The nation incredulously laughed at Sen. Susan Collins when she said that she thought the president has “learned his lesson” from the impeachment trials. Anybody who isn’t deliberately being obtuse could see that there anything other than removal from office would have only emboldened an already supremely confident Trump — and barely a week later, we’re seeing him engage in the same kind of behavior that got him in trouble in the first place.
On Thursday afternoon, President Trump tweeted that he was meeting New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at the White House. While he didn’t go into specific details, he warned that “national security exceeds politics” and demanded that the state of New York must “stop its unnecessary lawsuits and harassment” — unsaid but obviously meaning “against him” — and ended with a crude potshot at Cuomo’s brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.
A little digging reveals that the President and Cuomo were meeting over the Trump admin’s decision to remove New Yorkers from programs allowing travelers to cut through security checks at in the airport. An internal memo made it clear the move was punishment for New York state law preventing the Department of Homeland Security from accessing drivers’ records, which likely would be used by the thugs at DHS to hunt and deport undocumented immigrants.
As former White House ethics chief Walter Schaub excitedly pointed out on Twitter, it appears to that the president is once again leveraging his political power to extract concessions that personally benefit him, just as he did in the Ukraine scandal — except this time he’s doing it in public, against his own state.
A corrupt coward who rigged his own state Senate to keep himself from having to deal with a Democratic majority, Cuomo predictably told CBS this morning that he was caving and would be throwing his city’s most vulnerable population under the bus for the convenience of rich New Yorkers’ ability to pay to skip TSA screenings. “I’m cooperating,” whined Cuomo. “Will you now stop doing what you’re doing, which is gratuitous and retaliatory?”
Truly a pathetic show of groveling in the face of a paper tiger. It’s very telling that when Trump imposed his racist travel bans against Muslim nations, Cuomo didn’t head straight to the White House to fight for their rights — but the minute some wealthy socialites have to take their shoes off at the airport, he’s falling over to give the President what he wants.
But I digress.
The State of New York has been a major thorn in the side of President Trump since the beginning of his presidency. The diligent investigation work of the Southern District of New York uncovered a treasure trove of damning information about the president through a slew of probes, succeeding in shutting down the “charity” organization he used to launder money through and sending his lawyer Michael Cohen to jail over his hush money payment to Trump ex-mistress Stormy Daniels. New York Attorney General Leticia James has filed a slew of lawsuits against the president, the most recent having been filed on Monday over the security check conflict.
It certainly appears that the President is abusing his office’s power to bully other states into doing what he wants — an almost inevitable consequence of his acquittal by his Republican cronies and likely only the first in an ever-increasing series of petty outrages from our nation’s pettiest president.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.