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:
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 4, 2019
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Homophobic Bully Franklin Graham Goes After Pete Buttigieg – Again
Franklin Graham is singling out and attacking Democratic presidential candidate and mayor Pete Buttigieg once again. Not former Vice President Joe Biden, not Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, or Amy Klobuchar. Not Andrew Yang. Not former Rep. Beto O’Rourke. And not former housing secretary Julián Castro.
Just Pete Buttigieg.
It’s not the first time the Christian evangelical sometimes missionary sometimes political activist has attacked the mayor from South Bend, Indiana either.
And it’s not like Buttigieg holds policy positions that are so glaringly different from any of the other top ten Democratic presidential candidates that Graham was forced to speak out.
Franklin Graham is attacking Pete Buttigieg because Pete Buttigieg supports same-sex marriage and a woman’s right to choose an abortion.
The same policies that are in the Democratic National Committee’s platform, that every elected national Democratic politician (except one) has supported, many for nearly a decade, if not longer.
So really, Graham is singling out Buttigieg because Buttigieg is gay. It’s homophobic bullying, the kind of bullying one might have expected from an elementary school kid. Maybe. It’s juvenile. it’s pathetic. And it’s wrong – not that Buttigieg needs anyone’s help to defend himself.
Graham is using Buttigieg’s family, and his religion, to attack him.
“Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been speaking openly about his support for abortion, which he says is a woman’s right to choose,” Graham wrote to his nearly eight million Facebook followers this week. “That’s a crock.”
“No one has the right to choose murder,” Graham continued.
“Pastor Rhyan Glezman, who is the brother of the man Mayor Pete is married to said, ‘I feel a sense of responsibility and stewardship of my faith to stand up and say something, to say, ‘No, that’s not true.'”
“Mayor Pete is trying to tell people that the homosexual lifestyle is okay with God and that abortion is okay. His brother-in-law is right when he said, ‘This is leading people astray and it’s very, very dangerous.’ God defines right and wrong, not us. As Christians, we are to live by the standards He gives us in His Word. ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me..’ (Isaiah? ?45:5).”
On Facebook, Graham points his followers to an article at the far right website Townhall, “Mayor Pete Uses The Bible To Redefine When Life Begins And Now His Family Wants Him To Repent.”
Curiously, Graham finds it convenient to acknowledge Buttigieg’s brother-in-law when he refuses to acknowledge Buttigieg’s marriage.
In the recent past Graham has attacked Buttigieg, saying he will suffer “eternal damnation” if he does not “repent” his homosexuality.
His Broken Promise on the Economy Made George H.W. Bush a One-Term President – Trump’s Lies on the Economy May Do the Same
President Donald Trump may end up a one-term president, given he seems to be walking in President George H.W. Bush’s footsteps says a former economics assistant professor in his column at Bloomberg Opinion.
Trump’s tariffs, if they all go into effect, “will amount to a $200 billion annual tax increase,” writes Karl Smith. “That’s larger than the $165 billion average annual reduction in 2017’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act.”
As it is, most Americans say they didn’t feel the Trump tax cuts, and that’s likely because they were designed to greatly benefit the wealthy – despite Trump’s lies to the contrary.
“If fully implemented, this next phase of Trump’s tariffs will cost the average household up to $1,795 per year — $495 more than the bank’s estimate of the average increase in disposable income from tax reform,” Smith reveals.
“In his 1988 campaign, Bush famously asked the public to read his lips when he promised ‘no new taxes,'” Smith writes.
It was August 18, 1988. Take a look:
“The final package included increases in both income and payroll taxes and went into effect in 1991. In the next year’s campaign, Bush had to deal with rising unemployment and withering criticism in both the primary and the general election over his decision to go back on his pledge.”
“Bush’s brazen break with Republican orthodoxy, along with a sluggish economy and broken promises, made him a one-term president. If Trump’s not careful, he may join him,” he observes.
Indeed, recession fears are spiking, it’s clear – and economists tell us – the economy is already slowing down. And just last week Trump’s own Dept. of Labor revealed the economy in 2018 produced 500,000 fewer jobs than originally thought.
Trump of course will never, ever acknowledge that he’s effectively raising taxes, because he lies habitually, cannot ever admit mistakes, and repeatedly – and falsely – continues to claim that China is paying the tariffs, which most Americans now know is a load of malarkey.
“This combination of weak growth, a rising tax burden and broken promises echoes the 1992 election. In addition, Trump is already accumulating primary challengers who will no doubt criticize him for his failure to deliver. When the Democrats pile on, it will be that much harder for the president to make his case for re-election,” Smith says.
He’s right, and it will be expensive for most Americans. And perhaps, finally, something will cost President Trump the White House.
Trump Dodges and Gives an Accidentally Revealing Answer When Confronted on His Anti-LGBT Policies
When President Donald Trump was asked Tuesday about whether he supports his administration’s anti-LGBT policies — including a new rule that would make it easier for employers to discriminate — he gave what seemed to be an unintentionally revealing answer.
REPORTER: Mr POTUS, your administration has been taking steps to make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people in the workforce. Are you okay with that?
TRUMP: Well, the Log Cabin Republicans endorsed me… I’ve done very well w/ that community. Peter Thiel & so many others pic.twitter.com/W0OMKMzEkT
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 20, 2019
The issue was raised by reporter Chris Johnson from the Washington Blade:
Washington Blade: Mr. President, your administration has been taking steps to make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people in the workforce. Are you OK with those actions?
Trump: Well, you know, I just got an award and an endorsement yesterday from the exact group. You saw that? They gave me the endorsement yesterday. I was very honored. It was Log Cabin. The Log Cabin, and I was very honored to receive it.
I’ve done very well with that community and some of my biggest supporters are of that community, and I talk to them a lot about it. I think I’ve done really very well with that community, as you know, Peter Thiel and so many others, they’re — they’re with me all the way, and they like the job I’m doing, and I just got a big endorsement from the Log Cabin group.
Washington Blade: But what about those actions?
Having ignored the actual substance of the question, Trump didn’t answer the follow-up.
And contrary to what he said, the vast majority of the LGBT community does not and has not supported him. In 2016, Pew Research found:
Gay, lesbian and bisexual voters may make up a relatively small share of the American electorate – just 5% of voters in the 2012 general election identified as LGB, according to national exit polls – but they have long been a deeply Democratic constituency and today are overwhelmingly negative in their assessments of Donald Trump.
Nearly nine-in-ten LGB voters (89%) give the Republican presidential nominee a rating of cold on a “feeling thermometer” that ranges from 0 (the coldest, most negative rating) to 100 (the warmest, most positive score). About eight-in-ten (82%) rate Trump very cold, including more than half (54%) who give him a score of 0. Just 9% of LGB voters rate Trump warm.
But this doesn’t matter much to Trump, because he only cares about his supporters. So when asked about the LGBT community, he begins talking about the Log Cabin Republicans, a fringe group that does not represent anywhere close to the majority of the community. (As it happens, Jennifer Horn, a member of the group’s board, resigned in protest over the endorsement. And contrary to Trump’s claim, it did not give him an “award.”) And by mentioning Peter Thiel, a wealthy gay investor, Trump is pulling the laughable “I have a gay friend” excuse for being a bigot. He’s refusing to respond to or even consider the actual LGBT community as a whole because he just doesn’t care.
The president has long made clear that he’s only interested in representing his supporters, not the American people as a whole. That’s why he criticizes California when it experiences natural disasters but promises Alabama “A+ treatment” after tornadoes strike. That’s why Sen. Lindsey Graham could point out that Trump wouldn’t be launching racist attacks at a Somali refugee congresswoman if she were “wearing a MAGA hat.” For him, people only deserve basic dignity and respect if they already support him. Unfortunately, the likes of Thiel and the Log Cabin Republicans have to debase themselves to get this recognition.
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