Five takeaways from the Confederate president

 President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 in New York. With Trump are from left, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 in New York. With Trump are from left, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Yesterday was National Relaxation Day, but His Fraudulency never got the message.

Many of us are pining for some free time as summer winds down, hoping against hope that he’ll at least temporarily cease sickening us with his amoral spectacles. Alas, no. We are all Michael Corleone, muttering in frustration: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

Yesterday’s press conference, where he auditioned to succeed Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederate States of America, was truly (now I’m quoting the Beatles) “the toppermost of the poppermost.” You know what he ranted by now — there are “very fine people” among the Nazis and white supremacists, and they’re on the same “moral plane” as Americans who fight anti-Semitism and racism — and veteran Republican strategist John Weaver had the best take of all:

“If this ‘president’ headed a publicly traded company, he would be escorted out of the building by security, keys taken away, and driven off.”

True that. I trust that Robert Mueller is proceeding with all deliberate speed.

I’m supposed to be on vacation — remember I mentioned pining for free time? — so I’ll just offer these random observations:

1. The most pitiful soul at that press conference, moping on the sidelines looking like his dog just died, was White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. How’s that job going, John? You can discipline the paper flow and Oval Office traffic all you want, but there’s nothing you can do about a sociopath who steps on his tongue and crashes face first to the floor.

2. Has there ever been a White House so inept at the art of communication? After Trump’s Monday statement, where he rotely read off a Teleprompter to condemn the Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, a statement that contradicted Saturday’s “many sides” fake equivalencies, it was nuts to schedule a Tuesday press conference, because the odds were 100 percent that the press would confront him with his contradictions. And the odds were 100 percent that the poseur would implode, because he has no impulse control. The result was so bad that even the ladies on Fox News called his performance “disgusting.”

3. Trump said that he carefully studied the Charlottesville events before concluding that the Nazis and white supremacists were on the same moral plane as the opponents of anti-Semitism and racism. In his words, “Before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.”

I kid you not, that’s what he said. Which was weird, coming from a guy who recycles racist lies without bothering to check the facts first.

One example: Last year he tweeted that 81 percent of white homicide victims are killed by blacks. The stat was attributed to something called the “Crime Statistics Bureau.” Turned out that the “Crime Statistics Bureau” didn’t exist. It was invented by a neo-Nazi Twitter account. (According to actual FBI stats, only 15 percent of whites are killed by blacks.) When Trump was asked about the fake neo-Nazi stat, he said: “All it was is a retweet — it wasn’t from me … Am I going to check every statistic?”

4. A lot of conservatives don’t want to be associated with Trump’s racist and anti-Semitic thugs; every time Trump makes excuses, he loses more base support. Paul Ryan, edging away from Trump one excrutiating inch at a time, said yesterday, “White supremacy is repulsive … There can be no moral ambiguity.” Elsewhere, David French, a lawyer who writes for the conservative National Review, pointed out yesterday that “‘very fine people’ don’t march with tiki torches chanting ‘blood and soil’ or ‘Jews will not replace us.'” French assailed Trump’s “stubborn and angry attempts not just at moral equivalence (after all, no one on the Left committed murder this weekend) but at actually whitewashing evil.”

5. To get this reference, you gotta know the song. Trump looked at Charlottesville, and tweaked Joni Mitchell’s lyrics:

I’ve looked at crowds from both sides now From up and down and still somehow It’s my illusions I recall I really don’t know squat, at all.

Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1, and on Facebook.

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