A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: Quite a pair. As Trump disintegrates, McConnell just keeps digging grave for democracy

America’s Il Duce, one Donald John Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, in MacArthur-returns-to-the-Philippines mode, stormed Lafayette Park like a ground sloth on Monday to stand in front of a church and display a book he has never read, The Bible, whose passages he couldn’t distinguish from a limerick that starts “There once was a man from Nantucket. . .”

Having achieved this grand triumph for who-knows-why and standing there for all the world like a schnook, this toad of a man, who a bit earlier announced his intention to unleash the nation’s military might on individuals who, for some reason don’t think it’s a good idea to go around killing black people, returned to his secured hovel at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue where he undoubtedly celebrated his greatness.

In order to achieve this crossing of H Street NW – not to be confused with the lesser achievement of Washington crossing the Delaware — for one of the ickiest photo ops in presidential history, law enforcement under federal control, federales if you will, gobsmacked assembled protesters who, as noted earlier, would appreciate it if cops would just quit killing black folks.

The NKyTribune’s Washington columnist Bill Straub served 11 years as the Frankfort Bureau chief for The Kentucky Post. He also is the former White House/political correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service. A member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, he currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, and writes frequently about the federal government and politics. Email him at williamgstraub@gmail.com

They did so utilizing police on horseback, a form of tear gas, mace, pepper balls, rubber bullets and, of course, the shield and clubs that constitute the usual police paraphernalia.

This all was accomplished prior to 7 p.m., before a curfew imposed by the government of the District of Columbia to bring a degree of calm to a city reacting to the unwarranted and evil death of another African-American man at the hands of police, George Floyd, who perished as a result of an officer of the law in Minneapolis pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed face down on the ground.

And it wasn’t a lone incident. Two months earlier, in Louisville, Breonna Taylor, a black woman, was shot by members of the Louisville Metro Police Department in her bed after they forced their way into her domicile with a no-knock warrant. Taylor, a health care worker, was 26 years old.

It’s fair to say that a lot of people are rather fed up with cops killing black people willy-nilly and earlier protests – remember the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. by a white policeman in Ferguson, MO., in 2014? – failed to achieve any satisfactory result in addressing the issue. So there has been some looting and burning in DC, Louisville and elsewhere.

As a result, Il Duce muttered some words about how it’s too bad about George Floyd and all, and, you know, maybe we ought to think about not doing that anymore.

But his real enthusiasm, as blood nearly dripped from his lips, was reserved for crushing the protests, vowing to activate military personnel if he so desired, in order to “dominate the streets.”

Trump said he will step in if any state “refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents.” He opened the door to employing the military against American citizens under the Insurrection Act of 1807.

Il Duce has, over the past three years, readily displayed all of the attributes of a tin horn dictator. His latest antics have shown him creeping into Augusto Pinochet territory. Law enforcement around the White House – the defense perimeter keeps expanding – have their badges covered and display no name tags, rendering it impossible to determine so much as the identity of the force carrying out these bullying tactics – DC Metro Police want nothing to do with it.

The situation is perilous, particularly given the chaos continuing to surround the federal government’s response, to COVID-19, the accompanying economic collapse and the surging police state, with a maniac running the entire kit-‘n-kaboodle. Voters won’t get a say for another five months. It’s past time for someone with authority to step forward and try to hit the brakes.

Someone like Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, of Louisville, who to this point, has carried enough water for Il Duce to fill the seven seas. Like the old song where the nation casts its lonely eyes to Joe DiMaggio, the country is looking for a stabilizing figure who simply won’t blow the joint to kingdom come.

So, Mr. Senator McConnell, what do you think about Mussolini Trump’s attack on peaceful protesters?

“I’m not going to critique other people’s performances,’’ McConnell said.

Well, so much for that.

Keep in mind this statement came just a few weeks after ol’ Mitch declared that former President Barack Obama “should have kept his mouth shut” regarding Trump’s miserable national response to COVID-19 – a disaster obvious to anyone with the sense that God gave to geese. He further stated that Obama, Trump’s direct predecessor, failed to leave the incoming administration with any plan on how to cope with a pandemic – a claim he later had to swallow whole.

But Trump’s boy Mitch doesn’t critique other people’s performances, never said a bad word about Obama.

What a sad, sad man.

McConnell further blocked a Senate resolution on Tuesday that denounced the tactics employed to roust the protestors from Lafayette Park.

The resolution, offered by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, was intended to support the rights of protesters, condemned violence and looting as unlawful and rebuke Il Duce for “ordering federal officers to use gas and rubber bullets against the Americans who were peaceably protesting in Lafayette Square in Washington, DC on the night of June 1, 2020.”

Mitch, in that smug way that has endeared him to one and all, provided the usual lip service to racial justice, which he abandoned as soon as the words spewed from his mouth. He further noted that the resolution, “just indulges in the myopic obsession with President Trump that has come to define the Democratic side of the aisle.”


What is instead obvious is the Republican side refuses to deal with what should be apparent to one and all – the president has steered the nation into a ditch and is now seeking a cliff to drive it over, with no one on the GOP side displaying the guts necessary to stop him.

Addison Mitchell McConnell is a lost cause. He’s done everything except don a black shirt in honor of the American Il Duce. He is the nation’s unwanted answer to Philippe Pétain, The Old Marshall who led the Vichy government in France during WWII, the world’s most infamous collaborationist with the Axis powers.

That’s what McConnell has become, a collaborator with an addled individual who presents a clear and present danger to the nation he has sworn to protect.

What’s really sad is that Mitch had a legitimate shot at one point of salvaging his reputation. When COVID-19 hit, he could have filled the void left with Trump’s inability to deal with the matter. Instead, he wound up complaining about “Blue State Bailouts’’ and turned out to be so deep in the tank that Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, turned their backs on him and negotiated with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over efforts to bail out the economy.

McConnell, it’s now clear, couldn’t find a way to place country over party.
No wonder they call him the gravedigger of democracy.

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  1. Richard says:

    Bill, good article for your readers to peruse… by Heather Mac Donald in WSJ: The Myth of Systemic Police Racism

  2. Kathy Hough says:

    Thank you Bill for your courage to speak the truth that anyone without blinders can see. We live in a state that too many citizens have their head buried in the ground. I moved here from Chicago and am continually surprised that so few are appalled at the antics and frightening tactics of that man living in our WH. If he is not stopped soon it will be too late for our hopes for democracy

  3. J Smith says:

    Looks like Bill managed to get all of the Democrat talking points into one op ed. Congratulations on following his orders.

    But would it be too much to ask that he at least acknowledge that the local authorities were doing nothing for justice in Georgia and Milwaukee before President Trump swiftly ordered the Federal Justice Department to intervene?

    Would it be too much to ask that it be mentioned that while President Trump publicly sympathized with the protestors, he came down hard only on looters, rioters and anarchists who dishonored the memory of the fallen by destroying lives and the livelihood of so many black Americans?

    I suppose it is too much to ask for a fair report from someone who can’t see through a haze of orange whenever President Trump’s name is written. Unless both sides are honest with each other, the divide cannot be closed. I’m sure Bill and his ilk are afraid unity will cost them another election.

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