Our long national nightmare may be over in about 28 days...but it ain't over yet. Not by a long shot. And, as detailed on today's BradCast, it's becoming more unnerving by the second, with Donald Trump's mental health seemingly devolving rapidly with each and every one. [Audio link to show is posted below.]
Curiously, corporate media are sounding more and more like The BradCast with each passing day. Among the stories underscoring that point as Trump's days in the White House continue to wane (whether he is able to admit that out-loud or not)...
- CNN's Stephen Collinson on Trump's "30-day reign of destruction on the way out of office";
- "Trump turns on everyone," reports Jonathan Swan at Axios. "Everyone" now appears to include "Vice President Pence, chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Secretary of State Pompeo and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell." (With a hat-tip to Lincoln Project, for their video getting inside Trump's head regarding Pence);
- Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr reports anxiety is rising at DoD, with one officer telling her "We don't know what he might do" in these final days. They were particularly alarmed after talk from disgraced and pardoned former National Security Advisor, Lt. General Michael Flynn's call for Trump to invoke Martial Law and order the military to "re-run" the election in some states that Trump lost. The military, according to Starr, wants nothing to do with any of it. We hope her reporting is accurate;
- Amid all of this, Trump unleashed another wave of Presidential pardons for his friends and the friends of his friends on Tuesday night. This time for 4 war criminals charged with murder for carrying out a massacre of Iraqi civilians while employees for Blackwater, the mercenary company owned by Eric Prince (brother of Trump's Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos); 3 corrupt, felonious Republican former Congressmembers (including the first two members of Congress to endorse him, Chris Collins of NY and Duncan Hunter, Jr. of CA); and 2 Campaign staffers who plead guilty to felonies tied to the Robert Mueller Special Counsel probe into Russian interference during the 2016 election. (And, after getting off air tonight, Trump has issued still more pardons for still more of his friends, including for his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former campaign advisor Roger Stone, and for Charles Kushner, father of his son-in-law Jared, all convicted of multiple felonies);
- But wait, there's more. Much more! During an unhinged, pre-taped White House video posted to Twitter last night, Trump threatened to veto the $900 billion COVID relief bill attached to the government's must-pass annual spending bill to avoid shutting down again. The long-overdue emergency relief was finally passed by Congress after eight months of Trump refusing to participate in negotiations. He's now pretending to be upset that stimulus checks to be sent to many Americans will only be $600. Congressional Republicans and White House negotiators insisted it could be more no more than that. But Trump now suggests he may veto the measure unless payments are increased to $2000. Dems, who had been trying to increase the amount of payments for months immediately joined Trump's call. Congressional Republicans (and the two incumbent Republican Senators running in the January 5th runoffs) are apparently furious, confused, and not sure how to fulfill the demands of their Frankenstein's monster;
- And, just before airtime, Trump vetoed another long-negotiated must-pass bill, the $790 billion Military Authorization spending bill which was enacted last week by veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress;
- That's only a taste of what, according to the Washington Post today, has now "plunged" the GOP "into open warfare over President elect Joe Biden's election victory --- with President Trump taunting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and threatening primary challenges against other Republicans, House lawmakers egging on senators to contest the counting of electoral college votes next month, and senior GOP senators rebuffing that effort as a pointless political exercise";
- All of which, as the New York Times reports today, has resulted in Trump at the "most unleashed...and...most unpredictable point in his presidency," while he is desperately "focused on the one area in which he is powerless to get what he wants: a way to avoid leaving office as a loser";
With that nightmarish backdrop, our guest today, HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo joins us to explain why Trump's final days are "more frightening than Nixon's" as he "seems to be having a very public nervous breakdown."
"We knew he wasn't going to act like a normal President and be gracious and have Biden over coffee. I didn't expect that," she tells me. "But this? He's so incredibly afraid of being called a loser that he's turned himself into the greatest sore loser in world history!"
"He's clearly melting down," she adds. "As far as I am concerned, when you have a President who is melting down, who has this capacity to launch a nuclear war, we're in a very dangerous situation."
She also has a number of thoughts on where this all goes "beyond Trump," after the (theoretically) inevitable Inauguration of Joe Biden, if we manage to get there. "The rationalization of these people. The brain-poisoning...The absolutely servile Republican Party that has completely abdicated all responsibility," observes Parton. "He is the Republican party. They are part of it, if they choose to be. But there is no Republican Establishment. There's only him."
This, she cautions, is "Trump's last stand," before adding ominously: "At least, we think it is."
We've tried to touch base with Parton at many of the landmark moments throughout the nightmarish Trump Presidency (and candidacy --- she was also with us the day he descended the gilded escalator at Trump Tower to announce his run for office in 2015.) So, with all of this madness swirling and our long national nightmare before Christmas continuing, it seems like today was another perfect moment to check in with her for our last interview before standing down for the holidays. (Don't worry! Nicole Sandler will be in for us with fresh shows next week! So please stay tuned in!)
Finally, with the critical U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia now underway, and control of the U.S. Senate hanging in the balance --- (we also discuss with Parton what the January 5 Election Day in GA could mean for the January 6 affirmation of Biden's Electoral College win in Congress on January 6) --- we close with a new tune from Patty Austin with a very important message for our friends in the Peach State: "Georgia, You're Voting for Me Too!"...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)