Unless last year’s conversation over turkey and dressing caused an irreparable breach with your relatives that love President Trump, it’s time to get prepared for this year’s feast. I know; you say it’s a waste of time because they simply won’t listen to facts. Granted! But in case they want to press some false narratives, it’s best to be prepared.
One ground rule you should attempt to establish early on is that the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have no relevance. Neither does anything said or done by former secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They are in the rear-view mirror, have no power and weren’t involved in government during the past three years. This will be a tough sell because conservatives always want to go back and relitigate the past. “Whataboutism” is their main defense to criticism of Trump. Disarm them of this deflection tactic and they become like participants in the reality TV show, “Naked and Afraid.”
Always be adamant about what has been a fact for decades; Russia is not our friend. This shouldn’t be a contentious point; conservatives have railed against Russia since forever. During the 2012 presidential campaign, candidate Mitt Romney claimed Russia was our most dangerous geopolitical threat. It was one of his positions that in retrospect was spot on. If there’s pushback on Russia, press for facts on why Trump should be more friendly with Russian President Vladimir Putin than our allies. Could it be that Putin knows something about Trump that we don’t?
If they respond that the “Russia hoax” conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller cleared the president with “no collusion and no obstruction,” ask if they have read Mueller’s report. Whether they answer yes or no – yes is probably not truthful – refer to the letter signed by over 1,000 bipartisan former federal prosecutors which opines that if Trump were not the president, he would be indicted for obstruction of justice based on Mueller’s findings. Quickly follow with: And these are both Republicans and Democrats, in case they don’t understand “bipartisan.”
Be prepared for a rapid segue to the economy; it’s Trump’s favorite ploy. True, the stock markets are at all-time highs but remind them that the gross domestic product (GDP) is the economy and growth there is slowing. Point out that Republicans promised that the December 2017 tax cut would pay for itself and the economy would grow at 3 percent or more. Instead, the federal deficits are skyrocketing and the Federal Reserve has cut interest rates three times recently, all to hold off a recession. Numerous reports indicate that businesses have mainly bought back stock with their tax cut largess, which helped elevate the stock markets.
Yes, unemployment is low, but Trump took office when it was around 4 percent. His job creation numbers simply follow the trend at the beginning of 2017. And the president’s tariffs on China and our allies are threatening to cause all of the positive numbers to lose altitude, including those on employment, the stock market and economic growth.
Sooner or later, the impeachment inquiry will come up. You know, how the Democrats are trying to erase the 2016 election results they didn’t like. Ask if it’s okay for the president to withhold military aid to Ukraine to get dirt on a political opponent. In case they claim “no quid pro quo,” respond that EU ambassador Gordon Sondland and others clearly testified there was. Even the president’s former top adviser on Russia and Europe, Tim Morrison – a witness called by Republicans on the Intelligence Committee – confirmed this. And remind your conservative relatives that Trump has stonewalled every attempt by the Committee to get documents and testimony from witnesses who were involved with the aid hold up. Is he afraid they’ll reveal the truth? Heh-heh-heh!
If you haven’t been assaulted with a turkey leg or a spoon full of mash potatoes and gravy isn’t dripping off your face, consider going on offense: Just why does Trump love Vladimir Putin so much? While they are groping for a way to deflect this broadside add: Trump refuses to accept that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, contradicting his own intelligence community and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee report. He criticizes NATO, the main defense against Putin’s territorial expansion plans. He abandoned the Kurds in Northern Syria and Putin took over. Now he has weakened Ukraine as it battles Putin-instigated aggression on its Eastern border. And when did anti-Russia Republicans learn to love Putin too?
If you have them off balance, don’t let up. Where are we with North Korea, huh? Kim Jong-un is firing off missiles toward Japan and Trump is begging for another photo-op with him. Last I saw, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro – who Trump strongly opposed and Russia supported – is still firmly in power, another win for Putin v. Trump. The Trans-Pacific Partnership that Trump rejected on his first day in office was signed by the 11 other countries involved and goes on without us. Analysis of Trump’s replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) indicates it didn’t change much. And Trump’s tariffs aren’t accomplishing anything except taxing American consumers.
By now, if a full-scale food fight is not in progress, it might be best to call for dessert. That may be the only thing on which everyone can agree. 😊
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
I’ll take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season as well. We will be in PA with our son, daughter-in-law, and our grandchildren. Really looking forward to it.
I hope you are doing well. As always, thank you for your insight in these troubling times.
All the best,