Trump is making a mess as he leaves office

1951

Trump's final acts include pardoning his friends and war criminals, as well as defunding the military.

Donald Trump has less than a month left in office, and it looks like he plans to spend that time inflicting damage rather than trying to help fix the messes he's created over the last four years.

Among his top priorities before his time in the White House expires on Jan. 20 is an effort to pardon his friends and allies. He issued his first big wave of pardons Tuesday night.

Among the 15 people Trump pardoned were:

  • Corrupt GOP Reps. Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter — two of the first lawmakers to endorse Trump's 2016 White House bid. Collins has been serving a 26-month prison sentence since October for an insider trading scheme while on the White House grounds. Hunter had yet to begin his 11-month prison sentence for using his political campaign war chest as a personal slush fund to pay for family vacations and extramarital affairs.
  • Four war criminals convicted of murdering 14 innocent Iraqis, including two children aged 9 and 11. One of the war criminals, Nicholas Slatten, was serving life in prison for his crimes. They are the latest war criminals Trump has pardoned, joining Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher — who was described as "freaking evil" and "toxic" by fellow SEALs.
  • And two of his allies who lied to investigators as part of the Russia investigation Trump has railed on for years.

Trump also commuted the sentence of former Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), who was convicted of fraud for spending money he raised for charity on personal expenses, such as a new dishwasher and hot air balloon rides, according to the Texas Tribune. Stockman had been serving a 10-year prison sentence since 2018.

Aside from pardoning his friends and allies, Trump also said he plans to veto the annual defense spending bill passed by veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate — a move that would defund the military and halt scheduled pay raises for military personnel during the holidays in an economic downturn.

Trump has said he wants to veto the annual National Defense Authorization Act for the first time in 60 years for a few reasons.

He said back in July that he would veto the bill if it included a broadly bipartisan provision to rename military bases named after Confederate leaders. Trump has been public about his desire to keep those names on military bases for months.

He also said this month that he'd veto the bill if it doesn't punish social media companies who have put warning labels on his many lies — a totally unrelated issue on a military spending bill.

Trump has until the end of the day on Wednesday to veto it.

Meanwhile, Trump is still furiously working to try to steal the election.

He's been meeting with conspiracy theorists like attorney Sidney Powell and his recently pardoned ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House over the effort. Powell has been pushing for Trump to seize voting machines she falsely claims were rigged by a long-dead Venezuelan dictator, while Flynn has been calling for Trump to install martial law to block a peaceful transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden.

Trump has also met with members of Congress plotting a certain-to-fail effort to object to the final Electoral College tally on Jan. 6.

On top of all of that, Trump is also saddling Biden with unqualified members of government positions.

For example, he appointed Pam Bondi — the former Florida attorney general who defended Trump during the impeachment trial, to a prestigious spot as a trustee of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He appointed Richard Grenell, the former acting director of national intelligence, to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, and put former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham on the board of the National Board for Education Sciences.

What's more, Trump finally launched his 1776 commission, which wants to force schools to teach a sanitized history of the United States that leaves out the country's racist history, less than a month before his tenure ends.

And he threatened to veto a coronavirus relief bill passed with large bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate.

Aside from the chaos he's creating on his way out the door, Trump is also letting other important issues go.

He's actively avoiding punishing Russia for its massive cyberattack against the United States.

He is also not using his last month to try to mitigate the number of COVID-19 deaths — which now stand at more than 323,000. In fact, out of hundreds of tweets since election day, he has not sent a single one expressing sorrow or remorse for the surging death toll from the pandemic.

But he is retweeting anti-mask propaganda from right-wing accounts.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.