Since his inauguration just a little over a month ago, the Trump administration has been firing wildly in all directions, against multiple targets, without hitting a single one. In fact, they have only succeeded in shooting themselves in their collective foot.
Let’s start with the now infamous Executive Order on Immigration. Hurriedly pasted together, without proper review or oversight, it was quickly stopped by numerous federal judges. The Trump administration tried to argue in the 11 Circuit Court of Appeals that it was “not” a ban against Muslims, per se, but a ban against countries that posed a terrorist threat to the U.S. However, the lawyers from the DOJ were unable to produce any evidence of a threat. Then they also had to try to respond to recorded comments by Trump confidant Rudy Gulliani that Trump did intend to impose a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Needless to say, they lost.
Aim. Fire. Miss.
While the administration stated it would be revising the ban to meet the legal requirements, their cause received an almost certain death blow when their own Department of Homeland Security issued an internal memo this week “Citizenship Likely An Unreliable Indicator of Terrorist Threat to the United States.”
Aim. No target.
Some of the people speaking on behalf of the White House, such as his Senior Counselor KellyAnne Conway, have virtually disappeared from sight after making blatantly ridiculous claims to the press. No one will forget her “alternative facts” or the now famous “Bowling Green Massacre” claim. Or the appearance by Senior Advisor Stephen Miller on four of the major Sunday talk shows that proved both awkward and embarrassing for him and the White House. Despite his assurances that he would always be available to speak, the White House has kept him under close wraps since that disastrous day.
Aim. Fire. Shoot self in foot.
Two of Trump’s highest-ranking experts on enemy threats, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and newly appointed National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. McMaster, have both stated that Islam, as a religion, does not pose a threat to our security. The radical terrorists do not represent the beliefs of true Islam. This is in direct contraction to the views espoused by Trump, his closest advisor Steve Bannon, and the previous National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
In addition, Mattis recently visited Iraq to assure that country that the United States had no intention of taking their oil, despite the President’s earlier statements. The fact that such an action was a direct violation of the Geneva Convention was pointed out to Trump by none other that German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their telephone conversation. Mattis has also tried to reassure our NATO allies that the United States fully supports the alliance, but with the mixed messages being sent out from the White House, he may not have fully convinced them.
Aim. Fire in multiple directions.
In the middle of the most serious crisis facing his administration to date, and it’s just been a little over a month, came media reports that White House officials tried to influence FBI reports on the status of its ongoing investigation of possible connections between the Trump campaign and subsequent administration and the Russian government.
Reince Priebus, the White House Chief of Staff, claimed that this was an innocent attempt to get the FBI to state that the media reports were wrong and they had not found any evidence to support the charges. While this “might’ be true, FBI Director Comey was equally correct in refusing to comment on any on-going FBI investigation. Former White House Counsel to Richard Nixon, John Dean, recently stated “I have expertise in this matter. Push back on an FBI investigation of the White House is better known as a COVER UP.”
However, it was both telling and damning that on Friday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer barred those same media outlets who had been reporting on the Russia story from an off-camera gaggle in the press office. This was the same Sean Spicer who said in December 2016 that barring media access is what a “dictatorship does.” In addition to the U.S. media, most foreign media were also banned, including the BBC. Already highly unpopular in Britain, this might prove to be the final straw for withdrawing his invitation for a formal State Visit later this year.
Aim. Fire. Hit innocent bystanders
Trump has ramped up his attacks against the media since taking office in January. But taking the step of barring CNN, The New York Time, The Los Angeles Times among other reputable news organizations was foolhardy and pointless. Someone, perhaps John Dean, should remind Trump that Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein never attended a White House briefing. They took down the Nixon administration from the Post’s City Desk.
Aim. Fire. Target shoots back.
In everyday parlance, a straight shooter is someone who is known for always telling the truth. There are a few straight shooters in the Trump administration, but their efforts are vastly overshadowed by a gang that cannot shoot straight.