Over the weekend Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Erie, Pennsylvania. It was noteworthy for a few reasons: It got Donald to actually leave his house, which was an impressive feat by his aides considering that Trump has been obsessively toilet-tweeting insults about his current indictments, expected future indictments, and everyone even tangentially involved with his indictments.
Also of note was his usual grifting podium sign, one telling the crowd to "Text PENNSYLVANIA -----" to give him money. This means Trump's campaign team genuinely believes Donald's rally crowds have the attention span to phone-thumb their way through all the letters of “Pennsylvania” without losing interest, so you can't say they've lost their optimism.
Then there was the part where he demanded all of the Republicans competing for the nomination besides him should drop out so that all the money they spent on their own campaigns could instead be given to him. Ah, classic Trump. I imagine he thinks he's being charitable by not demanding they all hand him the keys to their homes as well.
But the weirdest part was probably when Trump once again pressed his bizarre crusade against Ukraine, the same one he got impeached over the first time around, the same one that turned out to be a Rudy Giuliani snipehunt backed by crooked European oligarchs boosting crooked Russian disinformation. Trump once again really, really wants Republicans to block all military help to Ukraine—and this is apparently urgent enough that Trump doesn't think it can wait until his own theoretical second term. It's got to happen now.
"He's dragging into a global conflict on behalf of the very same country, Ukraine, that apparently paid his family all of these millions of dollars," Trump alleged. "In light of this information," Congress, he said, "should refuse to authorize a single additional payment of our depleted stockpiles ... the weapons stockpiles to Ukraine until the FBI, DOJ and IRS hand over every scrap of evidence they have on the Biden crime family's corrupt business dealings."
Oh. My. God. See, what's amazing about Trump is that the man's brain is impervious to new information. It might be laziness, or he might just have too much grass and dirt lodged up there from all the holes he's knocked out of golf courses in his lifetime, but that could be a direct quote from any one of his speeches from his first two campaigns. It's only the fact that he's ranting about Joe Biden and not Hillary Clinton that gives it any context at all.
Trump was going on about "depleted stockpiles" throughout his 2016 campaign. It was his version of the Republican talking point that's been used without fail by each of their candidates of the past 40 years. Every time, the Republican says that our troops are suffering from a lack of readiness, or that the Navy doesn't have enough ships, or the Army doesn't have enough tanks, and it's because a stupid jerk not-Republican is in charge and only a Republican can fix the problem.
Then, if the Republican wins, the problem magically goes away and we don't hear about it again until the next time a Democratic president appears. Trump was very big on the "our troops have no bullets" nonsense. It vanished when he won, and we're possibly supposed to believe it was because he chipped in bullet money out of his own pockets or something. Eight years later, the problem has subtly changed: Now it’s that we're giving Ukraine all our bullets and missiles and phased-out stockpiled vehicles, which means we're not going to have any bullets or missiles or mothballed vehicles left over for ourselves, and our troops will have to train using water pistols and tactical assault bicycles.
What might be most on Trump's mind, however, is that he still really, really wants to build a new hotel in Moscow or God knows where, and it's very hard for him to suck up to Russian mob boss Vladimir Putin when he is unable to stop the United States from arming Ukraine.
So what does he do? Well, this is Donald we're talking about, so he repeats the same bullshit-premised propaganda Giuliani delivered to him the very first time around. It’s a theory about how Russia was completely innocent of both conducting espionage operations against the United States with the aim of making Trump president, and of attempting to seize control of Ukraine.
In the Giuliani-Russia retelling, it was Trump's political enemies who did the real "hacking," and they did it with the help of "Ukraine” (because sure why the f--k not), and Russia was framed for all the rest of it by Hillary Clinton. And, uh, then-Vice President Joe Biden's shiftless adult son. And the former comedian-turned-new-Ukrainian-president.
And Trump is still pushing this completely insane counternarrative, one in which the Democratic National Committee apparently hid (?) a secret server in Ukraine and leaked their own information to frame Russia. Then Hunter Biden got a consulting gig in Ukraine. He claims that unlike Paul Manafort and Giuliani's aggressive humping of European strongmen and criminals, that was actually the real scandal here. And when you say it all at once, it's so painfully stupid that you can see why the masterminds of these theories would find themselves accidentally booking press conferences in the Four Seasons Landscaping driveway just a few effing months later.
That is what Donald Trump has on offer as the seditionist coup leader scrapes together a post-treason, post-indictments second act: retreads. The man is still clinging to the original, Giuliani-authored plan that resulted in his damn impeachment!
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