[Lots of news, coming fast and furious. So two long blogs today.]
The Trump White House is hurtling into chaos, it seems. The past few days have seen Trump signing executive orders that have not been vetted as to whether they are legal and/or violate the constitution. Some clearly do not pass these tests.
One order was to start building The Wall, and he still insists that Mexico will pay for it . . . eventually, even though our taxpayers will have to pay for it initially. In response, the Mexican president cancelled the meeting he was to have this weekend with President Trump in Washington. Trump then put out a statement, saying that the meeting had been cancelled by mutual agreement.
Then he said there would be a 20% import tax on goods coming in from Mexico; a couple of hours later, that was retracted. There were other back and forth statements and retractions.
Then it was revealed that the top tier of civil service veterans in the State Department have been removed and told to leave by Friday. One was on his way to Italy and was told to get off the plane and return immediately. There is always some turnover when a new Secretary comes in; but not this kind of wholesale purge and not in such a hostile manner.
The vote on Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State hasn't even been taken yet, although his confirmation is almost certain. This purge sounds like something Putin would do, and it is even more disturbing knowing that Tillerson has such a close relationship with Putin. Are they about to set up a Russia-friendly State Department?
And that's just some of what's going on. And then there was this.
Trump's chief strategist and senior adviser, and former CEO of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, usually stays out of the spotlight. He rarely comments to the media, never goes on television, leaving that to Kellyanne Conway and, now, press secretary Sean Spicer. So this action from Bannon, yesterday, must indicate something rather drastic. My guess is that Trump insisted that Bannon had to do it, because Spicer is not effective enough and doesn't command the authority.
Whatever the backstage story, Bannon initiated a phone call to the New York Times And his message was this: "The media is now the opposition party in America, and the American media should "keep its mouth shut" and listen more.
I don't know what they thought this was going to do, but it sounds to me like throwing gasoline on a dumpster fire. Muzzling the press sounds like more first steps toward a totalitarian regime.