On Monday morning, Donald Trump celebrated Labor Day in the traditional fashion … by publicly deriding the leader of the largest labor union in the United States.
“Richard Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO, represented his union poorly on television this weekend”, Trump tweeted, just before lunchtime on Monday, adding that “some of the things he said were so against the working men and women of our country, and the success of the U.S. itself, that it is easy to see why unions are doing so poorly.”
An inspirational message for working Americans to be sure.
Trump has been seething for days. Last week, he was widely rebuked for his underwhelming response to the death of Senator John McCain, with whom Trump clashed on a number of occasions. On Saturday, during McCain’s memorial, Trump played golf in Virginia and tweeted insults at Canada. It’s not clear whether he would have attended McCain’s funeral even if he was welcome, but he wasn’t – welcome that is. In fact, he was not invited in accordance with the late Senator’s wishes, a true testament to the “deplorable” state of the presidency.
In another blow to the President’s ego, the world discovered on Monday that Colin Kaepernick is one of the faces of Nike’s new campaign commemorating the 30th anniversary of the company’s “Just Do It” motto. The tagline for Kaepernick’s ad: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Needless to say, that won’t please Trump, who is itching for another fight with the NFL over anthem protests.
Meanwhile, the President is grappling with the reality of multiple legal setbacks including, but by no means limited to, Michael Cohen’s guilty plea, Paul Manafort’s conviction and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg’s immunity deal.
Those are the high profile stories, but the Samuel Patten plea marked yet another bit of incremental evidence to support the collusion allegations and George Papadopoulos is in the news again, which is never good news for Trump.
On top of it all, White House counsel Don McGahn is now on his way out the door, and while his exit doesn’t come as a complete surprise, it follows an in-depth report from The New York Times that detailed McGahn’s extensive cooperation with Robert Mueller.
The mounting legal problems have prompted Trump to launch an all-out smear campaign against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is now almost certain to be fired after the midterms.
Read more on Jeff Sessions
Well, on Monday, Trump decided it would be a good idea to lament the indictment of New York Republican congressman Chris Collins and California Representative Duncan Hunter.
Hunter was charged last month with misuse of campaign funds and Collins was involved in a truly hilarious insider trading scheme documented here in “Insider Trading For Dummies, With Chris Collins, New York Republican And Early Trump Supporter“.
Collins and Hunter were Trump’s first two supporters on Capitol Hill and their cases could well have a psychological impact on voters who are undecided headed into the midterms.
“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department”, the President tweeted on Monday afternoon, chiding the Attorney General, before blaming him for putting “two easy wins in doubt because there’s is not enough time.”
“Good job Jeff”, a disgusted Trump mockingly continued.
And he wasn’t done. This is what came next:
The Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now. Same thing with Lyin’ James Comey. The Dems all hated him, wanted him out, thought he was disgusting – UNTIL I FIRED HIM! Immediately he became a wonderful man, a saint like figure in fact. Really sick!
It’s always a risky proposition to declare any one Trump Twitter tirade to be the “craziest” of them all because usually, he upstages himself within hours if not minutes. But it’s safe to say Monday’s broadside against the Justice Department ranks right up there with the most autocratic things the President has ever tweeted.
“This, by the way, is next level crazy, inappropriate, unethical, stupid, incriminating”, an incredulous Preet Bharara said, after reading the tweets excerpted above.
“Repeatedly trying to pervert the DOJ into a weapon to go after his adversaries, and now shamelessly complaining that DOJ should protect his political allies to maintain his majority in the midterms, is nothing short of an all out assault on the rule of law”, Sally Yates warned.
“This is not the conduct of a President committed to defending and upholding the constitution, but rather a President looking to use the Department of Justice to settle political scores”, Jeff Flake chimed in.
The most scathing rebuke of all (so far) came from Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who issued an actual statement on Monday that reads as follows:
The United States is not some banana republic with a two-tiered system of justice — one for the majority party and one for the minority party. These two men have been charged with crimes because of evidence, not because of who the President was when the investigations began. Instead of commenting on ongoing investigations and prosecutions, the job of the President of the United States is to defend the Constitution and protect the impartial administration of justice.
Just to be clear, this is an absolute PR nightmare for the White House and you can bet there are already at least a half dozen folks in damage control mode over at 1600 Penn.
Additionally, this is just further evidence of Trump’s penchant for obstruction of justice and really, it’s not even clear that what he said is wholly legal.
What the nation saw on Monday was the President of the United States openly suggesting that the Justice Department should not indict criminals if it might lead to an unfavorable outcome in an election.
On can only assume that logic will also apply to his own indictment if and when it finally rolls around.