Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trump to Senate: "When I call, you come."

No, he didn’t say that exactly, but the meaning is a reasonable inference given that Trump summoned all 100 senators to a briefing at the White House.

The Washington Post asked: Trump’s administration summoned all 100 senators to the White House to discuss North Korea. Why?

Salon answered:Donald Trump’s North Korea briefing was a political stunt to get senators to come to him. “I didn’t hear anything new,” John McCain told CNN about Trump’s emergency North Korea summit at the White House.

Scriber has a slightly different take: Trump was exercising his power over Congress by dissing the Senate.

Aaron Blake at the Washington Post reports that Trump is now talking about consolidating his power

President Trump has suggested that the judiciary doesn’t have the authority to question him. He was a very early proponent of nuking the filibuster for Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. And he recently raised eyebrows by congratulating Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the expansion of his presidential powers — echoing his previous admiration for strongman leaders.

Now Trump is talking about consolidating his own power.

In an interview with Fox News that aired Friday night, Trump dismissed the “archaic” rules of the House and Senate — using that word four times — and suggested they needed to be streamlined for the good of the country.

Whether this is just him blowing off steam or signaling what lies ahead, it’s significant. Because it suggests a president, yet again, who doesn’t agree with his own powers being limited or even questioned. Remember when senior policy adviser Stephen Miller declared “the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned?” This is more of that kind of attitude.

He wants more power — and he wants it quickly. It’s not difficult to connect this to his past admiration for authoritarian leaders, and these comments are likely to give Democrats (and even some in the GOP establishment) plenty of heartburn. This is a demonstrated pattern for him, for all the reasons listed at the top of this post.

Whether he targets the filibuster specifically or not, his attitude toward his own power is clear: The more, the better. He’s already gotten a taste for rolling back the filibuster, and after just 100 days of frustration, he already wants more.

Kathleen Parker (Washington Post) says that Disliking Trump is getting very boring

Perhaps, as the BBC’s Katty Kay tweeted Friday, “Trump talks in superlatives. We should all get used to that. It doesn’t mean he acts in superlatives too.” While likely so, some thanks are owed to Congress for applying the brakes on his bigger initiatives. What Kay’s comment really suggests, however, is profoundly distressing: We have a president who should be ignored.

To this end, I shall try. Disliking Trump, even for all the right reasons, is exhausting and unsustainable. It’s also boring. With 265 days still left of Trump’s first year — talk about exhausting — our highest calling is to encourage wiser men and women to prevail, to ignore most of what Trump says and to keep our eye on the bouncing ball.

Where it lands, nobody knows.

And this last line is why I think we cannot afford to be bored by Trump’s tirades. His full-court press against the judiciary and media and anyone else who calls him out and his push for more personal power represent real threats to our democracy.

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