Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Saturday, July 29, 2017

This TrumpWorld Grab-Bag Could Be Titanic

Was it really just last Friday that former WH Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced he'd be walking away from the job to spend more time with various shrubbery? It sort of feels like it's been longer than that, but if it was true that he was walking because the Administration was bringing Anthony Scaramucci on as communications director, this is, in retrospect, looking like a great call. Because Anthony Scaramucci, this week, made a not-so-great call which is ammaaaazzzzing.

First, he dinged Reince Priebus as being a possible leaker:

“They’ll all be fired by me,” he said. “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he’ll be asked to resign very shortly.” The issue, he said, was that he believed Priebus had been worried about the dinner because he hadn’t been invited. “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said. He channelled Priebus as he spoke: “ ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ” (Priebus did not respond to a request for comment.)

And then he gave us this unfortunately brutal mental image:

Scaramucci also told me that, unlike other senior officials, he had no interest in media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.” (Bannon declined to comment.)
Priebus and Bannon are to be commended for not responding, whilst probably having things they could think of saying, for sure. After all, they've already had this kind of story floated about being at odds with one another, so it's really great that someone got brought on who was at odds with both, and had to chat with the press on record about it, right? But at any rate, Scaramucci did make an accurate call about Priebus' job-status, and I'm pretty sure my mind's eye will recover from trying to literally interpret the Bannon comment which he assuredly meant in a metaphorical way. But I think he should be prepared to expect that his own personal motivations are liable to get dragged in public for what he was willing to give up to get close to Trump. Not venturing to auto-fellate, indeed.


With Priebus' resignation (the termination of a sad story about a person charged with being chief of a staff ungoverned and ungovernable, with a boss who alternated between bouts of micromanagement and apathy, who probably tried his best, and still got nowhere on that one-way street in TrumpWorld called "Loyalty"), Trump got to fulfill an itch to get the COS position filled with military precision in the form of DHS Secretary General John Kelly. Leaving DHS in the hands of the Deputy Secretary, Elaine Duke. (She actually seems to be really well-qualified! This is not bad!) But it's not clear Trump considered what this shake-up might mean for DHS--he just wanted his WH in order with one of "his generals" (to use the phrase from his dumb trans-military ban Tweets--for one thing, first order of business if Kelly can swing it, crack down on this guy and his policy-by-social-media, which is the pits; thing two, remember Mike Flynn was one of Trump's generals, too).

Reince Priebus (whose name makes me do the "I before E" thing in my head every time I type it) was not the person I thought would be taking that lonely Uber ride home hoping WH security would send his car keys his way directly. (I wonder if it is true he is one of the few campaign guys who never signed an NDA? Spill, baby. Spill.) It was Attorney General Jeff Sessions who I would have guessed was in danger. Trump seems resentful over Sessions' recusal regarding things related to the Russia probe even though, as his involvement in the Comey firing suggests, he's only sort of committed to the recusal a little bit. And also has to be--conflict of interest and all that, as one of the Trump transition people who had unreported contacts with Russian officials and probably talked about the campaign and sanctions with them.  The way Trump has spoken about Sessions is a weird way to talk about a Trump early-adopter and major supporter (but again, Loyalty, one-way street on the TrumpWorld map) but Sessions is still hanging on. And Sen. Chuck Grassley made one thing clear-- the Senate isn't making time for a confirmation hearing for some AG replacement.

I kind of wonder if that was signaling to Trump: "Don't do it." I also wonder if Trump is the kind of person who "gets" hints when they are sent like that.

In other news, a bipartisan effort to keep Trump from even thinking about firing Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller is underway, because also strong signaling and also Trump might not get "why" for that one, either. 

In other, other news, Russian involvement in the 2016 election might not have gotten them what they were looking for (or if Trump just wanted a better US/Russia relationship)--nah, son. That isn't how any of this works.

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