Landslide (II)

The second half of the book walks through the Capitol riot and ends with a word association sit-down with Trump where one of the words is ‘Christie’.

Herschmann, intent on protecting not only the president but himself, essentially posited that the crazies might well have been able to push the president “to invoke emergency national security powers, seize voting machines, and disable the primary levers of American democracy” if they had not been opposed by White House lawyers. But this elides the point that the nature of the Trump chaos is that, beyond his immediate desires and pronouncements, there was no ability – or structure, or chain of command, or procedures, or expertise, or actual person to call – to make anything happen. How exactly would the Department of Defense be suborned to seize someone’s property, and where would that property be taken? And what would be done with it? (pages 175-6)

McConnell marked this as a final indication that it had become a White House of one – no voice meant anything but Trump’s. McConnell conveyed his rejection of the two-thousand-dollar scheme through one of his aides to one of Trump’s – using the same language Rupert Murdoch had used on Election Night when Fox had called the Arizona race against the president: “Fuck him.” (page 177)

Indeed, the vice president’s was the reliably functioning, professionally organized office in the West Wing. If you actually wanted something done in the Trump White House (and it wasn’t a pet project of Jared and Ivanka’s), a good bet was to call the vice president’s people. (page 178)

He detested the president but saw a tight-lipped tolerance, however painful, as the way to use Trump’s popularity to realize the conservative grail of remaking the federal courts and the federal bureaucracy. (page 180)

To the extent that Trump and Giuliani had a plan – and two months in, it was far from clear that they did – creating disorder and confusion seemed the core of it. (page 190)

To the same degree that Republicans w3ere rushing to line up with the president, many seemed to rush to assure colleagues that they, personally, thought it was all, well, nuts. (page 195)

To the degree that Trump had, for four years, been running the government with scant idea of the rules and practices of running the government, he was doing that now without virtually anybody who did have some idea and desire to0 protect both him and themselves from embarrassment or legal peril. The person he did have, Rudy Giuliani, was drinking heavily and in a constant state of excitation, often almost incoherent in his agitation and mania, over maintaining the president’s favor by doing his bidding and feeding his obsession. (page 200)

The good news here is that the irrational president could actually not accomplish anything very much. He was just one man, without a plan, nor with much knowledge of how the government worked, whose staff had almost entirely deserted him. The bad news was that his fantasy, given his self-dramatization and moral authority, as it were, with his base, was now shared by millions of people. (pages 200-1)

Here was the math: He was going to lose the White House; that was certainly sure. But he was going to be left with enormous reach and sway and influence. Every member of Congress now supporting his electoral challenge was thinking forward to Trump’s future usefulness to them. (page 204)

As it always is with Trump, there was no real discussion. There was no response called for except to look like you were listening and to occasionally nod your head. Trump conducted both sides of the conversation. (page 210)

It was among the most frustrating aspects of dealing with Trump. It was the very opposite of the Socratic approach, but in some sense Trump’s personal version of it: merely by repeating, often word for word, what he had said sometimes countless times before he would lead you to, or bludgeon you into accepting, his position. The repetition was almost verbatim – Jefferson, patriot and pussy, right thing – but the tone, uncompromising the day before, was now even harsher. (page 217)

To the extent, as the media darkly warned, that there was an extraordinary plot to hold on to power – an incipient coup, even – there really were only two plotters and no one to back them up. Trump had no functioning political staff, the White House Counsel’s Office had been all but shut down (to the degree the office was functioning, it was almost entirely focused on vetting pardon please), and the leadership of the Justice Department was in disarray. All the same, the president and Rudy, in their bubble world, remained confident that success was there for them to grab. (pages 231-2)

He refused them or ignored them (other than Dan Scavino, Trump didn’t like anyone else writing his tweets). (page 241)

In the two months after the election, it had been the many irregular lawyers hanging outside. Now: nobody. There was a renewed and concerted effort to keep a still-manic Rudy out….That was the nature of the Trump Oval Office: a man amid his admirers, flunkies, courtiers, relatives, with no restraints on his ability to bore, taunt, digress, or monopolize others’ time. (page 256)

In the final hours, Trump pardoned Steve Bannon, perhaps his only real act of forgiveness and magnani9mity. (page 269)

Certainly, it was a dramatic leap to credit him with intent. It suggested an ability to join cause and effect, and the logic of a plan, that anyone who knew him or had worked with him certainly understood he did not possess. (page 274)

The few people left in the Trump White House in the final days had accomplished one last task: they had kept Rudy out, blocking a hard push from the one man who might actually have gotten Trump convicted had he managed to come in and take over the impeachment defense. (pages 274-5)

The fact that he survived, without real support, without real assistance, without expertise, without backup, without anybody truly minding the store, and without truly knowing his ass from a hole in the ground, was extraordinary. Magical. (page 290)

Trump had bought Mar-a-Lago, the 1920s parvenu creation of Marjorie Merriweather Post, the socialite and cereal heiress, in 1985, during the first peak of Trump mania, meaning it to be his Palm Beach estate. But with his vast debts closing in on him in the early 1990s, he converted the place to a private club for paying members….The only membership qualification now, beyond the actual cost ($250,000, up form $150,000 before the presidency, plus a hefty yearly fee), is to be an abject Trump admirer. (pages 292-3)

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell now occupies the highest-most place of contempt in the Trump universe. To the extent that Trump is motivated by revenge fantasies and score settling, as he overwhelmingly is, McConnell provides a constant target. (page 295)

There was, briefly, a rumor that Trump himself would run in 2022 for a House seat and then, in the expectations that Republicans would retake the majority, have himself elected Speaker, and then commence the impeachment of Joe Biden. For Trump aides, though, this was risible. Speaker of the House is a “real job,” and Trump, in no way, is going to actually work. (page 296)

Andrew Cuomo, whom he had once thought would replace Biden as his Democratic opponent, and whether he would be able to hold on to his office. “Andrew is a thug – but I’m amazed. I thought he had the state totally under control.” This seemed to spur him on to a free association on other political antagonists. (page 307)

g”But the Supreme Court has shown no courage and no strength, and they have been horrible for the United States of America…” “Christie,” I prompted. “I’ve know him for a long time. He’s leaving New Jersey with one of the worst popular approval ratings in history. I helped him a lot with his problems, and he’s a very disloyal guy. I helped him a lot with his problems, and he turned out to be a very disloyal guy – and he had big problems. He’s not going anywhere. It’s too bad, because I really helped Chris Christie a lot…” (page 308)

“I gave up this life” – that is, apparently, the Palm Be4ach life – “for a life dealing with fine people but also absolute scum and treachery and fake witch hunts. People said, ‘The greatest life; look what you’ve given up.’ But I’ve also done a thousand things that nobody has done. Nobody’s done what I’ve done.” (page 309)

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by qpat00 on August 16, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    what we need is a book that clarifies how so many things, foreign and social got done and why by trump and the white house despite the supposed “total confusion that reigned”. All those quotes you list above JB are great PR to sell the books on trump. Too bad we do not get anything about truth….and i am not saying, when trump writes his book either. The book that i describe would probably be too dry and devoid of the drama that everybody would be looking for. Oh well, History will out.


  2. Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog!🐶🐶🐶🐾🐾🐾 on August 16, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    The fact that he survived, without real support, without real assistance, without expertise, without backup, without anybody truly minding the store, and without truly knowing his ass from a hole in the ground, was extraordinary. Magical. (page 290)
    Laughable statement. Same Never Ending Anti-Trumper Bullshit, Different Day.
    1- Lowest Unemployment in 50 years
    2- Economy expanded at record rates to record levels
    3- Had a clear, comprehensive and defined border and immigration plan
    4- Put China in check, finally, after China ate our lunch with fraud and currency manipulation in collusion with Big Business
    5- Etc… etc … etc….


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