Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Accountable Leaders

Aside

Trump blows off ceremonial presidential duties so he can sulk in the White House

The magnitude of last Tuesday’s losses have sunk in.

For weeks this fall, an ebullient Trump traveled relentlessly to hold raise-the-rafters campaign rallies — sometimes three a day — in states where his presence was likely to help Republicans on the ballot.

But his mood apparently has changed as he has taken measure of the electoral backlash that voters delivered Nov. 6.

With the certainty that the incoming Democratic House majority will go after his tax returns and investigate his actions, and the likelihood of additional indictments by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment, according to multiple administration sources.

Behind the scenes, they say, the president has lashed out at several aides, from junior press assistants to senior officials. “He’s furious,” said one administration official. “Most staffers are trying to avoid him.”

Trump may project confidence through social media or when he appears in public, but it’s apparent that behind the scenes, he’s not feeling confident at all. There really was a blue wave… and it hasn’t even crested yet. Races keep getting called in favor of Democrats, and in Florida (where recounts are underway), it’s unclear who won the top races: Trump’s loyalists or their Democratic opponents.

All those Democratic gains — and the ongoing media coverage of them — have seriously wounded Trump’s pride and left him feeling very bitter and angry.

Trump ought to have been able to see this coming. The pendulum has always historically swung back after periods of one party rule. But Trump is a narcissist and sociopath, so he was nicely positioned for a big emotional crash.

Although Democrats did win a number of special elections last year (and took back the governorship of New Jersey in addition to keeping the governorship of Virginia), the just-held midterms showed that Trump’s Republican Party isn’t invulnerable.

Democrats are on track to have their best showing in U.S. House races since the 1970s. The party has flipped seven governorships and increased the number of trifectas in its column. And it also took two U.S. Senate seats away from the Republicans in the southwest with the victories of Jacky Rosen and Kyrsten Sinema.

Recommended Link

Trial balloon or imminent news? Trump is preparing to remove Kirstjen Nielsen as Homeland Security secretary, aides say

The Washington Post: “Trump has told advisers he has decided to remove Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and her departure from the administration is likely to occur in the coming weeks, if not sooner, according to five current and former White House officials.”

Quotation

The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy… We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive. And they don’t like government, and they don’t like to pay taxes.

Paul Volcker, at ninety-one, sees ‘a hell of a mess in every direction’ (Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times)

Chat Transcript

After publicly cursing out her son, Pam Roach blames Democratic activists for her behavior

The following is a transcript of an exchange that occurred at an October 5th retreat of the Republican-dominated Pierce County Council between Pam “Who Moved My Flowers!?” Roach, Derek Young, and Roach’s son Dan.

PAM ROACH: Maybe we should get back and ask what the motivation was, which is fairly obvious, for providing information that had nothing to do with what was in front of us — and it was wrong.

PAUL BOCCHI (senior legislative analyst): And we will have a lot more discussion about that next week.

DEREK YOUNG: Since the executive’s office isn’t here to defend itself —

PAM ROACH: They’re sitting right here, but OK.

DEREK YOUNG: What you’re saying isn’t accurate, and I need to say something. So I don’t think it was ever represented that Franklin Pierce High School was in the Bethel School District. We did have a letter supporting from Bethel School District, and the reason was that Bethel School District is immediately adjacent to it. This facility will serve that area. So it’s not completely unrelated as it was claimed. I understand that you misunderstood that …

PAM ROACH: No —

[CROSSTALK]

DAN ROACH: [Pounding gavel] Stop, no, stop, both of you are done. Stop.

PAM ROACH: I’m gonna put you —

DAN ROACH: Stop. We’re not even gonna talk about this.

PAM ROACH Go ahead and do it again.

DAN ROACH: Just stop.

PAM ROACH: (expletive) you. I’m leaving. Look —

DAN ROACH: Really?

PAM ROACH: Well Dan, what is the deal here? He’s misrepresenting me.

DAN ROACH: No, we’re not having the conversation. We’re talking about a budget.

PAM ROACH: He is misrepresenting me, and I’m tired of it.

DAN ROACH: [Pounding gavel] We’re done. Continue please, Paul.

Following the exchange, Roach sent a statement to The News Tribune of Tacoma in which she blamed Democratic activists for her behavior.

Earlier today, during a council event that was held off-campus, I got very passionate during a political discussion with my fellow councilmembers, including my son Dan. In the heat of the moment I used harsh words that I regret. It was a mistake. I love my son dearly but sometimes we have political disagreements. Nonetheless, that’s no excuse for harsh language. It seems I’ve been listening to too many Democrat protesters lately.

So much for taking responsibility for her actions.

Recommended Link

Donald Trump defrauded the public by helping his parents dodge their tax obligations, New York Times investigation finds

Reporters David Barstow, Susanne Craig, and Russ Buettner explain how Trump used a multitude of tax dodges to inherit money from his parents and project the illusion that he is a wealthy, successful businessman. The truth, of course, is much different: Trump is a liar, a cheat, and a con man.

Quotation

We’re in crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.

— Retired Marine General and current Trump chief of staff John Kelly, speaking to colleagues at a small meeting at the White House, according to accounts reported in Bob Woodward’s new book Fear (via The New York Times)

Quotation

A year ago it seemed possible that there might be limits to the party’s complicity, that there would come a point where at least a few representatives or senators would say, no more. Now it’s clear that there are no limits: They’ll do whatever it takes to defend Trump and consolidate power.

— Paul Krugman, reflecting that American democracy is on a knife’s edge (Commentary: Why it can happen here, via The New York Times)

Recommended Link

Leaked audio from Cathy McMorris Rodgers fundraiser catches Devin Nunes saying Rosenstein impeachment would delay Supreme Court pick

At a recent fundraiser for Cathy McMorris Rodgers that was closed to the press, embattled Congressman Devin Nunes was asked about impeaching Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Said Nunes: “The Senate would have to drop everything they’re doing … and start with impeachment on Rosenstein. And then take the risk of not getting Kavanaugh confirmed… So it’s not a matter that any of us like Rosenstein. It’s a matter of, it’s a matter of timing.”

Quotation

We’re going to have a challenging midterm anyway, and I don’t see how putting the attention on shutting down the government when you control the government is going to help you.

— Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma (via The New York Times)

Chat Transcript

Dana Milbank: Paul Ryan has been living in a cave

Trump congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on his “election”?

PAUL RYAN: “I don’t know the content of that conversation.”

Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower?

PAUL RYAN: “I didn’t see the interview.”

Trump’s conflicts of interest with his family business?

PAUL RYAN: “I haven’t looked at the details of the arrangement.”

Trump’s call for lawmakers to investigate “fake news outlets.”

PAUL RYAN: “I’m not familiar with the statement.”

“Sorry. I’ve been — I was pretty busy.”

Trump’s attacks on NFL players over the national anthem?

PAUL RYAN: “I haven’t seen all of his comments.”

FBI agents looking for information about the “Access Hollywood” tape when they raided Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s offices?

PAUL RYAN: “I didn’t even read the article.”

Trump’s strained call with the Australian prime minister?

PAUL RYAN: “Don’t know the content of the call.”

Trump threatening to pull FEMA from Puerto Rico after the hurricane?

PAUL RYAN: “I’m a little busy today. I haven’t been looking at Twitter.”

— Dana Milbank: Paul Ryan has been living in a cave

Quotation

Trump has overwhelmed the news industry, exhausting capacity and journalists alike. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has been the subject of more legitimate corruption stories in the past couple months than eight years of President Barack Obama’s full cabinet combined. Pruitt’s ethics scandals demand so much attention that reports on his toxic influence on U.S. environmental policy are overlooked.

— Francis Wilkinson: Democrats watch the Trump Show from the bleachers

Recommended Link

‘Pure madness’: Dark days inside the White House as Trump shocks and rages

“This portrait of Trump at a moment of crisis just over a year after taking office is based on interviews with twenty-two White House officials, friends and advisers to the president and other administration allies, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss Trump’s state of mind,” The Washington Post says.

Recommended Link

The United States of America is decadent and depraved

“We cannot blame everything on Donald Trump, much though we might want to,” writes James Traub. “In the decadent stage of the Roman Empire, or of Louis XVI’s France, or the dying days of the Habsburg Empire so brilliantly captured in Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities, decadence seeped downward from the rulers to the ruled. But in a democracy, the process operates reciprocally. A decadent elite licenses degraded behavior, and a debased public chooses its worst leaders. Then our Nero panders to our worst attributes — and we reward him for doing so.”

Recommended Link

‘Trump, Trump, Trump!’ How 45’s name became a racial jeer

The New York Times examines “a phenomenon distinct from the routine racism so familiar in this country: the provocative use of Trump, after the man whose comments about Mexicans, Muslims and undocumented immigrants — coupled with his muted responses to white nationalist activity — have proved so inflammatory.”

Quotation

A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.

— USA Today: Will Trump’s lows ever hit rock bottom?

 

Quotation

The walls are closing in… Everyone is freaking out.

— A senior Republican in close contact with top Trump staffers who spoke to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly (Upstairs at home, with the TV on, Trump fumes over Russia indictments)

Quotation

We could face a bloodbath. I think that we have a potential of seeing a Watergate-level blowout.

— Ted Cruz, telling donors at the Koch-aligned Seminar Network’s 2018 strategy session that Republicans are in huge trouble in the 2018 midterm elections if they don’t ram their agenda through Congress.

Recommended Link

The Republican’s guide to presidential etiquette

A must-read from The New York Times: “In 2017, there’s a whole new bar for tolerable conduct by the commander in chief. Our original guide cataloged several dozen examples. Almost five months later, it’s clear that an update is necessary. This expanded list is meant to ensure that Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and other congressional Republicans never forget what they now condone in a president.”

Quotation

Mass marketed hate speech is not “mere speech” by an individual. It is actually physical in nature because all ideas are physically constituted by neural circuitry in our brains. When you are repeatedly told by those protected by the President and his government that you are a lesser being and are hated, it can have a crippling effect, physically, on your brain, mind, and heart.

— George Lakoff: What is hate speech?

Quotation

During his time as governor, Mr. Pence was the most divisive leader this state had ever seen. If he had not accepted Mr. Trump’s offer to be his running mate, he most likely would have lost a bid for a second term.

— Dan Diericks: Pence would be no relief

Quotation

I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin. I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected. We both know no one else knows how to pull this off without stupidity or greed getting in the way. Buddy our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.

— Excerpt from a newly unearthed email sent by Felix Sater, a Trump “business associate”, who in 2015 promised to engineer a real estate deal that would lead to a Trump electoral victory. (The New York Times: Trump associate boasted hat Moscow business deal ‘will get Donald elected’)