Skip to main content

Trump Unpacked, Episode 1, in Which the Donald Remarks Upon the Pre-dawn Raid of Paul Manafort



I know Mr. Manafort, (You know, the same way you might "know" your neighbor. Not too close, but I "know" him. Classic downplaying of their relationship.) haven’t spoken to him in a long time, (Probably technically true, but you can bet that Trump's legal team has been all over Manafort's. In fact, many observers think that Manofort's dumping his old legal team for a new one immediately after the raid is a sign that Trump threw him under the bus.) but I know him. (Just like I know my secret service guy, what's his name.) He was with the campaign, (he was the campaign manager, about as close as you can get to the center of power.) as you know, (yes, we know) for a very short period of time, (five grueling months, in fact) a relatively short period of time, (he was manager during the Cleveland convention, pretty significant!) but I’ve always known him to be a good man. (This is a non sequitur. "Good man" is nearly an insult in the Trumpian lexicon of "terrific" and "fantastic." Far short of the defense Trump used for his son: "high-quality individual.") I thought it was a very, uh, you know, they do that, uh, uh, very seldom. (This is more than just fumbling for words. Do we detect John Kelly in Trump's ear, ordering him to steer clear of giving red meat to Mueller haters? Trump pulls back here when we expect him to take a swing.) So I was surprised to see it. I was very, very surprised to see it. (He was surprised how quickly Mueller was able to convince a judge to issue a no-knock warrant.) To do that early in the morning, whether that was appropriate, you’d have to ask them. (Again, an uncharacteristic deference to Mueller's power. Appropriate? I'd say urgently necessary.) I’ve always found Paul Manafort to be a very decent man, (Manafort has taken money from notoriously repressive, murderous dictators such as Ferdinand Marcos, Viktor Yanukovych, and a collection of African warlords and despots such as Angola's Jonas Savimbi.) and he’s probably like a lot of other people, (his wealth, secrecy, and willingness to take huge sums of money from known killers and torturers is not like anyone I or anyone reading this knows.) probably makes consultant fees all over the place, (He does, see above. His specialty is rehabilitating the public images of known human rights abusers. The Center for Public Integrity rated his consulting firm in the top five of the "Torturers' Lobby.") who knows, (anyone who can read Wikipedia knows. "Who knows" is a well-worn Trumpian deflection meant to discredit all truths.) I don’t know, (Yes, you do, Mr. Trump. You know exactly who Manafort is. That is a bald-faced lie.) but uh, I thought that was a very… it was pretty tough stuff, (You mean the sort of "stuff" you advocated in your speech to a group of police officers?) to wake him up, (After the grilling Manafort received that day, there is no way that man was sleeping. Probably sweating through his silk sheets.) perhaps his family was there, (You mean his grown daughters? One of whom texted to the other, "don't fool yourself. That money we have is blood money"?) I think that’s pretty tough stuff. (Tough stuff? Wait until old Bob comes for you, Donnie.)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

The Battleground
In all of the controversy surrounding first Colin Kaepernick and then other athletes' taking a knee during the singing of the national anthem, I want to step back a bit to take a critical look at the anthem, the flag, and other symbols of our nation for how they are used as markers in a certain kind of cultural warfare. The GOP has seized upon these symbols to cast itself as the party of patriotism, while Democrats have had to defend themselves against charges of being the party of godless globalists, who are either ambivalent toward their country, or actively hate it. Dissent and protest have hence been cast as unpatriotic acts in this false dichotomy, and loving one's country means blind loyalty to its leader--as long as he is not a black Muslim from Kenya. Ironically, Trump made his entree into national politics in a big way when he fomented the birther movement, casting literal doubt as to whether president Obama had any claim to being American, let alone …

#BoycottBannon

"Bannon declares war on GOP," the headlines blared after the Bloated One's performance before Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes Sunday night. I do not disparage Rose the interview; after all, until recently, Bannon was a top aide in the White House. Committing his insights to record is useful and important. Bannon's assessment that the firing of Comey was the worst mistake in modern political history is revelatory on a number of levels. However, once the fallout from this interview settles, it is time for a total boycott of everything Bannon.

While it is true that Bannon received degrees from both Georgetown and Harvard, that qualifies him as a smart guy, not a genius. It is a well known phenomenon that advisers to winning candidates are often hailed as political seers, when in fact it takes a strong candidate, many talented advisers, and sheer luck to win an election. We love the idea that there must be some sort of semi-mad genius in the wings, pulling invisible levers w…

The Necessity of Never Letting Stephen Miller Near a Negotiating Table

Today the New York Times published an op-ed by Ross Douthat, one of several conservative commentators who have poked the eye from time to time of the paper of record's mostly liberal readership. Setting aside the question of whether the Times is a Nazi publication, accusations of which abound on Twitter, I want to focus for now on Douthat's arguments. My subscription is safe, mainly because I believe in the wall separating news from opinion, and because, like it or not, the Times will continue to be an important national voice.

Douthat's piece is premised on a faulty notion: that there are immigration restrictionists who are not bigots. There may be some handful of people for which this may be true, but one only need take a cursory listen to the braying voices leading this charge, people like Tucker Carlson and Ann Coulter. We should never forget the outright lies that launched Trump's campaign. Mexico sends its worst. Mexicans are rapists. The tropes trotted out agai…