NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, August 24th, 2020

Scandals and ethics violations abound as the 2020 Republican National Convention begins

Don­ald Trump flew to Char­lotte on Mon­day morn­ing to greet Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion del­e­gates, but found an audi­ence and could not resist pour­ing out his mul­ti­ple griev­ances and untruths for near­ly an hour.

The 2020 Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion has become an exer­cise of indulging Trump, and talk­ing to and try­ing to hold onto the Trump base.

Non-loy­al­ists need not watch.

Nev­er – ever – has such chaos, so many scan­dals, and so much mock­ery sur­round­ed a man in the Oval Office at such a moment.

As the con­ven­tion began, twen­ty-sev­en for­mer mem­bers of Con­gress and sev­en­ty nation­al secu­ri­ty offi­cials from Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tions declared their intent to vote for Joe Biden. The list includ­ed arch-con­ser­v­a­tive for­mer Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors Jeff Flake and Gor­don Humphrey, and ex-Vir­ginia Sen­a­tor John Warn­er.

For­mer RNC Chair Michael Steele, now an MSNBC pun­dit, announced on the air that he’s join­ing anti-Trump Repub­li­can activists of The Lin­coln Project.

News came from Cal­i­for­nia: A judge has ordered Trump to pay $44,000 in legal fees to adult film star and for­mer para­mour Storny Daniels.

As morn­ing turned to mid­day, scan­dal was envelop­ing on-leave Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty Pres­i­dent Jer­ry Fal­well Jr., an ear­ly evan­gel­i­cal sup­port­er of the forty-fifth pres­i­dent. The scan­dal involved a Mia­mi hotel pool boy who came to know Mrs. Fal­well – bib­li­cal­ly. The for­mer pool boy claimed that Fal­well liked to watch from a cor­ner.

The day end­ed with Fal­well, Jr., offer­ing his res­ig­na­tion to Lib­er­ty trustees, and then tak­ing it back. He con­firmed his wife’s affair, denied tak­ing part in it, and claimed the ex-pool boy was a black­mail­er.

It is hard to fath­om what hits Trump on a day to day basis, and the lat­est crony to turn on him or be caught up by jus­tice, or let off the hook.

Steve Ban­non was a dark arts influ­ence on the 2016 Trump cam­paign, as strate­gist in the run for the White House and lat­er “chief strate­gist” for Trump.

He was caught — by U.S. Postal Ser­vice inspec­tors no less — skim­ming hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars for per­son­al use out of a pri­vate fund designed to help build a wall on the coun­try’s south­ern bor­der. It is a sim­ple case of fraud.

Owing to his great dis­com­fort with being asso­ci­at­ed with peo­ple whose wrong­do­ing has caught up with them, Trump has had to devel­op a hard­ly-knew-him expla­na­tion for one close ex-sub­or­di­nate after anoth­er.

He claimed to have dis­ap­proved of the pri­vate build-the-wall fund, only to have tele­vi­sion net­works unearth a speech by Don­ald Junior endors­ing the scheme.

The day of the con­ven­tion also saw New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al Leti­tia James ask a judge to order Eric Trump to tes­ti­fy, and the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion to turn over infor­ma­tion, as part of an inves­ti­ga­tion into whether Trump’s busi­ness improp­er­ly inflat­ed assets. Don Jr. spoke Mon­day night to the con­ven­tion.

Eric Trump is on the bill for Tues­day.

This past week­end, pri­or to the begin­ning of the RNC, niece Mary Trump released hours of secret­ly taped con­ver­sa­tions with the forty-fifth’s president’s old­er sis­ter Maryanne Trump Bar­ry, a retired fed­er­al appel­late court judge. “His [exple­tive] tweet and the lying, oh my God,” said Trump Bar­ry. “I’m talk­ing too freely, but you know. The change of sto­ries. The lack of prepa­ra­tion. The lying.”

Judge Berry has rarely spo­ken of her broth­er, but was scathing on the tape, say­ing: “It’s the phoni­ness of it all. It’s the phoni­ness and this cru­el­ty. Don­ald is cru­el Don­ald is out for Don­ald, peri­od.”

It has been twen­ty-four years since a Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, Sen­a­tor Bob Dole, asked: “Where’s the out­rage in Amer­i­ca?”

He was react­ing to Clin­ton fundrais­ing, notably then Vice Pres­i­dent Al Gore attend­ing a fundrais­er with Bud­dhist monks.

The ques­tion rever­ber­ates to 2020. Oppo­nents of Trump end­less­ly spot­light the head­lines on their Face­book pages. Still, a chunk of the elec­torate – approach­ing forty per­cent – stays loy­al to a ser­i­al liar sur­round­ed by crooks.

Don­ald Trump’s job approval rat­ings have stayed pret­ty steady over the past five months. The base is with him. The Repub­li­can Par­ty has become a Trump cult and, if you look at the speak­ers list, a Trump fam­i­ly enter­prise.

And that is what the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion — real­ly the Trump Nation­al Con­ven­tion — is all about. Hold­ing the base and bestow­ing adu­la­tion on the chief.

With mil­lions unem­ployed, and the coro­n­avirus death total approach­ing 180,000, every­thing is about him. Don­ald Trump is a mas­sive­ly self-absorbed human being.

Each of the past week’s scan­dals would have con­sumed anoth­er pres­i­dent.

But we are, in a sick­en­ing way, see­ing this as busi­ness-as-usu­al.

The pres­i­dent as mob boss, the crimes and ripoffs, the fam­i­ly intrigue, the sub­or­di­nates (like Mike Pom­peo and Bill Barr) ready to do any­thing.

If Joe Biden wins, he’ll be charged with res­cu­ing both Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment and Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy from a deep ditch… in the midst of a pan­dem­ic.

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