Littwin: In TrumpWorld, we are forced to choose which horror most deserves our outrage

A Honduran man and his 5-year-old son wait on the Mexican side of the Brownsville- Matamoros International Bridge in Mexico after being denied entry into the United States on June 28, 2018. It is near the site where the bodies of a Salvadoran father and his young daughter were found after they drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande River. (Photo by Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images)
A Honduran man and his 5-year-old son wait on the Mexican side of the Brownsville-Matamoros International Bridge after being denied entry into the United States on June 28, 2018. It is near the site where the bodies of a Salvadoran father and his young daughter were found Monday after they drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande River. (Photo by Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images)

At the risk of stating the obvious, Trump fatigue has not simply overtaken the country. It is now the only thing that many of us can even feel. The unwieldy Democratic primary hasn’t seemed to help. The post-partum depression from the Mueller report definitely hasn’t helped, although maybe the scheduled Mueller public testimony will. Even Donald Trump’s refusal to allow other officials to testify before Congress hasn’t caused the outrage you might expect.

Instead, this is where we are. A headline on a Washington Post editorial reads: “America should be horrified by this.” And before I click on the link, I wonder which “this” we’re talking about. And why we’re not sufficiently horrified.

Could it be that the president of the United States, when confronted with the latest sexual assault lodged against him, explains that he must be innocent because, he said, the accuser, writer E. Jean Carroll, was “not my type”? Trump obviously completely misunderstands the #metoo movement, favoring his personal #it’salwaysaboutme movement, in which apparently Trump assaults only those women who are his type.

Or could it be our lack of concern than much of the media chose to basically ignore the accusation because it’s hardly news when Trump is credibly accused of raping someone in the 1990s in a Bergdorf-Goodman dressing room? To paraphrase the president from his “Access Hollywood” description of how he treats women, Carroll might just as well have said: He moved on me like a bitch. He grabbed me by the pussy. When you’re a star, they let you do anything.

In this case, he allegedly raped her. By The New Yorker’s count, Carroll is the 22nd woman to have accused Trump of sexual misconduct.

Or, moving on, could it be the Iran situation, in which Trump, likely moved by his neocon advisers, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, was minutes from launching a coordinated missile attack on Iran that could conceivably have led to actual war? He stopped himself — in a classic Trump v. Trump moment — because he was told that maybe 150 Iranians would die and decided that the attack, in response to the downing of an unmanned drone, wouldn’t be “proportionate.”

Trump then tried to make nice with the Iranians, talking about his many Iranian friends and how he’s ready to get back to the negotiating table — after tearing up the previous negotiated agreement for no good reason — and also to help “Make Iran Great Again.” This was his pitch as Trump was once again upping the Iranian sanctions. Iranian leaders responded by calling the new sanctions “outrageous and idiotic” and calling Trump “mentally crippled.”

In a proportionate response, Trump went, well, mental, tweeting that Iran doesn’t understand the words “nice” or “compassion.” He concluded his tweetstorm with this: “Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration!

But it turns out the Post editorial wasn’t about either of those horrors, but about the one from Clint, Texas, where nearly everyone concedes that immigrant children — mostly from the dangerous streets of Central America — were being held in horrifying conditions. We learned of this a few days ago from lawyers who visited the overcrowded site, where more than 300 children — some who came to the country unaccompanied, some who were separated from relatives — were being held in a facility built to hold 104 adults.

Reporters aren’t allowed to visit the site, where lawyers said they found dirty children who didn’t have access to soap, to toothbrushes, to toothpaste. Where toddlers were being cared for by unrelated young teens. Where kids slept, in some cases, on cement floors. Where kids told the investigative teams that they were often hungry. Where some kids had the flu. Where the law says immigrant children need to be turned over to relatives as quickly as possible and where some of the kids said they’d been at Clint for three weeks or more.

At the same time we were learning this, we saw clips from 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing asking whether the Trump administration must allow a court appointee to oversee conditions for children in ICE and CPB custody. (You have probably read about conditions at the ICE facility in Aurora.) In the clip, earlier last week, Department of Justice lawyer Sarah Fabian told incredulous judges that a facility could be “safe and sanitary” — as required by law — even if children don’t have soap or toothbrushes.

The clip went viral and the outrage was sufficient that the Trump administration decided to move all the potentially traumatized children to other facilities. And then came the story that 100 of the kids were taken back to Clint because they couldn’t find anywhere else to put them. As that story was breaking, John Sanders,  U.S. Customs and Border Protection director, announced his resignation.

Meanwhile, Trump and Mike Pence were blaming the Democrats for not passing legislation that would give the money to fix the problem, if, you know, there really is a problem. Trump said his administration was doing a “fantastic job.”

Are you sufficiently outraged? I’m going to guess you are. But if you’re not, in a related story, there is this photo, this heartbreaking photo, from an attempted crossing of the Rio Grande by a Salvadoran father and his 23-month-old daughter, who were found lying face down in the shallow water, with daughter Valeria’s arm wrapped around her father’s neck.

According to the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, 26, had tried unsuccessfully to present himself to U.S. authorities in order to seek asylum. There is a crackdown on asylum seekers and there is pressure from the Trump administration on Mexico to stop the refugees. And so, Martinez Ramirez decided to try the river. Martinez Ramirez’s wife, Vanessa Avalos, told police he took their daughter to the other side of the river and placed her on the bank. But when he went back to help his wife, the little girl jumped back in the river to follow her father. When he went back to rescue her, they were swept away in the undercurrent.

In TrumpWorld, where the crises come daily, it’s hard to keep track of what to feel or what to be horrified by. In a better world, this photo would help clear that up.


  1. I am just crying. Nothing more but tears. I just can’t handle this president anymore. God it is so depressing.

    If he is re-elected I am just not sure what to do. What can the average person do besides vote and if that doesn’t work then what?

  2. I’m ashamed to be an American in the age of Trump.

    Our standing in the world has plummeted since the Carnival Barker was “elected”.

  3. You should back off the weekly anti Trump screed’s Littwin You caused an emotional crisis for the snowflake ! Shame!

  4. I’m preparing for more outrage if the House and Senate cannot find a way to pass emergency funding for people at the border and go on their scheduled “district work period” break for week surrounding the 4th of July holiday.

  5. Earl, I guess there are people who are unmoved by a photo of a father and his little girl lying dead on the banks of a river. But I didn’t expect to meet any of them here.

  6. Did Trump tell him to try it? Seem’s to me it was his call.. Like Hick said “That buck don’t stop here”
    Any death like that is tragic and the media using it for political gain Well I can’t write it..
    Wide oped border sound good to you? OK you pay for it.. I’m 70yrs old ,not wealthy, and still paying taxes on modest investment income and social security which I paid into and spent a year eatin mud in Vietnam These hundreds of thousands flooding the border will be ward’s of the state. My money..

    Naw man this ain’t on me or Trump

  7. Well, thank you for your service in Vietnam, and paying your taxes, unlike our draft-evading, tax-cheat of a president. I am fairly sure you haven’t raw-dogged a porn star while your third wife was pregnant with your fifth child either.

    But the conditions that asylum-seekers are being subjected to in their cruelty and inhumanity are what we fought an earlier war to stop. These action are per the orders of President Trump, a bully and a coward that hates our allies and loves our enemies. Is that what you fought for 50 years ago to protect?

    The only people taking money out of your pocket are the wealthy backers of Trump and the GOP. If you have kids, they will be paying for the Republican deficits for generations to come. Reagan, Bush and Trump all have deliberately blown up the deficit with the connivance of Republicans in control of Congress.

  8. I trust you have proof of your allegations. Even if he did what you say, he was a private citizen. The IRS will get him if guilty.
    Ain’t nobody bidness who he do and how he do em!! before public life. JFK ; Bobby and Ted get a pass?. All politicians are guilty of driving up our debt. I do not hold it against him for getiin ‘out of going over there If he did he would have been a REMF like Gore and all politicians sons. There was and old Creedance Clearwater song..>>> Let us please end this here..

  9. Earl, you made a snowflake joke about a father and daughter lying dead in the river. That is about you. You own it. I just wonder what kind of person would think to do that.

  10. I certainly share your horror and disgust Mike, I’m an immigrant and my family was allowed in to the US thru a small miracle, only 2 families accepted out of a 100 who applied. That country we came to in 1974 is really not here anymore ,
    However Ii think it’s also fair to point out that these cages, filled with desperate people fleeing war and poverty, were built by Obama, that the private companies running them and profiting on dead kids were contracted and signed under Obama. Obama, who turned 2 wars into 7, who bailed out the banks wile 6 million Americans lost their homes , who pushed and endorsed every FTA he could sign, who had a chance to pass Medicare for all but instead gave us Romney-care., a massive give-away to drug and insurance companies.
    Trump bashing is fine, but if that’s all we do we will guarantee more of all the horrors like the ones we have today. Neo-liberalism and Neo-conservatism is a bi-partisan disease afflicting our country. It’s the root of Russia-gate= propaganda insurance policy designed to keep the system going as people ping-pong back and froth between 2 toxic parties serving the same oligarchy.
    The bulk of the articles at CI fairly point out that ugly truth, something missing from this one.

  11. you mean If the Dem party cheats and defrauds Bernie Sanders out the nomination a second time, and Trump easily beats Joe Biden? Then we get to sit thru another Russia-gate, or whatever other nonsense is cooked up, while the true power structure continues to ravage 90% of the US population.
    In other words the pot continues to heat up towards a boiling point, just like it has done in every failed state that has ever existed in the history of the world.

  12. While it’s true that both parties are guilty of some of the same things, it’s just a flat out lie to pretend that they’re both EQUALLY at fault or share the SAME amount of blame for these transgressions.

    If you believe otherwise, you need to start paying attention and do some reading.

    You might start with the Mueller report if you still think Russiagate was “propaganda”.

    This “bothsidery” bullshit is going to keep coming up the closer we get to election season because it’s uncomfortable for some folks to acknowledge that Republicans shoulder much more of the blame for America’s blemishes.

  13. you’re right of course, we should just keep voting for the lesser of 2 Evils. Sure, that approach has utterly failed for 40 years , but i bet if we give it another 30 it will all work out eventually.
    The Mueller report, what makes you think i didn’t read it? Independent journalists predicted for 3 years it was pure propaganda, but even after it fell flat on it’s face, those who tuned in every night to Rachel Maddow’s deranged Braying still find comfort in thinking Trump is a Russian Asset. Really quite comical in tragic way.

    Trump is a tool of American Oligarchy, the elite ruling class, but i guess a good old fashioned Red Scare works just as well now as it did the previous 2 times.

  14. The strawmen are getting think in here….

    Read the report

    Glad to hear that there’s no equivalency….

  15. I’m terrified. I’m sickened by sights on the border. Four more years of Trump and we can write off democracy. I’m 83 and what a joy it has been to be an American. It’s my kids and grandkids, and yours I worry about, WHAT KIND OF COUNTRY AND WORLD ARE WE LEAVING THEM!?! Did you mention climate change? 114 degrees in parts of Europe today.

    Mike, I wish you would get behind Hickenlooper. He is smart and such a common sense guy. I like Bennet too but we need to take back the Senate not lose valuable members.

    I thought the debates set Dems back. Not impressed. This is not the time to have a “food fight” to push us further left. Bernie, take up painting. Biden, pass the torch but not to what’s – his – name. You know, Hick has a track record of bringing folks together. I also like Amy.

  16. Here’s an unbiased, unflinching, unvarnished and unambiguous opinion of the Mueller Report from someone who did read it:

    “At this point, (President)Trump has won a huge political victory — there’s really no argument there — and Democrats and other anti-Trumpists who thought (the Mueller Report) would somehow lead to Trump’s impeachment and then removal from office have to re-examine all their premises.”

  17. I am voting for Trump again, my wife is too(she is also an immigrant who enjoys dual-citizenship). We both believe in what Trump is doing, and this nation needs a reset / reboot. I could care less what Trump did before he was elected, (Clinton, JFK, and other were womanizers too), But I guess its okay because they were Democrats.

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