Bob Franken


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What a whirlwind life President Donald Trump leads! One week he’s cavorting around Osaka, Japan, and Korea, networking with his various autocratic buddies. Then he heads home in time to muscle into the celebration of the independence of his home country and a system of government designed to shun absolute authority.
He chafes under his restrictions, and at the G-20 summit he had warmly compared notes with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, all of whom have records of ruthlessly smothering dissent and unfavorable news coverage. On the way back, he stopped off for a pretend “I was in the neighborhood” drop-in with North Korea’s absolute dictator Kim Jong Un.
Clearly he has his moments of despot envy. Look no further than his thousands of tweets condemning unfavorable court rulings and reports from media he calls “enemies of the people,” just like Josef Stalin did. Recently he labeled a New York Times account of cyberwarfare with Russia “a virtual act of Treason,” an accusation the Times called “dangerous,” particularly since the paper had run the story past various national security officials in Trump’s own administration, and they had raised no objections.

While he was hanging out with his BFF Kim at that playground called the Demilitarized Zone, part of the media contingent that had accompanied him was being battered by overzealous North Korean security forces who didn’t get the memo that an American pool of reporters and camera people would be allowed to cover the meeting. So security forcefully tried to physically stop them. It got so ugly that the new Donald Trump press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, who just replaced Sarah Sanders, tried to run interference and got roughed up as she interceded in support of the pool’s access. She was bruised in the chaos, which while painful, started her off with the White House press corps on a favorable note. It begged the question of how Sanders would have handled things. One cannot imagine her getting involved in the melee, unless it was in support of the North Korean thugs.
Before that, as President Trump looked out at the DMZ with its deadly fortifications, he clearly was thinking of his sputtering efforts to construct a wall along the U.S. southern border. He couldn’t restrain himself: “When you talk about a border, that’s what they call a border,” he gushed, “Nobody goes through that border.”
Do not be at all surprised if the president comes back and revises his own proposal for a measly wall. How about simply laying minefields along the whole frontier? And placing hundreds of sharks or alligators in the Rio Grande? His base would love it.
Kim and the others don’t have trouble with their legislative bodies. But here, the Democrats in Congress just refuse to be cooperative rubber stamps. He can’t even get them to finance his wall. But let us not forget that Donald Trump as a candidate wasn’t really promising the U.S. would pay for it. He insisted Mexico would. Remember?
And it’s still possible that Mexico will pick up the tab. If Trump wins the election, thousands of fed-up Americans, maybe millions, will want to pull up roots and leave the USA in disgust. For those who consider Canada far too cold, where would they go? Mexico would be the most convenient option. So many people would head south that Mexico would be overwhelmed. Government officials there would have no choice but to put up a wall to discourage all the gringo illegal aliens.
Those who stayed behind will be dealing with an emboldened Donald Trump, if that’s possible, no longer as restrained from grabbing power and authority, since he wouldn’t have to run for reelection. Unless he ignores the two-term limit, as he’s mused about before. Whatever he does, he has no shortage of autocrat cronies who can set examples.

© 2019 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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