SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Donald Trump’s angst-ridden, improvised and largely incoherent press conference Thursday underscored the frazzled state of his administration. The president has lost substantial ground on key issues and cabinet appointments. Courts have refused to reinstate the contentious Muslim travel ban, stores everywhere are ditching Trump brands, Michael Flynn tendered his resignation and Andrew Puzder, Trump’s pick for labor secretary, withdrew as a nominee. Puzder was formerly chief executive of CKE Enterprises, which owns fast food mainstays Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. However, his departure has unintentionally delivered another devastating blow. Without Puzder in office to oversee the massive workforce reforms promised to restaurant industry leaders, CKE announced that it would no longer be pursuing the Ivanka Trump Glamor Meal -- a desperate, last-ditch attempt to save the First Daughter’s failing fashion line.
A Fine-Tuned Machine, Running on FumesDuring the uncomfortable press conference, Trump unleashed a series of false claims in what USA Today referred to as a “rambling, defensive and at times angry performance by the leader of the free world.” He claimed that the healthy economy and social infrastructure left by his predecessor was a mess he inherited. He exaggerated his electoral college victory and offered an ill-informed, bigoted response to reporter April Ryan about the Black Caucus.
When Ryan asked Trump if was going to include “the CBC” in his forthcoming discussions about urban policy, the president replied, “Who?” He then paused, and proclaimed that “the CDC is going to be shut down next December when we terminate the EPA. With all the tax incentives I’ll be creating for pharmaceutical companies, they’ll be able to come up with cures for every disease known to man. We won’t have disease. So we won’t need a tax-sucking money pit like the Centers for Disease Control.”
Ryan clarified that she was talking about the Congressional Black Caucus, to which Trump responded: “They friends of yours? Tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting? Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours? Set up a meeting.”
Press Secretary Sean Spicer later blamed the odd response on a misunderstanding: “The president knows what the CBC is. However, because of Ms. Ryan’s thick ghetto accent and use of Ebonics, he thought she had made a dirty remark. About black c**ks. And the president wants nothing to do with black c**ks, even though he understands that once you’ve ‘gone there,’ you ‘never go back.’”
Bizarrely, during the presser, Trump also insisted that he had put together “one of the greatest cabinets ever assembled in American history.” Critics argued that Ikea cabinets have proven more durable and easier to assemble. Trump also described his administration as a “fine-tuned machine.” In the sense that his team has become a machine capable of producing illegal activities that generate fines, then this statement could be considered accurate. With the early erosion of his administration, it’s clear that Trump’s poor showing at the meeting was the result of tremendous pressure.
On Tuesday, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned over revelations that he discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak weeks prior to the inauguration, a violation of the Logan Act, and then misled U.S. officials about the conversations. Intelligence officials are launching an investigation that could implicate Trump and Vice President Pence in further collusion with Moscow. More embarrassing, retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, well respected in military circles, roundly refused the president’s invitation to serve as Flynn’s replacement. A day later, Puzder became yet another casualty in what could likely be a protracted battle.
Fast Food Industry Latest to Drop Ivanka TrumpOn February 2, Nordstrom announced that it would stop carrying merchandise produced under Ivanka Trump’s label because of poor performance and declining sales. Just days later, the president fired back at the luxury retailer for dropping his daughter’s brand. The angry reaction drew fire from critics who accused Trump of violating ethics rules, using his office to settle business disputes and for abandoning an intelligence briefing to berate a department store. However, as Sean Spicer explained, Nordstrom’s decision was a personal attack on the president -- a felony crime that warranted an immediate response. Since then, millions of Americans have rallied behind the treasonous company, forcing Trump to issue a warning that he may “call in the Feds.”
But other retailers have followed Nordstrom’s lead. Neiman Marcus and Belk also stopped selling Ivanka Trump’s name-branded line of clothing, shoes and jewelry. This weekend, Reuters reported that Sears Holdings and subsidiary Kmart will discontinue online sales of 31 items from the Trump Home collection. The First Family’s catastrophic financial losses and mounting stress culminated on Thursday with CKE’s decision to kill plans for the Ivanka Trump Glamor Meal.
“Andy Puzder was a visionary,” one lobbyist for the food services industry said in a phone interview. “He was going to slash the minimum wage and replace workers with robots. Consumers would have reaped those rewards. Now, millions of robots will be unemployed, value meals won’t really be values anymore, and we’re no longer in a position to help the Trumps.”
In exchange for Puzder’s efforts to introduce corporate-friendly employment policies, business owners in the restaurant industry had stepped up to help the struggling Trump dynasty to avoid utter financial ruin.
“Every business Trump touches turns to s**t. He’s like a scatalogical King Midas,” the lobbyist continued. “Now, his daughter’s in the cross-hairs. CKE had agreed to salvage Ivanka’s company by taking control of her inventory and placing items in boxed meals at Carl’s Jr. Like a Happy Meal. You get a messy, overly complex burger, some crappy fries, a flat soda and maybe a lovely Ivanka Trump pendant. Or a scarf, or sundress, or shoe, you know? It would be packaged in a branded container with interesting facts about how her father destroyed Hillary Clinton. They had also created word hunt games where you would circle Trumpisms like ‘bigly’ or ‘unpresidented’ from a jumble of letters. I even saw a sudoku-like puzzle where you try to find the popular mandate in actual voting statistics. It was a terrific concept, but without Puzder, there’s really no reason to proceed.”
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