Over the past month, every day seems to have been the worst day of the Trump presidency, only to find itself superseded by the day that follows it. When was the last piece of good news? When was the last action that did not seem self-destructive? We’ve gone from the Taliban almost being the guests of the American taxpayer at Camp David, to the whistleblower controversy, to the release of the Trump-Zelensky phone call transcript, to the gobsmacking late-night phone call with an American adversary that all but destroyed decades of painstaking American foreign policy efforts to assure those we seek to engage with that we can be trusted not to get them killed. Donald Trump has an odd habit of creating more bad news to accompany the bad news he’s already created—leading people to see in this behavior a strategy designed to make us all shut down because it’s all just too freakin’ much.
That said, Thursday the 17th of October was surely the worst day of the Trump presidency—so much so that it’s hard to imagine Friday the 18th outdoing it. It was a day that began in the morning with Trump’s EU ambassador testifying before Congress that something untoward really had been happening in the U.S.-Ukraine relationship. Then we transitioned to the jaw-dropping press conference given by acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, a man whose overweening arrogance radiated off him like heat. First, he breezily informed us that the G-20 meeting next year will take place at a Trump property, and quoted an anonymous person on the site selection committee talking about how perfect Doral is. Then he breezily informed us that, sure, the Trump administration was seeking some political help from Ukraine and willing to trade favors for it, and we should all just grow up.
The fact is that he was talking about getting help getting to the bottom of a lunatic theory about the Democratic National Committee’s compromised 2016 servers and not about getting dirt on Joe Biden, which at least provides Trump cover in the form of the argument that his administration is just trying to root out the true story of 2016. But Mulvaney was too in love with the sound of his own combative voice to realize that he was speaking in a way that could get Trump impeached… and, for the very first time in this whole mess, possibly removed.
And as soon as that horror show was over came the press conference in Ankara, at which an oleaginous Mike Pence celebrated the deal he and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had just secured with Turkey—a deal that threatens to turn the stab-in-the-back of the Kurds into a direct and unquestionable stab-in-the-front. The Turks are getting everything they wanted. The world now knows what friendship with the United States could cost anyone foolish enough to imagine they might make common cause with us. And the Turks won’t even bother to call what they’re doing a “ceasefire” because they know they have us on the ropes here and want to make it clear they have bested the United States.
So, yeah, tomorrow has to be better. Unless it isn’t. So it probably won’t be. Hold on to your hats.