The Week in Washington: “I Am the Chosen One!”

Lynn Yaeger

“I am the chosen one!” President Trump declared on Wednesday, pointing heavenward. He was talking to reporters about trade with China, and though he insisted two days later that he was joking—“It was sarcasm!”—can you blame people for taking this messianic complex seriously? After all, he certainly wasn’t fooling around the day before, when he said, “Where has the Democratic Party gone? … I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” Surely he knows that this canard, which questions the loyalty of Jewish citizens, is an ancient tenet of anti-Semitism and white nationalism.

The past week was full of presidential contradictions, backpeddling, and flip-flops. At first he fumed that Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was “nasty”—a term he uses to describe outspoken women, never men—because she dismissed his idea of buying Greenland as “absurd.” But by Friday he was lauding her as a “wonderful woman,” since she phoned him up and was apparently un-nasty during the call. He waffled on whether he would advocate a payroll tax cut to stave off recession fears; he stated that as far as gun control is concerned, he has now decided that we already have meaningful background checks, and anyway, bipartisan gun control legislation was a “slippery slope” that could lead to the end of the second amendment, reversing his previous stance that he didn’t agree with this NRA slippery slope business.

On Friday, as the stock market tumbled and the trade war with China heated up, the president tweeted, “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China including bringing ...your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.” In response to the predictable outrage—He hereby orders? Can he do that?—Trump tweeted on Friday that his edict was justified by the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act: “For all of the Fake News Reporters that don't have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977. Case closed!” But wait, what’s this? Case re-opened? Because this morning comes another fliperoo, with the president telling reporters: “I have no plan right now. Actually, we're getting along very well with China right now. We're talking.”

But there was no flipping, no flopping, when it came to his impassioned defense of re-admitting Russia to the G7 conference. The Russians were kicked out when they annexed Crimea, though Trump bizarrely insists that the reason they were booted was “Obama didn’t want Russia in because he got outsmarted. … President Obama thought it wasn’t a good thing to have Russia in.” In any case, Trump is right now at that Putin-less summit in Biarritz, an event that he was reportedly looking forward to with all the enthusiasm of a schoolboy forced to suffer through final exams he hadn’t studied for.

In other news, if you have been wondering where former press secretaries go to die, we can report that the notorious fibber Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed on as a commentator at Fox News. (Hearing this, former CBS anchor Dan Rather tweeted that her new role was “about as surprising as water flowing down hill.”) Meanwhile, Sean Spicer, who ushered us into the new world order by lying one day after the inauguration about Trump’s crowd size—“The largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe!” he blustered—is slated to join the cast of “Dancing With the Stars.”

Lastly, in a far more sobering development, the administration has unveiled a plan to allow it to detain migrant families indefinitely. The rule would invalidate the Flores settlement, a long-standing court agreement that mandates a level of care for migrant children and limits how long they can be held in custody. On Tuesday, Customs and Border Protection announced that the government will not give flu vaccines to migrant families held in detention centers near the border. Three migrant children have died from flu in the past year.

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Originally Appeared on Vogue