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Fecteau: Trump’s House of Cards: Season One

Thursday, May 18, 2017

 

Donald Trump

With the grace of Mr. Magoo, President Donald J. Trump has, yet again, proven he is unfit for the office he holds. In this week’s wacky, bizarre episode of House of Cards: Trump edition, the latest dysfunctional idiocy in the White House involves Mr. Trump handing over highly sensitive intelligence to the ambassador of our geopolitical foe, Russia.  

Yes, Russia; the same Russia that meddled in the U.S. presidential election to help Mr. Trump win. No conflict of interest here (sarcasm). And the same Russian ambassador who former national security advisor Michael Flynn talked in-depth with about sanctions before he was appointed to the White House, lied about the interaction afterward and resigned as a result. In a new twist, a memo leaked to The New York Times shows Mr. Trump tried to squash the FBI probe into Mr. Flynn’s ties to Russia – the plot thickens as they say.  

The ratings-obsessed Mr. Trump should be getting royalties for all the subject matter he is producing for television and streaming media services. The Netflix television show the House of Cards for one is receiving some very original plot material. Frank Underwood wouldn’t be this sloppy though; he might have killed someone by now, but at least he wouldn’t deliberately put his country at risk giving away intelligence because someone said something nice to him – flattery only goes so far with Underwood.  

I am not sure if this is partisanship, sexism, or just outright stupidity, but Mr. Trump has since been given not just a pass, but a get out of jail-free card. He is able to awkwardly outmaneuver his critics with his audacious use of demagoguery, and playing the victim. When a government employee leak information, Mr. Trump declares it is a criminal act that warrants investigation (a Frank Underwood style tactic).  

However, when Mr. Trump deliberately gives highly sensitive information to one of our geopolitical foes that he hasn’t even shared with the U.S. Senate, it is a right. Russia is not just an adversary of the United States, but also an adversary to key allies who will be reluctant to share intelligence with the United States in the future out. If President Barack Obama or Mrs. Hillary Clinton behaved like Trump, either one would appropriately be facing a serious investigation, impeachment proceedings, and maybe jail time.  

I look forward to next week’s plot twist – almost as good as watching a satirical version Homeland. I mean, Mr. Trump is great for ratings, just ask the producers of Saturday Night Live. I am getting the popcorn out and watching with anticipation. If this was Netflix, at least I could skip ahead and see, but alas, it isn’t. This is reality, and sometimes, reality is much, much stranger than fiction, but much scarier too. Perhaps we shouldn’t renew this show for another season.   

Matt Fecteau ([email protected]) of Pawtucket, Rhode Island was a Democratic candidate for office in 2014 and 2016. He is a former White House national security intern and Iraq War veteran. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewFecteau

 

Related Slideshow: Trump’s Win - What Does it Mean for Rhode Island?

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Jennifer Duffy

Cook Report

"We don't really know what a Trump presidency means for the nation, never mind the smallest state.  One of the unintended consequences of last night's results is that Sen. Jack Reed won't be chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Chalk that up as a loss for RI."

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Pam Gencarella

Head of Ocean State Taxpayers' Association

"Trump’s win means that his signature issue, illegal immigration, could have a big impact on RI, hopefully reversing our course as a sanctuary state and saving the state taxpayer millions of dollars.  While we agree with his 'repeal and replace' Obamacare stance, we have no idea what that means to the RI debacle known as UHIP.  It is not a stretch to believe that federal funding for this kind of system will be off the table so, will RI be stuck with this massively expensive system that still doesn’t work and that is expected to cost another $124 million to fix?  

Trump's belief that there is significant fraud in the Food Stamp program and the policies that may come from that belief could have a negative impact on RI's local economy since there are businesses in certain cities that rely heavily on this program, fraud and all. On the upside, we may be able to ditch the UHIP program if there is significantly less need for processing welfare program requests (ie. Medicaid and food stamps) resulting from fewer illegal immigrants and less fraud.  While we are ambivalent about his touted child care policies, if enacted, it may force our legislators to revisit the ever growing state cost of subsidies in this area and possibly reduce the fraud and abuse in this system." 

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Kay Israel

Professor at Rhode Island College

"With a Republican President and Congress, Rhode Island will probably be excluded from the 'fruits of victory."  

The congressional delegation will be able to vocally make their presence felt, but in the long term it's more symbolic than substantive.  

For Rhode Island it's a matter of holding on and waiting until '18 or '20 and a surge in Democratic influence."

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Jennifer Lawless

Professor at American University

"The RI congressional delegation just became even less powerful than it was. With unified government, Trump doesn’t need to quell Democrats’ concerns or acquiesce because he’s worried about a Democratically-controlled Senate.

His appointments will reflect that. His executive orders will affect that. And the conservative policy agenda he puts forward will affect that."

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Len Lardaro

Professor at University of Rhode Island

"Well there's a few things -- because there's not going to be gridlock, that's a big difference if it had been Hillary and a GOP Congress, in which nothing would got done. We'll at least get a half a billion in infrastructure that's going to pass which will have an impact.

I think you'll see there will be reduced reliance on government nationally -- and that's where we'll stick out like sore thumb. We've relied way too much on government -- and our government is highly inefficient and ineffective.  Maybe, just maybe, in this who cycle of things we might be forced to be small and more efficient for once.

A couple of other things -- interest rates jumped. The one to follow is the ten year government bond rate -- which is tied to mortgages. It went from 1.7% to 2.05% in one day. The point is -- if the ten year stays high, mortgage rates will start going higher -- and in the short time people will run to re-finance. 

That's the short term impact -- but then if rates stay hight, that will make mortgages more out of reach. And we just passed a bond issue to limit open space -- housing has limited upside here.
The next thing -- the Fed Reserve will go ahead with tightening next month. A strong dollar will hurt manufacturing. When the dollar is strong our exports become more expensive overseas. 

Our goods production sector -- manufacturing and construction -- in the near term will do a little better, but as time goes on will be more limited. But something you won't hear, is there are lags in fiscal policy, of six months to year. So we won't really see the effects until the third our fourth quarter of 2017, going into 2018."
 

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Mike Stenhouse

RI Center for Freedon and Prosperity

"As the unbelievable turned into reality this morning, it struck me that the presidential election was not really all about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It was about a fed-up people, revolting against a corrupt system - the "beast" - that relentlessly favors insiders. Hillary personified the beast, while Donald personified the slayer.

Sadly, based on election results in our state, Rhode Island's version of the beast lives on. I fear our political class has not learned the lessons from the Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump movements - and will continue with their government-centric, anti-family, anti-business status quo."

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Kristina Contreras Fox

VP of Young Democrats of America

"A Trump Presidency means the validation of the ugliest part of America. In RI, as with the rest of the country, the hammer of his hatred will fall hardest on minority communities. Being a blue state doesn't make us immune from this danger.

Trump won over 35% (39.5) of the vote here! We need to look in the mirror, and not lie about what the reflection shows us. No more hiding underneath a blue blanket. I expect those who claim Democratic values to be true to those values. The gulf between words and actions have turned into fertile ground for Trump's message to grow here in RI. If you call yourself a Democrat, if you claim to stand in opposition to Trump, now is the time to prove it. Show up and fight back."
 

 
 

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