 without the protection of the GOP House majority and with the potential for an economic slowdown.

Virtually all of these calamities result from the president’s own conduct and ineptitude. Before Democrats start measuring the drapes for the Oval Office for 2021, they should nevertheless keep two things in mind. First, absent divine intervention Republicans in the Senate will not remove Trump, meaning this will go on for another two years. And second, if Democrats in 2018 are starting the circular firing squad (actually, mostly the far-left forces behind Sen. Bernie Sanders) attacking one of their best candidates (Rep. Beto O’Rourke) for being insufficiently socialist, then there is every possibility they can manage to lose in 2020.

In sum, things are getting more tumultuous by the day but that’s no guarantee we will be freed from Trump anytime soon.

Read more:

Michael Gerson: Trump is a political vampire

Jennifer Rubin: What senators should do about Trump’s attorney general pick

Oren Cass: America’s economy is both booming — and fading

Paul Waldman: Looks like an actual case of election fraud has occurred. Guess who’s responsible.

Elizabeth Bruenig: Why this progressive Texan can’t get excited about Beto O’Rourke