Opinion

Let's take stock of all the horrible stuff Trump and the GOP have done this month

This is the spring of America's discontent

Are you tired of all the winning yet?

No? You're not? Oh. Maybe it's because the last month of Republican rule has brought a parade of scandal, incompetence, cruelty, and violence coming so fast and thick that it has been almost impossible to simply remember everything that has happened, let alone really grasp it.

So let's run through the events of May, and try to summarize just the major terrible things that Republicans have done, from their doddering president to their journalist-pummeling candidate for Congress. Only by really marinating in the horror can we come to grips with how terrible this era of Republican governance has quickly become.

On May 4, the House of Representatives bulled through the American Health Care Act, a bill which mostly just cuts taxes on the rich and pays for it by slashing Medicaid to the bone. Republicans deliberately passed it without allowing the Congressional Budget Office enough time to score it, so they could lie more persuasively about what it would do. That CBO score has now come out, and it predicts that TrumpCare will leave 23 million more people uninsured by 2026, and dramatically worsen coverage for tens of millions more.

TrumpCare is without question the worst piece of health-care legislation since the end of World War II at least, and probably in American history. Since the 1860s, when the first pensions for disabled Civil War veterans were established, U.S. health-care policy has become steadily more generous and inclusive toward sick people, with rare and relatively small exceptions. The AHCA, by contrast, would eviscerate health care for tens of millions of Americans (especially people with pre-existing conditions), for no reason other than so the stinking rich can have more money they don't need.

On May 9, President Trump fired James Comey, citing the preposterous excuse that the FBI director handled Hillary Clinton's email investigation poorly. Even that flimsy reason only held up until May 11, when Trump himself said in an on-camera interview with Lester Holt that he fired Comey to stymie the Russia investigation. Within days, blockbuster stories revealed that Trump had earlier asked Comey to end the investigation into then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, that he revealed highly classified information to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister (which turned out to be from Israel), and that he also boasted to them that firing Comey had removed the pressure over Russia. Leaks also revealed that the FBI investigation had led to a current White House official — later revealed to be Jared Kushner.

At least the Department of Justice has appointed a special prosecutor, former FBI director Robert Mueller, to investigate this mess.

Trump spent the last days of the month bungling an overseas trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Europe. He was easily manipulated by the brutally repressive Saudi dictatorship (and their weird orb), announcing a massive new arms sale that the regime will use to massacre thousands in Yemen. Then he went to Europe and treated NATO allies with gratuitous contempt.

While he was gone, his administration produced a budget plan that would slash spending on all manner of social programs, especially those for the poor, while spending more on cops and the military. To try to balance the books, the budget assumed that tax cuts would unleash supercharged growth and create $2 trillion in extra revenue over 10 years — a figure that is not only completely ridiculous to assume on the merits, but was also counted twice, in a jaw-droppingly amateurish arithmetic mistake.

Finally, the Montana special election last week was a fitting capstone for this wretched month. After a race dominated by a tidal wave of outside money smearing Democratic candidate Rob Quist as a tax cheat, on the night before the election Republican candidate Greg Gianforte allegedly assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs for asking a question about the above-mentioned CBO score. According to an eyewitness report from a Fox News team:

Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith, and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, "I'm sick and tired of this!" [Fox News]

Gianforte was actually charged with assault, but he still won the election — only apologizing after victory was his. Only a handful of Republicans condemned his violence, and some actually celebrated it — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott even cracked a joke about shooting reporters. Vice President Mike Pence congratulated him on his victory; he will without question be seated by the Republican-controlled Congress. It seems highly unlikely that Gianforte will be convicted, much less see the inside of a jail cell (a possible punishment for misdemeanor assault), but even if he did, no doubt Speaker Paul Ryan would let him vote by proxy or something.

Perhaps June will offer a bit of a break from the GOP engine spewing forth pure vileness by the tanker load. Perhaps visits back home will convince Republican congressmen to back off their vicious agenda, or perhaps the summer heat will sap their energy such that they can't brutally assault reporters.

Or maybe it will be even worse.

Only one thing can be said for sure: Today's Republican Party is quite simply an odious institution, from top to bottom.

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