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Gail Collins: Well, Trump watchers, things could be worse


I know a lot of you were saying in December that this administration wouldn’t last a month. But I’ll bet you didn’t actually have “worry about collapse of the government” written down on your schedule for February.

Americans who went into a state of shock after the election are now floating in new, hitherto-uncharted realms of worry. We’ve learned that Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, talked with the Russians before the inauguration. And, sources told The New York Times, other Trump associates also talked with Russian intelligence officers during the campaign.

What about Trump himself? Any chance that he encouraged Flynn to chat with the Russian ambassador about policy before he was president? Wouldn’t that be, um, super-illegal?

In the interest of public tranquillity we will not dwell on the nuclear codes in his office.

From the start, the Trump administration was a dark combination of mean and inept. But it was, on occasion, at least sort of mesmerizing. For instance, on Wednesday the nominee for secretary of labor went down the drain. Because somebody thought it was a good plan to go for a Cabinet member with a history that includes employing an unauthorized immigrant housekeeper and an ex-wife who once went on “Oprah” to talk about spousal abuse.

Things are so dire, people are feeling sympathy for Kellyanne Conway. Did you see that poor woman trying to answer questions about Flynn on the “Today” show? She looked as though she’d been hit over the head with a skillet.

Back in the good old days last week, Conway was in trouble for violating the rule against federal officials giving endorsements. (“I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”) It was a pretty good crisis, actually. The kind of thing we could have complained about at dinner parties for a month without losing our appetites.

On Wednesday, in the middle of a news conference with the prime minister of Israel, Trump responded to a question about anti-Semitism in America by immediately pointing out he had won 306 Electoral College votes. (“We were not supposed to crack 220.”)

Being stuck with a loony, unqualified president seemed less threatening when we were under the assumption that he’d be surrounded by at least some people who knew what they were doing. Now, the more of them we meet, the less secure we feel.

Life could always be worse. You could be related to supreme leader Kim Jong Un. And you can’t pin North Koreans on the Trump administration yet. Except for the part where our president dealt with the crisis over their new ballistic missile while dining at Mar-a-Lago in front of throngs of resort guests and their Facebook friends.

It is true that Trump and Kim Jong Un both share an affinity for peculiar haircuts and public shows of adoration. And if the North Korean press were allowed to actually report stuff, the people there would undoubtedly also be holding their heads in their hands and moaning, “Oh God, what next????”

But let’s dwell on the positive. At least Trump doesn’t have any half brothers. And did you hear the German shepherd won the Westminster dog show? How about that “La La Land”?

No fair mentioning there are only three years and 44 weeks to go.



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