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👑 Portrait of a President

curated-threads

#181

This is dated Oct 2018…still very true today.

"In my life, I have watched John Kennedy talk on television about missiles in Cuba. I saw Lyndon Johnson look Richard Russell squarely in the eye and and say, “And we shall overcome.” I saw Richard Nixon resign and Gerald Ford tell the Congress that our long national nightmare was over. I saw Jimmy Carter talk about malaise and Ronald Reagan talk about a shining city on a hill. I saw George H.W. Bush deliver the eulogy for the Soviet bloc, and Bill Clinton comfort the survivors of Timothy McVeigh’s madness in Oklahoma City. I saw George W. Bush struggle to make sense of it all on September 11, 2001, and I saw Barack Obama sing ‘Amazing Grace’ in the wounded sanctuary of Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

"These were the presidents of my lifetime. These were not perfect men. They were not perfect presidents, god knows. Not one of them was that. But they approached the job, and they took to the podium, with all the gravitas they could muster as appropriate to the job. They tried, at least, to reach for something in the presidency that was beyond their grasp as ordinary human beings. They were not all ennobled by the attempt, but they tried nonetheless.

"And comes now this hopeless, vicious buffoon, and the audience of equally hopeless and vicious buffoons who laughed and cheered when he made sport of a woman whose lasting memory of the trauma she suffered is the laughter of the perpetrators. Now he comes, a man swathed in scandal, with no interest beyond what he can put in his pocket and what he can put over on a universe of suckers, and he does something like this while occupying an office that we gave him, and while endowed with a public trust that he dishonors every day he wakes up in the White House.

"The scion of a multigenerational criminal enterprise, the parameters of which we are only now beginning to comprehend. A vessel for all the worst elements of the American condition. And a cheap, soulless bully besides. We never have had such a cheap counterfeit of a president* as currently occupies the office. We never have had a president* so completely deserving of scorn and yet so small in the office that it almost seems a waste of time and energy to summon up the requisite contempt.

"Watch how a republic dies in the empty eyes of an empty man who feels nothing but his own imaginary greatness, and who cannot find in himself the decency simply to shut up even when it is in his best interest to do so. Presidents don’t have to be heroes to be good presidents. They just have to realize that their humanity is our common humanity, and that their political commonwealth is our political commonwealth, too.

Watch him behind the seal of the President of the United States. Isn’t he a funny man? Isn’t what happened to that lady hilarious? Watch the assembled morons cheer. This is the only story now."

  • Charles Pierce

#182

Interesting insights into the chaos surrounding T 'n co - See Hub & Spokes reference, where T will assign the same thing to multiple people, because there is no chief-of-staff…just Nick Mulvaney, who says things publically (my take).

Jonathan Swan, Alayna Treene19 hours ago

Scoop: Former White House counsel Don McGahn off the record

Don McGahn, who has kept his head down since leaving as White House counsel, shared some off-the-record thoughts on Thursday in a lunch with about 40 senior Republican Senate aides.

Details: “I spent the last couple of years getting yelled at,” he said, per two sources at the lunch, held in the Capitol’s Strom Thurmond room. “And you may soon read about some of the more spirited debates I had with the president.” McGahn didn’t explicitly mention Mueller’s report, but sources in the room said they understood him to be referring to it when he said this.

Why it matters: McGahn was part of key conversations Mueller’s team scrutinized when determining whether Trump obstructed justice — a decision Mueller declined to make.

McGahn was invited as part of a regular series of off-the-record lunches. Mitt Romney’s staff served Mexican food. And while McGahn mostly praised Trump, he also hinted at the brutality of his tenure, according to sources who were there.

  • McGahn said the president runs the White House with a “hub and spokes model,” often assigning the same task to multiple people. The point, per sources in the room, is that there is no chief of staff in the usual sense.
  • Trump doesn’t trust one person as a gatekeeper, per McGahn. He dislikes intermediaries. And no member of staff is empowered because Trump is the hub and he makes the decisions; all the senior aides are spokes.

McGahn said a big part of his job as White House counsel was to deregulate and rein in the “administrative state.”

  • He said he did that by writing deregulatory executive orders and picking judicial nominees who wanted to limit the power of federal agencies.
  • He talked about Trump nominating judges who agree that the courts have given too much flexibility to federal agencies to interpret laws and enforce regulations.
  • McGahn said they looked for potential judges who wanted to reconsider the “Chevron deference,” which requires the courts to defer to federal agencies’ “reasonable” interpretations of ambiguous laws.
  • McGahn said Trump’s judges will spend 30–40 years unwinding the power of executive agencies.

McGahn marveled to the group about what Trump can get away with.

  • He said Trump could do something that’s “180 degrees opposite” of what McGahn advised — but it somehow works. “If it was 179 degrees, it wouldn’t work,” McGahn said, according to the sources.
  • He said Trump usually takes the conservative side of any given debate — but makes decisions so fast that it was important for McGahn to get to Trump quickly before he announced a decision potentially based on bad information.
  • If Trump says something publicly, he said, it’s hard to pull him back.

#183

Commentary on what T is hoping to do at the Fed…“throw some bombs into the building…” with these nominees for the Board Moore & Cain.

It’s a strange Trumpian irony that the president is so upset with the Federal Reserve, because he picked many of its current members.

Why it matters: If officially nominated and confirmed, pundit Stephen Moore and former CEO and presidential candidate Herman Cain would put 6 Trump nominees out of 12 voting members on the Federal Open Market Committee. But his previous nominees haven’t been like Moore and Cain.

Trump replaced Janet Yellen, known as a policy dove who favored lower U.S. interest rates, with Jerome Powell, a lawyer with significant Fed experience who was considered more of a rate hiking hawk.

  • Trump also replaced outgoing vice chair Stanley Fischer with Richard Clarida and has already nominated Randal Quarles, Marvin Goodfriend, Nellie Liang and Michelle Bowman to the Fed. (Goodfriend’s nomination expired when the last Congress expired and Liang removed herself from consideration.)

“Trump so far has picked a moderate as Fed chair, and the rest of his nominees include two hawks, one unknown, and one moderate dove,” Adam Ozimek, an economist at Moody’s wrote last year when Trump first began making the case for lower rates. “If you wanted rates to stay lower for longer, why would your nominees look like this?”

The big picture: All of them are well-respected economic professionals, and normally that would be enough.

  • “If Trump were a normal president, appointing highly regarded individuals who can ensure effective policy making would be business as usual,” Kenneth Rogoff, a professor of economics at Harvard and a previous IMF chief economist, wrote in 2018.
  • “But here is a president who has often chosen officials with little government experience, and then seems to task them with creating the most disruption possible in the departments they are selected to run.”

So, why the change? I suspect it’s because Trump doesn’t understand monetary policy but realizes the economy isn’t going to grow the way he promised on the campaign trail and may even fall into recession, so he’s setting the Fed up as a scapegoat.

The bottom line… Axios’ Jonathan Swan tells me via email that it’s much simpler: “People close to the president say Trump is pissed at Powell and views the Powell-led Fed as the biggest threat to markets and the economy. So he’s throwing some bombs into the building.”


(Renee) #184

Yes, yes it is. Thanks for posting - I need to make a copy as I recalled how moved I was when I heard it.


#185

President Donald Trump had some advice for George Washington.

During a guided tour of Mount Vernon last April with French president Emmanuel Macron, Trump learned that Washington was one of the major real-estate speculators of his era. So, he couldn’t understand why America’s first president didn’t name his historic Virginia compound or any of the other property he acquired after himself.

“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump said, according to three sources briefed on the exchange. “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.

[…]

If Trump was impressed with Washington’s real estate instincts, he was less taken by Mount Vernon itself, which the first president personally expanded from a modest one-and-a-half story home into an 11,000 square foot mansion. The rooms, Trump said, were too small, the staircases too narrow, and he even spotted some unevenness in the floorboards, according to four sources briefed on his comments. He could have built the place better, he said, and for less money.

This coming from the guy whose own architecture style was once critiqued by Herbert Muschamp as a “1950’s International Style glass skyscraper in a 1980’s gold lame party dress” and “Mr. Trump’s towering, brassy display is likely to raise howls of derision from those who were hoping that the glitzy 1980’s had died of shame.“