There is this guy. He’s running for president. He himself is not particularly experienced at most (all) of what a president does, but we’re not to worry.
Because he’s not the detail guy. He’s the big picture guy, the boss. He hires the folks who lift and tote.
But that’s OK.
“My motto is ‘Hire the best people…” (Donald Trump: Think Big, 2007).
And now, let us savor:
Donald Trump’s new presidential campaign chief is registered to vote in a key swing state at an empty house where he does not live, in an apparent breach of election laws.
Stephen Bannon, the chief executive of Trump’s election campaign, has an active voter registration at the house in Miami-Dade County, Florida, which is vacant and due to be demolished to make way for a new development….
Election officials in Miami-Dade make clear to prospective voters that they are required to actually live in the county and to use their home address in election paperwork. “You must reside in Miami-Dade County,” their website states. It adds: “When you register to vote, an actual residence address is required by law.” A county spokeswoman did not respond to questions relating to Bannon’s situation.
Three neighbors said the house where Bannon is currently registered to vote had been abandoned for three months. When the Guardian visited the property on Thursday a large window in the front aspect was missing. A soiled curtain was blowing through it. The driveway was a mess of tree branches and mud.
Bannon never appeared at the house, according to the neighbors.
What’s most striking is that this apparent prima facie voter fraud — while the more likely to get Bannon into actual legal difficulties — is in a moral sense the lesser of two scandals that have dropped over the last twenty four hours. Because we’ve also learned this:
Stephen K. Bannon, the new CEO of the Donald Trump campaign, was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness following an incident in early January 1996, though the case was ultimately dismissed, according to a police report and court documents.
The Santa Monica, Calif., police report says that Bannon’s then-wife claimed he pulled at her neck and wrist during an altercation over their finances, and an officer reported witnessing red marks on her neck and wrist to bolster her account. Bannon also reportedly smashed the phone when she tried to call the police.
The details get uglier:
Bannon then got his lawyer on the case, who allegedly “threatened” Piccard and told her she “would have no money [and] no way to support the children” if the case went to trial.
Bannon then told Piccard to skip town.
He said “that if I wasn’t in town they couldn’t serve me and I wouldn’t have to go to court,” she claimed in the document.
Piccard left for two weeks before Bannon’s attorney said she could return, according to the declaration.
“Because I was not present at the trial, the case was dismissed,” she said in the documents.
That second quote is from The New York Post. That would be the Rupert Murdoch-owned Post, which is an added twist to this tale. What is the true state of Trump-Murdoch relations?
But leave aside that kind of political inside baseball. The most compelling element to the story of Bannon’s thuggery is that it is an unexpected, deep look into his character. Through it we can discover what kind of person Donald Trump — a major party nominee for President, with a genuine, non-zero chance of achieving that office — thinks is one of “the best people.”
It ain’t pretty. The Post‘s coverage continues:
Bannon had allegedly also earlier told Picccard, who was then his girlfriend and the expectant mother of their twin girls, that he would only agree to marry her if the kids were “normal.”
He married her on April 14, 1995, three days before the twins were born.
Worst of all — at least it seems to me — Bannon is a man who would do this:
Piccard alleged in another document that Bannon believed in corporal punishment for the girls, even though he rarely saw them.
She cited as one example that Bannon allegedly spanked one of his toddler daughters to try to stop her from hitting her head against the crib.
Piccard claimed that when she intervened, he exploded, calling her “f—ing crazy” and saying if he hadn’t been interrupted, “she wouldn’t be banging her head anymore.”
Beating any adult is reprehensible. Whacking on a child, a toddler? (And no, I don’t think “spanking” in this context is likely to have been a gentle swat on the bum.) There are special circles of hell for those folks.
I left out the last half of the Trump quote at top. In full, it reads “My motto is ‘Hire the best people, and don’t trust them.’”
As none should him.
Images: John Sell Cotman, Ruined House, betw. 1807 and 1810.
George Romney, Mother and Child, undated, before 1802.