Somehow, the week went by with no new Donald Trump indictments—that we know of. As we’re all well aware, for the past few years Trump has been storming the country like Johnny Appleseed planting crimes in the rich, loamy American soil. And they’re only now starting to bear fruit.
It’s a holiday weekend, so we’re getting a much-needed break from the complimentary reach-around the long arm of the law gave us when it started dropping Trump indictments faster than Rudy Giuliani’s drawers at a 4 p.m. supermarket scotch tasting. So what will the Sunday shows tackle this week?
I see ABC “This Week” scheduled GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. Not sure why. Maybe he’s actually read a book since his last interview and wants voters to know he still wouldn’t eat green eggs or ham unless Donald Trump said it was okay. “Fox News Sunday” booked former Vice President Mike Pence, who’s running for president because Jesus apparently has a sense of humor after all. Pence is currently polling just ahead of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and just behind the prescription tapeworm that keeps Trump from spontaneously exploding at Arby’s. Oh, and he’s light-years behind Trump himself. Apparently, Republicans are still far more likely to sympathize with the (alleged!) hanger than the hangee.
So as Labor Day approaches, let’s bid a fond farewell to another historic American summer—and hope against hope that by this time next year Trump is drinking toilet gin rickeys out of one of Richard Speck’s old, gently used compression socks.
Let’s see what we have on tap this week, shall we? And happy Labor Day to one and all!
RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Trump's lawyers try to spin their incorrigible client's latest indictment
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is an old-school Republican. Which simply means he hasn’t eaten a Dickensian street urchin’s raw, still-beating heart any time in the past six years to prove his loyalty to Donald Trump.
In fact, he thinks Trump is completely toxic—as opposed to the pre-Trump Republican Party, which was far more genteel in its approach to killing people. Sununu joined Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” because, well, it’s Labor Day weekend. Chris Christie is probably on a beach somewhere.
Sununu has seen some of the same electoral headwinds everyone else has vis-à-vis the GOP, and he’s laying the blame squarely at Trump’s
clay Play-Doh feet.
TODD: I’m curious, this political environment. You know, I’ve looked at all these special elections this year, there’ve been some other analysis. Democrats are overperforming anywhere. You’ve seen it in your home state, where Democrats have won special elections that normally Republicans win. Is this due to abortion, is this due to Trump? What do you think it’s about?
SUNUNU: It’s about the former president more than anything. And I can tell you, I’ve had Republican school board members that have lost their seats because they felt like they had to constantly answer for being a Trump Republican and all of that. It’s a negative brand, it puts a lot of hesitation. So it isn’t just the federal seats—it’s the governorships, the school boards, the congressional seats. All of them, especially here in a place like New Hampshire where, you know, we can kind of go back and forth, we’re very independent-minded. The Trump brand just doesn’t work. It really doesn’t. And so to kind of clear that off the table once and for all is a huge opportunity for Republicans to get back elected officials where their policy matters most, and that’s at the local level.
How adorable. Hey, as much as I’d love to see Donald Trump tossed into the dustbin of history—or any other dustbin, landfill, or deep geological nuclear waste repository, for that matter—he’s now an integral part of the GOP’s DNA. It’s like that movie “The Fly” where Jeff Goldblum turns into a hairy, slavering monster who drips stomach acid on his victims before eating their heads. There’s no going back to Original Goldblum. The best you can do is dress the mutant up in a Brooks Brothers suit. But, spoiler alert: It will still eat human heads.
RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Chris Christie is still the only Republican actually running for president
Did I mention it’s Labor Day weekend? Is that why Sen. Tim Kaine is on television?
Remember Kaine? He was Hillary Clinton’s running mate. He was intelligent, thoughtful, and oh-so-unexciting. Which made him an odd choice, because Clinton herself was a thoughtful, intelligent policy wonk. Considering who she was running against, she might have been better off with Zaphod Beeblebrox or a mid-sized masturbating walrus. But let’s not relitigate past elections. That’s Trump’s shtick.
We Democrats are all about the future and—don’t look now—the future, thanks to President Biden, is looking brighter. And Kaine is convinced that the American people will soon shake off their doldrums and start noticing.
He joined George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: “That election right now, as we just showed at the top of this program, according to the latest Wall Street Journal poll, is a dead heat between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. How do you explain that?”
KAINE: “Here’s how I explain it. I think the years of COVID from March of 2020 through the end of the public health emergency have been brutal on Americans, have been so painful—more than a million dead, jobs lost, people couldn’t visit a new grandchild, people couldn’t go to the funeral of a friend. And I think there’s a collective trauma that still is kind of working its way through the system. And as I travel in Virginia, George, I talk to a lot of people who feel pretty good about their circumstance, how their business is doing. They’re nervous about, well, what will it be like in two or three months? I think they’re a little bit nervous to let their hopes get up after such a challenging time. But as I look at what the Biden administration working with Congress has been able to do, delivering on infrastructure, delivering on clean energy, record job growth, manufacturing is back in the United States, and I have every reason to believe we’re going to continue to be able to celebrate those accomplishments. So on our side you’re going to see an accomplishment momentum building and building and building, and on the other side you’re going to be reading what is the latest news about Donald Trump’s criminal trials.”
Yup. Trump’s trials—and the dirty details about every damnable thing he did—will be on lurid display over the next year and change. Meanwhile, the latest economic numbers are genuinely encouraging. And Biden can point to several legislative accomplishments—including the kinds of infrastructure initiatives that the Trump administration was somehow never able to get off the ground—that have set up our economy for success for years to come. And, hey, there’s still a chance that Americans will pick the guy who steered us through one of the most fraught periods in recent U.S. history over the dude who stores highly sensitive government secrets next to the same toilet where he regularly grunts out skeletonized roasting chickens.
Wouldn’t that be something, huh?
I was reluctant to share this next clip because the guest, Gloria Avant-Kindred, eventually calls for elevating Vice President Kamala Harris to the top of the presidential ticket in 2024. And as much as I love Harris, you simply don’t give up the advantage of incumbency. Also, the 2024 general election is still an eternity away. Ronald Reagan wasn’t polling much above where Biden is now at this point in his presidency, and he was reelected in a landslide. If the economy is fully back on its feet next year (and if all goes well, it could be roaring), people aren’t going to care about Biden’s age. They’ll be able to wheel him around on a dolly and no one will give a shit, so long as people’s 401(k)s are growing.
Biden has done a great job, all things considered, and we need to stop distracting ourselves with the hope that someone better and more electable will come along. That person likely doesn’t exist.
That said, I needed to share this because Republicans’ new talking point—i.e., that Black people will now flock to the multiply indicted “gangsta” ex-POTUS who once called for executing five innocent Black men—is barmy beyond belief, and these Black folks’ hearty laughter at that notion might go a long way toward soothing your weary soul.
After showing a montage of right-wing personalities hyping Trump’s new street cred, Jonathan Capehart, host of MSNBC’s “The Saturday/Sunday Show,” invited his aunt Gloria Avent-Kindred, an audience favorite, to get her candid reaction.
Let’s start the transcript with Jesse Watters, who’s so white his driver’s license says he’s Mike Pence’s exclusive skin graft donor.
WATTERS: ”Black Americans throughout our history have felt unfairly victimized by the system. Historically there’s some truth to that. The mug shot unintentionally created a bond between Donald Trump and Black Americans. … Over the weekend, with the help of mug shot merchandise, the Trump campaign raked in over $7 million. Today my garbage man told me he’s buying mug shot T-shirts for everyone he knows this Christmas.”
CAPEHART: [LAUGHING UPROARIOUSLY] “Seriously, his garbage man? Joining me now to discuss that nonsense, America’s Aunt Gloria, my Aunt Gloria Avent-Kindred. Aunt Gloria. Jesus, fix it. You’re Black. Is having a mug shot what you need to win over Black voters?”
AVENT-KINDRED: “No, and I don’t think Black voters are going to vote for him. He’s a nutcase. Yes, a great mug shot, and someone once said he’ll be a great villain in a Batman movie. In fact, I think he will be the Joker’s father, because it’s a joke. This is totally ridiculous. This man is tearing the country apart, and these people who support him, who work for him—they know enough that what he did was wrong, and they're willing to go to jail for him. I don't quite understand that. And people need to realize that if Trump is back, Putin is going to be eating at our dinner table, because they both like each other, and I don’t want Putin in the U.S.”
Oh, my—that was fun, wasn’t it?
It also gives me another opportunity to share one of my fave Trump “gangsta” stories. This is verbatim from a 2008 interview with Howard Stern:
“I was at Mar-a-Lago and we had this incredible ball, the Red Cross Ball, in Palm Beach, Florida. And we had the Marines. And the Marines were there, and it was terrible because all these rich people, they're there to support the Marines, but they're really there to get their picture in the Palm Beach Post. So you have all these really rich people, and a man, about 80 years old—very wealthy man, a lot of people didn't like him—he fell off the stage. … So what happens is, this guy falls off right on his face, hits his head, and I thought he died. And you know what I did? I said, ‘Oh my God, that's disgusting,’ and I turned away. I couldn't, you know, he was right in front of me and I turned away. I didn't want to touch him. He's bleeding all over the place, I felt terrible. You know, beautiful marble floor, didn't look like it. It changed color. Became very red. And you have this poor guy, 80 years old, laying on the floor unconscious, and all the rich people are turning away. … What happens is, these 10 Marines from the back of the room. They come running forward, they grab him, they put the blood all over the place—it's all over their uniforms—they're taking it, they're swiping [it], they ran him out, they created a stretcher. They call it a human stretcher, where they put their arms out with, like, five guys on each side. … I was saying, 'Get that blood cleaned up! It's disgusting!' The next day, I forgot to call [the man] to say is he okay. It's just not my thing.”
Wow, what a story. And one most Black people can relate to. Intimately!
Trump is quite the alpha male, isn’t he? That’s some real “big dick screaming and running in the other direction at the first sight of blood” energy.
RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Kos was on 'Meet the Press'! Also, debate fallout and mug shot mania
Okay, let’s talk about this guy. Because even though it’s Labor Day weekend, Tim Kaine only appeared on one Sunday show.
Vivek Ramaswamy was on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos.
Roll the tape.
STEPHANOPOULOS: “So your bottom line is that you’d vote for a convicted felon because other people are voting for a convicted felon?”
RAMASWAMY: [Laughs derisively] “My bottom line, George, is that I will vote for the person who I think is best positioned to move this country forward. I do not think that’s Joe Biden. I do not think that is whichever other puppet—Kamala Harris or anybody else—that they roll out after Joe Biden. And if I’m deciding between the nominee, even though I disagree with many of my rivals in the Republican Party on a lot of issues, I think any of them will be better than Joe Biden or Kamala Harris to move this nation forward. And that is my arbiter when I cast my vote for who the next president is. Who is going to serve the interests of the American people? That’s not some sort of commitment driven by vengeance or grievance. It is driven by commitment to our purpose as citizens of this country. And that’s what we need to revive in the United States. Our civic spirit. Remembering that—even the America First movement is bigger than Donald Trump. It is bigger than me, it is bigger than one political candidate. It belongs to the people of this country. The people of this country who, thankfully, still get to decide who their next president actually is. I want to keep it that way rather than getting a federal police state as the new arbiter of who governs this country, and I stand by that without apology.”
Okay, first of all, they invented decaffeinated coffee a long time ago, dude. Look into it.
Secondly—uh, yeah, we are thankful that we still get to decide who our next president is. We almost lost that privilege because of that one guy whose name escapes me at the moment. He’s on the tip of my tongue—though only figuratively in my case. Unlike Ramaswamy.
But I think we really need to pause a moment and fully take in this political moment. A prominent presidential candidate thinks it’s fine to laugh off a question about supporting a convicted felon—one he happens to be running against—for the highest office in the land. A convicted felon whose (alleged!) felonies involved a brazen attempt to steal a presidential election.
If only we could recapture that old-timey civic spirit of creeping fascism. Come on, America! Let’s all get behind autocratic kleptocracy. It’s all the rage!
But wait! There’s more!
That’s all for now. Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend. See you next week!
Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.