I Guess, At the End of the Day, I Do Care . . .

[I know we’re all really tired of this stuff, and for a bunch of reasons I’ve not been reading all of the news and opinions that I had been. But I do think the summary provided by Dana Milbank in this Sunday OpEd piece is a useful reprise of where we’ve arrived after 18 months or so . . . bp]

I really don’t care about Trump’s cruelty, do u?

First lady Melania Trump wears a jacket with wording on the back that says, “I really don’t care, do u?” (Andrew Harnik/AP)

By Dana Milbank              Columnist              June 22                   Email the author

In the 1992 campaign, President George H.W. Bush created an unofficial and much-mocked motto for his administration during a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. “Message: I care,” he announced, as if reading aloud the stage directions.

Melania Trump did much the same this week when she went to Texas to see some of the migrant kids who were taken from their parents under her husband’s policy. The now-famous wording on her jacket made her a human billboard for what should be the unofficial motto of the Trump administration: “I really don’t care, do u?”

The administration’s cruelty is particularly prominent lately, because of photos of the anguish of the migrant children — and President Trump’s accompanying allegation of “phony stories of sadness” and his warning that immigrants, like insects, would “infest”  the country. But the current episode, though highly visible, is hardly one of a kind. By now, the administration has amassed an extensive catalogue of cruelty.

On Thursday, Trump doomed the latest attempt to protect from deportation the “dreamers,” those 700,000 people who have known no home but America since they were brought here as children. He tweeted that he didn’t see the “purpose” of the House passing an immigration bill — and, sure enough, the House called off the vote. He previously blew up a Senate compromise on the same subject, during his tirade about immigrants from “shithole countries.” It was his own executive action that exposed the dreamers to deportation in the first place.

I really don’t care, do u?

On Wednesday night, Trump renewed his assault on Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as he dies from brain cancer. Trump again blamed McCain for the failed repeal of Obamacare.

The administration earlier this month decided not to defend the law against a court challenge that if successful would end protections for Americans with preexisting conditions. Trump has also ended subsidies to help insurance companies cover low-income people, and acknowledged the Obamacare repeal he championed was “mean.” He gave a green light to work requirements for Medicaid that could deny health insurance even to many poor Americans who work.

I really don’t care, do u?

The Trump administration this month said that domestic violence and gang violence would no longer be grounds for seeking asylum in the United States.

Trump previously reduced the number of refugees from 110,000 to 45,000 per year — the lowest in almost 40 years; and even fewer are actually being admitted, forcing tens of thousands to remain in refugee camps and return to face persecution or violence in the countries they fled. This is after Trump’s travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries, which resulted in families separated and students and doctors denied entry.

I really don’t care, do u?

Lawmakers complained this week to Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, that the administration’s haphazard implementation of trade barriers is causing havoc for farmers, small businesses and manufacturers. Ross responded by calling such notions “exaggerated” and “not our fault.”

A week earlier, as The Post’s Jeff Stein and Andrew van Dam wrote, Trump’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that wages after inflation have fallen over the past year for production and nonsupervisory workers — 80 percent of all privately employed workers. That means economic “gains are going almost exclusively to people already at the top of the economic ladder.” And the tax cuts further widen the gap between the rich and everybody else.

I really don’t care, do u?

Trump’s budget proposal this year, sensibly ignored by Congress, would have cut Medicaid by $306 billion over 10 years, food stamps by $214 billion, nutritional help for mothers and children, and heating assistance for the poor, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The Trump administration is also reducing enforcement of fair-housing laws. And Trump said Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was not a “real catastrophe”and said Puerto Ricans “want everything to be done for them.” It now appears thousands died.

I really don’t care, do u?

Trump said there were “very fine people” among the neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville last summer. He declared a ban on transgender people in the military and later imposed a partial ban. He called for new gun restrictions — then abandoned the effort. His administration ordered prosecutors to seek maximum penalties for even nonviolent drug crimes and removed protections for victims of campus sexual assault.

I really don’t care, do u?

Now come reports that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller — architects and leading defenders of Trump’s child-separation policy — were heckled in separate incidents in recent days while dining at Mexican restaurants. Another report this week highlighted the discovery that Miller’s great-grandfather had his naturalization petition denied because of “ignorance.”

I don’t like incivility, or cheap shots. But you know what else? I really don’t care, do u?

Read more from Dana Milbank’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

About Bruce

Work for sustainable development of small islands and the Chesapeake Bay; ex-Peace Corps (Volunteer and staff) in LA & Caribbean; cruised Caribbean on S/Y Meander for three years; like small tropical islands, French canals, Umbria, Tasmania, and NZ. Married 52 years to the late Kincey Burdett Potter (see Kincey.org). President of the now-sunsetting Island Resources Foundation.
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