First, people who go into the White House to have a meeting with President Trump usually leave pleasantly surprised. They find that Trump is not the raving madman they expected from his tweetstorms or the media coverage. They generally say that he is affable, if repetitive. He runs a normal, good meeting and seems well-informed enough to get by.
Second, people who work in the Trump administration have wildly divergent views about their boss. Some think he is a deranged child, as Michael Wolff reported. But some think he is merely a distraction they can work around. Some think he is strange, but not impossible. Some genuinely admire Trump. Many filter out his crazy stuff and pretend it doesn’t exist.
.. Third, the White House is getting more professional. Imagine if Trump didn’t tweet. The craziness of the past weeks would be out of the way, and we’d see a White House that is briskly pursuing its goals
.. there are two White Houses. There’s the Potemkin White House, which we tend to focus on: Trump berserk in front of the TV, the lawyers working the Russian investigation and the press operation.
Then there is the Invisible White House that you never hear about, which is getting more effective at managing around the distracted boss.
.. The anti-Trump movement suffers from insularity. Most of the people who detest Trump don’t know anybody who works with him or supports him.
.. gets viewers addicted to daily doses of righteous contempt and delicious vindication.
.. The movement also suffers from lowbrowism. Fox News pioneered modern lowbrowism... “For Wolff’s book, the truth seems almost a secondary concern to what really matters: engagement.”.. In every war, nations come to resemble their enemies, so I suppose it’s normal that the anti-Trump movement would come to resemble the pro-Trump movement.. It’s a struggle over what rules we’re going to play by after Trump. Are we all going to descend permanently into the Trump standard of acceptable behavior?.. There’s a hierarchy of excellence in every sphere. There’s a huge difference between William F. Buckley and Sean Hannity, between the reporters at this newspaper and a rumor-spreader. Part of this struggle is to maintain those distinctions, not to contribute to their evisceration.
I think what stands out about Neil Gorsuch was that his views were completely formed as soon as he entered college as a freshman, which I think is unusual, and he had very solid right-wing reactionary views from the beginning. He was also, on a personal level, very polished and affable. And I think this is part of a consistent pattern, where he has a real commitment to reactionary politics and is able to put an appealing face on it.
.. He did attack South African divestment, after the university had already decided to divest. And he put out a real divisive argument that it was going to hurt student aid. He attacked a protest led by black students against racism on campus, not based on the substance of the issue, but saying that people involved were revolutionaries. He did stick up for Ronald Reagan in the Iran-Contra affair, Iran-Contra scandal, which was an extreme position even for conservatives at the time.
.. he said that it was within Ronald Reagan’s executive power to engage in these covert operations
.. he put in a real strong defense of the Contras and said it was really urgent that they succeed.
.. And I think the other aspect of him that’s really consistent here is that he—whenever he attacked, attacked these left—these progressive positions and attacked progressive activists, which he did a lot of, it was never based on the merits of the issue. It was always based on some other reason. So, the—again, so South African divestment, it’s not an issue of apartheid being wrong, it’s an issue of having student aid, or that these protests aren’t bad, but the protesters are bad because they’re revolutionaries or they’re superficial. He made a lot of claims that they didn’t really know what they were doing, and they just enjoyed protesting. And that seems consistent with a lot of what he does as a judge, where he doesn’t really address the merits of the issue, but comes up with legal reasons for making unjust decisions.
.. a case involving a truck driver who got fired because his truck broke down on the side of the road at nighttime in the winter, and he thought he was freezing to death
.. Judge Gorsuch dissented, saying that the plain language of the law didn’t protect him from being fired. So here’s a case where you have an extremely, extremely inhumane treatment of the worker, and Judge Gorsuch decides that he has to just stick with what he sees as the plain language of the statute, which is something that other people disagree with. So he’s willing to interpret laws in a way that comes up—comes out to really unjust results.
.. even though he was a polished, affable person, the positions he took were really ruthless.
.. divestment was a done deal on campus by two years by the time he wrote that column. And he was—I mean, the university had already decided to divest