What I’ve Learned — & Questions I Still Have — About The Trump Administration This Week

Photo: Alexander Shcherbak/Getty Images.
Jena Friedman is a comedian and filmmaker. She has worked as a correspondent for National Geographic Explorer and Vice and as a field producer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and has written for Late Show with David Letterman and The New Yorker. She has recently appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, @Midnight with Chris Hardwick, The Jim Gaffigan Show and in the Netflix mocumentary Undecided. Her critically acclaimed stand-up special, American Cunt, is now available on Seeso and Amazon.
All opinions are her own.
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1. Trump Acts As If He’s Above The Law (& He’s Getting Away With It). As evidenced by the Muslim ban, a blatant disregard for every branch of government, repeatedly violating the emoluments clause, firing Comey, etc. Trump continues to operate according to his own whims and with little respect for the norms and laws that govern our country. While his behavior isn’t surprising to anyone who knows or has ever been intimately involved with a narcissist (he was a drummer, I was young), what is shocking is the GOP’s unwavering complicity. Even staunch “Constitutionalists” like Ted Cruz seem fine with Trump shitting (or more accurate, peeing) all over their sacred text. Cruz paraded his allegiance to Trump this week by interrogating Sally Yates as if she were on trial in 17th-century Salem (in Cruz’s defense, he did burn witches in a past life). Which makes me wonder, if this administration continues to violate the Constitution, and Republicans continue to let them, COULD THEY BE COMING FOR OUR GUNS NEXT? It’s a bit of a stretch, but spring this line of logic on your Trump-supporting uncle at the next family gathering and see what he says.
2. Trump Is Trying To Distract Us (& It's Working). If Trump really is guilty of colluding with the Russians, he’d probably do something crazy right now that would dominate the news cycle and shift our focus, like launching missiles into Syria (done) or dropping a giant bomb on Afghanistan (done) or hmm, firing FBI director James Comey in the middle of his investigation into Trump’s collusion with Russia. Whatever will he think of next? Hint: probably something in the vein of the Reichstag fire.
3. Republicans Are The Worst. Okay fine, #NotAllRepublicans, but why aren't they doing more to stop Trump?! We know they don’t like him (see: any 2016 GOP primary debate or the literally hundreds of names on this list). Do they still think they can control him? (They can’t.) Is their hatred of ObamaCare, paying taxes, and the poors stronger than their belief in American liberal democracy and our national sovereignty? It sure looks like it (if only the Dems had called ObamaCare “FetusCare”). And while we’re on the subject of reframing things, perhaps when communicating with Republicans, we should just change Putin’s name to Hillary. Let’s try it on Jason Chaffetz and see.
4. Is It Safe To Assume Anyone Supporting Trump At This Point Is Being Blackmailed By Russia? No, but it’s a fun exercise! Take Ted Cruz, for instance. What could Russia have on Ted Cruz that has been making him stick his neck out to defend Trump? More importantly, do snakes even have necks? That was mean, to snakes. We can probably rule out white collar crime (aw, remember when people cared about that?) and pee stuff (do amphibians urinate? Are snakes amphibians? It's been a while since Freshman biology). Perhaps, Russian kompromat on Cruz is that he runs a Satanic cult that operates a pedophile ring out of his office basement. I don’t have proof of this, but I also don’t not have proof. So before you edit this point out of my piece Refinery29, please just ask yourselves: WHAT IS TED CRUZ HIDING?
5. Sally Yates Is A Goddamn Hero. Remember Sally? Funny how all it takes to distract the media away from damning testimony about potential White House collusion with Russia is the firing of the FBI Director leading the investigation. But I never forget former acting Attorney General Sally Yates. After January 20, I was pretty despondent — that is, until the smart, principled, and fearless civil servant stepped up as the first official to publicly oppose “President Trump” (it still hurts) by refusing to uphold his very unconstitutional Muslim ban. On top of that, Yates slayed at Monday’s hearing, schooling GOP interrogators like Cruz, John Coryn, and John Kennedy (not a real Kennedy). Sally was unflappable and logical throughout her testimony, and she showed Trump something he’s not used to seeing — a backbone (the sexiest part of a woman, really). Can you believe that was just Monday? It’s Thursday. Where does the time go? See #2.
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6. Trump Is Going Down. And by that I mean, either he’s going down, or he's going down in history as America’s first dictator (after all, my favorite blind Bulgarian oracle, Baba Vanga, did predict Barack Obama was going to be America’s last President). It’s too soon to say definitively that Trump colluded with Russia to swing the election, but he sure as hell is acting like it. And if Trump goes down, his entire inner circle is going down with him. Jared, Ivanka (are we calling them Jar-vanka yet?), Bannon, Preibus, Stone, Manafort, Conway — all of them have had enough information and access to raise serious questions about their credibility. I’m not a lawyer, but after the Yates hearing and the Comey firing, I’d say the future looks bright in terms of Trump’s impeachment (or bright in terms of nuclear war). Don’t worry, I’m placing my bet on impeachment, and the bookies are with me. I’d celebrate now, but I think I’m going to wait until his tiny hands are far away from the launch codes.
7. Get Used To Saying "President Pence." I know what you’re thinking: Pence is worse than Trump. He’s not. Pence is the Devil we know, a social conservative who hates women and the LGBTQ community, whereas Trump is an authoritarian kleptocrat (who also hates women and the LGBTQ community) bent on enriching his empire, destroying our country, and possibly inciting World War III. On the bright side, we’re not going to slip into The Handmaid’s Tale under President Pence because he’ll be aborted after one term. Joe SixPack isn’t gonna elect a guy who only has a drink if he thinks it’s the blood of Christ.
8. Facts matter. This isn’t something I learned this week or from Trump, but it bears repeating. A year ago, who would have believed that facts would be more in danger of extinction than polar bears? But apparently now they are, and we have to fight to defend them. So in that vein, I’m sorry for insinuating that Ted Cruz a Satanic snakey pedophile. The fact is, it’s too soon to tell.
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