* Over the weekend the NYT published an article about about Trump and his immigration policy. When given figures on people who obtained visas in 2017, this was the reaction of our president:

Haiti had sent 15,000 people. They “all have AIDS,” he grumbled, according to one person who attended the meeting and another person who was briefed about it by a different person who was there.

Forty thousand had come from Nigeria, Mr. Trump added. Once they had seen the United States, they would never “go back to their huts” in Africa, recalled the two officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive conversation in the Oval Office.

About those huts in Nigeria…

* I vow to never assume that this kind of thing is “normal.”

Here is Josh Marshall’s reaction:

This point is critical to remember. Trump’s flouting of democratic norms during the campaign was a core element, perhaps the core element, of his appeal. Support for Trump certainly wasn’t in spite of this. Nor was it incidental. We focus on Trump’s antics. They remain erratic and unbridled. But equally important, probably more important, is the absence of any overriding respect for the rule of law or democratic norms among his supporters.

* Andrés Miguel Rondón, who lived most of his life in Venezuela, provides an important lesson on why scandals don’t deter Trump’s avid supporters.

What you call scandal is only a sign that he is fighting back. Indeed: that he is fighting you. To his supporters, this is no scandal at all — he’s doing exactly what he promised he would do…

Normal politicians collapse in the face of scandal because the scandals show them dozing on the job or falling back on their promises. To get elected, they offer a bargain: “Vote for me: I will make you richer/fight for your rights/assure your progress.” Scandals reveal they can’t do that, and thus, they tumble. However, like all populists, Trump offers a much different deal — “Vote for me: I will destroy your enemies. They are the reason you are not rich/have less rights/America is not great anymore.” Scandal is the populist’s natural element for the same reason that demolishing buildings makes more noise than constructing them. His supporters didn’t vote for silence. They voted for a bang…

As long as Trump is still swinging back, scandals help him to polarize the country further. The scorn of his adversaries, in the eyes of his supporters, proves that he’s doing exactly what they voted him for to do: dismantling a rigged system that they believe destroyed their hopes.

* Rondón suggests that the remedy is to win over Trump supporters by empathizing with them. Joy Reid agrees with his analysis, but disagrees with the solution.

* It should come as no surprise to anyone that Mick Mulvaney is bastardizing the entire purpose of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Another day, another federal agency determined to undo the rules it was designed to write and enforce.

The latest is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the crisis-era creation of Sen. Elizabeth Warren charged with investigating the deceptive practices of lenders, wire services, auto dealers, credit card companies, and so on. The banking watchdog’s mission statement now lists its first order of business as hunting down “outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations.”

* Kevin Drum provides a pretty good rundown on what Trump did and didn’t accomplish in his first year.

Trump Accomplishments:

Regulatory rollbacks
Paris treaty
Tax bill
Individual mandate
Moving American embassy to Jerusalem

Trump Failures (so far, at least):

The wall
Repealing Obamacare
Immigration order
Deficit reduction
Blue-collar jobs

No Trump Influence:

War against ISIS

* Finally, I want to once against remind you that we are in the midst of our holiday fundraising drive here at the Washington Monthly. Please consider donating what you can—knowing that our foundation supporters will match your gift, dollar-for-dollar.


My thank you today builds on what I wrote recently about the darkness that we are experiencing in this season of Trump. The truth is that the winter solstice, as the darkest day of the year, marks the return journey of the sun for those of us living in the Northern hemisphere. That is something to keep in mind, both literally and figuratively.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.