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.



Speculation Open Thread: Does Trump Think Something BAD Is Coming At Him?

Or is he just appeasing his Deplorables?

There is probably no better way to demonstrate one’s manly strength and control than firing off a tweet in capital letters. So it is that, when a dozen GOP senators defied President Trump’s orders and voted to terminate his declaration of a national emergency, his powerful Twitter thumbs sprang into action: “VETO!”

The thrilling message to his supporters: Trump’s got this. He’s totally in command of the situation.

But we are now learning new details about just how personally involved Trump was in trying to prevent defections among GOP senators. It turns out Trump aggressively sought to make this vote all about himself — frequently warning that he would unleash the cult-like wrath of his voters if the Senate didn’t do his bidding — and raged as that effort failed.

What makes this so odd is that even though the Senate and House have now voted to terminate Trump’s national emergency, he actually can veto the measure, and his emergency will proceed. So why the histrionics? One possible answer is that, for Trump, even this interim loss represented an unacceptable display of weakness — with ominous portents for the future…
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Horrowshow Open Thread: When All Else Fails, Yell “Look! JEWS!”

Count on Donald Trump to say the quiet parts out loud, and at the worst possible time. A white supremacist murders Muslims? Hey, look over there!

Speaking to a group of R.N.C. donors at Mar-a-Lago [last] Friday, Trump told the crowd assembled, “The Democrats hate Jewish people,” according to three people who were there. He went on to say he didn’t understand how anyone who’s Jewish could vote for a Democrat these days—perhaps still seething that Clinton got 71 percent of the Jewish vote in 2016, to his 24 percent—and proceeded to brag about how much he’s done for Israel, including his highly controversial decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Trump speech without a completely deranged assessment of his chances of winning an election in another country: according to the president, if he could run for prime minister of Israel, “he’d be at 98 percent in the polls.”…

Hey, it’s what he’s thinking about, ergo it must be what’s important to everybody. Well, the *right* everybodies, ifyouknowwhatImean…

Think we can make ‘Mike Pence, Chrapture Enthusiast’ happen?



GOP Venality Open Thread: A Susurration of CYA

Cue up the Dumbest Man in Congress…



Thursday Morning Open Thread

(Tom Toles via GoComics.com)
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The Repubs may be starting to regret their latest corrupt bargain. Greg Sargent, at the Washington Post, “After Republicans prostrate themselves before Trump, he humiliates them further”:

Senate Republicans have been searching for a way out of a very difficult jam. They will be forced to vote Thursday on President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency. Yet, with four of them apparently ready to vote to terminate the emergency, this will mean Trump would have to veto the measure, enraging both the president and his voters.

So Republicans hit on a preposterously absurd scheme, in which they would vote on a measure that would place limits on future national emergencies — by requiring regular congressional votes to keep them going — without placing any limits on this particular one. This was supposed to give cover to Republicans, enabling them to stand with Trump’s national emergency while creating the impression that they are generally concerned by the issues raised by the president’s abuse of power.

But it now turns out that Trump is killing this effort, too…

Senate Republicans will now be forced to vote Thursday on the resolution terminating Trump’s national emergency because the House passed one recently, and under the law, the Senate is required to act on it. And Republicans will not be able to vote to limit national emergencies later, to give themselves political protection from Thursday’s vote.

To be clear on what just happened here, Republicans tried to come up with a way to give Trump the national emergency he wants, while also giving themselves a way to mitigate the political damage from it…

If any of the entrapped GOP members know anything about history, they might be meditating upon the idea that Caligula didn’t appoint his horse to the Roman senate because he had such respect for horses.