The holiday season starts early for Donald Trump

Allen Abel in Washington: With an oxygen truck in the White House driveway and a celebration on Capitol Hill, Trump takes a victory lap


 
U.S. President Donald Trump (C) waves to journalists as he arrives at the U.S. Capitol for a meeting with the House Republican conference November 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is huddling with House GOP members on the day they hope to pass tax reform legislation, moving the president one step closer to a promised tax cut for corporations and some individual Americans before the end of the year. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump (C) waves to journalists as he arrives at the U.S. Capitol for a meeting with the House Republican conference November 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is huddling with House GOP members on the day they hope to pass tax reform legislation, moving the president one step closer to a promised tax cut for corporations and some individual Americans before the end of the year. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Don’t get your hopes up, but a truck loaded with oxygen cylinders pulled through the front gates of the White House on Thursday at 1 p.m. It already had been a gaseous day for the noble, neon 45th President; an hour earlier, Donald Trump had been on Capitol Hill, inhaling what members of the Republican Party caucus of the House of Representatives described as “a celebrating moment” punctuated by “a lot of applause and cheering.”

“All that noise you were hearing from inside the room was pretty upbeat,” a Congressman from Staten Island told a Maclean’s reporter crushed in a stone-walled basement corridor.

“Unbelievably engaging,” echoed the chair of the Freedom Caucus.

“Everybody’s happy to see the President of the United States,” said the Staten Islander. “He’s the leader of the Free World.”

“We’ve got some pretty happy Republicans,” another member said.

“I love you, go vote!” commanded the Commander-In-Chief. And so they did.

READ: How Donald Trump is dividing Canada

Trump was not seen again in public Thursday after the tanks of O2 rolled in, but there was no indication that the jet-lagged 71-year-old was anything but in the pink on his second full day in Washington following his five-nation, election-anniversary victory lap—“Made many good friends!”—with assorted Asian emperors, commissars, strongmen and lapdogs.

“The President,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the daily White House press briefing, appearing no less disgusted with the press corps than usual despite the triumph on the Hill, was confident that “We’ll bring back our jobs, we’ll bring back our wealth, and as the President has said many times, we’ll bring back our great American dreams.”

Indeed, on Thursday afternoon, the House did pass Trump’s long and breathlessly vaunted revamp of the impenetrable Internal Revenue code (now named “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” after originally having been dubbed “The Cut, Cut, Cut Act” by the president himself) by a vote of 227 to 205, capping the first week of the season of holiday magic, a time when coloured lights sparkle, the stock market never goes down—the Dow was up 187 points on Thursday—and fat men fly with reindeer.

On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions performed an extraordinary feat of legislative legerdemain at a House committee hearing, escaping alive and un-indicted for perjury after describing under oath how he righteously and abruptly shut down a Trump campaign meeting that he once swore he did not recall attending in the first place. (The parley that Sessions un-mis-disremembered was the one at which rookie statesman George Papadopoulos offered to hook up The Donald with Russia’s gentle leader, The Vladimir.)

On Tuesday, Trump departed Asia—“Thank you Asia!” he tweeted—having freed three American college-basketball shoplifters from a probable semester of re-education in a Chinese laogai camp, and congratulated himself for a Rasmussen Presidential Tracking Poll that reported that his approval rating had rocketed all the way up to 46 per cent.

On Wednesday, the President managed to survive yet another day without a single public comment on the case of Judge Roy Moore, the teen-idolizing candidate for the Senate from the God-fearing Heart of Dixie.

And now, on Thursday, a few hours after the Congressional Budget Office calculated that the Senate’s parallel reform plan would actually raise taxes on everyone except millionaires—and after liberal paragon Al Franken, the comical Minnesotan (or “The Giant of the Senate,” as he is entitled in his latest book) confessed to having groped and forcibly kissed a woman in 2006—Trump was said by Huckabee Sanders to be consigning the fate of Judge Moore to the people of Alabama themselves.

READ: Donald Trump shakes hands with the devil

“The President is not disagreeing with anybody,” the press secretary insisted, when asked if Trump agrees with his daughter Ivanka’s assertion that “there is a special place in hell for people who prey on children.”

“He’s saying that he finds the allegations to be extremely troubling. He doesn’t know any more than you do on this fact, other than that these are something that should be taken very seriously and that the people of Alabama should be the ones to make the decision on whether or not to support Roy Moore.”

Untouchable by unseemly scandals in the Old Confederacy, hailed and haloed by a narrow plurality of the House of Representatives, and un-dis-approved-of by 46 per cent of the population the oxygenated helmsman sails on.

Yet to come are negotiations between House and Senate conferees as they move toward turning the truly remarkable economic double play of lowering taxes by raising them and reducing the federal deficit by making it even larger. The last time such a monumental re-write was undertaken, three decades ago, the painstaking process included two full years of public hearings. This time, the lawmakers plan to have the folio on Trump’s desk—or slipped under the rattan portal of his cabana at Mar-A-Lago—by Yuletide.

“Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!” Trump tweeted to the liberated basketballers. But the message could have been directed at the same Pretty Happy Republicans who have failed to enact every other major piece of legislation they have introduced since the Reagan administration.

Thursday’s briefing concluded as darkness fell, leaving America’s whiplashed millions to wonder what Friday could possibly bring. By then, the oxygen truck had departed the North Lawn. But a few blocks away, another van, festooned with posters and slogans, was parked on Constitution Avenue.

“RETURN TO ME,” blared one of its placards, above a portrait of Jesus Christ. “VOTE FOR JUDGE ROY MOORE. MAKE AMERICA GOOD AGAIN.”

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The holiday season starts early for Donald Trump

  1. ‘leader of the free world’??

    What year are they living in??

  2. Some real double speak in this bunch of verbiage. How can you possibly makes everyone’s taxes higher except the millionaires (who already pay 25% of all taxes collected as the exalted “1 per cent”), and at the same time make the deficit rise because of this. This guy is obviously can’t do simple math!!

    • The middle class pay a bit more, the rich pay a lot less. Total intake = less, deficit goes up. You “is obviously can’t do simple” write (or think).

      • Trump’s changes to the “Federal Tax” IMO will not affect the Federal coffers all that much. On average 3.4% of payroll taxes go to the Feds (skewed by higher income earners). Now the individual state taxes (Trump can’t touch) — that’s where the big bang for the buck is. Corporate tax – something else being addressed by Trump will have a larger affect. Here’s where Trump has evidence based science on his side. The more cash on hand a company has — the more they invest it back into the company.

        Currently 70 percent of income taxes are paid by the highest-income 10 percent of taxpayers (as well as 83 percent by the top 20 percent, and 90 percent by the top 30 percent).

      • Nonsense-you must be drinking Nancy Pelosi coo-lade. The rich tax rate stayed the same and the middle class rate went down. The deficit goes up because corporate tax is reduced. And you can’t consider corporations “the rich”. Some make money; some don’t get a return on investment but they all create jobs.

  3. This is great news for USA 1% richest people.
    Now, three richest people in America have more money in the banks then 160 millions ordinary Americans.
    With this proposed change it will need at least 180 millions “ordinary” Americans savings to match the welt of Gates, Buffet and the owner of Amazon!!
    In top of that, Health Care Insurance is gone for up to 23 million middle and low income families.
    Is this a “good” reason why so many angry, mostly white people, voted for Trump and Republicans?
    I guess not, in my books!

    • Health insurance costs went up dramatically because of Obama-not Trump. And it sounds like you are against business in general. Businesses are what create jobs!!

  4. “Leader of the Free World”. Now that’s a massive joke. You can’t shout “America First” from the rooftops while you dismantle all the carefully built mechanisms for international cooperation and expect anyone to look to you for leadership. Jingoistic nationalism coupled with American exceptionalism just doesn’t cut it.