Alden Graves | Graves Registry: Donald Trump's exceedingly crummy week

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"This is one of the worst nights of my life. What is wrong with this country?" - Mary L. Trump on Uncle Donald's election

I guess the only lessons we all can take away from the Trump presidency is to watch those treacherous ramps and to stay on good terms with your niece. Pretty slim pickings for four years of hell.

Between the ominous rumblings of Mary Trump's book in late July and the cracks of thunder emanating from John Bolton's tell-all about his short tenure as Trump's national security advisor, two landmark Supreme Court decisions, and a much-touted rally that fizzled, it's a wonder that the president can drag himself out of bed to watch "Fox and Friends" in the morning.

Before I go any further with this, I want to state that I hold few people in lower regard than John Bolton, a universally disliked, shoot-first bully with a cartoon demeanor and an arrogant brashness, who has been a consistently destructive voice during two administrations. He was a big booster of the weapons of mass destruction myth during the Bush II years and he peddled lies about the precariousness of Hillary Clinton's health. Bolton dissolved the Global Health Security team in May of 2018, which severely compromised the country's ability to respond to pandemics, infectious disease, and other biological threats.

Being wrong about almost everything never dissuades John Bolton from his opinion that he is still the smartest guy in the room.

In April of 2018, the other smartest guy in the room appointed Bolton as his third national security advisor after Michael Flynn had to turn his attention to staying out of jail and H. R. McMaster was forced out after disagreeing with Trump's suspicious coddling of Russia. But, you can't have two smartest guys in the same room for too long, so Mr. Bolton followed the other hordes of Trump appointees out the exit door in September of 2019. He objected to the president using his office to intimidate foreign governments into supporting his reelection.

Bolton could have testified as to his concern about Trump's blatant extortion attempts during the impeachment hearings, but he opted instead to save the salvos for a book for which he would reap a $2 million advance. I have no desire to read anything by a man with so little regard for the good of the country he has supposedly served for most of his professional life. I don't need any shameless opportunist's tract to further convince me that Donald ("Is Finland part of Russia?") Trump is an intellectual void and morally unfit for his job.

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Conservatives tend to be big on protecting Second Amendment rights, but they don't seem very much concerned about the tenets of the First unless they involve defending whack job conspiracy theories or calling someone a vicious name. Dusting off the old "national security threat" ploy, the administration tried to halt the publication of Bolton's book.

On June 20, a federal judge stated in a 10-page decision, "For reasons that hardly need to be stated, the Court will not order a nationwide seizure and destruction of a political memoir."

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Trump pinned the obligatory "dope" label on Bolton, prompting a question from a reporter who asked him why he hired so many dopes for top-level positions in the government. Trump's ensuing expression should be added to dictionaries as an illustration of the word "dumbfounded," with the accent firmly fixed on dumb.

The green light on releasing Bolton's money grab came soon after the Supreme Court, carefully stocked by the nice people who think other people should be penalized because they aren't like them, betrayed that noble principle by handing down a decision that forbids employers from discriminating against workers because of their sexual orientation. It seemed like a conclusion that should merely serve as a reaffirmation of the precepts that all decent societies choose to embrace, but the so-called Christian right regard it as a roadblock to their incessant hate mongering.

And, as if that wasn't enough, in a 5-4 decision, the Court upheld an Obama-era law protecting the rights of 700,000 people who have met the conditions of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to stay in this country.

Having to put up with Trump's embarrassing ineptness hardly seems worth it if conservatives can't even manage to stock the courts.

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Mary Trump is the daughter of Fred Trump, Jr., who died of complications from alcoholism in 1981 at the age of 42. Ms. Trump is an accomplished scholar, with a master's degree in English Literature from Columbia University and a master's and Ph.D from Adelphi in clinical psychology. Even with those impressive credentials, trying to figure out Uncle Donald must have presented a virtual Mount Everest of challenges.

She was the source of the New York Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning expose of the Trump family's underhanded efforts to avoid paying estate taxes due to the country when the patriarch died in 1999. Her new book is tellingly titled "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man."

I'm sure that Mr. Trump regarded his big rally in Tulsa, Okla. the way a thirsty camel looks at an oasis. Unfortunately, at least for him, there was a mirage element to the big night. The "million people" who wanted tickets didn't bother to show up in droves, leaving embarrassing pockets of bright blue empty seats in the auditorium.

The president spoke about the advantages of cutting back on testing for the coronavirus as a sure way to reduce those troubling numbers. It was quintessential Trump jabberwocky, but the empty seats might be evidence that even the most dedicated supporters are starting to see through it.

P. T. Barnum once said that "there is one born every minute," but that doesn't mean they will always stay that way.

— Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Banner.


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