Thursday Reads: Trump is a Complete Idiot, Plus Brexit ChaosPosted: June 30, 2016
Where I live it already feels like the long weekend has begun. Even yesterday, there was very little traffic in my town. I welcome the peace and quiet. I had a very lazy day yesterday, and today is feeling pretty lazy too. I started another mystery and I’m thinking about doing some TV binge watching over the weekend. I hope there won’t be a whole lot of horrible news for the next four-and-a-half days.
Today, I’m seeing tons of negative stories about Donald Trump. I can’t figure out if the man is just plain stupid or cognitively impaired. It’s obvious he’s a malignant narcissist, as Dakinikat has repeatedly pointed out. But we’ve also discussed the possibility that Trump could be suffering from some kind of dementia–after all, his father had Alzheimer’s disease. Anyway here are a few interesting links on Trump’s latest fiascos.
When Donald Trump said last Thursday he was forgiving over $45 million in personal loans he made to his campaign, the announcement drew plenty of coverage. Many even reported Trump’s statement as if the deal was done.
But it’s not.
A week later, NBC News has learned the FEC has posted no record of Trump converting his loans to donations. The Trump Campaign has also declined requests to share the legal paperwork required to execute the transaction, though they suggest it has been submitted.
Last week, campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks said Trump was submitting formal paperwork forgiving the loan on Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Reached by NBC this week, she said the paperwork “will be filed with the next regularly scheduled FEC report,” and declined to provide any documentation.
The delay could matter, because until Trump formally forgives the loans, he maintains the legal option to use new donations to reimburse himself. (He can do so until August, under federal law.)
Trump is either a real cheapskate or he can’t spare that money. This is reminiscent of the time he lied about having given $1 million to veterans groups and only coughed up the money when the Washington Post called him out.
From Buzzfeed: Sources: Donald Trump Listened In On Phone Lines At Mar-A-Lago.
At Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort he runs as a club for paying guests and celebrities, Donald Trump had a telephone console installed in his bedroom that acted like a switchboard, connecting to every phone extension on the estate, according to six former workers. Several of them said he used that console to eavesdrop on calls involving staff.
Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks responded to written questions with one sentence: “This is totally and completely untrue.”
The managing director of Mar-a-Lago, Bernd Lembcke, did not respond to emails. Reached by phone, he said he referred the email query to Trump’s headquarters and said, “I have no knowledge of what you wrote.” ….
BuzzFeed News spoke with six former employees familiar with the phone system at the estate.
Four of them — speaking on condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements — said that Trump listened in on phone calls at the club during the mid-2000s. They did not know if he eavesdropped more recently.
They said he listened in on calls between club employees or, in some cases, between staff and guests. None of them knew of Trump eavesdropping on guests or members talking on private calls with people who were not employees of Mar-a-Lago. They also said that Trump could eavesdrop only on calls made on the club’s landlines and not on calls made from guests’ cell phones.
Each of these four sources said they personally saw the telephone console, which some referred to as a switchboard, in Trump’s bedroom.
More at the link. Maybe Trump could have spent his time more fruitfully by reading a book or two.
Chris Cillizza has done a public service by reprinting an interview with Donald Trump on the Bill O’Reilly Show: Donald Trump’s Bill O’Reilly interview is an instant classic. I hope you’ll read the whole thing, because it clearly demonstrates that Trump is a complete idiot. This is my favorite part (emphasis added):
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I am determined to say look, you may not vote for me, Trump supporters, I get that because you really are upset about immigration or you are upset about trade or you are upset about, you know, the feeling that the jobs that you had that gave you a good living are gone. So, I’m very sympathetic to that. I am not sympathetic to the xenophobia, the misogyny, the homophobia, the Islamophobia and all of the other.
Sort of dog whistles that Trump uses to create that fervor among a lot of his supporters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’REILLY: Okay. That was about 45 seconds to be fair. We will give Mr. Trump the same amount of time to reply. Go.
TRUMP: All of the phobias that nobody even knows what she is talking about to be honest with you. Why doesn’t she say it like it is? I mean, it’s just ridiculous. And frankly, you know, she knows exactly what’s happening. She sees what’s happening. People are tired. They are losing their jobs. Their jobs are being taken away. Companies are moving to Mexico. I mean, just moving. They just pick up and move. You look at what went on with carrier. You look at Ford. You look at so many different. They are a mile long and we are losing our jobs.
We are losing everything in this country. We are losing our spirit. I was in Ohio. I was in Pennsylvania. Yesterday I was in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. And I want to tell you, the lines of people that we have, they are so sick and tired of hearing things like what she is just saying. Nobody even knows what she is talking about. And you tell me, that’s presidential? She is presidential? Sitting there. I don’t think so.
Poor Donald. He just doesn’t understand all those multi-syllable words, and he assumes no one else does either.
The New York Times commissioned a short story about the Trumps by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche: The Arrangements: A Work of Fiction. Here are the first few paragraphs:
Melania decided she would order the flowers herself. Donald was too busy now anyway to call Alessandra’s as usual and ask for “something amazing.” Once, in the early years, before she fully understood him, she had asked what his favorite flowers were.
“I use the best florists in the city, they’re terrific,” he replied, and she realized that taste, for him, was something to be determined by somebody else, and then flaunted.
At first, she wished he would not keep asking their guests, “How do you like these great flowers?” and that he would not be so nakedly in need of their praise, but now she felt a small tug of annoyance if a guest did not gush as Donald expected. The florists were indeed good, their peonies delicate as tissue, even if a little boring, and the interior decorators Donald had brought in — all the top guys used them, he said — were good, too, even if all that gold yellowness bordered on staleness, and so she did not disagree because Donald disliked dissent, and he only wanted the best for them, and she had what she really needed, this luxurious peace. But today, she would order herself. It was her dinner party to celebrate her parents’ anniversary. Unusual orchids, maybe. Her mother loved uncommon things.
Her Pilates instructor, Janelle, would arrive in half an hour. She had just enough time to order the flowers and complete her morning skin routine. She would use a different florist, she decided, where Donald did not have an account, and pay by herself. Donald might like that; he always liked the small efforts she made. Do the little things, don’t ask for big things and he will give them to you, her mother advised her, after she first met Donald. She gently patted three different serums on her face and then, with her fingertips, applied an eye cream and sunscreen.
What a bright morning. Summer sunlight raised her spirits. And Tiffany was leaving today. It felt good. The girl had been staying for the past week, and came and went, mostly staying out of her way. Still, it felt good. Yesterday she had taken Tiffany to lunch, so that she could tell Donald that she had taken Tiffany to lunch.
“She adores all my kids, it’s amazing,” Donald once told a reporter — he was happily blind to the strangeness in the air whenever she was with his children.
Read the rest at the link. The Times plans to publish another short story about the 2016 campaign by a different author. I supposed that one will be a very vicious piece about the Clinton family. Maybe they can get Maureen Dowd to write it.
At The Atlantic, TA Frank asks if anyone will be willing to be Trump’s running mate: Assessing the Trump V.P. Career-Suicide Pact: There are very few real contenders, the risks are considerable, and the rewards potentially terrifying. So who will be the lucky, er, winner?
Frank discusses the pros and cons for the following possible choices: Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, Bob Corker, Mary Fallon, John Kasich.
Chaos continues in Great Britain
Former London mayor Boris Johnson, favorite to become Britain’s prime minister, abruptly pulled out of the race on Thursday, upending the contest less than a week after leading the campaign to take the country out of the EU.
Johnson’s announcement, to audible gasps from a roomful of journalists and supporters, was the biggest political surprise since Prime Minister David Cameron quit on Friday, the morning after losing the referendum on British membership in the bloc.
It makes Theresa May, the interior minister who backed remaining in the European Union, the new favorite to succeed Cameron.
May, a party stalwart seen as a steady hand, announced her own candidacy earlier on Thursday, promising to deliver the withdrawal from the EU voters had demanded, despite having campaigned for the other side.
“Brexit means Brexit,” she told a news conference.
“The campaign was fought, the vote was held, turnout was high and the public gave their verdict. There must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it through the back door and no second referendum.”
The decision to quit the EU has cost Britain its top credit rating, pushed the pound to its lowest level since the mid-1980s and wiped a record $3 trillion off global shares. EU leaders are scrambling to prevent further unraveling of a bloc that helped guarantee peace in post-war Europe.
More on the Tory situation: