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December 28th

The Year In Review In One Three-Hour Event

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Memo to Donald Trump: THANK YOU?

I mean, the man has impeccable timing. He did a thing right at the end of the year that really encompasses the 2018 version of the Trump Era, making it very convenient to write about as a year-end wrap up. Because if 2017 was the year of I Can’t Believe This Is Happening, 2018 was the year of I Can’t Believe People Can’t Believe This Is Still Happening Someone Please Stop It.

And right at the end of 2018, Donald Trump made a surprise visit to Iraqi troops. He did so reluctantly, of course, because he is, by his own admission, terrified of the slightest whiff of danger. He did so only when it became painfully apparent that his failure to do so was becoming a political liability, and if he did it once, his legions of apologists could safely go forth asking detractors “What more do you want?”

And in true Trump fashion, in three hours, he somehow managed to fuck it up in every possible way, because he’s quite bad at his job.

He turned it into a narcissistic ego stroke, signing MAGA hats for troops. When it was pointed out that this was probably in violation of a few rules about the politicization of the military, his administration turned on the HOW DARE YOU ATTACK THE TROOPS WHO LOVE TRUMP klaxon on full blast.

He turned it into a political rally by bringing party politics and the shutdown into nearly everything he said, because at his core, he’s a tacky, petty motherfucker with a weird dick and he’s responding to his pledge to own the shutdown and not blame Pelosi by spending the past week not owning the shutdown and blaming Pelosi. While, as a quick aside, the “liberal” network constantly asks guests how the Democrats might be willing to compromise because even if Trump’s not going to follow the important norms, American journalism is sure as hell going to follow its shitty ones. Right into the Gulags v2.0.

And he fucking lied right to the troops faces about some mythical 10% pay raise he supposedly got them. Are you kidding me? These people look at their fucking paychecks. The military doesn’t pay them enough to let them not look at their fucking paychecks. They’ve got to know they didn’t get a 10% raise, but Trump doesn’t care about the lie, he cares about getting away with the lie.

But as the ultimate topper, Trump and his team posted a video of his trip to Twitter. A video that exposed the faces and identities of Seal Team 5 in direct violation of operational security. Now, I’m not going to hyperbolically scream about PUTTING THE TROOPS IN DANGER because it probably doesn’t matter much, but it’s still an example of him getting the most basic shit about his job wrong through complete apathy and coasting through it because Republicans now support him because they support him and nothing can change that.

And then the Pentagon said it was fine, because, well, their boss just got fired for saying maybe Trump shouldn’t have done the crazy stupid* thing he just did.

And, at the end of the day at the end of the year, he got away with it. He got away with all of it. Maybe 2019 will be different thanks to the election. I hope so. But the extent to which Republican-constructed systems support this fucking dolt and the extent to which all the other Washington systems coddle and enable him is clearly very difficult to overcome. Because he’s not doing ANYTHING well and he’s still fine, politically and presidentially. Fuck this year.

*Yes, it’s possible to simultaneously be critical of the US’s involvement in half a dozen different Middle East forever wars and simultaneously think Trump’s method for ending one or two of them over Twitter is capricious and dangerous. It’s called nuance, Republicans. Look it up sometime. Then find a fifth-grader to explain to you what you just looked up.