Landslide (I)

No index for this book but, were there one, ‘crazy’ with or without the modifier ‘batshit’, would be among the longest entries.

As was so often the case, the president wasn’t happy with his legal team: “They weren’t fighting hard enough. The message wasn’t clear enough. They needed impact. There wasn’t enough impact. Everybody was coming up way short in their defense of him. He was alone and let down. “People have got to know this was stolen. This was taken from us. It was organized. It wasn’t even a close election. It was a landslide. We won by a landslide. A landslide – and it was taken. This is what people need to understand – it was a landslide.” (page 116)

Once again here was a familiar Trump nexus: everybody hoping that somebody else could make sense of the lack of plan and purpose that at all times attended Donald Trump, or at least step forward to try. (page 5)

Rudy Giuliani came once, but no one wanted him back. His phone rang constantly, and he couldn’t shut it off. He shuffled endless pieces of paper without being able to find what he was looking for. He couldn’t work his iPad to bring up what he wanted to show, reliably stalling meetings. And he went down rabbit holes – they could get Hunter Biden, if they could just find the guy who signed the forms to get Hunter the waiver to get into the military. And he passed gas, constantly. (page 33)

Trump blamed getting COVID on Chris Christie, who would himself come down with the virus a few days later (and spend a week in the ICU). Christie had sat across from him at the debate prep table, and Trump had seen the spittle come out of his mouth and tried to duck from the droplets. (page 35)

The president was data averse. He was a seventy-four-year-old businessman who did not use a computer and could not work a spreadsheet. He could receive neither email nor texts. He was, in some sense, among the more information-limited people in the nation. In addition, he was averse to his own data expert. (page 48)

Rupert Murdoch, the man who controlled the network, detested the president….In 2018, Murdoch sold the bulk of his empire to Disney, in no small part blaming Trump for his family’s enmity and for ruing his dreams of an ongoing Murdoch dynasty. But the Murdochs had been left with Fox News because it was too toxic for Disney. (page 52)

Certainly, there was every reason, if you wanted a reason, to delay the Arizona call, to yet forestall it and still have no fear of being preempted by anyone else. Lachlan got his father on the phone to ask if he wanted to make the early call. His father, with signature grunt, assented, adding, “Fuck him.” (page 53)

To the degree that the Trump White House was united about anything, it was united in keeping Giuliani out. (page 59)

If Arizona was the gut punch, the 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time drop from Wisconsin was, at least for the realists when they woke up on Wednesday morning, the seeming knockout blow. (page 64)

Trump, incapable of, or uninterested in, looking at the data himself, relied on what people told him; and to the extent possible, they told him what he wanted to hear. And often, the people he was speaking to, which was why he spoke to them, strayed beyond even the good news he wanted in the assurances they offered him. They gave him ecstatic news. (page 69)

Those lawyers then called the Giuliani team, which shortly sent someone over to collect the affidavits from Morgan. In other words, a furious Morgan now understood, most of the affidavits Giuliani was referencing were not his at all, but just the collection of unverified reports and allegations piling up in the campaign’s office. It was just more Rudy bullshit. (page 83)

CNN called the election for Joe Biden at 11:24 a.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, November 7. (page 85)

As much as even he mocked Giuliani – and Trump was often withering in his contempt – he invariably turned to Rudy when he was the only man saying what the president wanted to hear. In the days after Giuliani’s return, Trump,l in a nearly reflective or perhaps slightly shamed moment, explained to a caller that he knew Rudy took a drink too many, and that he was a loose cannon, and that he said a lot of shit that was not true. But Rudy would fight. He could be counted on to fight even when others wouldn’t. And, too, he would work for free. (page 96)

“They are lying to you, Mr. President. Your people are lying to you,” Giuliani pressed. “Jesus, Rudy, you are such a fucking asshole,” said Clark, hardly able to take Giuliani seriously and walking out of the meeting and back to the Cabinet Room. (page 105)

The meeting drew the current sides in the White House: there were people yet hoping to maintain their reputations and professional standing, and then there was Giuliani, who was wiling to surrender or burn his. Indeed, he had long since done that. The former quickly assembled a report assessing Giuliani’s claims about Dominion, disputing virtutally all of the. This was circulated in the West Wing and pointedly shared with Giuliani. He ignored it. (page 106)

Put another way, everything that happened in the Trump White House was a product of the president;’s fevered impulses: a combination of resentments, dramatic flair, score settling, lack of knowledge or understanding, and a sense of what moved his audience. But this was filtere3d through a management system Jared had created to lower the immediate temperature precisely to the point where the president would not notice and Jared would not be blamed. (page 107)

There was no doubt among Trump’s White House staff that things had gone seriously over the edge. The presence of Sidney Powell was not necessary to confirm this. But she did become the tipping point into utter flapdoodleness. All in Trumpworld with any amount of professional concern and grounding now stepped pointedly aside, became only observers of the circus. (page 114)

“I am not going to lose my fucking law license because of these idiots,” a disgruntled Matt Morgan told White House colleagues. (page 115)

And yet, somehow, the lesson he took from this was that his people weren’t being aggressive enough. They weren’t on the offensive. He had bad lawyers. Rudy was fighting, yes…but with shit dripping down his face. (page 120)

Trump, without interest in the Court or much (or any) background in its traditions, found it easy to believe the Court was wholly stacked in his favor, and when push came to shove, would surely have his back. “We’ve got the Supremes,” Trump assured various of his callers. (page 123)

Here was another subtext of the election-challenge campaign: Fox’s own internal angst. A vehement and wrathful Rupert Murdoch was open in his contempt for the president whom he deemed stupid, venal, ludicrous, dangerous. Murdoch was furious, too, with his own anchors, sending the message, in every way short of confrontation, that they had to get right on this: there had been no fraud. Biden would be president. (pages 132-3)

A thematic pillar of the Trump White House was that the Justice Department worked for the president and that its independence was both Democratic malarkey and a slap in the face to Trump. (page 136)

As a manager, Trump’s own interests superseded almost everything else. Therefore, he was often pursuing a series of personal concerns, vendettas, fancies, most often figments of the moment, while the executive branch itself carried on its business. (pages 138-9)

Never before, it seemed to many, had a sitting president so abdicated his proscribed and daily duties and so turned from the most cr4itical issues of the moment. Instead, he dwelled exclusively – shutting all else out – on the “Steal,” his hard 6 p.m. Oval Office quit schedule now often running late into the night with time for almost anybody who would feed his “Steal” obsession. (page 139)

He was a television star who was himself so opportunistic that he was willing to do anything to be an even bigger star. The difficulty here was that Trump was…Trump. And the degree to which you tried to use him, for good or bad purposes or for anything other than Trump’s own purposes, was the degree to which he resented you. (page 142)

Everyone sheepishly held to the president’s preference that the virus be mostly unacknowledged, mask eschewed and superspreader events overlooked, but there was, nevertheless, even without a formal tracking program in the White House, a reflex to blame each infection on someone, as the president had continued, at the least opportunity, to blame his own case of it on Chris Christie. (page 150)

Then Jenna Ellis got it two days alter (the West Wing joke being that she got it from a Giuliani fart). (page 151)

Indeed, he laid out in Georgia quite a real-time sense of what he and, practically speaking, he alone had come to believe, a veritable catechism of the information he had selected and absorbed to argue his case. The manic and idiotic nature of his view is perhaps the strongest argument against his cynicism – he was in the weeds of fixation and delusion. (page 155)

Here was another central fact of the moment: a lot of lawyers who knew that their stuff was full of shit were telling the president it anyway, because he expected them to. (pages 159-160)

“But do you really think this could happen?” Cipollone asked Eastman as they left the Oval Office. “Theoretically, maybe,” said Eastman, “but not likely.” “You just told the president of the United States this is a doable thing,:” said a confounded Cipollone. “Well, worth a shot,” said Eastman, shrugging – and departing, having dismissed his own theory, which would become the predicate for the events of January 6. (page 162)

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Stephen Douglas on August 15, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    Susan Collins…
    “I believe that the president has learned from this case,” she told Norah O’Donnell of CBS News. “The president has been impeached. That’s a pretty big lesson.”

    “He was impeached. And there has been criticism by both Republican and Democratic senators of his call,” she continued, before predicting: “I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future.”

    ‘What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change,’ a senior Republican official told The Washington Post in a report published Monday night. ‘He went golfing this weekend. It’s not like he’s plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20.’

    ‘He’s tweeting about filing some lawsuits, those lawsuits will fail, then he’ll tweet some more about how the election was stolen, and then he’ll leave,’ the official ensured.

    Reply

    • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog!🐢🐢🐢🐾🐾🐾 on August 16, 2021 at 3:05 pm

      Oh Monkey Boi, your Anti-Trumper propaganda bullshit is right out of Adam Shiffty’s playbook….πŸ’πŸŒπŸ’πŸŒπŸ’

      Reply

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