If you were to spend an hour writing down all the scandals, gaffes, and general buffooneries authored by Trump’s White House that you can think of, you would still have only a very incomplete portrait of the abject idiocy and incompetence that pervades the current administration. No politics junkie -- no matter how astute in observation or eidetic in memory -- could possible recall the mélange of follies we’ve seen from him and his people. And I even exclude from this the truly voluminous collection of stupid we saw from candidate and President-Elect Trump, who is president because a sufficient number of Americans failed to heed the myriad red flags. Now we must suffer one of the many consequences: daily national embarrassment.
And so it went Monday, just another day in the reign of President Jackass, who had one very simple task to perform: honor the Native American codetalkers of World War II. It was a task so simple that one might think even a jackass like him could get through it without, well, being a jackass.
One might think that, but one would be wrong.
The Navajo codetalkers played an important role in defeating Imperial Japan. Like many other Native American languages, Navajo is an incredibly idiosyncratic tongue featuring esoteric tonal and syntactical qualities, as well as a total lack of alphabet that could be referenced by an enemy. As such, it made for an ideal means of radio communication, and one which no doubt bewildered Japanese codebreakers listening in. By the time the war ended, hundreds of Navajo were deployed by the U.S. Marine Corps, with most of them acting as codetalkers.
Only in the last couple of decades have the actions of the Navajo codetalkers, as well as those from other tribes like Choctaw, Comanche, and Sioux been recognized. The top secret nature of their wartime work helped delay any public accolades -- a reality that has been rectified by the awarding of numerous Congressional Gold Medals and other official acts.
Monday was Donald Trump’s turn to recognize the codetalkers. That's what this day at the White House was supposed to be about. All he had to do was shake the hands of Fleming Begaye Sr., Thomas Begay, Peter MacDonald, and other codetalkers present, listen intently as they spoke to him, smile, thank them for their service, convey that the United States owes them a debt of gratitude, and that’s it. In other words, Trump had to do what virtually any other human being would and could do in that situation.
And he did, for a little while anyway (and I will very charitably set aside the dubious choice of conducting this event in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson, who signed the Indian Removal Act among other dastardly anti-Native American deeds). After MacDonald spoke for several minutes, Trump took to the lectern and handed his prepared remarks to the veteran and told him that he just spoken from the heart and that there would be no point in following his speech. The president said some kind words and the ceremony appeared to be nearing an uneventful close. But this is President Jackass. To him, every moment is an opportunity to take another big cut in an endless insult home run derby, even if the derby’s outcome is completely meaningless, and even if he's the only participant. All that matters is that if you’re not winning, you’re losing. And as everyone knows, losing is for losers.
So inevitably it happened. Trump was nearly home free, and so were we as a country. For every time Trump Trumps, the national soul dies a little more. Today he Trumped. Again, naturally.
“I just want to thank you because you’re very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who, they say, was here a long time ago. They call her ‘Pocahontas.’”
Trump of course was referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who once cited only a family anecdote to say she was part Cherokee. For this she was roasted during her 2012 Massachusetts senate run by opponent Scott Brown, who holds the title of Emptiest Suit In All of New England Politics. Brown lost the race, after which he moved to New Hampshire to run for U.S. senate in 2014 and promptly lost again. A fervent Trump supporter, Brown was awarded for his bootlicking by President Jackass with an ambassadorship to New Zealand. From the New Englanders' perspective, Brown will end up on the moon by 2020 at this rate, and that will be just fine with them.
Leave it to Trump to revisit that old chestnut and put his dumb Trumpian spin on it. He has referred to Warren as "Pocahontas" 12 times on Twitter alone.
Once again Trump and the people who cover him (and I include your not so humble scribe in this ultimately unhealthy symbiosis) made an event honoring World War II veterans about entirely something else and idiotic. And we help for our own selfish reasons of ratings, pageviews, and just plain catharsis. Of course, there's something to be said for apprising the public of Trump's puerile tantrums, but at a certain point it must be simply assumed that his jackassery will manifest anywhere and everywhere.
Put another way, in a better world it would be news when President Jackass isn't being a jackass, even it means we have nothing to report.