Littwin: Trump vows to go all dictator on us, but he can’t even do that right

The Lyric Theater in Fort Collins on March 25, 2020. (Photo by Tina Griego)

I have a confession. Very recently — like maybe two days ago — I had mostly stopped watching Donald Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings, even though it’s my job. (Please, don’t tell the boss.) I watch until I get to the point where I have to either turn off the TV or resort to throwing the remote against the wall. I mean, it’s only lies and obfuscations and, of course, Trump’s toddler-like, watch-me, watch-me need for attention.

But then on Monday, the tweets and the texts began rolling in. Trump was not only off the rails, he was taking his Article 2 so-called declaration of total power to whole new levels. A thoroughly reported New York Times story Sunday, detailing his many avoidable failures during the pandemic, had apparently set him off.

I had no choice. I had to watch. And then I went to the Google and googled the critical clips to watch them again. And then, breaking one of my cardinal principles, I watched the recaps on cable news.

Why was this briefing different from all other briefings? It wasn’t. It was just worse. Forget any show of empathy, even as more than 25,000 Americans have now died and so many others are at risk. If you’ve watched Trump, you know that’s not part of the programming.

Instead, he congratulates himself — he humbly accords himself a 10 out of 10 — while bragging about his ratings. No other president has cited his TV ratings in such a circumstance. Or, I’m pretty sure, in any other circumstance. But at the risk of repeating myself, this is our president. 

On this edition of the Trump Show, Trump repeatedly said his authority is “total.” Yes, at one point he qualified his total-authority claim to say that he had total authority over reopening the economy, which he desperately wants to reopen. We all want it open, of course, but only when it’s safe, not because there’s an election upcoming.

The Constitution is pretty clear on Trump’s relative powers, which are great, but Trump, as we know, is not so clear on the Constitution. So here’s the money quote from Monday: “When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total, and that’s the way it’s gotta be. It’s total.”

It’s a wow quote. The guy thinks he actually is Vladimir Putin, but with his shirt on and no horse. Maybe it’s because Republican politicians let him think so. Or maybe it’s because, well, he’s Donald Trump.

The only solace I can offer is from a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by Windsor Mann, who writes, “Subverting democracy requires more effort than Trump is willing to exert. He wants to be a dictator, but he’s unwilling to do the work to become one. Just as he inherited a fortune, he wants to inherit an autocracy. To be a successful strongman, you need a strong work ethic. Trump has only weak ethics.”

The weak ethics were on full display when Trump called Dr. Tony Fauci to the lectern to walk back his Sunday interview with Jake Tapper, in which Fauci had only stated the obvious, that if we had gone to mitigation earlier, lives would have been saved.

When Trump, the bully, wanted Fauci to “correct” himself, Fauci semi-obliged, calling the question he answered a “hypothetical.” But then on Tuesday, in an interview with the Associated Press, Fauci walked back the hypothetical walk-back, saying the country was not ready — note to Jared Polis — to re-open. I feel terrible for Fauci, who, because he’s a good man and knows that his expertise will save lives, has found himself in a hostage-like situation.

Then Trump broke out his astonishing campaign-style video for the reporters — a campaign-style video financed with taxpayer money that sings the praises of, wait for it, Donald Trump. Again, no other president has ever done anything remotely like this in such a circumstance. Or in any other circumstance.

What Trump and his team failed to understand is that the video showed the huge gap between his leaky Jan. 31 China travel ban and his final admission in mid-March that things were not so great. It didn’t contradict The Times story — The Washington Post and the AP have done similar takes — so much as confirm it.

Trump and his team also failed to reckon with the fact he was not at one of his rallies. And so following the video, CBS News reporter Paula Reid got in a question, which Trump talked over. When he didn’t have an answer, which was most of the time, he insulted her.

Reid: “You didn’t use it to prepare hospitals, you didn’t use it to ramp up testing. What did you do with the time that you bought, the month of February?” 

Trump called the question “disgraceful.” But she continued as Trump tried to talk over her.  “That video has a gap — the entire month of February. . .What did your administration do in February with the time that your travel ban bought you?”

Trump, in full take-no-responsibility mode, blamed everyone else, but mostly governors. (On Tuesday, he cited “Mutiny on the Bounty” in countering the whiny governors, but some are wondering if he meant “The Caine Mutiny.”)

By Tuesday, the war with the governors was out in the open. Even some Republicans — see: Marco Rubio — sided with the governors. We’re still waiting for Cory Gardner to weigh in. Meanwhile, Andrew Cuomo said he’d refuse a Trump order to reopen New York’s economy if he didn’t think the timing was right. He said Trump was “spoiling for a fight.”

Cuomo told Morning Joe on MSNBC: “The only way this situation gets worse is if the president creates a constitutional crisis … like you haven’t seen in decades where states tell the federal government, we’re not going to follow your order. It would be terrible for this country, it would be terrible for this president.”

Trump responded to Cuomo in a tweet, “Cuomo’s been calling daily, even hourly, begging for everything, most of which should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals, beds, ventilators, etc. I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!”

But guess what did happen. Trump, the bully that he is, backed down when confronted with real strength and said the governors would decide when the time was right to reopen their states. As I said, he may want to be a dictator, but he’d fail at that, too.

This is Tuesday as I write this. I’m not watching him today, even though he’s apparently suspending funding for the World Health Organization. I admit I’m tempted. I want to do it, and then I read this quote on Twitter: “It would have been so easy to be truthful,” Trump says, talking, of course, about somebody else.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Nicely done, Mike. I, too, have pretty much stopped watching the daily “updates” / Trump rallies, and am very glad that I’m not a media reporter assigned to the White House, since the order of the day seems to be “Insult as thoroughly as possible.”

  2. No one would ever accuse you of being biased? He did not answer Reid, because her question was asinine. You know it. I know it, and everyone else who heard her, knew it. Same as the other questions asked from those so-called reporters who attend. Just as Acosta is not biases, Those reporters (?) already have their story written, and when they ask a question, wave arms, point fingers, and show how they are acting. REALLY SHOWING COMPASSION AND assuring their Editors, or others, they really was there, and YES, they did ask the question. Hope they all got a pat on the head, when they got back to their office. –
    ——-DONALD TGRUMP AS PRESIDENT, IS ONLY ONE WHO CAN DECLARE NATIONAL EMERGENCY. Governors can and do set what they will do, or have their State Officials do, to comply in shut down of businesses , schools, parks, or public facilities, within their state. Ant they can and do establish re-opening of those facilities, within the limits set at National Level. :WE VOTERS ARE NOT STUPID, OR EVEN DUMB. WE KNOW WHAT YOU AND OTHERS ARE DOING. Of course you are speaking to those who take freebies, vote by party line, as told to. But don’t ever kid yourself, t hat others in country are just as smart as you think you are.

    • Dear Sir:
      Your message would be more compelling if you:
      A) did not fling insults and accusations at the author of an opinion piece, and
      B) were better at proofreading and editing YOUR writing.
      I do hope you felt better after venting your spleen; it is not healthy to keep angry feelings bottled up. However, I am glad that this was all done via computer screens, since I suspect you might have been frothing at the mouth just a little bit.

      • Dear Susan, If you aimed that missive to me. I am 90 years old, lived through many administrations, worked civilian jobs before service, during my 26 years in military also with civilian jobs, to support my family. After retiring from military 1976 (26 years) I also worked in civilian jobs, was partner in a company in Denver Metro area, dealing with public, and others, and from 1991 to recent years, as volunteer and advisor to Federal politicians, Sate politicians, and served as officer and member of several military retiree organizations, in Colorado. Also as Secretary to UVC, (see CO website) for entire state.
        ———In military I also instructed, while managing subordinates, in very sensitive, classified projects and assignments, where I dealt regularly with all ranks and grades, of civilians and military. At no time in all those years, I spoke bluntly, accurately, and civilly to all, never frothed at the mouth, and never was punched out, or had any complaints filed against me. Actually feel a bit insulted, since no women have ever come forth, stating I was inappropriate, or insensitive to them. Does that help. I even have bben married to same woman for 68 years as of August 2020, and we are still married. Raised 3 wonderful children, who were never in jail or prison, and each married spouse of proper gender (as one man-one woman). Okay.
        ——-This author has always prided himself as being a radical, prepared to always complain of those in power. Not biased, NO, not him. Okay. (side note) I even worked and cooperated with Democrats, Republicans, and those who never stated what party they were involved with)

    • Well done Frank. Now tell us what you really think and try to keep it reasonably sane. A paragraphs here and there would really help.

      • I agree, but this site does not have editing mode, and is very small font, and my eyes are not as good as they were in my youth. Same for my hearing, but there are a lot of things I could do, years ago, that I cannot do now. Do the best with what I am, after 90 years of doing and learning a lot of things. Actually was very instrumental in proving new stuff, like Satellite Communications, where I was Military Pioneer to prove SATCOM was efficient, accurate, and faster than typewriters and snail mail.

  3. Time for change in reporting. Just watched and listened to Gov. Cuomo, New York. He gave credit to National Government , which was ordered and coordinated with President Donald Trump, working with VP Pence to head the reaction team of Professionals (I still dislike the word EXPERT). Gov. Cuomo stated very plainly, they all learned new way of reacting to Pandemics now, and in future. None of the States was prepared with hospitals, health care in sufficient numbers, with proper safety wear and training. However, they began to learn when enough data was collected, and analyzed, and it is believed we are at PEAK or past it. Fewer people dying each day, if public continues to practice social separation, and actions.
    ———We will all learn a NEW NORMAL, IN SOCIAL LIFE, WORKING, BUSINESS, AND WAY OF DOING THINGS. And Federal Government will have their requirements, as will the states with NEW NORMAL. Officials all know the limits, as well as the requirements. For a better future, Best wishes for all. We will survive, and learn. Help our neighbors when we can. . –

  4. Poor President* Chump would be a lot scarier if he and his bumbling band of sycophantic wanna be dictator buddies were more competent.

    As it is, ironically, the most dangerous thing about them is their incompetence and what it has brought the country.

    Our fake president’s fake reality is no longer getting enough fake defense from fake news. That’s a problem for Bubbles. You could see the moment that Mike talks about when it began to sink in that he wasn’t at a rally where the Lügenpresse aren’t allowed.

    Someone should send Paula Reid (an official “nasty woman” who is also a lawyer and happens to be out of fvcks) a fake blonde scalp to nail to her wall.

  5. How much better off we’d all be if there was no reporting on Trump, including his tweets, at all! The implications of his actions, and those of his clown car full of Cabinet members and Department ‘acting’ heads are important to know, but he does not deserve a moment of airtime for his lies, blaming, or self-pity. Shut him down!

  6. I always look forward to a new article from you Mike. Keep up the good work. Be safe too. We really need these reports.

  7. Like it or not, Trump dictates the news cycle.
    That said, this coming June 30th we’re going to decide which candidates will represent us in Colorado’s November election. This election is the most important of our lifetime. We will decide if we want representation that to prefers “Business as Usual” or if we want representation that aspires to pass legislation in support of the ideals set out in the “Green New Deal.”
    Let’s start discussing our options, we’ve run out of elections to waste.

  8. Jim in Littleton. I agree with election being extremely important in November. I prefer voting for the President who has upset the way business was done,(Status Quo), which was talk, talk, talk, and no action) , Progressive with New Green Deal, OR NEW NORMAL. Thank God, Donald Trump has set new policies into effect. Just think of how the MSM say he is inept, inefficient, and in over his head. I don’t see that. I see President who was speaking, writing, supporting, others until he realized they were “Status Quo” types.
    ——– He brought Federal Government and Big Business into cooperation, and involved Military and Professionals (not experts) to solve Medical Problem, and has only been 88 days (from 1st case to date of having 70 vaccines in testing to find which is most effective. Also had Military move two ships with doctors and nurses, medically qualified for any action needed, into cooperation with State Governors, and their medical people, which sets up new standards. NEW NORMAL< and that will be phased in with cooperation of public, medical,, and government. WHO only declared this virus as Pandemic on 11 March, by the way.
    ——–And just review all that President Trump and his administration has accomplished in just over 3 years, compared to those administrations before him, with similar problems. (Don't forget the opposition all through this, too). (I have stated my opinion on many subjects, on net, and phone calls to proper officials. Both sides of all issues deserve equal consideration, before a final decision is made and acted on)

    • Frank, you’ve probably been wondering why people refer to Trump supporters as “asshats.” Well, it’s because they have their heads so far up their asses that they can no longer discern between truth and bullshit.

  9. “Criticism about how the WHO handled China is resonating well beyond the White House. Japan’s deputy Prime Minister recently called the WHO the “China Health Organization.” Nearly 1 million people have signed an online petition calling for Tedros to resign.” – The Washington Post

    “Some American commentators and Democratic politicians are aghast at Donald Trump and Republicans for referring to the pandemic as the “Wuhan virus” and repeatedly pointing to China as the source of the pandemic. In naming the disease COVID-19, the World Health Organization specifically avoided mentioning Wuhan. Yet in de-emphasizing where the epidemic began (something China has been aggressively pushing for), we run the risk of obscuring Beijing’s role in letting the disease spread beyond its borders.”
    The Atlantic
    As of April 17, 2020

    2,222,427 Confirmed cases worldwide
    149,381 Deaths worldwide

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    “You can call Trump a demagogue, a xenophobe, a misogynist, a bigot, a sexist, an authoritarian, a boor, a crypto-fascist and the least-prepared person ever to be nominated by a major party.” – Mike Littwin

    If you believe the author of that statement can objectively comment on our president, stop…..reading…..here.

    Since Mr. Littwin is no longer watching President Trump’s daily (Wuhan) coronavirus briefings you might think he would at least consider using that time for an unbiased examination of the origins of this global and deadly pandemic.

    Of course, if you thought that you’d be wrong. His ability to ignore things not fitting his narrative is limitless.

    The world is in the midst of a deadly global catastrophe the magnitude and scope of which, outside of war, has been experienced by very few people alive today yet rather than looking for the pandemic’s source Mr. Littwin seems entirely consumed by one of President Trump’s daily (Wuhan) coronavirus briefings.

    This from The Atlantic:

    “The evidence of China’s deliberate cover-up of the corona virus outbreak in Wuhan is a matter of public record. In suppressing information about the virus, doing little to contain it, and allowing it to spread unchecked in the crucial early days and weeks, the regime imperiled not only its own country and its own citizens but also the more than 100 nations now facing their own potentially devastating outbreaks. More perniciously, the Chinese government censored and detained those brave doctors and whistleblowers who attempted to sound the alarm and warn their fellow citizens when they understood the gravity of what was to come.”

    That paragraph contains more information about the Chinese government’s attempt to cover up the origins of this horrific and deadly global pandemic than Mr. Littwin has been willing to discuss since the pandemic began.

    The Atlantic wasn’t alone in pointing out the Chinese government’s mishandling of the (Wuhan) coronavirus, this from the New York Times:

    “The (Chinese) government’s initial handling of the epidemic allowed the virus to gain a tenacious hold. At critical moments, (Chinese) officials chose to put secrecy and order ahead of openly confronting the growing crisis to avoid public alarm and political embarrassment.”

    “A reconstruction of the crucial seven weeks between the appearance of the first symptoms in early December and the (Chinese) government’s decision to lock down the city, based on two dozen interviews with Wuhan residents, doctors and officials, on (Chinese) government statements and on Chinese media reports, points to decisions that delayed a concerted public health offensive.”

    The Diplomat painted a far darker picture and asked far darker questions:

    “Clearly, downplaying the disease wasn’t working and it was time for the (Chinese Communist) Party to get serious. But how serious? Would it provide full cooperation to the international community? Would being seen as the source of this virus hurt its international image? Beyond these, there was a darker dimension: the more Beijing cooperated, the less the disease stood to affect other countries. This includes countries China sees as a threat to its existence, like the United States. Why should China suffer the effects of a pandemic while others stayed safe — and increased their strength relative to China — based on China’s own costly experience?”

    Mr. Littwin is not a China apologist (“The Chinese government is corrupt and cruel, murderers and worse.”) but even he is not about to address any of those loaded questions. Not now, not ever, never.

    He is far more interested in using the pandemic as a cudgel to beat our president than providing an overview of its Chinese origins. During a week when CNN reported, “The US recorded its highest number of coronavirus deaths in a day” you might think Mr. Littwin would change. Sadly, he hasn’t.

    He is so blinded by his pathological dislike of President Trump he is incapable of/unwilling to objectively examine and put into perspective the origins of a global pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 150,000 worldwide.

    Mr. Littwin’s stubborn refusal to examine China’s shameful role in this deadly global pandemic puts him on the wrong side of history because history will examine extensively, objectively and thoroughly how and where the (Wuhan) coronavirus pandemic started, whether it could have been contained and the worldwide changes it precipitated.

    ***********************

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    Tina Griego, managing editor Colorado Independent

    “We’re funded by donations from our readers, charitable gifts, community partnerships and foundations.”
    Holly Armstrong, board chair Colorado Independent

    “Thank you for your readership and encouragement. Please take good care of yourselves and each other.” 
    Susan Greene, Editor and executive director

    • “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”

      “China is not in great shape right now, unfortunately. But they’re working very hard. We’ll see what happens. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries.”

      “I just spoke to President Xi last night, and, you know, we’re working on the — the problem, the virus. It’s a — it’s a very tough situation. But I think he’s going to handle it. I think he’s handled it really well. We’re helping wherever we can.”

      “Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!”

      “They’re working really hard, and I think they are doing a very professional job. They’re in touch with World — the World — World Organization. CDC also. We’re working together. But World Health is working with them. CDC is working with them. I had a great conversation last night with President Xi. It’s a tough situation. I think they’re doing a very good job.”

      “I think China is very, you know, professionally run in the sense that they have everything under control,”

      “I really believe they are going to have it under control fairly soon. You know in April, supposedly, it dies with the hotter weather. And that’s a beautiful date to look forward to. But China I can tell you is working very hard.”

      “I spoke with President Xi, and they’re working very, very hard. And I think it’s all going to work out fine.”

      “I think they’ve handled it professionally and I think they’re extremely capable and I think President Xi is extremely capable”

      “I think he’s doing a very good job. It’s a big problem. But President Xi loves his country. He’s working very hard to solve the problem, and he will solve the problem. OK?”

      “I think right now they have it — it looks like they’re getting it under control more and more. They’re getting it more and more under control.”

      “China seems to be making tremendous progress. Their numbers are way down. … I think our relationship with China is very good.”

      “We’ve been working very closely. They’ve been talking to our people, we’ve been talking to their people, having to do with the virus.”

      ——————————-

      So I guess the real question, is whether President* Bobo is by definition a liar or a dumbass.

      Logically…according to his own statements above…he has to be one or the other.

      Which is it?

      • Somehow, Jay. I don’t read of anyone else who spoke to President of Chinas, who is writing on websites. So you must be a member of Joe Biden’s family, since they seem to have had close contact with what happens there. Would you mind explaining, why you are so enthused about their means of control. I watched a video few days ago, of family of 4 in Wuhan city, who were forceably removed from their apartment, it was sanitized, the door was then welded shut, and fence installed around that entire building, filling whole block, with police at measured distances around, and everyone in that building was quarantined . Food and water was handed over fence (on schedule) to occupants from within that building, which was very inconvenient. But it ensure no one left, no one entered after that. You can find that with a search, plus other videos concerning this subject.

  10. Don Lopez, Very complete reply and I may subscribe to ATLANTIC. They had their facts together, and there is a solid question as the original initiation of this Virus. I read of incident in Canada, with bat involved, for incident some years ago. And by study of genomes of this virus, scientists indicated the one in China appeared to be 2nd and mutation of the original. That is why I prefer PROFESSIONALS, not EXPERTS. WAY TOO MANY EXPERTS TODAY, are diciples of Saul Alenskey, who learned from Chicago Mobsters, how to control a village And todays EXPERTS are teaching or in politics, converting Saul’s books and teaching, into how TO CONTROL COUNTRIES, OR LARGE GROUPS. With all trying to develop their own KINGDOM, as Lucifer did in Garden of Eden, and developed his Kingdom, still know as HELL.
    Thank you for focusing the problem. Too much MSM is owned by 6 Corporations, and controlling most of what we read in Newspapers, see or hear on Television, or Magazines. Very few give both sides (or more) of any issue. (We did much better in Colorado, when we had Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News competing), with all the other minor, local papers or communication.

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