Despite the fact that he's supposedly "learning on the job," he is not learning how to be a decent president. His cruelty and authoritarianism only seem to be escalating, if anything.
He started off the weekend on Friday afternoon by signing an executive order to lift bans on drilling for oil and gas in offshore Arctic and Atlantic areas, then headed off to give a speech to the NRA, where he told them they now "have a true friend and champion in the White House," and: "The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end."
On Saturday, despite Trump's promise that DREAMers shouldn't worry because of his "big heart," ICE "shackled and detained a kid with a pending asylum application on his 18th birthday at a youth shelter," even though "he has sponsors willing to take him in, family in the LA area, and no criminal history."
Saturday night, Trump skipped out on the White House Correspondents Dinner, and instead held a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he lambasted the press: "Media outlets like CNN and MSNBC are fake news. Fake news. ...A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation's capital right now. ...And I could not possibly be more thrilled to be more than 100 miles away from Washington's swamp spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people."
On Sunday morning, Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus appeared on ABC for an interview with Jonathan Karl, during which Priebus said that Trump is "looking at" changing the First Amendment because of unfavorable coverage.
[Video may autoplay at link] Trump also gave an extraordinary interview on Face the Nationwhich this weekend (illustrating once again why anyone who would credit him with approaching diplomacy in good faith is being actively unhelpful):
Donald Trump has said that he believes China's president has been putting pressure on North Korea as it pursues its missile and nuclear weapons programmes—but when asked about whether another nuclear test would mean a military response from the US, Mr Trump said "I don't know...we'll see."During the same interview, Trump made clear he "has no earthly idea how health care works or what's actually built into TrumpCare," as he insisted that preexisting conditions are covered in the latest iteration of the plan. (They are not.)
...Refusing to elaborate on US military options because "we shouldn't be announcing all our moves," Mr Trump added: "It is a chess game. I just don't want people to know what my thinking is."
He called the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un "a pretty smart cookie" for being able to hold onto power after taking over the reclusive Asian nation at a young age.
"People are saying, 'Is he sane?' I have no idea.... but he was a young man of 26 or 27... when his father died," Mr Trump said. He's dealing with obviously very tough people, in particular the generals and others.
"And at a very young age, he was able to assume power. A lot of people, I'm sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else. And he was able to do it. So obviously, he's a pretty smart cookie," Mr Trump added.
He rounded out the weekend by inviting Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who is a brutal dictator, to the White House, on a call that was meant to be "routine diplomatic outreach," and turned out to be anything but.
During their "very friendly conversation," the administration said in a late-night statement, Mr. Trump invited Mr. Duterte, an authoritarian leader accused of ordering extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the Philippines, to visit him at the White House.[Video may autoplay at link] Nonetheless, the Trump administration is defending Trump's invite: Priebus insisted that "the issues facing us, developing out of North Korea, are so serious that we need a cooperation at some level from as many partners in the area as possible," which, even if true, does not necessitate a White House invite.
Now, the administration is bracing for an avalanche of criticism from human rights groups. Two senior officials said they expected the State Department and the National Security Council, both of which were caught off guard by the invitation, to raise objections internally.
..."By essentially endorsing Duterte's murderous war on drugs, Trump is now morally complicit in future killings," said John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director of Human Rights Watch. "Although the traits of his personality likely make it impossible, Trump should be ashamed of himself."
Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Twitter, "We are watching in real time as the American human rights bully pulpit disintegrates into ash."
...It is not even clear, given the accusations of human rights abuses against him, that Mr. Duterte would be granted a visa to the United States were he not a head of state, according to human rights advocates.
The truth is just that Putin isn't the only tyrant of which Trump is inordinately fond.
Over last two weeks, Trump:— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) April 30, 2017
* invites murderer Duterte
* boosts fascist LePen
* congratulates Erdogan on dictatorship
* praises Kim Jong Un https://t.co/WKgN0KQNyb
This morning, Trump wound up the weekend by (again) praising President Andrew Jackson (in an interview which will air later today), incredibly insisting that "had Andrew Jackson been a little bit later, you wouldn't have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War; he said, 'There's no reason for this.' People don't realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don't ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?"
Trump puts the final nail in the coffin of "the party of Lincoln." https://t.co/4z5L8C96JV— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) May 1, 2017
In a single weekend, Trump: Further eroded environmental rights, continued his war on the free press, suggested he may go to war with North Korea, invited a murderous dictator to the White House, and openly wondered why the Civil War was necessary, while simultaneously calling the president who instigated the Trail of Tears as a guy with "a big heart."
He is a terrible president, for reasons vast and varied, but he is also just a really terrible human being.
Donald Trump is just really a terrible human being.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) April 30, 2017
I don't think that gets said enough. His fuckery is documented, but he is truly awful.
It's not just his policies I resist. It's him.