The NYT editorial board excoriates Trump

In a scathing but unconventional piece, which masquerades as a “guide to Presidential etiquette”, today’s New York Times editorial, written by the full board, lists the many ways that Trump has behaved badly and un-Presidentially since he took office. Click the screenshot to read it:

Here’s just a small part of a long list. When I saw Trump heaving rolls of paper towels at a crowd in Puerto Rico, I almost puked. It was if he expected plaudits for giving them a means to mop up the water.

It’s not going to get better, so how can we survive the next four (or, Ceiling Cat help us, eight) years?


  1. Posted October 9, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Our salvation lies in the hands of Bob Mueller.

    • Historian
      Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      If Trump leaves office before the end of his term, we will get Mike Pence as the new president. This ultra-conservative religious fanatic will be as bad as or worse than Trump in terms of policy. The far right conservative Congress will love him, meaning that under Pence the right wing agenda will have a better chance of passing. Democrats need to take control of at least one house of Congress in 2018 and then hold on to 2020. The next few years will be very difficult, indeed.

      • GBJames
        Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        Unless Pence goes down with the ship, too. (The religious right already controls the Republican agenda. The only way forward is for Democrats to win big, with or without tRump in office.)

        • darrelle
          Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          I think the biggest lever that could be used to end the Republican Party’s long dominance in both houses is gerrymandering. Also their last two presidential victories. That is one of the key tools they’ve used to maintain their long hold on both houses despite popular vote numbers and post vote polls pretty clearly indicating that in very many cases the majority of voters didn’t vote for their candidate. If enough states put a stop to gerrymandering it seems likely there could be a rather quick change in the make up of both houses.

          • GBJames
            Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

            An end to gerrymandering would completely change the House, but I don’t see how it would affect the Senate since those offices are elected state-wide.

            There is a case before the Supreme Court from Wisconsin (my state) that might make all the difference. What is up for decision is whether a state can redistrict to provide partisan advantage. Hopefully the Supremes will rule against the State of Wisconsin (aka the Republican Party).

            • darrelle
              Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

              Yes your right. It wouldn’t have a direct affect on Senate elections because they are statewide popular votes. But indirectly I think it would have a big affect, though it might take a longer time frame compared to the House.

              For example, the makeup of state legislatures, which can and do create legislation affecting voting, and which themselves are directly affected by gerrymandering.

              • GBJames
                Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

                Indeed. It will have profound good consequences if Wisconsin is forced to redistrict without partisan advantage.

              • BobTerrace
                Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

                Florida too. Legislature is overwhelmingly Republican and yet the population is more Democrats. It’s all due to gerrymandering.

          • Historian
            Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

            We cannot expect most state governments to end gerrymandering since the party in power, which draws up the district lines, do not wish to give up power. I believe there are a few states that have ended it, but they are in a minority. Gerrymandering has nothing to do with presidential elections or senatorial elections since the vote is tallied statewide. The problem with presidential elections is with the Electoral College. There is a pending Supreme Court case challenging gerrymandering as unconstitutional. As many other important decisions, everything will hang likely on the vote of Justice Kennedy. One man may decide the fate of democracy.

            • darrelle
              Posted October 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

              I disagree that gerrymandering does not affect presidential or senate elections. See my response to GBJames.

              I do agree of course that the elephant in the room regarding presidential elections is the Electoral College. But I think the same example I gave GBJames for how gerrymandering can affect Senate elections applies to presidential elections. State legislatures can and do pass legislation, and engage in other shenanigans, that affect voting within their state and gerrymandering can directly affects the makeup of those state legislatures.

              • GBJames
                Posted October 9, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

                I think that ending partisan gerrymandering would could lead to the success of the National Popular Vote Plan.

              • darrelle
                Posted October 9, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

                I think that’s definitely a step in the right direction. Given modern communications there doesn’t seem to be any good argument for anything other than a straight popular vote. For any public office.

        • eric
          Posted October 9, 2017 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

          Pence’s political career might sink if Trump doesn’t win reelection, but I don’t see it as even within the realm of credible reality to think that he would resign or be forced out if Trump was impeached. My bet would be more of the opposite in fact – if the Senate ever decided to impeach Trump, I bet they’d actively work to shield Pence from it.

          • GBJames
            Posted October 10, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

            That depends entirely on what happens with Robert Mueller’s investigation.

        • nicky
          Posted October 10, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          Ben, I asked you this before, you appear to be convinced Mr Pence will go down with Mr Trump, but you never gave specifics, only his supposed association and being ‘deep’ into it. Note, I hope you’re right, but I’m not convinced at all.
          At the time I ‘admired’ Mr Trump’s clever choice of his VP as an insurance against assasination or impeachment.

          • GBJames
            Posted October 10, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

            Is Ben in this thread?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 9, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Pence has made a real habit of lying in office — about the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, about Mike Flynn, about the reason James Comey was fired — all the while doing that silly, nutless grinning and nodding. Apparently, there’s no tale too tall to tell on behalf of the boss.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 9, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

          Pence also pissed away a quarter-million, American, in taxpayer dollars yesterday, by traveling to Indianapolis to attend the Colts-49ers game, for the sole purpose of making a political statement during the playing of the national anthem. (I thought people weren’t supposed to do that?)

  2. BobTerrace
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink


  3. Historian
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, Trump’s madness has had little or no effect on his base, which controls the Republican Party, due to the many defects in this country’s electoral system. National polls show that only about 38% of voters support him, but this minority controls the country. The country is extremely polarized, compromise is a dirty word, and frustration grows on all sides. Democracy is threatened, and we may see a rise of violence from disenchanted partisans. If nothing else we will see, to name just a few bad things, healthcare to be continually attacked, the environment degraded, war with North Korea hanging over our heads, and the religious gaining more power. Even if a Democrat is elected in 2020, the damage may irreparable.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 9, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      The AP poll last week had Trump with a 32% approval rating. Thirty percent may be the political Mendoza line below which congressional Republicans may desert Trump en masse.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Imagine if Obama had done that jive jumpers-from-the-top-of-the-key bullshit with paper towels and hurricane victims. The right-wing media would’ve gone (even more) crazy. It reminded me of “knights” on Mardi Gras floats throwing beads to the plebes on the curb. All that was missing was the call to “show me you tits” (as far as we know, anyway).

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 9, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      The thing with the paper towels is what Caligula would’ve done (if the Romans had mastered the art of paper products the way they did with aqueducts and arches).

  5. Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Attack a senator battling terminal cancer

    I don’t agree with this one in general terms. If you disagree with a senator’s ideas, there’s nothing wrong with attacking him or her for those ideas, as long as you don’t use ad hominem or insults, even if they do have terminal cancer.

    If Trump thinks McCain was wrong to fight to protect the right of millions of Americans to not die because they can’t afford healthcare, he should be allowed to say so. Criticism should not be directed at Trump because his enemy has terminal cancer but because his position on healthcare is completely grotesque.

    • Curt Nelson
      Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Yes, of the numerous fair criticisms for terrible behavior that one doesn’t belong in the list.

    • GBJames
      Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      I believe Trump’s comment was that McCain had voted as he did because of his brain cancer. (Implying that he was too sick to know what he was doing?)

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 9, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Re. the attack on McCain, I think this is also relevant. Taken from the Independent (don’t know if that’s a reliable U.K. source).

      Donald Trump has reportedly been mimicking the thumbs down motion made by John McCain when he torpedoed Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare.

      The US President mocked the way Republican Senator McCain indicated his vote in July, according to a report from Axios.

      Mr McCain sustained permanent injuries during his time as a prisoner of war. He is unable to lift his arms above his head, as a result of being shot down, injured and held captive for five years during the Vietnam war.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 9, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Trump had praised McCain as a “hero” the week before, when he returned from his sick bed to vote with the Republicans to keep Obamacare repeal alive. It’s only after he later voted against Trump on the bogus “skinny repeal” bill that he went from hero to goat.

      Trump’s hypocrisy on this is matched by the goulishness of perennial Arizona candidate Kelli Ward, who said that McCain should step aside immediately so she could have his senate seat. I note that Ward, along with Steve Bannon and Roy Moore, is one of the featured speakers at this weekend’s conservative “Value Voters Summit” in Washington, DC.

  6. Randy schenck
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Since it seems most likely that Trump will have accomplished nothing in the legislation category for the remainder of the year, I do not see much, unless he starts a war. By next year the investigation should have enough to impeach the bastard. Actually they have enough now to use the 25th amendment but the spineless republicans won’t do it. He must go.

    • loren russell
      Posted October 9, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Corker’s invoking “adult day care” comes pretty close to invoking the 25th, doesn’t it?

      • Randy schenck
        Posted October 9, 2017 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I think this comment and certainly others that he has just made in an interview with the Times where he said the guy is taking us close to World War III would tell us that the 25th is where he is. And I think many other republicans are there as well. I am sure we are seeing the destruction of the republican party we just don’t know it yet. Trump’s head clown, Bannon said he is going to run other candidates against all the republicans in congress.

        Trump is in a box he doesn’t even know about or what to do. His own secretary of state has called him a moron and now, one of the top republicans has let him have it in public and he cannot even tweet back. He knows he is dead.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Good for The New York Times; everything said in that piece is factual. Time to take off the white gloves, top hat, and tails, get in down-‘n’-dirty street-fighting mode (figuratively speaking).

    • Diane G.
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 1:50 am | Permalink

      IMO, both the NYT and the WaPo have been pretty much gloves-off since the election. And more power to them!

  8. Posted October 9, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I’m not in the US, but the little I pick up of US media leaves me with a few general impressions:

    * The NYT took on Trump directly by declaring its mission to be “defeating Trump” before the election. This was both arrogant and a stupid risk. Pulling a stunt like that only increases the damage, as it confirms the strength of the winner and weakness of the loser. Instead of swallowing their humiliation, they tried to gloat over increasing subscriptions. If you profit from being a loser and wrecking the political position of the side you’ve declared yourself to be on, you should declare a conflict of interest and apologize. Humbly.

    * The media falls for every single trap Trump sets for them. All the taking a knee stuff is an obvious ploy to affirm Trump’s patriotism in the face of the Russia scandal. Instead of getting into stupid squabbles about whether the players are patriotic, tell him to pass a law against it or STFU.

    * Don’t call them his base, they’re his followers.

    * Don’t say Trump demands loyalty. He demands submission. It’s a different thing altogether. No need to use euphemisms.

    * If 35% of the people still like Trump, Trump is not your problem. It will take a generation or two of engagement and careful education of their children to reduce that number to a level where you can function again.

    * Don’t subject every single issue to a poll every two two weeks and think that tracking it is either (a) democratic; or (b) relevant to anything at all.

    * If you really must poll people, include a few questions to gauge their knowledge of the issue and include that in the data.

    * Hold an election once every four years, and don’t talk about it in between.

    * Elections involve delegating authority so you don’t have to make up your mind about every single issue. Leave it to someone else and then after 4 years look at how they’ve gone.

    * Don’t have nominees on the same party spend 6 months viciously attacking each other in public while their supporters also tear each other to shreds. You can’t run a political party like that.

    * Political activism should mean voting once every four years. If you do much more than that, something is wrong. An election should not be a power struggle.

    * It is no surprise at all that with such a ridiculous and divisive election process the US gets such a stupid and irresponsible president.

    * Don’t attack Trump. It’s too late for that. Attack his subordinates and make them look weak. Show up their dependence on him and push them to see how far they will bend over for him. (The health care protests did that well.) But all attacks on Trump will fail and only strengthen him.

    * Find a candidate on the other party that you like, and openly support them too. Bush or Rubio might have had a better chance in the nomination if R voters knew they were also popular with Dems.

    * If you voted for Trump (or even more absurdly for ‘Tofu Palin’ or that guy who wanted to know what a Leppo is), realize that the rest of the free world has concluded that Kim Jong-un is to be more trusted than your guy with nuclear weapons. You should feel a sting of shock and shame from that information.

    • Posted October 9, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      And a note to Democrats & liberals — if you really must go a three or four victory laps and proclaim the dawning of a great new age of equality and the defeat of bigotry, wait until you have actually won before you do it.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted October 9, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        Hey, thanks for all you assistance with the political problems. I’m sure someone will run out right away and put this into practice. That is sarcasm by the way. Just my way of responding to so much help.

        • Posted October 9, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          Believe it or not, I noticed the sarcasm. I didn’t notice any other content though. When I said believe it or not, that was also sarcasm.

          • Randy schenck
            Posted October 9, 2017 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

            If I thought you had a grip on anything except poor advice and afterthought I would do something besides sarcasm but it’s just not there. I simply do not see any of the comments you made as even relevant.

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted October 10, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      “Political activism should mean voting once every four years. If you do much more than that, something is wrong”.

      What a strange suggestion. Of course political activists generally think there is something wrong with society – that’s what makes them activists. I wonder how much progress Martin Luther King would have made if he and his followers had followed your advice and just restricted their activism to voting for the less bad candidate every four years?
      And in present day US, my impression (also as an outsider) is that many, many people think that something is wrong although, depending on where on the political spectrum they sit they are not agreed about exactly what it is that is wrong and still less on what the solution(s) is/are. Plenty of reason for activists on all sides to keep busy as they try to win the hearts and minds of the American people and it would be, frankly, bizarre if everyone decided to just shut up until the next election.

  9. Posted October 9, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  10. Jeremy Tarone
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    “(or, Ceiling Cat help us, eight) years?”

    Ceiling Cat has washed it’s paws of Trump. We are on our own.

  11. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    ‘The Republican’s Guide to Presidential Etiquette’ ?

    Trump probably never heard of the last word and wouldn’t understand it if it was explained to him.



  12. Max Blancke
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    As a veteran of a bunch of humanitarian aid efforts, I can say that some level of local participation is necessary for the aid to reach all of those in need.
    In PR, local politics and corruption have been a factor in delaying the aid that has reached the island form being fairly and efficiently distributed.
    This sort of thing is a normal obstacle in places like Liberia and Congo. It is not as much to be expected in a US territory.

  13. grasshopper
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    The NYT Editorial reminds me of Fawlty Towers, specifically the episode called “Basil The Rat”, wherein the health inspector takes Basil Fawlty to task for the insalubrious state of the hotel kitchen.

    Health Inspector — These premises do not come up to the standard required by this authority.
    Unless appropriate steps are taken instantly, I shall have no alternative
    but to prosecute or recommend closure to the appropriate committee of the council.
    Specifically, lack of proper cleaning routines, dirty and greasy filters, greasy
    and encrusted deep fat fryer, dirty, cracked, and stained food preparation surfaces,
    dirty, cracked, and missing wall and floor tiles, dirty, marked, and stained
    utensils, dirty and greasy interior surfaces of the ventilator hoods.

    Basil Fawlty — Yes, about the deep fat fryer.

    Health Inspector — Inadequate temperature control and storage of dangerous foodstuffs, storage of cooked
    and raw meat in same trays, storage of raw meat above confectionery, with consequent
    dripping of meat juices onto cream products, refrigerator seals loose and cracked, ice
    box undefrosted, and refrigerator overstocked.

    Basil Fawlty — Yes, say no more.

    Health Inspector — Food handling routines suspect, evidence of smoking in food preparation area,
    dirty and grubby food handling overalls, lack of wash handbasin which you gave us a
    verbal assurance you’d have installed on our last visit six months ago and two dead pigeons in the water tank.

    Basil Fawlty — Otherwise, okay?

  14. mirandaga
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    “When I saw Trump heaving rolls of paper towels at a crowd in Puerto Rico, I almost puked.”

    I don’t know—seems to me Trump is guilty of far more pukable behavior. After all, 1) he didn’t choose what items would be on the table to distribute, 2) paper towels may have been the safest thing to throw into a crowd, and 3) the people in the audience seemed appreciative. That the negative symbolic weight of the gesture was lost on Trump and his cronies is par for the course, but I’m inclined to give him this one on the grounds of good intentions.

  15. nicky
    Posted October 10, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Just watched a cartoon figuring Daffy Duck with my 6 year old. The resemblance is absolutely striking. Egotistic, megalomanic, fraudulent, pathologically lying, absolutely clueless, smart Alec, insulting anyone at hand gratuitously, dropping associates for momentary convenience, etc. etc.
    There are basically only 3 differences: 1- Daffy is not profoundly malignant and shows some remorse on (a rare) occasion. 2- Daffy appears not really interested in sexual predation. 3- Daffy is black, not orange.

    • Zetopan
      Posted October 12, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      You left out that Daffy has a larger functional vocabulary and is more knowledgeable than the Donald (but then so is a dead spider).

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