Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: It’d Be More Entertaining If This Goniff Wasn’t Squatting in the Oval Office

Phillip Elliott, for Time, “Inside Donald Trump’s Twitter-Fueled Weekend Meltdown”:

White House aides prayed for rain. Inclement weather would mean President Donald Trump would have to take the motorcade to the waiting plane to Florida. That would mean he couldn’t take the helicopter from the South Lawn to Joint Base Andrews, which meant he wouldn’t walk in front of a few dozen waiting reporters who would of course ask him about Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s indictments of 13 Russians for meddling in the 2016 elections.

“If anyone knows a rain dance,” a senior White House official said in the hallway around midday Friday. She didn’t finish the sentence…

This is the daily reality of White House staff members at this moment. Their best hope of averting a crisis — of the legal, political, foreign policy, public relations and familial varieties — is hoping the weather report scuttles an airlift from the South Lawn. In conversations with more than a dozen White House officials and outside advisers, they describe the mood as being grim. Many inside are looking for a way out. Roughly half of them compared it to what they felt when Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last May. None would speak for attribution lest they be seen as publicly disloyal to the President…

Even by Trumpian standards, the President’s weekend in Florida was a class apart. In angry, sometimes profane and occasionally misspelled outbursts, the President gave the world a glimpse into what was going through his head at a moment certain to draw scrutiny for generations. It also brought to light what it’s like to work for this Leader of the Free World who is increasingly feeling isolated.

Already, the week had been a bad one. There were rumors, then reports, that a top deputy on the Trump campaign was ready to plead guilty in Mueller’s probe. A school shooting in Parkland, Florida, left 17 dead not far from the President’s private Mar a Lago club. The President scheduled a Friday evening visit to the community, although White House officials worried that it was a fraught situation for what most aides recognize is figure who doesn’t exactly exude compassion in public…

The President is increasingly angered with his personal and political situations and blames those around him: White House chief of staff John Kelly for the Porter drama; the FBI, even though law enforcement officials have been sharing with the White House lawyers their concerns about the hires; leaders in Congress for not being yes-men; the Attorney General for letting the special counsel exist in the first place; his lawyers for not being more careful with hush money. Ivanka Trump and Kushner have, according to reports, started shopping for a replacement for Kelly — a suggestion Vice President Mike Pence was sent out to deny last week.

Trump’s always formidable temper has been shorter-fused than usual, his willingness to listen less than normal. Some White House officials have stopped speaking up in meetings, knowing it won’t make any difference because Trump is counting on a shrinking circle of those he trusts. Nothing anyone on the National Security Council staff, in the counsel’s office or from across government can outweigh what the President hears from conservatives on cable television or from his social media maven and communications adviser…

The problems were only getting started. The President changed his Twitter picture to one of him flashing a smile and thumbs-up — taken while the President was visiting a hospital where victims of the school shooting were recovering. Other social media accounts featured a grinning President standing next to a young woman in a hospital bed and her medical equipment…

Monday Morning Open Thread: Mean Shouty Granpa Having A Bad Weekend

Uneasy squats the arse that warms a throne… and one can only hope it’s chafing the Oval Office Occupant’s something fierce. Per the Daily Beast:

According to the White House, Trump on Saturday made phone calls to Parkland, Florida, Mayor Christine Hunschofsky, Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Principal Ty Thompson to offer continued support and gratitude. On Saturday, the president also made an appearance at a fundraiser thrown at Mar-a-Lago for Orphan’s Promise, a special ministry of televangelist Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network. (Recently, Robertson had linked the Las Vegas mass shooting to a nationwide “disrespect for our President” Trump.)

Despite staying off the green, the president largely spent the weekend attempting to settle some scores with political enemies and perennial adversaries, binge-watching cable news, rage-tweeting late into the night, lashing out as his own national security adviser, and making the solemn moment about himself and his personal grievance…

The New York Times, turning on their man-crush:

President Trump began the weekend believing that something good had just happened to him. An indictment leveled against 13 Russians for interfering with the 2016 election had not accused him or anyone around him of wrongdoing. “No collusion” was his refrain.

But once ensconced at his Florida estate on Friday, Mr. Trump, facing long hours indoors as he avoided breezy rounds of golf after last week’s school shooting a few miles away, began watching TV.

The president’s mood began to darken as it became clearer to him that some commentators were portraying the indictment as nothing for him to celebrate, according to three people with knowledge of his reaction. Those commentators called it proof that he had not won the election on his own, a particularly galling, if not completely accurate, charge for a president long concerned about his legitimacy.

What followed was a two-day Twitter tirade that was unusually angry and defiant even by Mr. Trump’s standards. In his tweets on Sunday, Mr. Trump sought to shift the blame to Democrats for Russia’s meddling, saying that President Barack Obama had not done enough to stop the interference…

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Rex Tillerson Knows All The Languages And Has A Photographic Memory

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Turkey’s president and foreign minister today.

He was the only American present, according to this Bloomberg News reporter.

He has done this before. It’s diplomatic malpractice not to have one’s own interpreter. The other guy’s interpreter can tell you what you want to hear, and the other guy’s note-taker can write it up so it looks like you agreed with what they want to hear. It’s stupid beyond belief.

And interpreting (which is the correct term for working with speech in real time) is a full-time job. Nobody’s foreign minister should be interpreting. They are participating in the meeting.

Not having his own interpreter and note-taker tells the world that Tillerson can be rolled.


Open thread. What kind of stupidity have you encountered today?

Late Night Open Thread: “The Godfather”, But As An Off-Broadway Farce!

Originality is overrated. A touch of Guys & Dolls, some razzle-dazzle from The Music Man — the old standbys always lure the bridge & tunnel crowd. I can remember when it was vaguely scandalous that the GOP was using Vanity Fair as the Reagans’ semi-official promotional organ. Now Gabriel Sherman is one of our better political reporters. “‘He Wants a Killer’: Post-Bannon, Post-Nunes, Post-Kelly Friction, a Frustrated Trump Searches for a West Wing Reset”:

After the much-hyped Nunes memo failed to deliver the narrative reset that the White House hoped for, Donald Trump is discussing a shake-up to his West Wing, three sources familiar with the president’s thinking told me. These people say the president is increasingly frustrated that members of his administration aren’t going to war for him, and he’s being encouraged by his daughter Ivanka to bring in new blood. “The president’s view is that allies on the outside are doing a better job defending him than his political shop,” one Republican close to the White House told me. Another outside adviser who regularly speaks with Trump said that the president is regretting some of his Cabinet choices. “He’s saying he should have put Rudy [Giuliani] at State and Chris Christie at Justice.”

Trump has recently told advisers he wants a “killer” to steer the White House’s response to Robert Mueller’s investigation and craft a midterm election message for him to stump on this fall. For Trump, there’s a growing urgency to fill the role. His efforts to stymie Mueller’s probe have so far failed, and the specter of impeachment looms if Democrats win back the House in November. Ivanka, who’s been frustrated with Chief of Staff John Kelly, has told her father that he needs people around him that will put his interests above their own. “She wants to clean house,” a Trump friend told me. “Her view is J.F.K. had Bobby there to have his back.”

The president’s top choice for the strategist position is Jason Miller, who served as communications director for Trump’s presidential campaign. “He wants a killer, and Jason is a killer,” an outside adviser to the White House told me. Trump had wanted Miller to join the administration during the transition, but Miller withdrew after it was revealed he had an extramarital affair during the campaign with former Trump aide A.J. Delgado…

Without a close confidant on the inside with whom he can plot strategy, Trump has turned to outside advisers for counsel. According to sources, Trump speaks regularly by phone with a braintrust that includes Sean Hannity, Jason Miller, Corey Lewandowski, Reince Priebus, and R.N.C. Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel. According to sources, Miller has advised Trump to push for an immigration deal that shows real progress towards building the Wall, the theory being that getting a win on immigration will mobilize the base in November. Instead, they want him to sign an extension for DACA so that immigration is a midterm election issue (the theory being that putting immigration on the ballot will mobilize the base)…

If Miller doesn’t go to the White House, another scenario being discussed is that Trump could fill the strategist role with Lewandowski and former deputy campaign manager Dave Bossie. Both have the aggressive personality Trump favors. But neither one has anything resembling West Wing experience, and both face stiff opposition from Ivanka and Jared Kushner. “They have blocked Corey at every turn. They kept him from going into [the] family box at the inaugural,” one former campaign staffer told me. “If Corey gets back in, they’re not long for the place…

Open warfare between the Beloved Children and the Fat-Necked White Thugs, with Sean Hannity as The Stage Announcer — there’s a tragicomedy scenario that’s gotta have Pelosi & Schumer quietly chuckling into their lattes…

Everyone Loves A Parade!

A self-absorbed autocrat is planning a military parade for his capital. “We’re going to show the people as we build up our military,” he said. Heavy equipment on the streets and aircraft overhead.


Oh wait. It is unclear what role he would play, whether he may perhaps serve as a grandmaster or observe the spectacle from a reviewing stand.


Moving right along…

It’s – you guessed it – our own American President wanting to do the most American thing ever, show people that his, um, military is bigger than everyone else’s. He’s been stewing about this ever since Emmanuel Macron bested him at the handshake game and then threw THE BEST MILITARY PARADE EVAH for Trump and Melania. And North Korea may be planning one for Thursday, to get their own jump on the Olympics.


Open thread!


Oligarch Open Thread: Koch Bros, Still Monsters

The Boston Globe:

“We’ve made more progress in the past five years than I had in the last 50,” declared Charles Koch, the 82-year old billionaire, addressing a group of about 550 donors who gathered in Indian Wells for the Kochs’ winter policy and politics weekend seminar.

But this era of gains, which brought them a massive tax cut, a queue of conservative federal judges, and an administration full of friendly regulators, could all be gone if Democrats claw back control of the government.

So the vast network has pledged to devote around $400 million toward politics and policy in the midterms to hold the GOP majorities in both chambers. That’s 60 percent more than the network spent in 2014, when Republicans picked up nine seats in the Senate and 13 seats in the House of Representatives.

The sum includes $20 million that Koch and his brother David plan to put behind efforts to popularize the $1.5 trillion tax cut. The network spent $20 million last year pushing the legislation.

“We have a ways to go,” said Koch, teeing up his Big Ask to the well-coiffed group of donors who contribute at least $100,000 a year to Koch-aligned groups. “So my challenge to all of us is to increase the scale and effectiveness of this network by an order of magnitude. By another 10-fold on top of all the growth and progress we’ve already made. Because if we do that, I’m convinced we can change the trajectory of this country.”…

Voters have been skeptical of the tax law in part because much of the benefit is focused on businesses like those run by the Kochs and their allies. The tax cuts directly benefit Koch Industries by $1 billion to $1.4 billion a year, according to a recent analysis from Americans for Tax Fairness, a liberal advocacy group.
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Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: “Chain Migration”, It’s All-American!

(Signe Wilkinson via

Count on the Trump Administration to find the most obnoxious person available to misidentify family reunification. Count on the NYTimes to pick the worst possible person to defend that misidentification, on the worst possible day…

Informative rebuttal in the Washington Post:

For those looking to emigrate to the United States, connections are everything. If you have a family member who is a citizen or a green-card holder, you can — under certain circumstances — be given priority consideration for entry to the country…

What this means is that a citizen could sponsor a sibling for a green card and, if granted, that sibling could then sponsor his or her child. That child could then sponsor his or her eventual spouse, and so on. This is the system that President Trump has taken to describing as “chain migration,” a system that he and his administration present as a scourge that necessitates action by the government. (Proponents of the system prefer the term “family reunification.”) A proposal from the administration sent to Capitol Hill last week suggested that the green-card-holder limits on petitions apply to everyone, dramatically scaling back the number of people who could see facilitated entry to the United States.

There’s an irony to this policy shift, though. A number of prominent members of the Trump administration have ancestors who are only in the country because they came to join members of their families who would be excluded from sponsoring them under the new proposal…

Trump has benefited from what could be called “chain migration” on both sides of his family…
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