Ho ho ho, don't we have fun!
On June 2, NBC News reporter Kasie Hunt asked Republican Senators for a reaction to President Donald Trump's actions the previous evening. Trump, the head of the Republican Party whom Senate Republicans declined to remove from office in December, had police deploy tear gas and flashbang grenades to clear peaceful protestors in order to facilitate a photo op of the president standing meaningfully in front of a church that he does not attend.
During the brief event, which resulted in law-abiding citizens being menaced by a low-hovering military helicopter and a church rector being tear-gassed, Trump also displayed what may or may not have been a Bible in much the same way that one might hold up a lost umbrella in a crowded museum lobby or a bidding card at a cattle auction.
While many unenlightened people felt that Republicans could have taken this frivolous dip into full-on fascism as the cue to signal their willingness to fully participate in a new impeachment, kneecap Trump, and save our democracy, they in fact took far bolder positions than many people will ever understand. Below, a selection:
Esper did not know Trump was going to do all that fascism with the Bible and the priest-gassing, HONEST, SIR, HONEST!
Oh boy, Defense Secretary Mark Esper is squeeeeeealing! On Tuesday, Esper, along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, issued a statement through a Defense Department spokesperson, saying they DID NOT KNOW EITHER that when Donald Trump said, "Hey you guys, let's walk across the street and gas a priest," he totally meant it literally! That when Trump said, "OK, after we gas the priest — yes, priest! — I am going to hoist a Bible upside down and declare the dawn of American fascism," he was being serious.
Did we believe Esper and Milley? Meh. Kinda hard when Milley strutted around the area for hours afterward, like an asshole. But sure, maybe they didn't really know what was about to happen. Maybe. As the day went on, we did learn that it was Attorney General Bill Barr who gave the order to clear Lafayette Park — you know, to tear gas innocent people, INCLUDING A PRIEST, so President Sad Fucky Ducky could waddle across the road and get a photo op to make him feel better. Did Barr specifically say "GAS THE PRIEST"? We don't know, but we wouldn't put it past that power-tripping dork.
But as we said, Esper is squeeeeeealing, and we love to see it. He told NBC News's Courtney Kube in an interview that everything that happened Monday was a surprise to him, because he thought he and Trump were just going to see a potty together, as we imagine more than one Cabinet member has to do with the president, on occasion.
"I thought I was going to do two things: to see some damage and to talk to the troops," Esper said Tuesday night in an exclusive interview with NBC News.
Esper said he believed they were going to observe the vandalized bathroom in Lafayette Square, which is near the church.
"I didn't know where I was going," Esper said. "I wanted to see how much damage actually happened."
OK, bless his heart. The president of the United States is a sad frightened Bunker Baby who hides behind his Twitter account and is reportedly scared of stairs and sharks and, presumably, stair sharks. There is no scenario where he is brave enough to walk across the street near scary American citizens peacefully expressing their First Amendment rights. That should have been the first clue for Esper that something was up.
Kube reports that a Pentagon spox says they knew the church — you know, where the Trump administration gassed a priest! — was on the list of things to go look at that day, but for real, Esper did not know the whole plan, with the upside-down Bible and the photo op and the fascism, and did we mention the priest-gassing? He just wanted to go say thank you to the National Guard!
We are willing to believe Esper didn't know about the Bible part, because it turns out FUCKING IVANKA was HIDING THE BIBLE in her MAX MARA BAG. Because that is apparently Ivanka's job, to keep the Bible prop in her handbag so Daddy can use it right after they gas the priest.
We are getting more leaks from the Pentagon in general about how this shit was not their idea and please do not think they hatched this fascist cockamamie shit themselves. In new reporting from the Daily Beast, Pentagon officials are emphasizing that calling in the National Guard and everything that came after was the White House's dumbass plan, not their dumbass plan.
The helicopters hovering over protesters? White House:
A senior DOD official said it was the White House that requested military helicopters fly low over protesters in D.C. and that it was part of a broader request from the Trump team that the national guard ramp up its presence in the city.
The tanks? White House. But you guys, this quote from "senior administration official," savor it like the last bite of truffle:
One of the sources, a senior administration official, insisted that the president wasn't ordering tanks to roll down the streets, but was inquiring about "the kind of hardware" that could be used in military shows of force, and at one point Trump threw out the word "tanks."
"I think that is just one of the military words he knows," this official said.
Even in these dark times, we can laugh our asses off at how Trump's own people talk about him behind his back.
Pentagon officials the Beast spoke to called the National Guard presence at the protests an "uncomfortable mission." And they really want America to know that a grand total of zero (0) governors have called them asking for additional assistance, like not even that idiot Brian Kemp. And they — neither the Pentagon nor the governors — do not want Trump invoking the Insurrection Act to force states to surrender to Trump's fascist impulses and let the military in. Esper made that crystal clear this morning in a press conference.
This, even though Trump berated governors on a Monday conference call, and called them "weak," and pretty much HEREBY ORDERED them to request Trump's military to come rain down fascist hell on their streets.
If you'll remember, on that call with the governors, Secretary Esper said creepy-ass shit about how the governors need to "dominate the battlespace," and when he said "battlespace," he meant the streets of America where the innocent citizens are. The Pentagon would like you to know Esper did not mean that literally.
[T]hree senior Pentagon officials who spoke with The Daily Beast said they viewed the secretary's comments on the call as a way to publicly show support for the president. They did not expect the department to actually implement a plan that would reflect the president's rhetoric and force additional troops upon the states.
He was just trying to humor the president, we guess, like when you laugh at one of your boss's jokes! He didn't think they were going to do something dumb like follow the president's orders. This is possibly true, because since the beginning of the Trump presidency, one of its defining characteristics has been that his top aides routinely ignore his orders, because he's a fucking idiot. The Pentagon especially has been known to just cold ignore his ass.
Oh yes, also Pentagon sources would like you to know that when Trump said Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was "in charge" of Trump's fascist military attack on America, that did not mean anything, and Milley is still just an "adviser" to Trump.
Got it? Milley NOT BAD. Esper NOT BAD.
So stop saying Mark Esper violated his oath of office while you are resigning from the Department of Defense, everybody!
This is all very fun, we love it when Trump people squeal, more please!
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Everything You Wanted To Know About 'Can Trump Insurrection Act Us' But Were Correctly Afraid To Ask
Just before Trump had law enforcement violently disperse peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park (at the personal direction of Reichsminister Bill Bar) with rubber bullets and tear gas so he could get a photo op at a church, he threatened to send in the military to break up protests against police brutality.
Trump, who last month called heavily armed white people threatening Michigan lawmakers "very good people," declared the current anti-racism protests "acts of domestic terror" and called for governors to "deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers" to "dominate the streets." He also said:
If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.
And then he took to Twitter yesterday to second Tom Cotton's call to send in the 101st Airborne, an infantry division of the US Army specifically trained to conduct air assault operations.
WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK?
The TL;DR is that an old ass law gives the president the authority to use troops as support for domestic law enforcement in certain situations. It's rarely used, since the president siccing the military on the American people is generally frowned upon. But the world actually ended in 2012 and we are in hell, so here we are.
'How could we possibly have known what Trump was going to do!' ask men who helped him do it.
Oh bless their hearts! The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of Defense have awakened surprised that what happens when you lay down in the bunker with Donald Trump is you get covered in shit.
Oh fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you.
Gen. Mark Milley, who walked along as the feds tear-gassed peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park so Donald Trump could desecrate the Lord's house with an upside down Bible, and who allowed Trump to tell governors he was "in charge" of some new program where the military would attack the American people, is just trying to clarify!
Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who also gladly walked with Trump, after earlier that day on that same governors' call referring to the streets of America, full of America's peaceful citizens, as a "battlespace" to "dominate," is just having a Susan Collins moment over here, oh bless this mess! That's not what he meant to do at all!