In Trumpland: The art of the foil!

Arun Kumar

Washington, March 11 (IANS) The 45th tenant of the White House was livid. His newly minted Attorney General's failure to disclose a couple of meetings with Moscow's envoy had raised new questions about his Russian connection.

Coming as it did weeks after the disastrous rollout of his original ban on travel from seven terror prone Muslim majority countries and the forced resignation of his top security advisor, Donald Trump decided to take matter into his own hands.

Ever proud of his "The Art of the Deal", 45 did what he does best: foil with an early morning tweet from his plush weekend retreat at Mar-a-Lago, Florida, dubbed the White House South.

"Terrible!" Trump fired a salvo taking aim at 44, his predecessor. "Just found out that (Barack) Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"

"How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process," he alleged in another offering no harder evidence than a media report.

"This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!" the former reality TV star thundered comparing it to the infamous affair that had brought about the downfall of Richard Nixon in the 1970s.

Even as an Obama spokesman and his top spy denied the wiretapping claim, a reportedly "incredulous" FBI Director James Comey asked the Justice Department to publicly knock down the allegations. But the Department's silence so far only fuelled more speculation.

That set the chatteratti aflutter. The pundits were aghast. Time magazine ran a cover with a crumbling Washington monument branding it "Trump's war on Washington".

Opposition Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi called him the "deflector-in-chief," accusing him of manipulating news coverage.

Call it what you will. Lost in the din were Democrats' strident demands for the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions even as he recused himself from any investigation of Trump campaign's Russia connection.

Ever falling for the juicy, the media also had little inclination for discussing the impact of Trump's dismantling or loosening of 90 odd regulations dealing with from Wall Street to environment or plans to spend a trillion dollars to fix America's ageing infrastructure.

Itching for a fight, the brash billionaire doubled down calling for a Congressional probe into his claim as Comey met with the Congress 'Gang of Eight' given access to top intelligence matters to brief them on the Russia probe.

With his regime leaking like a sieve, Trump's Attorney General fired 46 of the nation's top prosecutors, including Manhattan's desi "Sheriff of Wall Street", Preet Bharara.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer suggested some people 'burrowed' into the government during eight years of the Obama rule were still working to advance his agenda. But he denied that the CIA was working to root them out.

Marking his 50 days in office, Trump issued a new improved travel ban custom tailored to court rulings as Republicans unveiled their plan to "repeal and replace" the "disastrous" Obamacare, his predecessor's signature health care law.

As Democrats dubbed it "anti-poor" and Republican critics scoffed at it as "Obamacare Lite," Trump in full salesman mode warned Republicans that not passing a bill could result in a "bloodbath" for the party in 2018 Congressional elections.

A good jobs report indicating the economy added a robust 235,000 jobs in his first full month in office and the unemployment rate in February inched down to 4.7 percent also came in as a gift to crow about.

Meanwhile, that "nasty woman" Hillary Clinton celebrated International Women's Day by telling followers to "stand up, resist, run for office" as she sported a new fancy hairdo with bangs on Snapchat in a snazzy red jacket.

Trump's 2016 Democratic presidential rival also came to haunt him in the White House as he came out to greet a group of cheering, screaming fifth graders oblivious of a giant portrait of the former first lady staring down from the wall behind him.

But the Manhattan mogul has little to worry about with the Clinton clan not having learnt any lessons from her stunning loss to Trump as evident from daughter Chelsea's take on National Pancake Day.

While a few greeted her tweet of some very green spinach pancakes as a healthy choice, many mocked her hilariously reminding the Clintons: "This is why Hillary lost."

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

--IANS

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