When will The White House stop pandering to Trump’s Egotism?


June 17, 2017

Image result for Mike Pence the Trump Flatterer

There is still time to learn to read, to write and to adopt a temperament befitting a Prince, who must speak well and appear honest, even if it is sometimes necessary to bear falsehoods. But you have so far failed to even appear virtuous, choosing instead to placate some and alarm others with exaggeration.

You arrived in your position by the favor of the people; you ought then to be indomitable, yet that favor arose out of a minority, many of which are still wary of your virtue. Your first concern ought then to be placating the discontented, yet you act cruelly, punishing and abusing those who oppose you, at a moment when you can least afford even the image of cruelty. Like Manlius Capitolinus, who extolled falsehoods to the plebs to bring tumult to the city and the Fathers, you extoll such calumnies, many of greater magnitude than Manlius, and you can only expect the same fate should you continue. You sow falsehoods, of fraud and health and all between, in defiance of reality, only to alienate plebeian and patrician alike, losing any popular favor that remains. Without it, your worst fears will be realized and you will fear not only the noble conspiracies of a modern Cassius, but also the common conspiracies of a modern Antony. Read this : http://www.salon.com/2017/02/18/sincerely-niccolo-machiavelli-an-open-letter-to-donald-trump-from-the-guy-who-wrote-the-book-on-power-moves/

When will The White House stop pandering to Trump’s Egotism?

by David Remnick

http://www.newyorker.com

“Trump’s egotism, his demand for one-way loyalty, and his incapacity to assume responsibility for his own untruths and mistakes were, his biographers make plain, his pattern in business and have proved to be his pattern as President.”–David Remnick

The yearning in the character of Donald Trump for dominance and praise is bottomless, a hunger that is never satisfied. Last week, the President gathered his Cabinet for a meeting with no other purpose than to praise him, to note the great “honor” and “blessing” of serving such a man as he. Trump nodded with grave self-satisfaction, accepting the serial hosannas as his daily due. But even as the members declared, Pyongyang-style, their everlasting gratitude and fealty to the Great Leader, this concocted dumb show of loyalty only served to suggest how unsustainable it all is.

The reason that this White House staff is so leaky, so prepared to express private anxiety and contempt, even while parading obeisance for the cameras, is that the President himself has so far been incapable of garnering its discretion or respect. Trump has made it plain that he is capable of turning his confused fury against anyone in his circle at any time. In a tweet on Friday morning, Trump confirmed that he is under investigation for firing the F.B.I. director James Comey, but blamed the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, for the legal imbroglio that Trump himself has created. The President has fired a few aides, he has made known his disdain and disappointment at many others, and he will, undoubtedly, turn against more. Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, Sean Spicer­—who has not yet felt the lash?

Image result for Mike Pence the Trump FlattererVice President Mike Pence: Show the American People that you have character–Be a Trump Poodle no more

Trump’s egotism, his demand for one-way loyalty, and his incapacity to assume responsibility for his own untruths and mistakes were, his biographers make plain, his pattern in business and have proved to be his pattern as President.

Veteran Washington reporters tell me that they have never observed this kind of anxiety, regret, and sense of imminent personal doom among White House staffers—not to this degree, anyway. These troubled aides seem to think that they can help their own standing by turning on those around them—and that by retailing information anonymously they will be able to live with themselves after serving a President who has proved so disconnected from the truth and reality.

I thought about Trump and his aides and councillors while reading “The Last of the President’s Men,” Bob Woodward’s 2015 book about Alexander Butterfield, a career Air Force officer who took a job as an assistant to Richard Nixon. He made the move less for ideological reasons than to indulge a yearning ambition to be “in the smoke”—to be at the locus of power, where decisions are made.

As an undergraduate, at U.C.L.A., Butterfield knew H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, and, after serving in Vietnam and being stationed in Australia, he called on Haldeman, who was Nixon’s most important assistant. Haldeman made Butterfield his deputy. Butterfield got what every D.C. bureaucrat craves most—access. He worked on Nixon’s schedule, his paper flow, his travel; he offered advice, took orders, no matter how bizarre or transitory. Butterfield could not have been more “in the smoke” than he was then. He quickly discovered that Nixon was a fantastically weird and solitary man—rude, unthoughtful, broiling with resentment against the Eastern élites who had somehow wounded him, be it in his imagination or in fact. Butterfield had to manage Nixon’s relations with everyone from his Cabinet members to his wife, Pat, who on vacations resided separately from the President. Butterfield carried out Nixon’s most peculiar orders, whether they involved barring a senior economic adviser from a White House faith service or making sure that Henry Kissinger was no longer seated at state dinners next to the most attractive woman at the occasion. (Nixon, who barely acknowledged, much less touched, his own wife in public, resented Kissinger’s public, and well-cultivated, image as a Washington sex symbol.)

A Nixon-Hater Reconsiders Tricky Dick in the Age of Trump at the Rebooted Nixon Library

Butterfield experienced what all aides do, eventually, if they have the constant access; he was witness to the unguarded and, in Nixon’s case, the most unattractive behavior of a powerful man. Incident after incident revealed Nixon’s distaste for his fellow human beings, his racism and anti-Semitism, his overpowering personal suspicions, and his sad longings. Nixon, the most anti-social of men, needed a briefing memo just to make it through the pleasantries of a staff birthday party. One evening, Butterfield recounts to Woodward, he sat across from Nixon on a night trip back to the White House from Camp David on Marine One, and watched as Nixon, in one of the more discomfiting passages in the literature of sexual misbehavior, kept patting the bare legs of one of his secretaries, Beverly Kaye:

And he’s carrying on this small talk, but still patting her. Because I can see now, Nixon being Nixon, he doesn’t quite know how to stop. You know, to stop is an action in itself. So he’s pat, pat, patting her. And looking at her. And feeling—I can see he’s feeling more distressed all the time now about the situation he’s got himself into. So he keeps trying to make this small talk, and I can see him saying [to himself], you know, when the small talk is over, what the hell am I going to do? . . . She’s petrified. She’s never had this happen before. The president of the United States is patting her bare legs.

For how long? Woodward asks. “It seems like half the way to Washington but I’d say a long time, minutes.”

When it appeared, “The Last of the President’s Men” did not receive the attention that was paid to some of Woodward’s early investigative books, but its intimacy and strangeness are very much worth returning to in the Trumpian moment—especially so if you are “blessed” with serving the current President. It is instructive.

Butterfield, who is ninety-one and spent dozens of hours with Woodward recounting his experiences in proximity to a President who ran what was essentially a criminal operation from the White House, emerges from the telling as a man of complex motivations. He hardly charged forward in the early days of the scandal to tell what he knew. After Nixon’s reëlection, Butterfield left the White House to lead the Federal Aviation Administration. But no matter how hard Butterfield worked to swallow his hurt feelings or to submerge his knowledge of the various “enemies lists” and the criminal cover-up that took shape all around him during Watergate, no matter how hard he tried to rationalize Nixon’s venality with his achievements, particularly the diplomatic opening to China, he came to an almost inevitable moment of reckoning.

In February, 1971, Nixon came up with the idea of putting a voice-activated taping system in his offices. Butterfield was charged with the installation. Haldeman told Butterfield that Nixon wanted the system installed on his telephones and in the Oval Office, his office in the Executive Office Building, the Cabinet Room, and the Lincoln Sitting Room. Kissinger was not to know; neither was his senior-most secretary, Rose Mary Woods. Only a few aides and the President were aware that no conversation was now truly confidential. Tiny holes were drilled into the President’s desktop to make way for the microphones. A set of Sony 800B tape recorders was set up in the White House basement.

It was all for the sake of “history,” Nixon said. Kennedy and Johnson had taped selectively, but Nixon wanted it all for the record—his own records—but no one was to know. “Goddamn it, this cannot get out,” Nixon told Butterfield. “Mum’s the word.”

In the end, of course, the tapes were Nixon’s undoing. In July, 1973, when Senate Watergate investigators asked Butterfield point-blank whether the White House taped conversations, Butterfield decided that his loyalty was not to the “cesspool” of Nixon’s White House but to the truth. And by confirming what so few knew—that there were tapes of Nixon and his cronies discussing Watergate and its cover-up—Butterfield helped end a Presidency.

Donald Trump now faces an investigation led by Robert Mueller, late of the F.B.I., and it could last many months. There is hardly any guarantee that the Administration will be found guilty of collusion with Russia, or with Russians, on any score; to predict that is to leap ahead of any publicly available evidence. Nor is there any guarantee, despite the testimony of Comey, and the testimony coming from other top national-security figures, that there will be a charge of obstruction of justice. This is bound to take some time.

But, while Trump’s personality is different from Nixon’s, there is little evidence that the show of bogus loyalty performed last week has any basis in real life. Will Bannon, Spicer, Conway, Sessions, Kushner, and many others who have been battered in one way or another by Trump keep their counsel? Will all of them risk their futures to protect someone whose focus is on himself alone, the rest be damned? Will none of them conclude that they are working for a President whose honesty is on a par with his loyalty to others? The government is already filled with public servants and bureaucrats who have found ways to protest this President’s actions and describe them to investigators and reporters. Will the inner circle follow? Have they already?

Alexander Butterfield, day after day, would hear Nixon say, “We’re going to nail those sons of bitches.” He heard the lies; he watched the President try to crush his opponents with surveillance and dirty tricks. It disgusted him, but, for a good while, he assumed that the Presidency would endure; it was too powerful an institution to fall. But then momentum toward the truth began to build “a wave,” as Butterfield called it. He was, all along, ambivalent, torn between loyalty to the President—or, at least, to the idea of the Presidency—and a desire to do the right thing. When his time came, though, Butterfield testified.

20 thoughts on “When will The White House stop pandering to Trump’s Egotism?

  1. Trump is in deep shit. No matter what Trump seems to do – or how angry he or his die-hard follower Shiou seems to get – the Russia investigation just won’t go away. The Washington Post reported that special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of all-stars are expanding their Russia probe and now directly investigating whether Trump was trying to obstruct justice when he fired former FBI Director James Comey. In addition, the New York Times reported that the investigation is looking into whether Trump associates laundered money they’d received from Russia, presumably as part of a payoff for colluding with Moscow during the campaign. If Trumpworld had been in cahoots with the Kremlin, any likely payments would be done in a secretive, hidden manner. And to top it all off, there’s a National Security Agency memo detailing the US intelligence and law enforcement communities unanimously believe that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election.

    Just a day after the stunning report that Donald Trump is officially under criminal investigation for possible obstruction of justice, The Washington Post is reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s shady business dealings with Russia and the possibility of laundering money. Previously, it was reported that Kushner worked to establish a secret channel of communication between Moscow and the Trump team during the post-election transition phase. The investigation into Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law and most trusted advisor – appears to have escalated yet again, and it’s destroying the myth perpetuated by Trump and his allies that there is nothing to see here.

    CNN reported the news that VP Mike Pence has hired a private lawyer to represent him is a sign that Pence may go down with Trump for the Russia scandal. Trump’s practice of overlap between his campaign and his administration has put Pence right in the middle of the Russia scandal. It was Pence who was in charge of the transition and made Mike Flynn national security adviser. It is Pence who has told numerous lies throughout this investigation. The one common link between many of the threads in the Russia scandal is Mike Pence. He has lied about everything from Mike Flynn to James Comey. Pence is far from clean in this scandal, and his lawyering up demonstrates, he has his own serious Russia problems.

    So, Dr. Puah, you may not have to worry about this Christian right-wing extremist taking over the presidency. It’s the third in line of succession that I’m starting to worry about now – Paul Ryan of the Tea Party. Donald Trump is a right-wing extremist without a brain and Paul Ryan is a right-wing extremist with brain. Who do you choose?

    A Russia lobbyist is contradicting the testimony of AG Jeff Sessions by stating that he attended two dinners hosted by Sessions during the 2016 campaign. Sessions is knee deep in perjury. It is difficult to say what is more damning. The fact that Sessions hosted dinners that were attended by lobbyists working to advance Russian interests, or that those same lobbyists were helping the Trump campaign write Trump’s foreign policy speech. Someone is lying, and given the Sessions’ track record of not remembering meetings with Russians, it is a pretty safe guess that the person who is not telling the truth is Jeff Sessions. How many times does Sessions have to perjure himself before the US Senate before action is taken? Senators need to get tough on him to get to the bottom of his involvement in the Russia scandal.

    The idea that the Russia investigation is a witch hunt, as Trump childishly tweeted, is getting more and more laughable as each passing day brings about another questionable tie or secret dealing with Russia taken by Trump or those in his orbit. I’m sure Shiou, like his deity Emperor Trump, is damn depressed and angry, too, and may have a heart-attack soon. Don’t worry, Shiou, I can give you some tranquilizers for free of charge. And yes, those tranquilizers work for sub-human Trumpanzee, too. See, I’m a nice and compassionate guy. Amitabha.

    • Paul Ryan the libertarian ?
      The free market is the solution to every problem (economic, social, whatever) — Privatise, privatise and privatise again !

      (Mike Pence – the fundamentalist Protestant Christian?)
      Religion is the solution to every problem (economic, social, whatever).

  2. With his mounting legal troubles, Trump is turning more and more to
    rabble-rousing (i.e. rabble-rousing his hard core Trumpist base of racists/neofascists, Christian Right opportunists, deluded Fox News groupies, and the greedy rich who are insatiable in their goal of getting more and more tax cuts)

    Meanwhile, here is an interesting development in Hawaii :

    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/16/seeking-economic-justice-all-hawaii-first-state-consider-basic-income

  3. Lawyers are going to file papers to the court in New York on Monday,demanding papers from a Trump associate.This guy is an Eastern European gangster who own a majority share in one of Donald Trump’s building in Manhattan.Donald Trump was asked many times if he knew this guy.He had always denied knowing this dude.Even when David Cay Johnson showed him photographs,taken by his undercover investigative reporter,Donald Trump still denied knowing this gangster.Even when caught red handed,Donald Trump still shows that he is a habitual born liar,who needs to tell at least one lie every day.

  4. Donald Trump had repeatedly said that loyalty is most important to him.Yet,he had kicked loyal surrogates under the bus many times, when their shelf lives have expired.So why is Donald Trump so hellbent on insisting that the Mike Flynn investigation go away?Well,Donald Trump is afraid that Flynn might sing like a canary.

    Donald Trump is also afraid that the FBI and now special counsel Mueller might stumble on and follow the money trails from years ago.Getting caught for money laundering for the Russians and Eastern European gangsters,is going to be Donald Trump’s worst nightmares.Then the feds will have their last laugh putting the Trump Organisation on the chopping block.

  5. Back to Malaysia, I have held a position that the constitutional way of removing Mr. Najib is through parliamentary non-confidence vote or the next election, but must not be through legal prosecution using the power of attorney general. Attorney general reports to him. I held this position to the dismay of many in this blog. I held the position long before Trump come into picture.

    A constitutional government relies on 3 (or 4) independent branches to check on each other. There must not be an entity, (such as independent council reporting to no branch), which can prosecute the head of any of those branches.

    If we allow the head of a branch to be toppled through way not enumerated in the constitution, then we destroy the constitutional order and that destruction is called a revolution or a coup. Mahathir’s scheme of removing Tun Salleh Abbas was one of those destruction that no functioning state should repeat.

    The same applies to President Trump’s relationship with his deputy attorney general and independent council. I think if Trump can find a way to fire independent council and convince Americans that is what is appropriate, then he is re-asserting the primacy of the US Constitution, and indirectly tells Malaysia the “right way” of governing.

  6. Thanks LaMoy, for the relevant updates and summaries.
    Folks like me don’t have the patience nor the compunction to scour the net or media for the present POTUS’ imbroglios, when there’s so much angst and trouble throughout the world.

    What we must be careful about, is not to let our schadenfreude overwhelm. Nor our sense of grace, something that Shiou has no inkling of, to be subsumed by Drumpf’s tragicomedy.

    Here’s to you, buddy and all here – and especially to our gracious bloghost:

  7. Madder and madder :

    http://www.alternet.org/right-wing/right-wing-websites-ignoring-calls-unity

    First, the enemies outside (Muslim and Mexican hordes outside the USA).
    Then, the enemies within.

    Like the 1930s extreme right regime in Central Europe.
    First, the enemies outside (Bolshevik hordes of the USSR; foreigners who want to keep Germany weak and humiliated)
    Then, the enemies within (Jews, Gypsies, German communists and German social democrats)

  8. Donald Trump is so mentally unstable that he tweeted, apparently directed at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.” And now he is screaming about conspiracies at his television set in the White House, according to AP News:

    https://www.apnews.com/amp/0172a576e8124251b5478818d1944632

    This AP account of Trump’s behavior is very disturbing: ”Trump advisers and confidants describe the president as increasingly angry over the investigation, yelling at television sets in the White House carrying coverage and insisting he is the target of a conspiracy to discredit – and potentially end – his presidency. Some of his ire is aimed at Rosenstein and investigative special counsel Robert Mueller, both of whom the president believes are biased against him, associates say.”

    Trump is out of control rage tweeting, and now he is yelling at his television about imaginary conspiracies that are out to get him. After the use of a cabinet meeting to try to boost Trump out of his depression, it is clear that this administration will never remove Trump from office no matter how crazy he gets. The stories about Trump’s unstable behavior are virtually a daily occurrence, which makes one curious about the behavior that the American people don’t hear about. Donald Trump never demonstrated stable characteristics as a private citizen, so it is no shock that he would crack up under the stress of the most important job in the world. A belief that there are conspiracies that are out to get you is a symptom of paranoia. Trump appears to be mentally unwell, and his hold on reality is slipping away more by the day.

    Shiou, are you screaming at your television set at home,too? Your Son of Heaven is doing that, you should do likewise! Don’t worry, if you were put in a mental asylum, I’ll mail the tranquilizer to the asylum for you, free of charge. For I treat human and beast equally passionately. Amitabha. Buddha talk cock when you talk cock.

  9. Nothing will happen as long as “Emperor ” Trump still have the GOP and Pual Ryan support behind him .
    He is still campagning for the the support of the people just in case abandoned by the GOP-Ryan.
    America has been great for the past century with or without Trump.

  10. The “Russiagate” investigation is getting very, very interesting. ABC News has reported that Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein might recuse himself from the probe because he could become a potential witness in the investigation. If Rosenstein does recuse himself, Rachel Brand would take on the role as acting attorney general for all cases pertaining to the Russia probe. Brand was very recently confirmed as the No. 3 person in the Department of Justice – she’s been acting as the associate attorney general for less than a month. As the associate attorney general, she’s responsible for overseeing the lawyers who deal with civil rights, environmental, and antitrust issues. She’s extensive experience in the Justice Department and working in the private sector, focusing primarily on corporate law and antitrust cases. But she lacks any background in criminal law, which would be important if she is charged with taking over the Russian investigation. If Rosenstein recuses himself, Brand would, at least on paper, become the only person who could fire Mueller.

  11. LaMoy , comrade,

    (Thanks for the on the ground perspective)

    This is with regards to your reply to me on that other thread.

    What really gets to me (and I know it should not) is the crass manner in which Trump’s useful idiots wrap themselves around the flag and constitution.

    Here we have Shiou claiming that an independent investigation when the branches of government are compromised by partisanship (as witnessed in the numerous senate/congressional hearings) is akin to toppling a legitimately elected president.

    Of course he has no idea what an independent counsel/investigation means because he would know that the investigator does not answer to the AG hence is independent of all branches of government but understanding the legal, constitutional and political aspects of Washington always seems to escape Shiou.

    Furthermore he likens the Malaysian experience where EVERYTHING is compromised as something that is normal hence normal parliamentary and electoral safeguards are more than capable of handling the corruption of an Executive who controls everything.

    I once asked Shiou what would be the remedy if the Malaysian executive went against the Constitution and there was no way to remove him through constitutional means because the electoral process was compromised and the branches of government was not independent.

    I got no answer.

  12. Conrad:

    I hear you. Shiou’s ideas are none of his own but word by word of Trumpism, which actually are the ideas of Steve Bannon and a group of out-of-power Republican racists from California, many of whom were graduates from the University of California, Berkeley; and they are holding important positions in the Trump’s cabinet now. Their aims are to destroy both the Republican and Democratic parties, and to destroy the Constitution of the United States. They talk a lot about the Constitution but they’re distorting it so as to destroy it, Trump is just an idiot exploited by Bannon and his group of California racists, a bunch of losers from the Golden States.

    You may be surprised how a very liberal institution like UC Berkeley produced these far-right racists. Read the following article and you’ll understand why Shiou has nothing new and original to say but left-right, left-right all the time:

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/04/how-california-gave-us-trumpism-215038

    The indoctrinated Trumpanzees will call anyone who does not think like them as lefty and socialist. In Shiou’s blinded eyes I’m a socialist, when I’m more capitalistic than most people on earth building a public company and getting kind of filthy rich. He’s also labeled me a blood-thirsty social revolutionist. You can’t reason with the Trumpanzees because they don’t have a rational mind. Most Trumpanzees are not smart animals. They’re “poorly educated.” They’ve been completely brain-washed by Steve Bannon with sophistry and acrimony. When a Trumpanzee cannot win an argument, he is taught to say: “The election is over, Trump won, you lost, sore loser.” If you check into Breitbart, Infowars, Drudge Reports, The Blaze, Glenn Beck Program, Rush Limbaugh Show, Sean Hannity Show, Fox News, Fox and Friends… you’ll find Shiou just echoing them word by word. Sun-tze Art of War taught me to defeat your enemy you’ve to know your enemy. I check into them all the time. I’ve plenty of experience taunting Trumpanzees.

    Read the link I’m sending you.

    • You, Sir, are a “far left capitalist”.
      Also known as a “socialistic capitalist”.
      The only example of such a type in the whole wide world 🙂

  13. “I once asked Shiou what would be the remedy if the Malaysian executive went against the Constitution and there was no way to remove him through constitutional means because the electoral process was compromised and the branches of government was not independent,” Conrad.

    When you have no hope of using the political means to resolve conflict, you need to declare rebellion, stock up weapon, and start the training in the jungle. That of course premises on your love in the Malaysia Constitution is strong enough for you to die for. However, the chances is Islamists will be ready to die for their course before many others are ready.

    If you have hope to resolve conflict politically through persuading voters to see what you see, then election, albeit somewhat compromised, is a way of resolving conflict that favor average citizens as compared to Islamo-facists, who will win hand-down in arm conflicts over peacetime-indulged civilians. In that arm conflict, the best you can hope for is someone like General Al Sisi appears after many battles and bloodshed.

  14. Thanks for the link, LaMoy. Yeah I’m aware of that phenomenon but am always interested in perspectives on this issue.

    Shiou, thanks for answering my question.

    You gave a rational, well reasoned response.

    I do not have anything to add or rebut, which makes it unfamiliar territory when it comes to my interactions with you.

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