The Gutting of Donald Trump

Donald Trump holds a press conference and then speaks at a lunch for the Staten Island GOP, April 17, 2016.

BY KRISTEN PRATA BROWDE  |  It’s no secret that the Republican establishment has never been happy with the loudmouthed RINO who captured the party’s nomination and, against all odds, despite losing the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, was elected the 45th President of the United States.

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Since his surprise  election Donald Trump has tried to position himself as the leader of the Republican party. But if anyone – especially the Orange Menace himself – thought the establishment was simply going roll over and worship at the faux golden throne, they were unquestionably wrong.

This week the Empire struck back, ensuring that while Donald Trump can spend the next years posing as President, riding the helicopters, holding the occasional media circus styled as a press conference and tweeting anything he wants, other than in time of war tweeting may be the limit of Trump’s power.

Amidst the media palpitating over  Meryl Streep’s Golden Globe broadside at Trump and Trump’s nonsensical lie tweeted back at Streep, while Trump was complaining that the same kind of leak that he loved when it destroyed Hillary Clinton was a Nazi tactic when it related to him, Vice President elect Mike Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell pushed two pieces of legislation that effectively gut the power of their nominally Republican president.

The only question as I write this is whether Trump will see the knives coming, take out a veto pen and visibly break with the only people in Washington who will even pretend to tolerate him, or whether Trump will roll over, accepting Pence, Ryan and McConnell as his new controllers, and happily toddle off to play with his phone and his toys, while leaving actual governing to the people who bloodlessly and efficiently gutted him, killing the Trump Presidency before it officially began.

With two cunning and utterly decisive blows, both hidden in plain sight, the establishment began a pincer movement that has cut Trump off from any possibility of doing anything that might contradict the right wing mind meld. Here’s how that happened without so much as a 140 character complaint.

  • While everyone is transfixed by the leak of the Intelligence Summary that showed that Trump is a serious perv with conflicts of interest and links to Russia that go far beyond anything previously revealed, and with the confirmation hearings for Trump’s cabinet nominees, who range from the completely unacceptable to the completely unqualified sucking up the remaining media attention, Congress is in the process of passing a law that will effectively prevent any important regulation by the executive branch or its agencies – a bill initially proposed by Rand Paul a couple of years ago. Under the legislation, now known as the Reins Act, any proposed “major” regulation would require a joint resolution of Congress approving the  proposed regulation. Likelihood of such a joint resolution passing: none. This means that executive branch and agency rule making concerning anything from the environment to poultry inspection will effectively be eliminated.
  • Congress has already passed a bill allowing Congress to cut any government employee’s salary – even a supposedly protected non political civil servant’s salary – to $1, effectively firing them, with a simple majority vote, by simply attaching an amendment to any bill. This is why Pence and crew demanded names of those who’d worked on issues like global warming and womens’ rights. They’re planning to use this provision of law, known as the Holman Rule, to eliminate expertise in any area of government they find to be politically incorrect.

There are only two possibilities at this point. The first one: Trump is so out of touch and busy tweeting that he doesn’t even notice that he’s being gutted…and that future presidents will face the same problems unless he vetoes the Reins Act and works to eliminate the Holman Rule.

The second: that Trump is aware but unconcerned, because his desire was not to actually be President, which takes work, but to win the Presidency and be able to boast and tweet about it in order to push his family’s money making interests around the world.

If all this sounds familiar, think back to North Carolina and what wannabe potty policeman McCrory and his republican cronies did after McCrory was flushed in the election – they stripped the incoming Governor of power. That’s what’s going on right now…while Trump – and most of us – are thinking about Trump’s ridiculous response to Hollywood putdowns and getting diverted into other, more visible, and thus more headline grabbing insanity, the incoming power, the Republican Congress, is moving to essentially take over the rest of the government.

And add to that an incoming President, elected by a minority of voters, whose already sagging popularity is certain to be devastated by the release this past Tuesday of a 35 page intelligence report, which, if true, suggests that Trump could be indicted at any minute for anything from conspiring with Russia to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying off Chinese officials and you’re left with a President, who if he’s not removed from office, is likely to be the weakest Chief Executive in the history of the United States… which wouldn’t be bad but for the fact that it leaves power in the hands of the radical Christian extremists who’ve taken over the Republican apparatus.

And that’s bad for everyone, especially anyone LGBT.

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