Thursday, January 4, 2018
Happy New Year, Donald J. Trump!
If His Trumpness thought he might catch a break at the start of the New Year, he was sadly mistaken. Michael Wolff has literally pulled the lid off the boiling cauldron that is the Trump White House, offering up a number of juicy anecdotes taken from Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn and even Ivanka, regarding the effort it takes to make her father's hair stand on its own.
The evil Dr. Bannon has pretty much confirmed everything Wolff printed in his name, and added more scintillating stories of his own. This led a livid Donald Trump to dump on his former strategist after having tried to pretend there was no bad blood between them. It seems Bannon's prime targets are the Trump offspring and in-laws, calling out Jared, Ivanka and Donnie Jr. each in turn. Not surprising, since he was never able to win their affection, not that he wanted it. What he wanted was complete control over the Trump White House to carry out his nationalistic agenda, something "Javanka" warned "Daddy" against, but I guess Papa Trump felt he owed Bannon after his surprising victory.
To read the excerpts from Wolff's book, Trump never wanted to win the White House and Melania was in tears the night he pulled off his electoral upset because of all the pressure that would be put on her to play the role of first lady. That role instead fell to Ivanka, with Hope Hicks apparently becoming Trump's surrogate daughter. Melania has of course refuted all these stories, but you figure she was never more than a trophy wife for Donald, lending the allusion that he still had the vigor of a younger man, albeit pumped up on viagra.
You knew a book like this would have to come along soon. So many persons have left the White House, but Wolff took most of his anecdotes while these figures were still in the West Wing. The most stinging allegations are Trump's "semiliterate" grasp of language and reading skills, his blatant misogyny, and his insatiable appetite for McDonald's cheeseburgers and Diet Cokes. The best revelation of all is Trump's unbridled need to gloat to anyone who will listen, which Wolff states is how so many of these stories have leaked to the press. Trump is his own worst enemy.
Of course, Wolff deals in the sensational, contributing to The Hollywood Reporter, USA Today and the UK edition of GQ, but I imagine most of these revelations can be corroborated, as we are finding out with Steve Bannon, who seems to have given up on the Trump administration and is charting his own course to the White House, as he spilled out to The Atlantic.
This is a pretty good indicator that Trump's "base" is eroding, if he ever really had a strong base to begin with. It seems the alt-right latched onto Donald for expediency's sake, as there was no one candidate they all could support. Some liked Huckabee, others Cruz, yet others Ben Carson, and a small few gravitated toward Rand Paul. About all they could agree on was their antipathy toward Hillary Clinton and "Establishment Republicans" like Jeb Bush. Somehow, the idea of "Trump" was able to bring them all together under a golden roof, or hair piece if you like. Now that his administration is unraveling before our eyes, these supporters are looking elsewhere and Bannon is hoping to coalesce them together under the Breitbart banner. So why not shit on his former boss. Everyone else is doing it.
Whatever course Trump plots in 2018 will be riddled with land mines. He has made so many enemies that if the Democrats regain Congress this fall, it is doubtful Republicans will do much to defend his presidency. Already, Congressional Republicans seem to be looking for ways to distance themselves from the Mad Man in the White House, who has fired off angry tweets not just at North Korea, but Pakistan and Palestine, forcing ambassadors to answer for his comments. He doesn't seem to understand he is putting many Americans in jeopardy abroad, as the US has a sizable presence in Pakistan, not to mention other volatile countries.
Wolff's book deals mostly with the disarray in the White House, kind of a maniacal "Upstairs Downstairs" for an American reality show audience, revealing a president that has a very poor grasp of the magnitude of his office, and virtually no respect for those around him, including Jared, who he called a "suck-up." I suppose for those still inside the White House, this is just more fuel to the fire, as they try to contend with Donald's volatility in their own ways. It is hard to imagine why anyone would stay loyal to Trump, if half of what Wolff describes is true. Trump is ready to throw anyone to the curb at a moment's notice, including his own children.
The broader story is how Trump is reacting these allegations. He lashes out at the world at large, not just Steve Bannon, who apparently broke a confidentiality agreement he signed during the campaign. Since the release of the book, White House lawyers have filed a cease and desist order against Bannon, hoping to curb anymore unwanted revelations, but it will do little good when the book will no doubt vault to the top of the New York Times bestseller list.
It also makes a mockery of Trump's puerile "Dishonest Media Awards," which are due out this week, especially now that he finds himself under attack from virtually every press outlet including Breitbart.
We may actually be seeing the last days of the Trump administration. He might never return from the golf course, but issue a statement of resignation from his Mar-a-Lago resort, rather than face the scrutiny he will suffer back in Washington. More likely he will return only to find himself a much weaker president forced to answer the many allegations via Twitter, as he is not someone who lets any slight go unpunished.
Happy New Year, Donald J. Trump!