Trembling on the Verge Open Thread: Preznit Idle Hands

He can’t stand to be alone with his memories — or his lack of them. Professional (character) assassin Olivia Nuzzi, for NYMag, “Trump’s Phone Friends May Be More Important Than His Staff. So Who’s He Calling?”:

Trump abides by what I call the “Groucho Marx Law of Fraternization,” meaning anyone choosing to be near him is suspect while everyone else gets points simply for existing elsewhere. “He always kind of wants what he doesn’t completely have,” the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman once said. “You are never more valuable to Donald Trump than when you’re walking away from him.”

What explains this social idiosyncrasy? Obvious answers, like self-loathing, don’t quite feel complete. But whatever the psychological cause, the effect is manifest in at least one thing: his compulsive phone habits. His Rolodex is a Greatest Hits and Deep Cuts composed of mostly friends, associates, media figures, and tycoons. Although Trump is known to call senior members of his staff at all hours, his informal advisers share a common attribute: They’re not there and, therefore, they can’t be blamed when things are falling apart. Their praise sounds less sycophantic and, therefore, more compelling; the president seems to grant the calls coming from outside the White House an inherent credibility. They are also a welcome distraction, a link to his old life in Trump Tower, when concepts such as “executive time,” a term used by aides to make it seem like the president is doing something productive when he’s fucking around and calling TV-show hosts to gossip about ratings (a subject of intense interest for him, even now), were irrelevant…

One person who has received late-night calls from the president told me this: “If you’re Trump, the last thing you want is a moment of self-reflection. That’s why he’s constantly on the phone at night. Everybody’s afraid of themselves. People fear silence because they don’t want to hear voices. But Trump really fears that.

72 replies
  1. 1
    lamh36 says:

    YES… an open thread finally

    So… Miami to Paris, RT $565 in November…would ya’ll consider that a deal…asking for a friend…

  2. 2
    wonkie says:

    There’s a real emergency in the Midwest right now, Other than one phone call to a governor and one tweet has Trump shown any interest?

  3. 3
    Mary G says:

    I’d rather he tweets and talks to Sean Hannity every night rather than letting Bolton and Pompeo start wars in Iran and Venezuela.

    @lamh36: Sounds good to me, I paid $400 for LA to London in 1975, and that was a great deal. I have more recent flying experience, but not much.

  4. 4
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @lamh36: Go.

  5. 5
    Pogonip says:

    Professional ASSASSIN? Really? And he’s also writing news articles? Wow.

    I’d be worried about someone figuring out “Olivia Nuzzi”’s real identity.

  6. 6
    SenyorDave says:

    @lamh36: I use for a first pass to price out flights. I just put in 11/10/19 to 11/17/19 and came up with $409 for a RT, non-stop flight on British Airways.

  7. 7
    Brickley Paiste says:

    I’m starting to think this Trump fella maybe shouldn’t be president.

  8. 8
    Brickley Paiste says:

    Paris in November? No, not a bargain. Depressing AF.

  9. 9
    Jay says:


    There’s flooding and a massive death toll in Mozambique as well.

  10. 10
    SenyorDave says:

    Should Dems be calling him out on some tweets? What if someone in a leadership role tweeted out something like “We teach young children that name-calling and insults is bad behavior. The POTUS is supposed to be a role model. How about acting like an adult?”

    Maybe a throwaway line like “Be best”

  11. 11
    Ohio Mom says:

    Everybody’s afraid of themselves. People fear silence because they don’t want to hear voices.

    I’ll have you know that some of us gave therapists a great deal of money to get past that.

  12. 12
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    So Trump was bored and even his own lackies can’t stand being around him.

  13. 13
    The Dangerman says:

    After driving around SoCal for the better part of a week (tip of cap to Carlsbad; fun times even for the non-Lego age group), the one thought that has been most prevalent is, even more than the superbloom areas, is damn, there are a lot of butterflies flapping around this spring. Yes, I know, birds do it and bees do it and butterflies apparently do it, too, but my car looked like a Jackson Pollack picture when I took it to the car wash this morning; yesterday afternoon, as I was approaching home, I felt like I was in a strange Hitchcock flick (except “The Butterflies” is nowhere near as scary as “The Birds”).

  14. 14
    VeniceRiley says:

    Funny how you never hear he spent the day with Barron or his wife or anything remotely normal and wholesome.

  15. 15
    mrmoshpotato says:

    “If you’re Trump, the last thing you want is a moment of self-reflection.”

    LMFAO! Who is this moron that thinks Dump is even capable of self-reflection. (Yes yes, I know that deep down inside he knows he’s a fraud who hasn’t actually achieved anything in life.)

  16. 16
    JR says:

    @lamh36: that’s a fairly good deal, not an outrageous drop everything but one of the better that you’ll find.

  17. 17
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    That sounds like a great price. Do it.

  18. 18
    Ohio Mom says:

    @The Dangerman: Over at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum, who lives somewhere in Southern California, has been photographing the influx of Painted Lady butterflies in his yard. They are migrating but I don’t remember from or to where.

  19. 19
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @The Dangerman:

    (except “The Butterflies” is nowhere near as scary as “The Birds”)

    Probably not, but I’d love to see someone try!

  20. 20
    lamh36 says:

    @Brickley Paiste:

    The best time to visit Paris is from April to June and October to early November when the weather is mild and enjoyable and the tourist crowds are smaller than summer.

  21. 21
    Jay says:

    Your Daily Kakistocracy in action:

    “President Trump sold a $2.9 million New York City condo to a mysterious buyer on March 8, in a previously unreported deal laid out in public documents.“

  22. 22
    Jeffro says:

    My idiot RWNJ paternal figure thought he would troll me (perhaps he was bored like trumpov as well?) and throw out there that the D bench is a bunch of lightweights and also the Dems are trying to ‘change the rules’ by a) packing SCOTUS and b) abolishing the Electoral College.

    I’m only human, I bit on that. I told him to take his complaints about ‘changing the rules’ and send a copy each to Mitch “Merrick who?” McConnell and Donnie “release what tax returns?” Trumpov and lemme know what they said about the matter.


    I also had fun reminding him everything that Republicans can’t use against Dems for the next eight centuries. (Oh, I know they will, I’m just saying it’ll be fun pointing out their hypocrisy and mocking them for their shameless, slavish stupidity)

    They can’t
    – complain about Dems ‘changing the rules’ (whoops, we already covered that
    – complain about a Dem’s lack of experience for the WH (or dogcatcher)
    – complain about a Dem’s decades-long history of fraud, bankruptcy, lawsuits
    – complain about a Dem’s sexual harrassment of any kind, number of marriages, affairs, porn stars, pre-election payoffs to same, or shell corporations set up to pay off any of the above (including payoffs made with campaign and/or foreign funds)
    – complain about a Dem only looking out for Dems and blue states
    – complain about a Dem blowing up the deficit or national debt
    – complain about a Dem taking half (or more) of his day in ‘executive time’, ie watching MSNBC in his robe and ranting on Twitter
    – complain about a Dem putting his own daughter and husband in the WH as advisors, and giving them security clearances despite the objections of intelligence agencies
    – complain about a Dem golfing every four days on average, lining his/her own pockets in the process (to the tune of $90M+?)
    – complain about a Dem declaring a national emergency to ban guns, mandate solar panel installations, or institute an income ceiling
    – can’t complain about a Dem taking to social media to bang on Republican businesses, the media, dead war heroes, law enforcement, and so very many more…total carte Blanche here.

    Which means the only thing the GOP can legimately engage the Dems on anymore is…the issues.

    I like our chances. =)

  23. 23
    Ohio Mom says:

    @VeniceRiley: I have heard Barron lives in the DC suburbs in his maternal grandparents’ house. You wonder if Trump notices he’s missing.

  24. 24
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Funny how you never hear he spent the day with Barron or his wife or anything remotely normal and wholesome.

    True. While I’m all for leaving Barron alone as long as he’s a minor, it does seem odd that he is almost invisible. We caught a glimpse of him at the Solar Eclipse, maybe at a turkey pardoning, a couple of times climbing the AF1 steps — otherwise, he might as well be The Boy Who Wasn’t There. Something is just really off in that whole family dynamic. Just weird.

  25. 25
    mrmoshpotato says:


    Which means the only thing the GOP can legimately engage the Dems on anymore is…the issues.

    Well that’ll be a first in my lifetime.

  26. 26
    Anotherlurker says:

    @lamh36: Do it. Go.

  27. 27
    sukabi says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Everybody’s afraid of themselves. People fear silence because they don’t want to hear voices.

    Sounds like drumpfs’ “friends” are almost as damaged as he is, they’re a bit more self aware, but not so much more that they feel the need to correct the behaviors that keep them running from their “voices”.

    Conscience, how does it work?

  28. 28
    Barbara says:

    @lamh36: There is no bad time to visit Paris, but you might need to adjust some of the things you plan on doing.

  29. 29
    Van Buren says:

    In an alternate universe, William Shakespeare lives after Trump, and finds fertile ground.

  30. 30
    FelonyGovt says:

    @Ohio Mom: The “Painted Ladies” butterflies are migrating from the California desert to Oregon. We saw a huge number of them the other day. There are way more than usual this year because of the rainy winter we’ve had.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    Mike in NC says:

    @Jay: Most likely another Russian mobster/oligarch laundering money.

  33. 33
    Jay says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Chinese actually.

  34. 34
    Eric S. says:

    @lamh36: Book that.

  35. 35
    Mike in NC says:

    It’s not like Fat Bastard is capable of reading a book written by someone not named Ann Coulter, or anything his staff puts on his desk next to the cheeseburders and Diet Cokes.

  36. 36
    Martin says:

    @FelonyGovt: It’s wonderful. There are millions here in OC. I’ve never seen anything like it here in CA.

  37. 37
    sukabi says:

    @Mike in NC: please, fat bastard hasn’t even read the books published under his own name.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Ohio Mom says:

    @FelonyGovt: I once saw a tree full of Monarch butterflies in Buffalo, NY of all places — in the 1970s, when I was in college there.

    Callow youth that I was, I just thought, “Oh, Monarches,” like it was an everyday occurrence and not one of the most amazing things I would ever see in my life.

    I bet being surrounded by Painted Ladies is very, very cool.

  40. 40
    lamh36 says:

    @SenyorDave: that’s likely one of those Basic Economy fares…meaning no seat selection until check in, having to pay for 1st checked bag ($60) and boarding in the last group (so last minute access to overhead bins)

    I’m too big and tall a gal for that so I’ll just go ahead and pay the extra so I can choose my seat and not have to hope for I’m not the fat girl siting in the middle

  41. 41

    @The Dangerman: I ran into the butterflies on my drive back from Mulholland Dam last Friday.

  42. 42


    Should Dems be calling him out on some tweets?

    They do. All the time. Nancy can be particularly vicious. AOC gets a lot of attention for it.

  43. 43
    Martin says:

    @Ohio Mom: Kevin Drum lives about 2 blocks from me. If he says anything mean about us, I can steal his Amazon packages.

  44. 44
    Martin says:


    What if someone in a leadership role tweeted out something like “We teach young children that name-calling and insults is bad behavior.

    I think the utility of that went out the window with ‘grab ’em by the püssy’.

  45. 45
    lamh36 says:

    @Barbara: I’m not much of an adventurer or outside person…I like Museums…people watching and food…

  46. 46
    piratedan says:

    @Jay: I’ve always considered Sirota the GG of the left, the guy who believes that he’s the one who decides who is worthy of our political purity.

    he’s dog shit

  47. 47
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Brickley Paiste: Hey, fuckface. Care to retract that lie you told about me?

    I was on a competitive rifle team for ten years. I’ve forgotten more about guns than you will ever know, asshole.

  48. 48
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Jay: Thanks Jay. Driftglass definitely takes no prisoners.

  49. 49
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Martin: And the “uuuhhh…. you’re all total losers” crap during the GOP shitshows that they said were debates.

  50. 50
    Mainmata says:

    @lamh36: Yes, take it.

  51. 51
    Mainmata says:

    @wonkie: And you’re surprised? Why?

  52. 52
    Ajabu says:

    @Mary G:
    Yes,but that was Laker Airlines I’m sure. (Sir Freddie Laker was ahead of his time with no frills International flights into Gatwick but BOAC sure didn’t like him…)
    I did that LA to London several times with him. Friends would ask, “Why are you going to London?”I’d say, “I can’t afford to go to New York!”
    Good Times.

  53. 53
    Steve in the ATL says:


    I like Museums…people watching and food…

    Then Paris is parfait for you!

  54. 54
    Lapassionara says:

    @lamh36: I agree. This is a good fare. Go to Paris. Even in winter, it is a lovely place to be. Have you picked a place to stay yet?

  55. 55
    clay says:


    @The Dangerman:

    (except “The Butterflies” is nowhere near as scary as “The Birds”)

    Probably not, but I’d love to see someone try!

    This is a pretty good attempt:

  56. 56
    lamh36 says:

    Welp… I guess I’m going to Paris! I’m excited. Guess I should brush up on my ole French textbook then…

    @Lapassionara: I have not

  57. 57
    Jim Parish says:

    @The Dangerman: Philip K. Dick’s short story Meddler is a pretty good effort in that direction.

  58. 58
    Jay says:

    Two reads on the death of the Salish Sea:

    While Dolt 45’s pukefunnel sucks all of the air out of the room for the MSM, the world keeps turning and inportant stories still happen.

  59. 59
    Jay says:

    And since it’s an open thread as all are, one on Bigfoot,

  60. 60
    encephalopath says:

    Every other president has found the job of being president overwhelming. There is too much to do. The job is constant. Time spent exercising, sleeping and eating is time that you are falling behind in the work load.

    Except this idiot. Trump wanted to be president for whatever reason then fought off every demand put on him and made the job like this intentionally. He made being president a job where he had nothing to do.

  61. 61
    Lapassionara says:

    @lamh36: Well, this thread is dead, so you might not see this, but I hope you stay on the left bank, not near the touristy areas, like the Eiffel Tower. You can easily get where you want to go on the Metro or bus, so see if you can find a place in a small hotel in the 5th or even 14th. So jealous! I love Paris and I hope you love it too.

  62. 62
    Argiope says:

    @lamh36: Excellent! Delurking because I just got back, and can attest that even in cold rain it’s completely worth it for the cheese and croissants. And lines to do things will be short. Good call. Enjoy!

  63. 63
    Wag says:

    For a direct flight, yes.


  64. 64
    Lapassionara says:

    @lamh36: PS. Most people will speak English, but they do appreciate an attempt at French. Especially say bon jour or bon soir when walking in a shop or restaurant or even museum. This is a big key to getting along in Paris. I once stopped to ask a construction worker directions, and before he answered, he looked at me sadly and said, “hello, madam.” I knew then he had better manners, in the French way, than I did. Sigh

  65. 65
    imonlylurking says:

    @lamh36: Museums!
    #1 Buy your tickets in advance. A friend and I tried to do same-day admissions and it just wasn’t possible. We were able to get tickets a day ahead, though.

    #2 The Louvre. Go on more than one day if you can swing it. Seriously, three wings crammed full of stuff. It’s pretty overwhelming. Do the tour that includes the old city wall foundation, if possible.

    #3 I was only in Paris for three nights (I was mostly in the Loire Valley geeking out about castles) so there’s a lot I missed. I found the Pere Lachaise Cemetary far more interesting than I expected-they have a row of memorials to the dead from WWII.

  66. 66
    Shana says:

    @lamh36: May or may not be a “deal” but it sounds like a reasonable price.

  67. 67
    NotMax says:


    Now that we have the internet there is no need to travel.


  68. 68
    TS (the original) says:


    Something is just really off in that whole family dynamic. Just weird.

    Exactly as it was before he became president*. And still the deplorables voted for him.

  69. 69
    J R in WV says:

    We visited Paris at the end of our tour of caves in the Pyrenees Mountains, with ancient paintings, starting in Bilbao Spain and ending on Toulouse France. Then we took a plain old train to Paris and spent a couple of nights there.

    I highly recommend looking up a Michelin star restaurant and booking a meal. High end food for sure. We went to one that specialized in seafood, it took all evening. We were just across the river from the Eiffel tower, and wife had the view, which was proper French seating.

    The night before we just wandered around the neighborhood, and found a restaurant that had piles and heaps of iced seafood outside, a seafood market near the Louvre with service inside. It was nearly as good as the Michelin restaurant, while not as fancy.

    Unfortunately the day we had for sightseeing, the Louve was closed, so stay long enough that that won’t interfere. We visited the cathedral Notre Dame, where there’s an underground archeological site you can tour, in addition to the church itself. We visited several cathedrals in Spain and southern France on our archeological art tour, so Notre Dame was a good finale.

    We splurged and flew on Air France which was an experience itself.

    I’m saying do it, you will have a great time.

    It is possible to book a guide to the Louvre, google and see if that’s something that you can afford, that allows you to avoid lines and to see what you’re interested in without wasting time looking for where to go next.

  70. 70
    sdhays says:

    @imonlylurking: Get the Paris pass and just go wherever you want (mostly). The Impressionist museums are out of this world.

  71. 71
    Luthe says:

    @lamh36: As I was just there in December, a few suggestions:

    Basilica de Saint Denis: Notre-Dame’s older, quieter sibling. Resting place of basically every French king. Very good stained glass. Get the audio guide because most of the explanatory material is in French.

    Galerie Lafayette: Giant honking department store. The central atrium has a gorgeous stained glass ceiling and the view from the roof is incredible.

    Saint-Chapelle: One of the most beautiful places on Earth, IMHO. Unbelievably beautiful stained glass.

    If you are going to the Louvre, stay mostly in the Richelieu wing. Denon is where all the famous stuff is and it is therefore always crawling with tour groups. If you *must* see the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, etc. arrive at opening time and hustle to your destination before the hordes arrive. You might actually get a glimpse before the chaos starts.

    When it comes to hotels, I stayed at the Hotel Astrid, which is within spitting distance of the Arc de Triomphe. It has free wifi and free breakfast, though the offerings could be a little better. It is also just down the avenue from where the airport bus stops. There is also a major Métro station under the Arc, which makes getting around easier.

  72. 72
    Chris Johnson says:

    @encephalopath: And thank fuck for that. Imagine if he had the cojones to use his position, tirelessly and industriously, to get what he wanted. These lazy bad people believe HORRIBLE THINGS in every imaginable sense. In lieu of jail, let him golf and tweet.

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