Alden Graves | Graves Registry: Trump's tower of lies


Donald Trump probably flashed his Barnum and Bailey gloat over the election of another avowed racist among Republican ranks in the United States Senate. The rest of us can just comfort ourselves with a kind of fatalistic resignation. What did we expect? For God's sake, we are talking about Mississippi here.

Cindi Hyde-Smith, a living embodiment of the conservative obsession with things that should have been buried and left to molder decades ago, has, among other outrageously inflammatory remarks, told a supporter that she would enjoy taking a front row seat at a hanging. Mississippi has a long history of hangings and the folks there seem to resent implications about the state's dark past from outsiders who just don't understand their way of doin' things.

When cornered by the remark, Hyde-Smith utilized a tactic often employed by master equivocator and devoted preacher's daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders to finesse one of her boss's multitude of vocal blunders: The remark was "taken out of context."

In what context, I would like to know, is an expressed fondness for enjoying a public execution not offensive to any civilized sensibilities? What is wrong with these people?

"If I offended anyone," Ms. Hyde-Smith intoned in that syrupy southern belle drawl you pave a parking lot with, "I apologize."

The fact that Hyde-Smith won should have surprised no one. The fact that she had such a difficult time doing it should give everyone hope that, even in a state so enamored of its checkered history as Mississippi, there might be a better future ahead.

In the meantime, however, after the GOP's midterm shellacking in the House, Mitch McConnell is calling for "bipartisan spirit." McConnell and bipartisanship — I would devote the rest of this column to one word, "ha-ha-ha," but I'm sure you get the point.

Donald Trump is still wandering through the delusionary wonderland that his wife only heightened with the installation of tacky-looking red Christmas trees in one of the rooms at the White House. The Queen of Hearts would be delighted even if Jackie Kennedy is probably spinning in her grave. If he gazes out the window of the house he once called "a real dump," he might notice some birds on the lawn.

Those are chickens, Mr. Trump, and they are coming home to roost.

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Trump is fond of trumpeting himself as the worker's best friend, a man whose heart beats to the rhythm of the labors of the working class. He has, of course, about as much connection with middle-class, working people as Liberace did with a stevedore.

Richard Nixon called his supporters "suckers" and Trump is casting his base in the same role, honing in on the plight of people in economically depressed areas of the country like a heat-seeking missile.

He promises rose gardens where once there were only unemployment lines. They are, perhaps, the most despicable lies of all the ones Trump peddles in his megalomaniacal quest for attention and power. Coal is never coming back to past levels of consumption in this country and we all should be thankful for that. Unlike many of the statements the president makes that are mostly founded in ignorance, even he knows the truth about the shift away from fossil fuels. So his promises to desperate people who have, for generations, made their livings mining coal in West Virginia and Ohio are not said with any sense of concern for them. I'm not sure Donald Trump is even capable of manifesting any real concern for anything beyond his own best interests. He is the consummate user and these hurting people are simply a means to an end for him.

Trump has, in actuality, done two things that have the potential to inflict catastrophic damage on the working class in America. His so-called "historic tax reform" is the gift that keeps on giving for the rich in this country. It is so disliked — and rightfully so — by the middle class that GOP candidates hardly dared mention it during the midterm elections. The national debt has ballooned to 17 percent over last year's figure and (big surprise here) corporations have not invested their windfalls back into the workforce, they have used the money to buy back their own stock.

He has also presided over the appointment of two men to the United States Supreme Court who have consistently demonstrated throughout their careers a zero affinity for the rights and the welfare of American workers. And Gorsuch and Kavanaugh will be with us long after Trump is just a name we never want to hear spoken again.

The president was fuming over General Motors' recent decision to reduce its workforce by cutting 14,000 jobs and ceasing operations in five plants in North America. This was a stunning blow to a man who has thus far managed to detract the public's attention from his sleazy private shenanigans and shady business dealings by touting a relatively strong economy as evidence of his peerless leadership. GM heightened the blow by announcing that it intended to maintain operations in China and Mexico without any layoffs. The two countries are consistently in Trump's crosshairs.

What GM's decision more accurately reflects is a relaxation of the fears — both corporate and congressional — of invoking the wrath of an unstable man who has a long history of making terrible business deals and then watching as GOP majorities in both houses of Congress follow meekly along.

Those days, Mr. Trump, are over with.

Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Banner.


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