Sunday, November 25, 2018

Literary Corner: Days on the Border

One of the most 25th-Amendment things yet, from Trump's Mar-a-Lago Thanksgiving press availability, as reported at Huffington Post Canada, starting around 16 minutes in, when he informed the startled reporters that he had closed the US-Mexican border a couple of days earlier. Startled, I mean, because if he had done that they thought they probably would have heard about it, And of course they hadn't....

I. Closing the Border

Actually two days ago
we closed the border.
We actually just closed it.
We said nobody’s coming in
because it was out of control.
You take a look at Tijuana Mexico
and see what's happening there
it's really a bad situation.

II. What do you mean you closed the border?...

If we find that it's uncontrollable,
Josh, if we find that it gets to a level
where we are going to lose control
or where people are going to start
getting hurt we will close entry
into the country for a period of time
until we can get it under control.
III. Period of time?
The whole border.
I mean the whole border.
And Mexico will not be able
to sell their cars into the United States
where they make so many cars
 at great benefit to them—not a great
benefit to us, by the way—but at least now
we have a good trade deal with Mexico
and with Canada. But we will close the border.
And that means Mexico's not going to be able
to sell their cars into the United States
until it's open. But we're either going
to have a border or not and when
we lose control on the Mexico side
we're going to close the border
and we have a very strong border,
we built a very powerful border
in a very short time. The military's been
fantastic the job they've done.
IV. When are you going to shut it down?
I’ve already shut it down, I’ve already shut
it down—for short periods. I’ve already
shut down parts of the border
because it was out of control
with the rioting on the other side
in Mexico. And I just said, "Shut it down."
You see it. I mean, it took place two days ago.
V. Do you have to sign an order?
Yeah, they call me up, and I sign an order.
VI. Can we get a copy?
You don’t need it. Don’t worry.
It’s not that big a deal.
Maybe to some people it is.
In Part II he seems to have changed his mind and decided that the border closing has not in fact happened yet, but will if people start getting hurt, and in Part III he's changed his mind about the purpose of the thing and plans to do it to prevent Mexican companies from exporting motor vehicles to the United States. In Part IV (now about 19 minutes, I've skipped a bunch of stuff mostly about the greatness of US forces and the Border Patrol), he returns to the position that he has closed the border, indeed more than once, but in reaction to the Tijuana rioting. Finally, in Parts V and VI, he describes the closing procedure and then realizes if he had done that there would be some evidence they're entitled to ask for. Oops! When they ask, he dismisses them sarcastically for their obsession with trivialities.

It's a very remarkable performance, full of strangeness and contradiction, and I think terror, of some kind.

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