Trump Terrible 10: Tax Scam Edition
“There is no justice, the rich win, the poor are powerless. We become tired of hearing people lie.” — “The Verdict” (1982), screenplay by David Mamet
I’m still not surprised by Donald Trump’s disgraceful performance in office. By the time he was elected it was clear how dishonest, corrupt, bigoted, incompetent, and just plain vile he is. What is dismaying is how many Republicans — in Congress, in his administration, and across the country — are willing to tolerate this sick behavior to get what they want. They should be treating Trump like a sad, irrelevant Humpty Dumpty egg on a throne, and work with the Democrats to address the challenges facing middle-class, working Americans. But they don’t care about any of that.
Now the Senate has passed a disgraceful tax bill, with 51 of 52 GOP senators voting yes. The bill not only validates the presidency of an unfit, malevolent should-not-be-president; it also transfers billions from the middle class to the ultra-rich, meaning Donald Trump himself, and the biggest Republican donors. This was, in many ways, the worst moment so far in an ugly year for America.
So who’s responsible? Glad you asked, because:
Since 2017, Republic Report‘s “Trump Terrible 10” has ranked the week’s 10 most disgraceful figures in Trump world.
Republic Report, which focuses on how money corrupts democracy, has met its abusive dream mate with the kleptocratic administration of President Donald J. Trump. Trump and his lieutenants personify how money and greed, mixed with disrespect for constitutional values, know-nothing ignorance, serious bigotry, and an endless capacity for lying, can really, really corrupt democracy.
Permanent spoiler alert: We can’t imagine anyone other than Donald Trump, Sr., ever occupying the top spot in the rankings. But we won’t get tired of him winning. Believe me.
10. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chair, Senate Finance Committee. Last week’s ranking: ―
Hatch whined and complained every time Senate Democrats tried to bring the truth into his committee’s tax bill debate. Most things he says of substance are first whispered, loud enough for us all to hear, by an aide into Hatch’s ear. She apparently wasn’t around to whisper when Hatch this week told MSNBC that, as presidents go, Trump is “one of the best I’ve served under.”
9. Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury. Last week’s ranking: ―
Mnuchin kept claiming that his Treasury Department was preparing for release a full analysis of the tax bill. But that didn’t happen, and Senator Elizabeth Warren rightly asked Treasury’s inspector general to investigate whether the Secretary acted improperly. I’m sure Mnuchin, worth hundreds of millions himself, and tax-conscious wife Louise won’t care what the IG says, because they’re gonna make millions more from this deal.
8. Susan Collins, United States Senator (R-ME). Last week’s ranking ―
Next election, Collins will likely get many of the votes of the billionaires in Maine. No one else should vote for her.
7. Apple, Google, Facebook, Uber, and other tech giants. Last week’s ranking: ―
The big tech companies want us to believe they’re cool, and that they’re kinda on our side against Trump. But they lobbied hard to pass a Republican tax bill that gives them numerous ways to get more money, while their customers, and people who can’t afford their services, will pay more money.
6. General Michael Flynn (US Army-Retired), former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. Last week’s ranking: ―
Decent folk may now see Flynn as our potential new best friend – yay. But Flynn has now admitted that while serving as the president’s national security advisor, he lied to FBI agents. And he’s done a lot of other dishonest, corrupt things in the past few years. Luckily the people he may be informing on to Robert Mueller are just as disgraceful.
5. John McCain, United States Senator (R-AZ). Last week’s ranking: ―
Sometimes it looks like McCain is a man of great integrity. But given all the times he’s voted for dishonest, predatory special interests, it seems more likely that what motivates him sometimes to take a bold stand is just spite. He’s not a saint; he’s a troll.
4. Charles and David Koch, billionaires. Last week’s ranking: ―
They are getting almost everything they want from the Trump administration — huge tax breaks, greater leeway to pollute and overheat the planet. Which isn’t surprising, because administration heavyweights like Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Don McGahn, Marc Short, and Scott Pruitt have long been their paid stooges. Worse, the Kochs have helped fund the ugly Project Veritas sting/deceptive editing operation.
3. Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States. Last week’s ranking: 9
Robert Mueller already has the evidence — it’s right in front of our eyes — to nail Trump for obstruction of justice, and he may be closing in on collusion with Russia as well. That’s good. But if that happens, we may be stuck with this Koch stooge / religious fundamentalist / regular liar as president for quite a while. Awesome.
2. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, and Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House. Last week’s ranking: 4
McConnell and Ryan know Trump is disgusting, but they’re getting psyched about standing by his side as the most disgraceful tax bill ever written becomes law. The pair are living monuments to Washington as a corrupt swamp; the men who make the GOP — and thus our federal government in 2017 — a purely pay-to-play operation, where rich individual and corporate donors can buy whatever policy they want in exchange for campaign donations and the promise of future revolving door jobs. Bonus points for circulating a supposed economists’ letter — later highlighted on Twitter by Trump — endorsing the tax bill; the letter’s signers included a possibly nonexistent person, a non-economist office assistant, and a convicted forger.
1. Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. Last week’s ranking: Are you serious?
Our tax victor president is a vile piece of garbage. You already know the details from this lowest of weeks.
Instead of honoring the World War II Navajo Code Talkers, Trump insulted them with a painting of Indian Killer Andrew Jackson and a slur employed to randomly attack Senator Warren.
Trump reportedly is now telling people that the Access Hollywood tape, for which he directly apologized last year, may be fake, and that the Obama birth hoax, which he disgracefully perpetrated before recanting, may again be real. He also reportedly has pressured senators to drop the Russia probe.
Trump poison tweeted in advance of his government shutdown meeting with Chuck and Nancy, thus killing the meeting. Maybe, as has been hinted, Trump did it on purpose because he likes the idea of a shutdown. Or maybe it’s more proof that he just doesn’t understand the, um, art of the deal.
Trump sent avowed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau-hater Mick Mulvaney down the street to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Trump tweet-attacked CNN International as fake, imperiling the safety of journalists and of people whose struggles are highlighted by CNN global reporting.
Trump retweeted sketchy anti-Muslim videos distributed by a racist, xenophobic U.K. group. He ratcheted up support for the bigoted accused child molester Roy Moore, while weighing in like a gossip blog on the scandals of others. His insane bluster regarding North Korea has totally backfired.
And Trump falsely told an audience in Missouri that the tax bill “is going to cost me a fortune, this thing — believe me.” We all learned long ago that while nearly everything Trump says is a lie, you can be sure it’s a lie when he adds his signature assurance, “believe me.”
Trump is again number one — the most disgraceful figure in the Trump administration. Trump is not merely a disgrace; he’s a total and complete disgrace.
This article also appears on HuffPost.