The Donald Trump Gold Rush

But who’s laughing now? Upon exiting his job he apparently had his pick of posh lecture-circuit agents, one of whom told Mike Allen of Axios that Spicer scoffed at the suggestion that he might be worth only $20,000 to $30,000 per speech, which is what other former press secretaries made.

.. Ask Anthony Scaramucci. He was sent packing after just 10 profane and ignominious days as the White House communications director, and what do you suppose he did? Change his name and enter the political equivalent of witness protection? Retreat to a monastery for prayerful atonement until the shame dissipated?

.. For decades, it has been customary for the former attendants of presidents and presidential candidates to cash in. The Clintons were a money train with no shortage of passengers, and Bill and Hillary themselves never shrank from turning political pain into financial gain. She’ll mint fresh millions from her new book, “What Happened,” and from engagements to promote it.

.. They weren’t idealists in grateful thrall to some coherent vision or exalted principles that he was advancing. They were more or less flunkies for a bully whose top priorities have always been an immense fortune and immeasurable celebrity, though not necessarily in that order. Spicer and Scaramucci are paying their onetime boss the highest of compliments. They’re emulating him.

.. Mike Flynn ..  He’s weighed down by actual scandal, while Spicer and Scaramucci are weighed down only by their volitional debasement, and that’s apparently no drag at all.
.. The ethos of enrichment in this administration starts at the very top, with Trump and his family, for whom the presidency represents the ultimate branding opportunity.
.. This separates Trump from his predecessors, none of whom had or held onto the array of business interests that remain in his possession, managed by his flesh and blood. And he’s hardly shy about advertising that empire. He and members of his cabinet swan and sup at the Trump International Hotel in Washington whose earnings since his inauguration have handily exceeded expectations.
.. Of course the initiation fee to join Mar-a-Loco doubled shortly after his election, to $200,000
.. To judge by what has happened in only its first seven and a half months, the office’s degradations under Trump may well include its commercialization beyond anything seen before.
.. And the marketability of the Trump clan and those around them proves anew that visibility and notoriety are their own rewards, regardless of how they come about
.. No matter what people thought of him, they wanted to ogle him, and he’ll be merrily monetizing that for some time to come.

So will Spicer, who at least had the good sense to turn down an offer from “Dancing With the Stars,” which is more than Energy Secretary Rick Perry can say.

.. “His name ID is massive,” said the speaking agent who talked with Mike Allen, referring to Spicer. “He’s obsessed with that.”

.. Spicer bragged to Allen about how his White House press briefings had been nightly prime-time viewing in parts of Europe. “I’m one of the most popular guys in Ireland,” he crowed.

.. So what if he trashed his previous reputation as a reasonably straight shooter? Who cares if he spread the lies of a serial fabulist? That’s entertainment! And it’s lucrative.

I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money,” Scaramucci told reporters as Spicer left the White House. What a poignant farewell. And what a perfect tell.

President Obama Cashes in with Speaking Fees

I Think He Missed a Memo

Are you noticing a pattern in President Trump’s statements?

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters in an interview Thursday. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

When discussing health care in February: “Very complicated issue…. I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”

After the House GOP canceled the vote on the American Health Care Act: “We learned a lot about the vote-getting process. We learned a lot about some very arcane rules in obviously both the Senate and in the House.”

Discussing North Korea with Chinese president Xi Jinping:

Mr. Trump said he told his Chinese counterpart he believed Beijing could easily take care of the North Korea threat. Mr. Xi then explained the history of China and Korea, Mr. Trump said.

“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” Mr. Trump recounted. “I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power [over North Korea], but it’s not what you would think.”

Earlier this week, discussing NATO:

“I was on Wolf Blitzer, very fair interview, the first time I was ever asked about NATO, because I wasn’t in government. People don’t go around asking about NATO if I’m building a building in Manhattan, right? So they asked me, Wolf … asked me about NATO, and I said two things. NATO’s obsolete — not knowing much about NATO, now I know a lot about NATO — NATO is obsolete, and I said, “And the reason it’s obsolete is because of the fact they don’t focus on terrorism.”

If only someone had told him!

Do You Care about President Obama’s Speaking Fees?

Should conservatives care that former president Barack Obama is scheduled to be paid $400,000 check from Wall Street when he delivers a speech in September at a health-care conference run by Cantor Fitzgerald, a trading and investment firm?

.. Jill Abramson, former executive editor of the New York Times, lays out why so many Democrats are cringing at the early omens of Obama’s post-presidential life:

The habitual kowtowing of senior Democrats to the billionaire class has left their party close to morally bankrupt. Bernie Sanders was right to hammer Hillary during the primaries for her speaking fees from Wall Street. Even her most ardent supporters found these speaking fees indefensible. They were certain to be fodder for her opponents.

It was misguided of Obama to have signed on with the same D.C. speakers’ bureau as the Clintons, the Harry Walker Agency. For sure, it’s easy money. This giant of the speaking circuit has enriched the Clintons to the tune of $158 milion. During her campaign, Hillary explained that she took all that money because “it was what they offered”.

But do the Obamas really need the effortless lucre? One of the most attractive things about having Barack and Michelle Obama in the White House was the absence of ethical conflicts. They seemed to have impeccable moral judgment and real family values. And, thanks to a $65 million book deal with Penguin Random House, and a pot of money from the former president’s previous books, they are not in bad shape financially.

.. The two hallmarks of almost every major figure in the Democratic party over the past quarter century are 1) being much wealthier than the average American and 2) denouncing the greed of “the rich” and “corporate America” as the root of all of the country’s problems.