The horror show that is Trump's presidency features daily episodes of astounding corruption, immorality, ignorance, and narcissism.
But a Politico story I came across this afternoon, "Meet the guys who tape Trump's papers back together," somehow filled me with more of a mixture of disgust and amazement than countless other Trumpian tales -- even including his astounding tweet storm against Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and his decision to remove the United States from a previously agreed-to Group of Seven joint statement.
Behold the antics of the fool who occupies the Oval Office:
Solomon Lartey spent the first five months of the Trump administration working in the Old Executive Office Building, standing over a desk with scraps of paper spread out in front of him.
Lartey, who earned an annual salary of $65,969 as a records management analyst, was a career government official with close to 30 years under his belt. But he had never seen anything like this in any previous administration he had worked for. He had never had to tape the president’s papers back together again.
Armed with rolls of clear Scotch tape, Lartey and his colleagues would sift through large piles of shredded paper and put them back together, he said, “like a jigsaw puzzle.” Sometimes the papers would just be split down the middle, but other times they would be torn into pieces so small they looked like confetti.
It was a painstaking process that was the result of a clash between legal requirements to preserve White House records and President Donald Trump’s odd and enduring habit of ripping up papers when he’s done with them — what some people described as his unofficial “filing system.”
Under the Presidential Records Act, the White House must preserve all memos, letters, emails and papers that the president touches, sending them to the National Archives for safekeeping as historical records.
But White House aides realized early on that they were unable to stop Trump from ripping up paper after he was done with it and throwing it in the trash or on the floor, according to people familiar with the practice. Instead, they chose to clean it up for him, in order to make sure that the president wasn’t violating the law.
l find this more disturbing than other things Trump has done because it is so astoundingly childish. Trump is the President, but he acts like a two-year-old. If he's told he can't do something, he has a hissy fit, screams NO! and does it anyway.
The viral photo of him at the G-7 conference, surrounded by other world leaders, speaks volumes about his childish obstinacy.
Yesterday I dug an August 2017 issue of The New Yorker from a bathroom drawer that serves as my bathtub reading repository. The issue had gotten buried under a bunch of other magazines.
Looking through it, I came across a beautifully written piece by David Remnick that was the lead essay in the always-interesting The Talk of the Town section. (Everything in The New Yorker is beautifully written, I should add.)
Remnick got Trump absolutely right after he'd been in office for only about seven months. What Remnick said is even more obvious today, but I found it interesting that the danger Trump poses to our democracy was so clear ten months ago. Here's an excerpt.
When Trump was elected, there were those who considered his history and insisted that this was a kind of national emergency, and that to normalize this Presidency was a dangerous illusion.
At the same time, there were those who, in the spirit of patience and national comity, held that Trump was "our President" and that "he must be given a chance." Has he had enough of a chance yet?
After his press conference in the lobby of Trump Tower last Tuesday, when he ignored the scripted attempts to regulate his impulses and revealed his true allegiances, there can be no doubt about who he is.
This is the inescapable fact: on November 9, the United States elected a dishonest, inept, unbalanced, and immoral human being as its President and Commander-in-Chief.
Trump has daily proven unyielding to appeals of decency, unity, moderation, or fact.
He is willing to imperil the civil peace and the social fabric of his country simply to satisfy his narcissism and to excite the worst inclinations of his core followers.
...The most important resistance to Trump has to come from civil society, from institutions, and from individuals who, despite their differences, believe in constitutional norms and have a fundamental respect for the values of honesty, equality, and justice.
The imperative is to find ways to counteract and diminish his malignant influence not only in the overtly political realm but also in the social and cultural one.
To fail in that would allow the death rattle of an old racist order to take hold as a deafening revival.