Forget dumping TPP, “alternative facts,” threats to bring back torture, the Wall, the admiration for Putin, “grab her by the p___y,” Alicia Machado and all the rest.
Try to imagine that up to now, Donald Trump has acted like a perfectly normal, grounded, mature human being.
This one interview would be enough to make you say, “This guy’s lost it!”
The way President Trump tells it, the meandering, falsehood-filled, self-involved speech that he gave at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters was one of the greatest addresses ever given.
“That speech was a home run,” Trump told ABC News just a few minutes into his first major television interview since moving into the White House. “See what Fox said. They said it was one of the great speeches. They showed the people applauding and screaming. … I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl, and they said it was equal. I got a standing ovation. It lasted for a long period of time.”
The most powerful man in the world continued: “You probably ran it live. I know when I do good speeches. I know when I do bad speeches. That speech was a total home run. They loved it. … People loved it. They loved it. They gave me a standing ovation for a long period of time. They never even sat down, most of them, during the speech. There was love in the room. You and other networks covered it very inaccurately. … That speech was a good speech. And you and a couple of other networks tried to downplay that speech. And it was very, very unfortunate that you did.”…
It’s like he was trying to outdo Alexandra Petri’s satirical column (“The true, correct story of what happened at Donald Trump’s inauguration“) spoofing how awesome Trump thinks his inauguration was.
Soon, it will become impossible to lampoon him, as nothing satirists will be able to dream up will exceed the things he actually says.
Seriously, who talks like this? If you’d never heard of the guy, and heard him talking this way about himself, you’d start to steadily back away, trying to make no sudden moves…
While I don’t enjoy falling into full Trump Derangement Syndrome, this one made my head hurt. When asked about the meaning of the Rosebud scene in Citizen Kane, a movie Trump claimed to be his favorite, his response was: “I don’t know why it works, but it works. After all, Steven Spielberg paid a lot of money for it, so it must work. Paid a lot of money, maybe seven figures, six figures.”
The interviewer could only walk away from the experience guessing that Trump may literally be incapable of understanding irony. Sigh.
In more lighthearted news things are looking bad for Lindsey.
Yep, that was funny. Imagine Trump enjoying a joke on himself that way.
Jesse, earlier you made reference to the Doomsday Clock being moved closer to midnight. An interview like this helps us understand why.
It probably should be closer than two-and-a-half minutes. How long does it take to send a Tweet?
You should put that in a Tweet yourself and send it out. That’s pretty good.
Don’t worry. It’ll all be alright. Trump will just censor those scientists and the clock will go away. If we don’t see it, its not there, right? We’re good.
Of course you realize, Brad, that when the bombs start falling Trump will tell the world that it’s all your fault because you lied about his greatness.
And now comes the news that practically the entire senior management at the State Dept has resigned.
It’s standard in every transition for politically appointed officers to submit letters of resignation.
Make light of it if you want, but it’s not common practice for that much institutional know-how and memory to head out the door at the same time.
“It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,” David Wade, who spent two years as Secretary of State John Kerry’s chief of staff, told the Washington Post. “Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”
Looks like some promotions are probably in order, then. I’m pretty sure the State Department can handle the loss of four people.
NPR made it sound like these were not the politically appointed ones. These were the career ones who generally stay through multiple administrations regardless of party. But I admit I wasn’t listening closely and I know no more details.
Ah, yes, the permanent government. There are many things to be said about the British system.
We need some people like Sir Humphrey Appleby…
Sir Humphrey took pride in his work, bless him:
That reminds me of how I embarrassed my wife in London on New Year’s Eve 2010/2011…
We were looking about for stuff to do that night, and we decided to treat ourselves to a play in the West End. My wife generously allowed me to pick the show, so I chose the stage adaptation of “Yes, Prime Minister,” which was getting good reviews.
We went to the theater to buy tickets for a later show, given us time to get dinner first. At the box office, they told us two tickets in the cheapest seats they had (probably sitting behind a column or something) would cost more than 90 quid!
I said thanks but no thanks. (I sorta kinda wanted to be able to say we’d seen a play in London, but I didn’t want it THAT much.) Which embarrassed my wife, even though she’s usually the thrifty one. What did I expect, after all?
We had a nice evening anyway. We had dinner at an Indian place near our hotel in Swiss Cottage, then walked over the Primrose Hill to watch the fireworks downtown at midnight from a distance, rather than braving the crowds at Trafalgar Square. It was a cool experience…
And it’s four people who tendered letters of resignation. I sure hope the State Department can manage without them!
It was the four who actually run the place, day to day. It’s being called an unprecedented situation at State.
Were they doing a good job? That’s all that matters.
Must have been – now the Trump administration is saying they were fired; which sounds like spin on the story. So if they left first, then they left huge a hole the administration is scrambling to fill.
What exactly were their accomplishments? I’m struggling to think of where the Department of State has done a good job in the past 8 years. Putin, Syria, China, Korea… Where are we doing better?
They were Obama hires, they’re upset that Hillary didn’t win so hung on until the last minute before resigning. Hope the Clinton Foundation has openings for four more executives.
So four of Obama’s people resigned, I don’t see the concern. More of a good thing the way I see it.
More than four people. Anyway, at some point, ”normal“ rotation or turnover can turn into a purge. Somewhat ominously, a Trump surrogate said on CNN yesterday that since the “culture in federal bureaucracies is left-leaning” it’s only natural that the new administration wants to “flush the system out.” Translation: we’re not just going after political appointees, we’re going after career civil servants, too.
Sorry. All out of sympathy for you people. It’s a little late to ask for the GOP to play nice after eight years of telling the GOP to go pound sand.
Enjoy your (counter-)revolution!
Wow, that’s the worst you got? Obama must have been a saint, then. As red meat for the base goes, that wasn’t even bloodless veal. It was more like tofu. Trump outdoes that 10 times a minute.
But stop a minute and think: The GOP has been pounding sand for the past 7 years at least (ever since the rise of the Tea Party and the Freedom Caucus), but that was Republicans’ own idea. I mean, what have they done but pass Obamacare repeal dozens of times, knowing every single time it would be vetoed? Oh, yeah, and shutting the government down. And refusing even to hold hearings on a Supreme Court nominee.
I find both parties contemptible, but the GOP’s behavior ever since the yahoos started taking over after their 2008 loss has been feckless and pointless even by Harry Reid standards…
I was starting to get concerned, Brad went nearly 24 hours without posting something negative about Trump.
That would be pretty irresponsible of me, since Trump never goes 24 hours without demonstrating MANY times how much trouble the country is in….
He has certainly been on a roll the last 24 hours…
Let’s hope it keeps going.
And we’ve noticed how much things have changed since you started listing every single thing you don’t agree with.
What are the top five things you’re concerned about? If we’re in so much trouble that list shouldn’t take you long to compile. I’m good, so I don’t have a list.
Trump approval rating is now at 59%. This isn’t how liberals called it.
That’s our saving grace, actually, the speed at which Trump is operating. This bodes well for my hope and prediction, which is that Trump goes so crazy so far out and so quickly, jumps the shark in terms of confrontations with almost every country you can imagine (except Israel), extremist pro-profit-anti-environmental actions, executive orders out the wazoo, attempts to methodically dismantle democratic institutions (thru discrediting the electoral process itself, eliminating the idea of reality or truth, tight gag orders on govt officials, harassment or arrests of press etc) that he’ll be seen by most in both parties as imbalanced and an actual national security threat, both of which he is, of course. This means that the impeachment, indictment, resignation, whatever, will come sooner rather than later. Were he less impulsive, he could actually do more damage by sticking around longer in office. His craziness makes me strangely optimistic.
It only seems fast because he’s actually doing what he said he’d do in his campaign. I know, a politician keeping his word is just odd, and it’s obviously scaring some around here. Others say he can’t move fast enough. Winning is fun.
I think you may have won the award for the longest sentence in Brad’s blog this week.
This is a too optimistic view.
Bannon and Conway are master manipulators; in the service of a raging narcissist.
History will not be kind to them, but they are in our lives. Today. Now.
“That’s our saving grace, actually, the speed at which Trump is operating.”
I’m not so sure about that. There are probably many people who are impressed by seeing Trump DO THINGS in the age of gridlock. With so many things coming out, any one of them could resonate with some segment of voters. His executive actions cut across all sorts of groups. Even a little thing like removing the Spanish language content from whitehouse.gov might find some supporters (like me).
“There are probably many people who are impressed by seeing Trump DO THINGS in the age of gridlock.”
You’re no doubt right. But surely the number is shrinking. Surely the general chaos is even making supporters go, “Wait a minute…”
Or not. I’ve been waiting for sanity to kick in for a year and a half now.
I mean, I seem to recall there being something in the flood of manic action that I liked a couple of days ago. But that’s inevitable, going by the stopped-watch-is-right-twice-a-day rule.
Surely, surely, surely, people are starting to get the creeps about now.
Or maybe not. And don’t call me “Shirley”…
Looks like you picked the wrong week to quit cigarettes, drinking, amphetamines and sniffing glue …
This is only anecdotal, but it seems I’m seeing fewer “give him a chance” and “we won so get over it” posts on my Facebook feed.
Maybe they’ve decided you’re too sane and given up on you.
Personally, I’ve seen little of that since the inauguration… But then, I don’t deliberately look at Facebook all that much. My Tweets post there automatically, but I only occasionally look at the FB reactions.
Like Trump (arrggghhh!), I’m more of a Twitter guy…
You mean like this?
Yeah, after the government shutdown, I was pretty ticked at the GOP in Congress as well — both the Yahoo Caucus and the leaders who were afraid of them.
I don’t know if I could have been as cool about it as No-Drama was. Here’s what he actually said (as opposed to Cillizza’s wiseacre paraphrase):
I can’t find fault with that.
I prefer this example….
“But surely the number is shrinking.”
I wouldn’t count on that, I saw that the latest numbers are showing him at an 59% approval rating.
From CNN – Still, 53% of Americans said they are optimistic about Trump’s presidency, and more say that Trump will help the economy than hurt it.
Yep, it’s a real roller-coaster ride. His numbers are now the opposite of what they were a week ago. Who knows what they will be a week from now?
Right now, the people who’ve wanted a lot of crazy, irresponsible stuff from their government for years are kind of drunk with delight, because they finally have a president clueless enough to do all that stuff.
The question is, how long until they sober up?
“Who knows what they will be a week from now?”
Probably 99.99999%… everyone but some blogger in Columbia, SC.
But I’m hearing that he’s going to pull out of the race anyday now, the stock market will crash if he wins the election, the government will shut down once he takes office, and we’ll see what the liberals are going to speculate on next week. So far they’re batting 0.000 on their predictions.
Why do you keep bringing up “the liberals?” What on Earth do they have to do with this conversation?
It’s only a roller-coaster if the numbers fluctuate. At this point they’ve only gone up so it’s more like a rocket ride than a roller-coaster ride.
Yes, definitely, Doug, I agree there are many people who are impressed, and who would be just as happy if he continues full speed ahead with the push for a more authoritarian state and assuming more supreme power in the executive, curtailing press freedom, dissent, etc.
I’m just counting on the fact that he does not have self-control and will just grab too much power too quickly, though as Mark says, maybe I’m being too hopeful. This is just 6 days—-imagine now 6 weeks or 6 months. I just think there’s a line out there, not so far away, that Trump will find impossible to resist crossing, a tipping point where patriotic Republicans will realize what’s really at stake. The challenge then will be constructing a legal framework to impeach if they cannot convince Trump to resign. The thing is, they’ll realize they can still get all their conservative agenda (and maybe more) with Pence.
But Trump will indeed have lots of support from many people who will look at any attempt to push him out as a sort of coup, no matter how far in an anti-democracy direction he may push. This could get really wild.
The parallels with Chavez are getting more and more striking.
Yes, Pence is a real Republican’s dream. Trump is their nightmare.
The sooner they can effect the change, the better.
It will take a while, though. His more rational followers (the people who voted for him reluctantly because they despised Hillary so much, or whatever, not those who are drunk with giddy delight at FINALLY having elected someone crazy and clueless enough to do the grossly irresponsible stuff they want) need time before they start to pull away from him.
We aren’t at that point yet…
I’ll just say this: keep an eye on Mike Pence, who will turn out to be cannier than Trump ever would have suspected.
Anyone read the article in WaPo about some insiders leaking info about Trump? Read the article by Chris Cillizza , January 26th titled, ” The leaks coming out of the Trump White House cast the president as a clueless child”. It is a conclusion drawn by Cillizza but it is on the money as far as I am concerned.
Some time ago, I posted an incident involving Trump and Mayor Koch when Trump hired actors and had them dress up like city employees wearing uniforms that looked like maintenance department employees and sitting on buckets, leaning on shovels, drinking coffee, and talking to each other. This went on all day and it was meant to embarrass Koch because of a silly feud Trump started because Koch wouldn’t do something Trump wanted. This is who Trump is and he won’t change. He is not a mature adult, he is a vindictive little man whose emotional IQ stopped developing at an early age.
He may be a good business person in areas where he has experience but he has never held a position anywhere close to POTUS and the demands of the POTUS are a lot more demanding than being a developer of real estate. The demands of a governor are much broader and require a mindset different than Trump’s and a governor’s job is more demanding and requires a better mind than the one inside the orange haired skull of Donald Trump.
His petulance will get this country in more trouble than it can get out of if he doesn’t change the way he is proceeding like a bull in a china shop. Yes, he is keeping his campaign promises but keeping a promise also demands some common sense and a sensible plan on how to implement the kept promises instead of signing a few documents that present nothing more than a photo-op.
I have no problem defending Trump when he is right but based on the way he has behaved his first week in office, defenses of Trump will be rare indeed. And one must be very careful when they defend Trump because he is so unpredictable and petty over petty things and it is entirely possible, no, probable that defending him may come back and bite his defender(s) in the butt.
Some may enjoy what he is doing but when his antics come back to bite us all, how enjoyable will that be?
Re the leaks…
If I get time today, I’m going to do a post on that.
In case I don’t…
When I first read a story in the Post earlier this week explaining how that absurd Sean Spicer performance last Saturday came about — from Trump coming in and demanding that Spicer go out there and shout lies at the press to assuage his bruised ego — I thought, “This is a good thing. Already, people in his White House are letting the world know just how unhinged their boss is.”
But when I read the Cillizza piece today about how the leaks have become a flood, as West Wing denizens rush to distance themselves, however anonymously, from their boss, I started to worry…
I worry that it could lead to a purge, or repeated purges, of the White House staff until there’s nothing left but the Trump True Believers — the profoundly delusional mixed with the completely unprincipled — and then the country will be in even worse shape that it’s in now…
“…until there’s nothing left but the Trump True Believers — the profoundly delusional mixed with the completely unprincipled…”
Hah! Seems to me we’ve already reached that point. Or does anyone seriously believe that any of these executive actions have been properly vetted or put through any kind of reasoned consideration? No, the Bannon side of the building is in complete control. People who don’t know anything about anything are recklessly transposing blustery campaign rhetoric into bad policy.
Plus, I have to say that it’s rather ironic how quiet all the small-government conservatives are. All of a sudden they seem willing to acquiesce to government by presidential fiat.
I agree. POTUS in the Fox News interview seemed Keynesian, not concerned about cutting spending, not concerned about erasing the deficit. The only policy in which it seems he may be interested in cutting spending is in healthcare, but that is hard to discern because no solid plans have been proposed.
The Legislative Branch has the power of the purse; we’ll see how this all plays out in the next few months.
Keynesian? Nosir, let’s not try and wrap this stuff in any kind of fancy doctrine. There’s no theory behind any of this. There’s not even really any thought behind it. It’s nothing but one man trying to turn his empty-headed campaign blabberings into reality. That’s all he’s got to go on.
I was agreeing with you, commenting on a fiscal policy approach that “small government conservatives” opposed during the Obama administration. I was not commenting on POTUS’s “theory” of governing.
Anybody catch Nikki Haley’s act at the UN today? The arrogance is absolutely breathtaking, eh? Person from Bamberg, SC telling the United Nations that whatever is “not working, we [the United States] are going to do away with.” Because, of course, a gathering of nations from the world to discuss issues of world peace exists only to execute the wishes of the dominant regime of the world, otherwise the US is not “getting value” out of it. That was why the UN was founded, right, to make sure everybody knew to toe the US line…or else.
On another topic, has anybody else noticed that Haley has not looked well since the election? She seems to have lost weight and looks a little gaunt. I’m guessing that maybe it’s just the stress (lack of sleep, etc) from trying to bone up on international issues, get ready for the hearings, etc. It’s going to be funny though to watch her address (wag her finger at, etc.) the General Assembly delegates as if they were the SC Legislature. Wonder how that will go over.
“That was why the UN was founded, right, to make sure everybody knew to toe the US line…or else.”
Wasn’t it? How often have we ever given in to the will of the U.N. — and why should we? It’s fine for countries to get together to discuss global concerns.. but there is no authority over the U.S. and there shouldn’t be. It’s like when a bunch of companies get together in the technology world to come up with standards – everyone gets a say but, in the end, each company is going to do what it thinks is right. Apple (the U.S.) isn’t really interested in meeting the demands of Joe’s Computer Shop (Andorra).
Or maybe a better analogy for you – when you join the symphony, the conductor may listen to your ideas but he’s going to go his own way in the end. [Have you seen Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon, by the way?]
I guess I need to watch that (“Mozart in the Jungle”), since you’ve mentioned it favorably a couple of times.
I’ve always sort of thought the main purpose of the U.N., writ large, was to keep the permanent Security Council members from going to war with each other, and taking the rest of the world down with them. Everything else is peripheral…
That’s why most musicians prefer chamber music to playing in orchestra…it’s actually a good analogy. In chamber music there’s no boss or leader, everybody brings something to the table, the end result is not the product of one person’s (nation’s) wish but rather the fusion of several people’s ideas into one. If America thinks it’s the conductor of the world…yeesh.
Haley addresses a body founded to foster world peace and speaks the language instead of a country interested less in peace than in world domination.
Haven’t seen MITJ but know several people in the biz who say they’re pleasantly surprised by it. Luckily, I’m not in the book!
A highly polarized US, with demonstrations in the streets which could turn nasty is just what our foreign adversaries want. We’ve already had border security agents at airports disobey a court order. Maybe Putin knew what he was doing. With the “extreme vetting move” Trump has moved us toward the cross-hairs of the most extreme terror-prone among all kinds of radicals, not just Muslim ones. A fed-up American Muslim population is one thing Clinton and other Republican candidates warned about in the face of Trump’s campaign. I don’t even want to think of the possibilities of what could happen here if he keeps it up. Don’t put it past Putin to supply some nasty material to be used while smiling in his new buddy’s face. GW Bush looked into Putin’s soul as well, and certainly misread it.