Even though I’ve known and hated Donald Trump for literally as far back as I can remember, in some 80s hazy grade school mist, there was a time I didn’t think about him every day. Sure, I’d mediate on his grotesque pointlessness if I saw a commercial for his dingdong show for idiots, or whenever Fox would air his disjointed ramblings, but I bet I could go weeks at a time without thinking of him.
It’s deeply painful to know that now I’ll probably think of him every day for like the rest of my life, no matter how this plays out. Some memory will pop into my head. That’s sort of what I mean by totalitarianism: this giant balloon in your brain that crowds out everything besides autonomic functions.
Sigh. Maybe I’ll just turn this blog into nothing but reviews of books published at least 50 years ago. But until then, another roundup…
Wanted: One National Security Advisor. Must Hate Self.
So, it is pretty widely reported that HR McMaster is on his way out, after a tenure marked by…well, I’m not exactly sure what. In the slightest ways, this is sort of good news, since he was considered to be the most hawkish voice on North Korea. If this is the reason why Mattis and Kelley are pushing him out, then I guess that qualifies as a win. It might also be interpersonal (McMaster was a career military man, but he also never stopped rocking boats or upsetting 4-stars).
But of course, this is just more chaos. It’s impossible to have a functioning, much less well-functioning, national security team when no one knows how to work together and no one trusts each other. It is madness, and makes it impossible that our idiot president will get any good advice. It allows for his worst instincts and dumbest impulses to win.
There will be another NSA, ranging from the professional and competent Stephen Beigun to the insane lunatic John Bolton. But the question is: why would anyone want this job? I mean, McMaster was one of the most respected men in the country, and Trump treated him like, well, he treats literally everyone else.
Trump became increasingly frustrated with McMaster during meetings, according to The Post. The publication said Trump griped that McMaster droned on too long and was too rigid in his thinking. In one instance, when McMaster entered the Oval Office over the summer, Trump complained that he had already seen him that day.
Why would you want this job? Who would want this job, or any job in the administration? Has there been anyone who has left this White House with their reputation intact? With any dignity? James Mattis might be the only person who hasn’t been made to look a fool (or, in the case of Mnuchin, exposed as one).
That’s what’s baffling to me about reports that Condi Rice is pushing for her friend from the Bush administration, Stephen Biegun, to get the job (though she is also praising McMaster). Don’t forget, it was Rice who was instrumental in getting the unknown-to-Trump Tillerson his gig at State.
At the time, I thought that was a part of the Russian angle, as Tillerson saw the world through the lens of pipelines and geopolitics, much like Putin. And I may have been right, except that it is impossible to do anything when you work for Trump.
I mean, before taking the job, Rex Tillerson was 1) unimaginably rich; 2) absurdly powerful; and 3) essentially anonymous. He could pick up the phone and get kings to grovel to him. He could sign orders on trillion-dollar projects that dug up the earth. And now? His name is ruined. People know it now, and he is a symbol of the shambolic catastrophe of the administration. He’s seen, unfairly maybe, as a joke.
I get why people will still want jobs. Patriotism, the sense that they can succeed where others fail, the idea that having watched Trump from afar, they can come in with fresh perspective on handling him, and the perhaps messianic desire to be the one to save the country. At worst, blinded by ambition, and at best, by true noble impulse.
But no one can. It’s impossible to be successful in this administration, because everything comes from the outlandishly corrupt, wildly stupid, and endlessly petty and vengeful fake king. Anyone taking a job will be ruined, unless you’re like Stephen Miller or Jeff Sessions, who were already garbage people.
My point is: don’t be friends with Condi Rice.
Kushner Can’t Survive
So, in the last week alone, Jared Kushner has had his national security clearance completely revoked and has been revealed to be even more stupidly corrupt than his father-in-law. Oh, and it was shown that foreign governments naturally assumed that this corrupt, financially desperate, in-over-his-head pretty boy was the easiest gull on the boardwalk.
Kushner, as we’ve all long known, has really been the most absurd part of this administration, save for the dimwit puddingbrain in charge. He was given incredible responsibilities, including peace in the Middle East, just because he happened to marry Ivanka. And he’s been a disaster at it; his only notable “accomplishment” has been to empower Mohammed bin Salman to continue murdering Yemen.
The MBS connection is key, because it shows what happens when someone in over his head, some rich kid who thinks he’s a real sharp, gets involved in national security. They are easily rolled by flattery and by the conception that they are in a club. MBS and Jared are young, and no one thought they could change the world, but they’ll show everyone. Right, Jared? You want another cigar?
Every government sees this, especially because they know he’s in deep in debt, having made terrible decisions to prove his worth, and desperate to get out of it. He’s clearly been abusing his power, and has consistently lied on his clearance forms so that he can stay one step ahead of the game.
Oh, but don’t worry: Jared’s fine. After all. He’s rich.
Being born rich enough to buy some buildings doesn’t exactly make you a match for the Chinese intelligence services, especially when you are spectacularly bad at buying buildings. Everywhere, Jared is over-leveraged (except it seems where he is a crooked slumlord, getting more money from the poor and broken). Everywhere, his dreams, both grandiose and soggy, are crumbling.
One way or another, it seems, Jared is going to get rolled up. And above him, there’s only one man.
Hope Hicks Also Might Not Be Bright
I really don’t know much about Hope Hicks, and I certainly don’t buy that she had been planning to leave for months (even in this White House, you’d think giving them months of lead-up to your leave would leave enough time for them to find your replacement). My assumption is that she sees what is coming, and wants to get away.
I know that she’s been with Trump from the beginning, and has helped get him elected and enact his agenda, which means she’s terrible. Being youngish and pretty doesn’t change that. She’s an awful person who isn’t only on the wrong side of history, but he helped put all of us on that side.
That said, this made me laugh out loud.
When asked if she ever lied for the President, Hope Hicks conferred with her lawyer for “five to ten minutes” before answering.
This is literally the dumbest pack of goons in the world.