Month: January 2018

I almost feel sorry for Trump

I almost feel sorry for Trump

The Washington Post
By Kathleen Parker
Image courtesy of Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post

Countless people — and not just Democrats — have been trying all last year, and before, to convey that Trump wasn’t up to the job. Even his inner circle concluded as much after a brief romance with the fantasy that they could make him into a useful president. His behavior, language, outbursts, impulsiveness — all suggested that he is “like a child,” as Wolff put it Friday on NBC’s “Today.” Worse, given those very characteristics, that he’s quite possibly not mentally competent to perform his duties.

Other interesting tidbits include that members of Trump’s Cabinet have called him an “idiot” and a “dope” behind his back. Would the two people in the back of the room who have not used these words to describe the president please raise your hand? We’re so glad you were able to join us before returning to the asylum today.

One needn’t look far for evidence. Most recent is Trump’s taunt to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un that his nuclear button is bigger than Kim’s.

Other interesting tidbits include that members of Trump’s Cabinet have called him an “idiot” and a “dope” behind his back.

The truth will out, we keep telling ourselves. But will people believe it? That is the question.

And the Trumpie goes to . . .

And the Trumpie goes to . . .

The Washington Post
By Dana Milbank
Image courtesy of Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Of all the scandalous revelations in the Michael Wolff book, the most revealing may be the one about the apricot swirl atop the president’s head.

Now, via Wolff, comes a plausible explanation from Ivanka Trump of her father’s bouffant: “She often described the mechanics behind it to friends: an absolutely clean pate — a contained island after scalp-reduction ­surgery — surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front, from which all ends are drawn up to meet in the center and then swept back and secured by a stiffening spray.” And the color “was from a product called Just for Men — the longer it was left on, the darker it got. Impatience resulted in Trump’s orange-blond hair color.”

There it is, in orange and white: Everything about the man is deceptive, even the style of his hair — and the size of his button.

Faust on the Potomac

The New York Times
By Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman writes —

I haven’t yet read Wolff’s book – do I really have to? — but the basic outlines of his story have long been familiar and uncontroversial to anyone with open eyes. Trump is morally and intellectually incapable of being president. He has also exploited his office for personal gain, obstructed justice, and colluded with a hostile foreign power. Everyone who doesn’t get their news from Fox has basically known this for a while, although Wolff helps focus our minds on the subject.

It seems to me that that the real news now is the way Republicans in Congress are dealing with this national nightmare: rather than distancing themselves from Trump, they’re doubling down on their support and, in particular, on their efforts to cover for his defects and crimes. Remember when Paul Ryan was the Serious, Honest Conservative? (He never really was, but that was his public image.) Now he’s backing Devin Nunes in his efforts to help the Trump coverup.

As Brian Beutler says, Republicans have become the Grand Obstruction Party. Why?

The answer, I think, is that the cynical bargain that has been the basis of Republican strategy since Reagan has now turned into a moral trap. And as far as we can tell, no elected Republican – not one – has the strength of character to even attempt an escape.

For more than a generation, the Republican establishment was able to keep this bait-and-switch under control: racism was deployed to win elections, then was muted afterwards, partly to preserve plausible deniability, partly to focus on the real priority of enriching the one percent. But with Trump they lost control: the base wanted someone who was blatantly racist and wouldn’t pretend to be anything else. And that’s what they got, with corruption, incompetence, and treason on the side.

What this means, among other things, is that expecting the GOP to exercise any oversight or constrain Trump in any way is just foolish at this point. Massive electoral defeat – massive enough to overwhelm gerrymandering and other structural advantages of the right – is the only way out.

I asked Trump a blunt question: Do you read?

The Washington Post
By Joe Scarborough

Michael Wolff’s tantalizing takedown of President Trump’s White House is so tightly packed with tales of political convulsion and personal betrayal that official Washington will be buzzing off its sugar high for weeks. But after the shock of Wolff’s account of Trump’s willful ignorance and intellectual incoherence fades, Americans will be left with the inescapable conclusion that the president is not capable of fulfilling his duties as commander in chief.

The GOP’s defense of this indefensible president appears even more preposterous following Wolff’s revelation, in his new book, “Fire and Fury,” of former adviser Stephen K. Bannon’s observation that members of Trump’s team, including his son, committed nothing less than treason. (Disclosure: I am thanked in the book’s acknowledgments and make an appearance in a handful of passages.) Republican politicians who have spent the past year eagerly wading through the slimy political backwash churned up by Trumpism will look even more foolish aping the former reality star’s attacks on the special counsel. Despite their desperate declarations that the Vietnam War hero is dragging his feet, Robert S. Mueller III has proved himself ruthlessly efficient in rooting out public corruption.

In just the past two months, the president’s first national security adviser and most trusted traveling companion pleaded guilty to federal charges; he is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation. Trump’s campaign manager through the Republican National Convention was also arrested, charged and released only after posting $10 million in bail. A man Trump identified as one of his top foreign policy advisers has also pleaded guilty in federal court and is cooperating with the feds. Another Trump campaign aide was charged in a 12-count indictment. And with the release of “Fire and Fury,” we now know that yet another campaign official for the Republican president — one who subsequently served in his White House — believes that close Trump advisers were “treasonous” to meet with Russians during the campaign.