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👑 Portrait of a President



Just sayin’…gives me the hives thinking about it, but he and his supporters ARE in the danger zone.

I believe T is gonna see some hate…bigly. :exploding_head:

The Veterans Day Parade begins on Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street, and continues north along Fifth Avenue to 56th Street.


Yup…vindictive, bullying, petty…that’s the Trump way. Their dead-in-the-eye approach to every problem is payback- “We’re up, You’re down…” “We will get back at you, always.”

Oh, there is no mercy with these folks.


(David Bythewood) #285

That really is who Trump is. He’s obsessed with revenge.

Trump gave this is as his number one piece of advice at the National Achievers Congress in Sydney: “Get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard. I really believe it.”

I never forget that, deep down, this is who he is, and it motivates everything he does. Anybody who ever crossed him is on a list, and he takes petty delight in destroying them. And that’s why Trumpites adore him. He speaks to their darkest desires of revenge and payback.


The lying numbers (false claims) are staggering…it is almost as if (and it is) T makes it up as he goes.

President Donald Trump made 67 false claims last week, 27 of them related to Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

This was the sixth consecutive week in which Trump made more false claims about impeachment or Ukraine than about any other subject.

Trump’s three most frequent false claims of the week were all impeachment-related. He said seven times that the whistleblower has disappeared (there is no evidence of this), four times that the whistleblower’s complaint was inaccurate (it has proven highly accurate), and four times that the Washington Post fabricated its sources for an article about how Trump had reportedly tried to get Attorney General William Barr to hold a news conference declaring he had committed no crimes in his July call with Ukraine’s president (there is no evidence the Post invented any sources; other news outlets, including CNN, quickly followed the Post scoop with similar reports).

Trump has made 1,202 false claims in the 18 weeks we have been fact checking him at CNN, about 10 false claims per day. Last week’s total of 67 false claims was his eighth-highest weekly total.


This is what I was thinking as well. Pelosi has his ‘number’ and knows that all that he says is really very self-referential. Pelosi has even said he knows he is a fraud…This all rings true when he criticizes Intel Chair Adam Schiff


Just when we thought Trump couldn’t get any more vile.

Today, he used thug-like, extortionist language while unabashedly delivering anti-Semitic insults to a Jewish audience. That was proceeded by his glorification of heinous military crimes on Saturday:

President Trump brought two soldiers he had pardoned in cases involving war crimes onstage at a fund-raiser this weekend in Florida, tightening his embrace of an episode that roiled his relationship with military leaders and prompted a public outcry.

Mr. Trump, as the featured speaker, invited up Army First Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, according to a report in The Miami Herald that was confirmed by a person with knowledge of the event.

Mr. Trump, as the featured speaker, invited up Army First Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, according to a report in The Miami Herald that was confirmed by a person with knowledge of the event.

The fund-raiser, which was held Saturday at the J.W. Marriott Turnberry Resort and Spa in Aventura and benefited the Republican Party of Florida, was closed to reporters. A Republican official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the event, said that the officers were guests of an attendee and that they had not been part of the program. Mr. Trump appears to have called them up upon learning they were there.

Major Golsteyn was awaiting trial at the time of his pardon, charged with a single count of premeditated murder for the 2010 killing of a Taliban bomb-making suspect. He had admitted he killed the man in interviews with reporters, but said it was justified because he believed the man was returning to the Taliban after being released from questioning.

Army First Lt. Clint Lorance, left, and Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn were pardoned by Mr. Trump after being accused of war crimes.

Army First Lt. Clint Lorance, left, and Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn were pardoned by Mr. Trump after being accused of war crimes.

Lieutenant Lorance was serving a 19-year sentence for directing soldiers in his command to shoot unarmed villagers, killing two men, in 2012.


The humiliation of impeachment is something T does not want…and he is working against. Unfortunately it makes him madder and fires him up. Firey T ahead.

Long after his staff has gone home, long after the lights have gone out elsewhere around the capital, the besieged 45th president hunkers down in the upstairs residential portion of the Executive Mansion venting his frustration and cheering on his defenders through social media blasts.

This is a season of conflicting impulses for a president who often seems governed by them. As the House moves toward what even he says is an inevitable vote to impeach him for high crimes and misdemeanors, Mr. Trump toggles between self-pity and combativeness. He looks forward to a Senate trial that he seems sure to win and thinks that it will help him on the campaign trail when he travels the country boasting that he had been “exonerated” after the latest partisan “witch hunt.”

But he nurses resentment over the red mark about to be tattooed on his page in the history books as only the third president in American history to be impeached. No matter what some of his critics say, advisers said he genuinely does not want to be impeached, viewing it as a personal humiliation. Even in private, he accepts no blame and expresses no regret, but he rails against the enemies he sees all around him.

A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know.

“He doesn’t like what’s happening,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a vocal ally who has spoken with the president several times this week. “He thinks it’s unfair. But I think he’s resolved himself that they’re going to do it, they’re out to get him. I think he’s more determined now to win than ever.”

Mr. Trump’s mood has actually improved in the past couple of weeks, advisers say, as Republicans have risen to his defense. He has grown more energized, bombarding followers with tweets and retweets defending himself and attacking his enemies.


(David Bythewood) #290

This honesty says it all about Trump; he thinks it’s ‘unfair.’ He’s done horrible things, and yet he firmly believes he should have no consequences ever.


Just one more glance at the perverse character of DJT by George Conway III

As rare as impeachments may be, today’s impeachment of Donald Trump, president of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors was pretty much inevitable.

It was inevitable because of Trump himself, his very character, whose essential nature many who now support him have long understood. As Senator Ted Cruz put it in May 2016, Trump is a “narcissist at a level I don’t think this country has ever seen.” Just this year, Senator Lindsey Graham tried to excuse Trump’s racist, vitriolic attacks on congresswomen of color as “more narcissism than anything else.” “That’s just the way he is,” Graham said.

Indeed, that is the way he is. As I’ve explained at length in this magazine, Trump’s exceptional narcissism defines him, and it’s what makes him wholly unfit for his job. “The fundamental life goal” of an extreme narcissist, as one psychologist has put it, “is to promote the greatness of the self, for all to see.” And that’s Trump, to the point of absurdity, mendacity, even delusion: Calling reporters pretending to be “John Barron,” a fake PR man, to brag about his wealth and sexual exploits; lying about the size of his inauguration crowd; asserting that Robert Mueller’s report provided him with “complete and total exoneration” and found “no obstruction”; claiming that his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “pitch perfect” and that the whistle-blower “got the conversation almost completely wrong”—not to mention the thousands of other lies that have been cataloged over the course of his presidency. So narcissistic is Trump that he attempts not merely to con others, but to con himself, to assure himself of his greatness. Cruz again nailed it in 2016: Trump is a “pathological liar” who “doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies.”

Unfit for Office

George Conway: Trump is unfit for office

In essence, Trump thinks everything should be about him, for him, for his benefit and glorification—and he can’t comprehend, and doesn’t care about, anything that isn’t. The American diplomat David Holmes testified that Ambassador Gordon Sondland explained to him that “the president only cares about ‘big stuff’”—clarifying, according to Holmes, that this meant “big stuff that benefits the president.”

And that’s why Trump can’t comply with his duties to the nation, and why he now stands as the third president ever to have been impeached. His own stated view of his constitutional authority can only be described as narcissistic: “I have an Article II, where I have to the right to do whatever I want as president.” But as the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment report rightly explains, “Impeachment is aimed at Presidents who believe they are above the law, and who believe their own interests transcend those of the country and Constitution.” Or, as then-Representative Mike Pence put it in 2008: “This business of high crimes and misdemeanors goes to the question of whether the person serving as President of the United States put their own interests, their personal interests, ahead of public service.” It was inevitable that, given his boundlessly self-centered bent, this president would do precisely that.

Which he did when he repeatedly and criminally obstructed the Mueller investigation, because he feared it would undercut his electoral triumph. He could have been, and should have been, impeached for that alone. And which he did once more when he put his own interests first—again subordinating the nation’s security—by trying to shake down Ukraine to obtain an electoral advantage over a political rival. That, too, violated his oath of office—an oath the Framers of the Constitution viewed as sacrosanct—and thus constituted, as the House rightly found, an impeachable offense.

And ever the narcissist, Trump can admit no wrong. Not only that; the man who clumsily Sharpied a weather map to cover up a mistake in a tweet continues to insist that he acted perfectly in all respects. Trump’s desperate, unhinged letter yesterday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demonstrates that he doesn’t understand what his constitutional duties require, and should cement the case for his removal: “You know that I had a totally innocent conversation with the President of Ukraine.” The “transcript” of that conversation shows “that the paragraph in question”—the “do us a favor, though” paragraph—“was perfect.” “I have been deprived of basic Constitutional Due Process.” “You view democracy as your enemy!” With virtually every word of that letter, Trump showed that he has no idea how he violated his oath of office—and will never be made to comprehend it. Trump would surely do it all again, and violate his oath again, if given the chance.

But the presidential oath isn’t the only oath at issue now. House members also swear an oathto bear true faith” to the Constitution, and to faithfully execute their duties. Yet too many of them—in particular, 197 Republicans—violated that oath today by voting against impeachment. Worse yet, many have shamelessly mimicked Trump’s mendacity and nihilism, making dishonest and absurd claims in his defense: among many others, that Trump didn’t ask Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden; that Trump was truly concerned about corruption in Ukraine; that Ukraine interfered with our 2016 presidential election; that Republican members of the House were prevented from asking questions of witnesses, and were excluded from investigative proceedings.

Senators swear the same oath as members of the House, and that oath, along with the Senate’s constitutional obligation to “try all Impeachments,” should require them to hold a real trial on the charges against Trump, with live witnesses—including John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney, whose testimony Trump has ordered to be blocked. Equally important, senators acting as jurors in an impeachment trial must take a second oath as well, required by the Constitution: to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.”

Read: Trump won’t just violate the rules again—he’s already doing it

And so senators—especially the Republicans—will face a choice that they should understand goes far beyond politics. They must choose whether to follow the facts, or to follow their fears; to uphold propriety, or to perpetuate partisanship; to champion the truth, or to legitimate lies; to defend the interests of the nation and its Constitution, or the personal interests of one vainglorious man. In short, whether to comply with their solemn oaths, or not.

Should they choose to violate their oaths, history will long remember them for having done so—not simply because of the insurmountable evidence of what Trump has already done, but also because Trump, by his nature, will assuredly do it all again.


Trump attacks recently widowed Rep.: Your husband may be in Hell

This is both sad and disgusting. Hard to view, but we shouldn’t take our eyes away. Every American should watch this.

Just look at the way Trump talks – he’s like a mob boss or more like a parody of a mob boss. He begins by spitting out the widow’s name as if it’s something despicable. Then he goes on to suggest that, rather than looking down on us, her husband might be “looking up” – in other words, residing in Hell. Trump’s base gasps, but then gets into the spirit of trashing a WWII veteran and the longest serving member of Congress – they laugh heartily (albeit with a few groans mixed in). And to think Hilary Clinton was called out for characterizing Trump’s base as “deplorables.” If this isn’t deplorable behavior on the part of our President and his supporters, I don’t know what is.

For what it’s worth, I checked the forums on a few newspapers in Michigan where Rep. John Dingell was pretty much revered as an icon on the Left while also being respected on the Right – Trump’s insults were almost universally condemned. It’s hard to imagine how his boorish performance tonight is going to help him capture this swing state in 2020 that he won by a mere 0.23% in 2016.

(David Bythewood) #293

I’ve read a lot about this, including Rep. Dingell’s response. It’s heart-wrenching, and the one good thing I can say about it is that it was not well-received at least.


Heartwarming exchange between Rep. Debbie Dingell and CNN’s Kate Bolduan as they address Trump’s nationally televised insult that her husband may be in Hell

As a counterpoint to Trump’s vile smears against Debbie Dingell and her late husband, watch as she responds with grace and dignity and has a quiet moment of healing with Bolduan. It will help restore your faith in humanity – a remedy that we seem to find ourselves in need of almost everyday under this Administration, bereft as it is of any moral compass.


The favorable ratings for T have never gone higher than perhaps 48 % at some point (IMHO) but they remain at 44%. The latest WSJ/NBC news poll is indicating that there is a deepening disapproval rating for T, beyond the growing economy.

His combative style, unrelenting ‘mouthing off’ has taken a toll on the nation. Let’s hope this downward trend continues to lower the boom on him.

  • In a normal environment, that kind of economic satisfaction and optimism should translate into a presidential job-approval rating of well over 50%—perhaps even 60%. Yet Mr. Trump’s job-approval rating stands at just 44%.

  • Yet a stunning 48% of those surveyed say they are certain to vote against Mr. Trump for re-election, regardless of whom the Democrats nominate to oppose him.

  • And an even 50% say they are “very uncomfortable” with Mr. Trump as a presidential candidate.

  • …just 35% say the country is moving in the right direction. More than half, 56%, say the nation is off on the wrong track.

President Trump likes to say—and his followers often echo the sentiment—that his slashing, pugilistic style is necessary for him to succeed.

Yet there is mounting evidence that the opposite may be true: He would be having a more successful presidency, and stand on an easier path to re-election, if not for the ample doubts about his personality created by his relentlessly combative approach.

The freshest set of evidence comes in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. That survey finds broad satisfaction with the economy, good readings on the kind of year 2019 has been, and receding fears of an economic downturn.

A few data points illustrate the sentiment. When asked what the most important story of 2019 was for them personally, Americans cited the economy more than anything else. The share who called 2019 one of the best years for the U.S., or at least an above-average year, stood at 34%—the highest reading on that question in the past three decades.

Certainly Republicans and Trump voters are far more likely to give 2019 a high grade than are Democrats and those who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. But more than a quarter of independents also called 2019 an above-average year, a reading that almost certainly reflects positive economic sentiments.

Moreover, Americans see fewer clouds on the horizon. Nearly 4 in 10 think the U.S. will get better in the next year, while just 23% say it will get worse. The share of Americans overall who see a recession in the next year has dropped to 28% from 33% earlier this year.

In a normal environment, that kind of economic satisfaction and optimism should translate into a presidential job-approval rating of well over 50%—perhaps even 60%. Yet Mr. Trump’s job-approval rating stands at just 44%.

Similarly, a president overseeing this kind of public confidence in the economy ought to be a prohibitive favorite to be re-elected. Yet a stunning 48% of those surveyed say they are certain to vote against Mr. Trump for re-election, regardless of whom the Democrats nominate to oppose him.

And an even 50% say they are “very uncomfortable” with Mr. Trump as a presidential candidate.

What can account for such a remarkable gap between economic satisfaction and unease with the president overseeing it? That is a complicated question, of course, but much of the answer certainly lies with the nature of Mr. Trump himself.

The president stokes anger as a way to keep his political base galvanized behind him, and aligned against his political foes. He seems to create controversy as a way to keep his foes off-guard and steer the national conversation.

This leads him, and the country, to some dark places. The best recent example came in Mr. Trump’s now-infamous attack at a Michigan rally last week of both a dead man—former Democratic Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of the House—and his widow, the current Rep. Debbie Dingell. Beyond just attacking the late Rep. Dingell, the president suggested that perhaps he now resides in hell.

Mr. Trump spoke, of course, on the day House Democrats voted to impeach him, and his aides cited his anger over that development as an explanation. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham explained that the Dingell attack was an example of Mr. Trump’s well-known view of himself as a “counterpuncher.”

Certainly Democrats, with their visceral and oft-expressed antipathy toward the president, provide him plenty to punch back against. Mr. Trump and those around him point to not only impeachment but to three years of relentless charges of Russian influence on the president as both explanation and justification for the president’s combative style.

Mr. Trump won the Republican nomination and became president by tapping into a combination of anxiety, anger and a sense of grievance many Americans feel toward the financial and political ruling class. Yet stoking that mood of anger and grievance from the perch of the presidency has distinct downsides. Perhaps the best illustration comes from another data point in the new Journal/NBC News poll.

For three decades, the survey has regularly asked Americans whether they think the country is moving in the right direction, or is off on the wrong track. Usually, sentiment on that question reflects the state of the economy.

Yet today, despite economic growth, a strong stock market and low unemployment, just 35% say the country is moving in the right direction. More than half, 56%, say the nation is off on the wrong track.

The partisan polarization on this question, as on so many others, is more stark than it has ever been. The explanation for such a mood isn’t to be found in the economy, but rather in a fraught political environment.

WSJ/NBC poll for week of Dec. 14 - 17

(David Bythewood) #296

“Strong economy” is rather misleading here. They talk about that constantly, but this “strong economy” is mostly major corporations.

Farmers are floundering, and truckers, and miners, and manufacturers, and really the majority of people in the middle class and below. This strong economy is not paying off for most Americans, and people hate being told how well things are doing while they’re struggling to make ends meet.


Trump cranks unhinged Twitter rants up to 11

  • President Donald Trump retweeted a video message on Friday morning with a hashtag referencing a fringe pro-Trump conspiracy theory known as QAnon.

  • The tweet included a video of a woman praising Trump’s approach to urban poverty and included the hashtag #WWG1WGA, which stands for the QAnon slogan "Where we go one, we go all."

  • Followers of the conspiracy believe that, among other things, the world is run by a satanic cabal of elites and pedophiles led by Hillary Clinton and the so-called deep state who Trump will eventually expose and defeat.

  • Trump has promoted dozens of QAnon conspiracy accounts, and followers of the conspiracy have shown up at his campaign rallies and appeared in his ads.

More Twitter craziness this weekend:

President Donald Trump retweeted an attack that included an unsubstantiated name of the intelligence community whistleblower at the heart of the Ukraine scandal as part of a series of rants and conspiratorial posts overnight.

Trump or someone with access to his Twitter account removed the retweet Saturday morning.

Other retweets were also reversed, including pro-Trump and anti-Democrat memes from suspicious-looking Twitter accounts. But his whistleblower-related post was the most noteworthy because nearly every public official involved in the impeachment inquiry agreed that the identity of the original complainant should be protected.

Trump has shared more than 100 posts about the whistleblower since September, almost entirely critical, but until this week he had refrained from sharing any content directly pointing to a person’s name.

According to the Trump Twitter Archive, which tracks every post from the President, he shared 55 posts on Friday, mostly by retweeting pro-Trump accounts, some of them obscure.

Many of the accounts are anonymous or semi-anonymous, with names including such phrases as “Trump Lady,” “America First” and "pet lovers for Trump."

Some of the accounts show signs of being run by spam operations, but others appear to be genuine, passionate Trump supporters.

He also retweeted people calling Democrats “rats” and videos claiming to prove “collusion between DNC & Ukraine during 2016 Presidential campaign.” There has been no evidence of collusion between the Democratic National Committee and Ukraine in the last election.

Vox’s Aaron Rupar, who closely tracks the President’s public comments, wrote on Twitter Friday night, "The President of the United States has, today alone, retweeted 2 QAnon fan accounts, a Pizzagate account, an account that compared his following to a cult, and an account that described Obama as ‘Satan’s Muslim Scum.’ And this insanity isn’t even a blip on the news radar."

And here’s a fascinating (and scary) weekend-read from the NYT that takes a deep dive into Trump’s wacko Twitter rants:

The Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump

Rage tweeting, seeking retaliation by naming the whistleblower, and in citing his conspiratorial base #Qanon to get on this crazy train…all thug-like behavior. (thx @Keaton_James. T’s tweets and bizarro behavior)

A Gangster in the White House

The president tweeted the name of the presumed whistle-blower in the Ukraine scandal—demonstrating that he is unrepentant and determined to break the law again.

Amid a two-day binge of post-Christmas rage-tweeting, President Donald Trump retweeted the name of the CIA employee widely presumed to be the whistle-blower in the Ukraine scandal. On Thursday night, December 26, Trump retweeted his campaign account, which had tweeted a link to a Washington Examiner article that printed the name in the headline. Then, in the early hours of Friday morning, December 27, Trump retweeted a supporter who named the presumed whistle-blower in the text of the tweet.

This is a step the president has been building toward for some time. The name of the presumed whistle-blower has been circulating among Trump supporters for months. Trump surrogates—including the president’s elder son—have posted the name on social media and discussed it on television. Yet actually crossing the line to post the name on the president’s own account? Until this week, Trump hesitated. That red line has now been crossed.

Lawyers debate whether the naming of the federal whistle-blower is in itself illegal. Federal law forbids inspectors general to disclose the names of whistle-blowers, but the law isn’t explicit about disclosure by anybody else in government.

What the law does forbid is retaliation against a whistle-blower. And a coordinated campaign of vilification by the president’s allies—and the president himself—surely amounts to “retaliation” in any reasonable understanding of the term.

While the presumed whistle-blower reportedly remains employed by the government, he is also reportedly subject to regular death threats, including at least implicit threat by Trump himself. Trump was recorded in September telling U.S. diplomats in New York: “Basically, that person never saw the report, never saw the call, he never saw the call— heard something and decided that he or she, or whoever the hell they saw—they’re almost a spy. I want to know who’s the person, who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information? Because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”

Trump’s tweeting in the past two days was so frenzied and the sources quoted were so bizarre—including at least four accounts devoted to the Pizzagate-adjacent conspiracy theory QAnon, as well as one that describes former President Barack Obama as “Satan’s Muslim scum”—as to renew doubts about the president’s mental stability. But Trump’s long reticence about outright naming the presumed whistle-blower suggests that he remained sufficiently tethered to reality to hear and heed a lawyer’s advice. He disregarded that advice in full awareness that he was disregarding it. The usual excuse for Trump’s online abusiveness— he’s counterpunching —amounts in this case not to a defense but to an indictment: Counterpunching literally means retaliating, and retaliation is what is forbidden by federal law.

The Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump

UPDATE: The CNN article says Trump deleted his announcement of the whistleblower’s name. But that’s not true. It’s still there for his 68 million followers to read (along with the accusation of perjury). I’m not going to link to it, but it is there – a retweet posted on the morning of Dec. 27 and still up as of this writing in evening of the 28th. Shame. Shame. Shame.



I was doing some other research on a reporter I liked, Sydney Schanberg who wrote for many newspapers in New York City, as well as the reporter depicted in The Killing Fields. I read his columns mid 80’s when I lived there. Of course, T was known as a braggadocio (boastful or arrogant behavior), a con, and to me, an idiot.

Schanberg got it right…and exposed T for what he was/is…someone who emitted a lot of ‘smoke,’ lied to sound more like he wanted to be and hid behind lawsuits.

History with The Donald repeats itself, and repeats…and it is a reminder that he’s been doing this ‘lie and repeat’ behavior for a looooong time.

The stakes could not be any higher and the situation is very real knowing he has got the power, but not the faith of the nation. He’s got to go.


On September 14th, 1987 Schanberg published a Newsday editorial entitled “Donald Trump-Public-relations master” in which he wrote, sarcastically, “The part I like best about Donald Trump is his deep and abiding concern for the homeless and the poor”. He called Trump a “public-relations virtuoso”, described an ongoing feud with Koch who Trump called a “moron” and “a jerk”, provided numerous instances of Trump’s claims of superior intellect (“It would take an hour and a half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles. I think I know most of it anyway”), and he warned “He can deny all he wants any designs on the White House, but Trump has the kind of instincts that are perfect for the age we live in-the age of stage smoke and magic mirrors and imagery.…In short, he sees the kind of men we admire and elect these days and he naturally asks: Why not me?”. Schanberg ended the piece with, “In an age where smoke is everything, Donald Trump can blow it with the best of them”. (from: Schanberg, S. Donald Trump-public-relations master. Finger Lakes Times (from Newsday). September 14, 1987 page 4.)

From Wiki - on Schanberg Sydney Schanberg - Wikipedia

Article from 1/24/2006

In a world of genocide, terrorism, global warming, and the Asian bird plague, what would the press do for levity without Donald Trump? Take a look at his latest comedy routine. Trump — about whom the only certainty is that he lacks the tiniest smidgen of an acquaintance with the truthhas filed a libel and slander lawsuit against a reporter for writing a book that Trump says is untruthful.

The reporter is Timothy O’Brien of The New York Times. His book, which debuted in late October, is TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald (Warner Books). The lawsuit charges that O’Brien has defamed Trump by writing that the real estate promoter and full-time celebrity, who boasts that he’s a billionaire many times over, “was not remotely close to” a net worth of even $1 billion.

The suit contends that Trump provided O’Brien with all his financial documents and gave the reporter hours to pore over them. O’Brien says the documents he was shown were marginal or useless in determining net worth. He says Trump refused to let him see any pertinent documents specifically his tax returns, bank statements, an accounting of his debts, and his casino reports to New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement.

In the past, Trump has publicly laughed off his critics, including myself. Somehow, O’Brien’s downgrade of his wealth struck at Trump’s visceral essence: his value system of measuring himself solely by his publicized net worth.

Anyway, the suit says the O’Brien book has cost Trump, in just the three months since it came out, a minimum of $2.5 billion. Those are the damages Trump seeks “in no event less than $2.5 billion.” Trump’s lawyers give no details on how this disaster has occurred. On the other hand, we should recall that Trump has gone into corporate bankruptcy (on his casino “empire”) twice, first in the ’90s and again in 2005.

The arithmetic, however, is interesting. The Forbes annual list of the 400 richest Americans placed Trump at No. 83 in its latest tally and set his net worth at $2.7 billion. If he has suddenly lost at least $2.5 billion and the book is still causing havoc then Trump must be close to busted.

Oddly, in his lawsuit, Trump offers only the Forbes list which is viewed by financial analysts as anything but scientific as evidence of his billionaire status. Yet in 1990, in Surviving at the Top , here is what Trump wrote about the validity of the list: “It always amazed me that people pay so much attention to Forbes magazine. Every year the Forbes 400 comes out, and people talk about it as if it were a rigorously researched compilation of America’s wealthiest people, instead of what it really is: a sloppy, highly arbitrary estimate of certain people’s net worth.”

Since I have periodically chronicled Donald’s adventures over the years, a sampling of the history might help us better understand him.

1980: Donald was demolishing the Bonwit Teller building on Fifth Avenue and 56th St. to make way for Trump Tower. He promised to save two 15-foot-high Art Deco friezes on the building’s facade and donate them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But when it became clear that saving the sculptures would be costly, Donald destroyed them instead. “My biggest concern,” he explained, pretending to honor the truth, “was the safety of the people on the street below. If one of those stones had slipped, people could have been killed.”

1983: Donald tried to drive the tenants out of 100 Central Park South so he could raze the 15-story building and put up a skyscraper. He failed to empty the building because the city sued him for cutting the building’s “essential services” and refusing to repair “defective conditions with life-threatening potential.” Professing his good faith, Donald made an offer to the city to temporarily house homeless people in the 14 apartments that he had been able to empty. City officials saw this for what it was, a scare tactic to drive out the rest of the tenants, and they rejected it.

1984: In an interview with The Washington Post, Donald offered himself for the post of nuclear arms negotiator with the Soviet Union. Describing himself as a master deal maker, he said all he would have to do is get “updated” on the subject. “It would take,” he said, “an hour and a half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles. I think I know most of it anyway.”

1986: 100 Central Park South again. The tenants had won their case the building couldn’t be demolished and they were staying. Donald, piqued, sued their law firm for engaging in an “illicit scheme of commercial blackmail.” A federal judge swiftly threw out the suit.

1987: Donald called Mayor Ed Koch a “moron.” Koch responded, “Piggy, piggy, piggy.” In Trump’s 1987 book, The Art of the Deal , he wrote: “I don’t do it for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form.”

1989: Donald reportedly went to wife Ivana’s plastic surgeon to remove flab from his chin and waist by liposuction. He also went for hair transplants and scalp reduction to disguise his creeping baldness.

1990: Donald was overextended with debt. His casinos were defaulting on bond interest. He divorced Ivana, and his business was essentially in the control of his creditors, who kept him on for his celebrity name and gave him an allowance.

1991: Donald displayed his new wife-to-be, Marla Maples, at a prizefight at his Taj Mahal casino. The crowd chanted, “Mar-la! Mar-la!” Donald beamed. A writer from Esquire was with them, doing a profile on him. Referring to the press, Donald told the writer, “You know, it really doesn’t matter what they write, as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

And so on. But you get the idea: Trump presents himself as a class act who always tells the truth and keeps himself in the public eye by bullying people regularly with frivolous lawsuits.

At the start of his career in hype and carnival barking, the press fawned over him; he made great copy. It’s refreshing that reality has finally crept into the coverage.

Another species of reality crept in on December 12, 2005 when O’Brien did a book signing at Coliseum Books on 42nd Street. As the event drew to a close, according to a witness, a man approached O’Brien at the signing table, leaned over, and told him quietly that if he didn’t stop doing publicity for the book, “we’re going to get you.” The man was Marc E. Kasowitz, Trump’s lead lawyer in the lawsuit.

Asked by The Voice if he was at the book signing, Kasowitz said, “No comment.” Asked about the remark the witness overheard, he said: “I never said that to anybody” and then he laughed nervously.

(David Bythewood) #301

It’s easy to dismiss QAnoners as a bunch of kooky conspiracy theorists, but the sad, scary fact is, they’re becoming more and more mainstream within his base.

Keep in mind that Donnie himself is being impeached because he pushed crazy conspiracy theories of exactly the sort QAnon pushes. There is really no daylight between them and them.


And scary to consider there is an actual “flat earth movement” with a significant following (CNN).