If there’s any cliche that offers an overview of President Trump’s first half year in office, that’s it: “You can’t make this stuff up.”

Just when you thought you had seen it all, Anthony Scaramucci — Trump’s youthful alter-ego, his loudmouth, attention-grabbing ex-communications director, the hero of the four-letter word choice — was fired after 10 days in office.

Actually, stepping back a day or two, this past weekend, things were so quiet at the White House — so little controversial news was being created by its bloated, yellow-haired inhabitant — that for a moment, granted a brief one, you thought that maybe Donald Trump was getting it together.

The previous week had, of course, set a record even in the dystopian Trumpian world: he had managed to get rebuked by police chiefs across the country for advocating violence against those just arrested; and then the head of that most venerable youth organization, the Boy Scouts of America, had openly rebuked him for the remarks he made at the quadrennial Scout Jamboree.

But that was just the dessert topping off the serious damage he had accrued from his main course: after seven years of Republican demands to repeal President Obama’s health care legislation, Republican President Trump, with a Republican majority in Congress, was still unable to corral his Republican Senate into dissing Obamacare.

Maine’s Republican Senator Susan Collins was from the beginning an outspoken opponent of the Republican repeal movement, later joined by her female colleague from Alaska, despite Trump’s threats to punish her state financially, and then, at the climactic moment, by Senator John McCain, on a quick trip to Washington even as he was recuperating from brain surgery.

McCain stood up on the Senate floor, long after midnight, his thumb dramatically turned down, signaling the death of the Republican bill — even more decisively, if metaphorically, his middle finger turned up, aimed directly at Trump who had once, in a cowardly but distinctly characteristic fashion, mocked McCain for being held in a North Vietnamese POW camp for more than five years.

Meanwhile, Trump was spluttering — and of course tweeting — incoherently about Jeff Sessions, his own attorney general, who, some four months earlier, had recused himself from the investigation into Trump’s Russian ties, paving the way for the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel, who now looms silent but deadly, like the Grim Reaper, over the Trump presidency.

As president, Trump clearly has the legal right to fire the attorney general he had appointed: indeed he nixed Sally Yates, the acting attorney general just 10 days into her role. But for all the macho image he believes he’s creating, Donald Trump is intimidated by Sessions’ Republican colleagues from his Senate days — and Democrats as well — as they line up in support of the ex-Senator from Alabama.



So Trump takes potshots at Sessions from the sidelines, insulting his own pick for attorney general, but afraid to fire him: a coward’s game.

On the international front, the rapport he worked so carefully to establish with Vladimir Putin has been blown out of the water by Russia’s demand that we cut more than 50% of our Moscow embassy employees, retaliation against Obama’s move against the Russian embassy in Washington, itself punishment for Russia’s meddling in our presidential elections.

Trump had somehow hoped that his overt hero-worship of Putin during the recent G-20 summit would keep Putin from retaliating against Obama’s actions.

But realizing that Donald Trump was a paper tiger who couldn’t even keep his own Republicans in check, Putin obviously saw no advantage in continuing to play the friendly dictator role with Trump; Russia’s move against our embassy was perhaps the worst foreign policy debacle in Trump’s six-month-old presidency.

When it comes to Russia, Trump always comes up short: even his attempt to cover up his son’s meeting last summer to obtain Russian disinformation about Hillary Clinton has been discredited. And, everyone wonders, what embarrassing past ties with Russia will the Mueller investigation reveal.

Meanwhile, Republican Congressmen joined Democrats in a virtually unanimous vote to inflict additional sanctions on Russia: a repudiation as much of Trump as of Russia.

North Korea’s youthful, unpredictable leader Kim Jong-un, with his volatile mixture of long-range missiles and nuclear bombs, is certainly the most dangerous threat facing the US today. Trump’s comment about the North Korean problem — “it’ll be handled’’ — would be reassuring were it coming from a level-headed leader. Maybe Trump’s tempestuous style, reminding Kim of his own behavior, will help keep the peace. Maybe not.

Back home in the White House, things were looking even bleaker. Key White House aides, Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer, cut their losses when Scaramucci showed up.

But Scaramucci turned out to be the definition of flash-in-the-pan, disappearing back into the woodwork before we were quite sure how to pronounce his name. He did leave in his wake what he referred to as a traditional Italian expression, “the fish rots from the head,” aimed at Trump’s Oval Office honchos, Priebus and Bannon. But the real head is of course Donald Trump: unintentionally, Scaramucci nailed it.

Meanwhile, as our new president surveyed the confusion and disorder, the rot, engulfing his presidency — rebuffed by police chiefs and boy scouts, at odds with Republican Congressmen and his own attorney general, ignored by the military on his transgender tweet, his poll numbers at historic lows, his legislative agenda dead in the water, his staffers undermining each other when they weren’t leaking about the president — Trump tweeted, “No White House chaos.”

Yes indeed, Donald. Brings to mind that old saying: “And fish will fly.” (Italian, I believe.)