A Mess in Trump's Orbit

Four weeks to go and it's like a slow motion train wreck

What can I say, it’s The Wednesday Notice this week, so let’s dig in.

A month or two ago, while perusing Twitter, I came across a video clip of former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino on Fox News calling Joe Biden “the chaos candidate.” I couldn’t help but laugh, considering the nearly four years of madness we’ve witnessed with the Trump administration.

The presidential election is less than 30 days away. People can ignore the polls all they want. Still, it doesn’t change the reality of where the race sits at this point. I wrote up a portion of the Washington Briefing campaign 2020 page in this week’s Washington Examiner magazine about Biden’s polling lead, and sure enough, the reaction was a barrage of, “Yeah! The 2016 polls nailed it. Right, Caruso?” I will not revisit that topic as I am sure everyone reading this understands the polling from 2016.

It is not 2016. Biden has an average national polling lead of nine points in both the RealClear Politics polling average and the FiveThirtyEight polling average. Hillary’s lead at the same time in 2016? Four points. That’s not good under any circumstances.

And once again, Trump only has himself to blame. He — not Biden, Mr. Bongino — is the chaos candidate. It began with a disastrous debate in which Biden wasn’t so good, as Trump was so bad. His constant interruptions and arguing with moderator Chris Wallace made a 90-minute debate feel like a five-hour insurance seminar. Everyone wanted it to end. That was the best part of Trump’s week. The positive COVID diagnosis came in fast and furious along with news Trump would head to Walter Reed hospital for treatment.

Now, any person with a sense of reality would examine the situation at hand and rethink their view on the coronavirus. After all, the virus that Trump said would magically disappear killed over 200,000 people — and still has people on edge— hit Trump, the First Lady, members of his staff, Republicans in the Senate, and several press members.

But this is Trump, and the reality show star would make sure it was all a spectacle. Not content to take his medicine quietly, Trump, in a mixture of toddler-like boredom, frustration, and the necessity for adulation, forced Secret Service agents and other staff to drive him around the grounds of Walter Reed. There was the president, waving to fans and television cameras like a movie star. Then came the exit show and Trump’s return to the presidential palace — er, White House. A ridiculous and staged exhibition, as if it was a scene from a satirical movie about a United States president who wants to be a flamboyant military dictator.

It was all ridiculous to watch. What was worse were the reactions from not only Trump fans but members of Congress. Rep. Matt Gaetz from Florida actually tweeted, “I’ll never love another president.” I’ll never gag so much again. That was in addition to his tweet, making Trump out to be Chuck Norris taking on coronavirus.

Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler tweeted out that famous wrestling video of Trump, with the coronavirus getting the beatdown. And Bonhoeffer author Eric Metaxas tweeted, “…this president got COVID and then beat it in a couple of days and is already back at work? Is there anyone like unto him?”

Are you freaking kidding me?

Here’s the deal: I don’t want to hear about the “Obama cult” from Trump supporters ever again. I’ve been around the political world for nearly 30 years, and I have never seen anything as gross as the slobbering veneration people show for Trump. And these people have the audacity to lecture others about dignity when it comes to wearing a mask?

To make matters worse (yes, it can always get worse with Trump), the president returned to the White House and began a steroid-induced period of Twitter shitposting, culminating in his announcement that he didn’t want to bother with another COVID relief package until after the election.

It was brilliant, if you’re a Democrat.

Nancy Pelosi’s entire plan was to present costly packages she knew Republicans in the Senate would not accept, and ride it out to Election Day, pinning the blame on the president. Trump did her one better, effectively handing her the sword that would chop off his proverbial head. Trump later realized it was a major screwup and tried to repair the damage announcing support for stand-alone relief bills, including another round of stimulus checks.

When I saw that, all I could think of was the scene in “Copland” where Robert De Niro’s character yells at Stallone, “And you blew it!”

It’s too late, Mr. President. Speaker Pelosi is holding four aces to your busted straight draw. Even if a deal gets done by some miracle, the GOP will have to concede a bunch of money they didn’t want to spend, and the Democrats will get to claim victory. Nice work, Mr. Great Negotiator.

And hey, remember those tariffs that were going to reduce our trade deficit? That deficit is at a 14-year high—more brilliance.

If not for the Federalist Society handing Trump a piece of paper and saying, “Appoint these individuals,” Mitch McConnell doing what was necessary to steer judicial nominees through to the courts and balance the federal judiciary, what outside of the Israel/UAE agreement and 2017 tax cuts did the president do?

There’s no wall. His tariffs have hampered the economy and crippled farmers in the midwest. He didn’t bring back manufacturing jobs. He didn’t bring back coal. He didn’t reform or repeal Obamacare. He’s alienated allies. He failed with North Korea. If he loses, he likely brings down four or five Republicans in the Senate with him. The regulations he eliminated were made via the executive branch, not legislatively, meaning a new president can reinstate them.

More importantly, he failed as a leader in the one crisis he faced. One in which affected senior citizens (read as “most likely voters”) more than anyone else. Trump’s constant downplaying of a deadly virus that hit seniors harder than any other age group created a gap between him and Joe Biden for which he may not recover. The demographic of older voters helped Trump gain his electoral victory in 2016. Without them, Trump can’t win.

Maybe in the short term, that’s better for everyone.

I knew Eddie Van Halen had cancer. He’s battled it for ten years. I didn’t know he was that close to death and when they announced he died at the age of 65, it just became another reason 2020 is a shit year. Personally and professionally, I am having a great year. I honestly cannot complain. Still, from a 50,000-foot view, it’s awful.

The death of one of the greatest guitarists of all time only punctuated it. And Eddie was one of the best. If you like guitarists such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, and others, they were influenced by EVH. He changed the way people thought about rock guitar. Better yet, Eddie always looked like a kid opening presents at Christmas when he played and he always made it look easy.

There will always be debates about David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar (Gary Cherone never happened), but that’s a side issue. Van Halen was always about Eddie Van Halen. That flame was extinguished but his music will live on forever.

Rest in peace, Eddie.


Until next week, folks!