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‘Absolute Fealty at All Times’: New Report Details the Degrading Demands Trump Places on His Aides

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In a report for the Washington Post on Thursday, reporters Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker outlined the grueling and “Kafkaesque” standards President Donald Trump places demands of his aides — standards that now-former National Security Adviser John Bolton failed to live up to.

“He tolerates a modicum of dissent, so long as it remains private; expects advisers to fall in line and defend his decisions; and demands absolute fealty at all times,” they wrote.

One anonymous source for the piece explained how his demanding nature is also, at times, excruciatingly paradoxical:

“There is no person that is part of the daily Trump decision-making process that can survive long term,” said a former senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment. “The president doesn’t like people to get good press. He doesn’t like people to get bad press. Yet he expects everyone to be relevant and important and supportive at all times. Even if a person could do all those things, the president would grow tired of anyone in his immediate orbit.”

Anthony Scaramucci described the role of Trump’s staff in particularly degrading terms. In his view, Trump wants “catatonic loyalty” and for his people to act as props. Others told the Post that Trump likes to stage disagreements between his aides and then “play emperor” and decide the winner.

Dozens of Trump aides and appointees have fallen from his grace and been ousted from the administration for failing to play the dutiful role to perfection: former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, former Chief of Staff John Kelly, and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, to name just a few.

Notably, Bolton wasn’t going to be a prop in this game. When Bolton entered the White House, it was clear to most observers — though apparently not Trump — that he was committed to enacting his vision of foreign policy, one that contrasted sharply with the president’s preferences. It seems Trump appreciated and tolerated Bolton at times, but Bolton’s goal was to manipulate the president in the end. Once even Trump realized that Bolton wasn’t just a tough-guy war-monger stage prop, but an ideologue using the president for his own purposes, he had to go.

The piece interestingly doesn’t mention the roles of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, in the White House. They seem to defy the usual standards for Trump’s aides, and he clearly doesn’t view them as disposable, like a chief of staff or a national security adviser. Being family is different.

But the piece also doesn’t address some of the outlier aides in Trump’s orbit. Why have, for example, Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Miller stuck around so long? How did they avoid the fate of so many others — especially when they both have gotten their fair share of bad press?

Fundamentally, though, the account rings true for the vast majority of Trump’s people. For example, consider that, in the video that sparked the “Sharpiegate” story, Trump had the acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan sitting off to the side, voiceless, acting like a prop and displaying the doctored weather map:

 

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COMMENTARY

Garland’s ‘Beautiful Chess Move’ Praised as Judge Sets Expedited Schedule to Unseal Warrant

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A federal judge has given Donald Trump until Friday at 3 PM ET to oppose the Dept. of Justice’s request to unseal the search warrant FBI agents used to enter Mar-a-Lago and confiscate possibly thousands of items including classified documents.

Many are cheering the Attorney General Merrick Garland who frequently has been the target of frustration on the left for appearing to not be acting expeditiously against Trump.

In what some have called a “beautiful chess move,” Attorney General Garland announced Thursday afternoon he has asked a federal judge to unseal the search warrant after Trump and his allies expressed outrage over the FBI’s Monday raid, and have been spreading agents planted evidence, a conspiracy theory that first appeared on social media but quickly made it to Fox News’ airwaves.

READ MORE: Watch: Merrick Garland Calls Trump’s Bluff, Strikes Back at MAGA World’s False Claims in Mar-a-Lago Raid

Many on the right have demanded Garland have the warrant unsealed.

Should Trump not oppose the unsealing the American people will likely be able to see what laws DOJ believes the former president violated.

Noted attorney Ken White on Twitter wrote: “By the way Trump could file something TODAY saying he doesn’t oppose unsealing the warrant and it would be public probably by tomorrow. Or he could just release his copy.”

READ MORE: Nearly Half the Country Supports FBI Mar-a-Lago Search – Only Republicans Are Opposed, New Poll Shows

The fact that the former president has not released his copy of the search warrant, which “is his right” as Garland noted Thursday, makes it more likely he will oppose DOJ’s motion to unseal.

One important note for those expecting an avalanche of information should the federal judge unseal the warrant.

“DOJ has asked to unseal the warrant and ‘Attachments A & B.’ Best I can tell from examples of recent federal search warrants, these attachments will describe the ‘property to be searched’ and the ‘particular items to be seized’ but will NOT include the affidavit of probable cause,” writes Harvard Law professor of criminal law and procedure Andrew Crespo.

“The government is not yet seeking to release what is known as the affidavit in support of the warrant,” The New York Times confirms, “a document that lays out all sorts of telling details about the larger investigation of Mr. Trump — chief among them the reasons prosecutors believed there was probable cause that evidence of a crime could be found at Mar-a-Lago.”

Many online are cheering Attorney General Garland’s decision to go head to head with Trump.

The Daily Beast’s Zachary Petrizzo writes, “merrick garland is out here playing 5d chess while trump & his team play checkers.”

USA Today opinion columnist Michael J. Stern summed up Garland’s action today:

“Merrick Garland to Trump: I’m going to let the world see the gobs of evidence we have that led to the search warrant…unless you object…in which case you will be signaling to the world that you have gobs to hide.”

This article has been updated with reporting from The New York Times.

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COMMENTARY

‘It’s So Gross’: NY Times Blasted for Negative Reporting on Biden by ‘Blindered Horse-Race Analysts’

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After President Joe Biden and Democrats in the House and Senate were closing an exceptional week of success after success on Saturday, pulling into a Senate vote that would transform the U.S. response to climate change, combat inflation, lower Medicare prescription drug prices and the federal deficit, and increase the energy supply, The New York Times published an article attacking the American president, depicting him as weak and ineffective, while speaking primarily, almost entirely, only to Republican pollsters, strategists, and politicians.

Critics, journalists, and even some New York Times readers are calling out the paper of record, and its top reporters.

“In Senate Battle, Democrats Defy Biden’s Low Standing (for Now)” was the title of the Saturday article that essentially was a megaphone for the MAGA crowd, published in the Times’ politics section.

The article’s subhead made clear what readers could expect: “’The billion-dollar question,’ as one Republican pollster put it, is whether Democratic candidates in crucial Senate races can continue to outpace the president’s unpopularity.”

READ MORE: Fox News Mocked for ‘Desperately’ Trying to Spin ‘Blockbuster’ Jobs Report Into Attack on Biden

“In a Senate split 50-50,” wrote the Times’ Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman, “Democrats on the campaign trail and in Congress have zero margin for error as the party tries to navigate a hostile political environment defined chiefly by President Biden’s albatross-like approval ratings,”

Rather than describe historic legislation as productive for the American people, and literally, a massive undertaking that will have positive global effects, the Times reporters opted to frame the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as a partisan, political scheme.

“In Washington, Senate Democrats are racing to bolster their position, pressing for a vote as soon as Sunday on a sweeping legislative package that represents their last, best sales pitch before the midterms to stay in power.”

Dan Froomkin, editor of Press Watch, latched onto the Times article and reporters.

READ MORE: ‘Ain’t No Recession’: Economists Praise ‘Huge’ Employment Numbers – ‘We’re Back, Baby’

“The only context that matters to these blindered horse-race analysts is Biden’s approval rating. The lies, the conspiracy theories, the threat to democracy,” he noted, presumably referring to Trump, “are irrelevant.”

Soledad O’Brien, the well-known former CNN anchor who now is chair of the Starfish Media Group, which she founded, and host of “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien,” and is a frequent critic of the media offered her thoughts:

“It’s so gross,” she responded.

“And it gets worse,” Froomkin added. “Look who they quote: Republican pollster, anonymous Republican strategists, dude who runs Republican Super PAC, Mitch McConnell, one Dem pollster, Republican strategist, Republican Senate candidate, Republican Senate candidate, Republican strategist…”

Indeed, Haberman and Goldmacher quote “Robert Blizzard, a Republican pollster,” “Republican strategists involved in Senate races, granted anonymity to speak candidly,” “Steven Law, who leads the main Senate Republican super PAC,” “Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader,” “Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster,” “Corry Bliss, a veteran Republican strategist,” Joe O’Dea, a GOP candidate, GOP Senate nominee Blake Masters, “Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist advising a super PAC supporting Mr. Masters,” and “Christina Freundlich, a Democratic consultant.”

READ MORE: ‘Trump Was Taking Saudi Blood Money – Biden Was Killing Terrorists’: Experts Weigh in on Historic Counterterrorism News

That’s seven Republicans, an unknown number of unnamed anonymous GOP strategists, and two Democrats.

In a negative article about President Joe Biden, The New York Times didn’t include any quotes from President Joe Biden or the White House. Not even anonymous ones.

The Times almost entirely ignored Biden’s accomplishments from the past week chocked full of wins.

Here’s how Haberman and Goldmacher served up those facts:

“With a strong job report on Friday, long-stalled legislation moving and gas prices on the decline — albeit from record highs — it is possible that Mr. Biden’s support could tick upward.”

By contrast, on Sunday the Associated Press reported on Biden’s “legacy-defining wins,” including noting that a “summer lawmaking blitz has sent bipartisan bills addressing gun violence and boosting the nation’s high-tech manufacturing sector to Biden’s desk, and the president is now on the cusp of securing what he called the ‘final piece’ of his economic agenda with Senate passage of a Democrats-only climate and prescription drug deal once thought dead.”

That economic agenda is what the Times called “a sweeping legislative package that represents their last, best sales pitch before the midterms to stay in power.”

A CNN opinion piece Friday noted “Joe Biden sure is suddenly notching up an impressive string of victories. And they’re not minor. In fact, Biden is on a roll when it comes to both domestic and foreign policy.”

Over a week ago, NBC News’ senior national political reporter Sahil Kapur noted, “If this deal passes,” referring to the Inflation Reduction Act, which did pass on Sunday, “Biden will have inked wins on: Drug pricing, Climate/ACA $$, Higher taxes on corporations, $1.9T Covid rescue plan, $1.2T infrastructure law, New gun law, Chips/China bill, KBJ on SCOTUS, 73+ lower court judges, VAWA re-up, Postal reform.”

He adds: “This is not a trivial agenda.”

That list did not include all the wins Biden had last week before the IRA passed, including: 528,000 jobs added in July, unemployment at a 50-year low (3.5%), the killing of terrorist Ayman al-Zawahiri, CHIPS Act passage, PACT Act passage to help veterans affected by toxic burn pits, and gas prices dropping daily.

Meanwhile, others continued to blast the Times’ reporting.

“Hard to believe this kind of bad, ‘conventional wisdom’ reporting is still happening, where they’re saying Biden is ‘albatross’ around Dem candidates’ necks and it’s all…a mystery….” tweeted Michelangelo Signorile, a veteran journalist, SiriusXM Progress host, and writer of books and a Substack newsletter.

Some New York Times readers in the paper’s own comments section were equally critical.

“Times pundits fail to distinguish between ‘job approval’ polls versus the relative popularity of the two parties’ agendas,” wrote Baxter Jones. “Republican candidates have no agenda beyond tax cuts for their big contributors, banning all abortions, voter suppression, and abolishing Obamacare with no clue of how to replace it. Oh, and climate change denial.”

Another reader wrote: “Nothing about abortion or extremism? No Democrats to quote? I hope there will be a follow up from a Democratic perspective.”

“Wow!” wrote yet another reader. “I can’t believe the premise of this article is so simplistic. Nothing is happening in this election other than how popular Joe Biden is. No mention of the anti-choice crowd and the shellacking they took in Kansas. Or how voter registration has vastly increased across the country since the Dobbs decision. (And one of the authors is a woman, presumably of liberal bent.)”

“No mention of the fact that the recent legislation passed (and passing, as I write this on Saturday night) by the Democrats is wildly popular with wide swaths of the populace, and even more popular with narrow swaths such as veterans,” they continued.

“If all you have to do to control the congress is lambast the incumbent president, then we should start doing that the moment another Republican gets into the White House. Whence all this ‘hate Joe Biden,’ stuff. Populism, or right-wing radio with nothing else to sell? I hope most Americans are smarter than that.”

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COMMENTARY

TikTok Influencer Ignites Backlash After Posting Homophobic and Racist Rant Attacking Home Depot Workers

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Amanda Marie, an influencer with around 14,000 followers on TikTok, is getting some backlash after she posting a video describing how she harassed a Home Depot employee while using homophobic language and telling him to “go back to your country,” Boing Boing reports.

The video shows Marie telling a Black employee that she’s going to get him fired. She then goes to her car and recounts the incident from her perspective, saying, “I said, ‘I’m not leaving.’ … I then turned around and said, ‘If you’re going to be rude, go back to your country. Go back to your country!’ ‘Cause he wasn’t from here.”

“So I turn around, and I say, ‘Go back to your motherf***ing country and learn some f***ing manners before you come here,'” she said.

IN OTHER NEWS: ‘Collateral damages to freedom’: Alex Jones skips trial for segment downplaying Sandy Hook deaths

She also tried to claim the homophobic slur “fag,” which she allegedly used against one of the employees, is not seen as an offensive term back in New York.

As Boing Boing points out, she deleted the video from her various platforms after the backlash.

Watch the video below.

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