Michael Cohen has profited from it, but we’re all Trumpologists now.
Christie argued that pesky journalists and amateur Trump watchers were always getting the President wrong, making it out as if there were some “Machiavellian” grand plan by Trump that could explain many otherwise seemingly unexplainable moves. “There is no strategy,” he exclaimed.
.. Several mentioned White House aides or outside advisers, such as Christie, who seem to have the ability to read Trump’s quirks and offer reliable guidance about what a President who delights in the appearance of unpredictability will actually do. One White House reporter, for example, said that Stephen Miller, the combative young aide who writes many of Trump’s speeches and has helped shape his hard-line immigration policy, was “an authentic reflection of his boss,” citing him as a helpful resource “if you’re looking to decode what Trump is really thinking.” Others mentioned informal advisers including Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, and Christopher Ruddy, the C.E.O. of Newsmax and another regular Trump phone buddy; journalists such as the Times’ Maggie Haberman and the Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti
.. “The truth is, virtually everyone who claims to know what Trump is going to do has been wrong at some point,” one sharp analyst told me. “The best indicator, in my mind, is to go back and read his core campaign pledges and speeches. Those have been far more instructive than anyone in Congress, in the Republican Party, or on his own team.”
.. “All the same traits repeat themselves now,” the correspondent wrote to me. “The grandiosity, the impatience and impulsiveness, the repeated lies.
.. At the time, other observers, less schooled in Trump, wrongly thought that the heavy responsibilities of a job for which he was ill-prepared might change him. Not the Trumpologists. “He’s the same old Trump,
.. What did it mean that the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, the leader of Germany’s pro-Russia oppositionists at a time of such tensions with the West, was right there in the front row? That Putin only shook hands with three people—Schroeder, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and a splendidly attired Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill
.. Indeed, the Putin inauguration scene made the former Moscow correspondent in me realize just how much Washington these days feels like Russia.
.. Of course, there’s always an element of Kremlinology in how we cover the White House.
.. But, at least in Administrations of old, there was a process to pay attention to, meetings where actual decisions were made, policy rollouts planned in advance as a result of those decisions. “Process protects you” was a favorite line of Obama’s process-obsessed second-term chief of staff, Denis McDonough, and most of his predecessors, from Republican and Democratic Administrations alike, agreed.
.. Many of this President’s major decisions—from appointing Cabinet secretaries to pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal—are completely opaque and, in many cases, shockingly process-free.
’ve had a lot of bad ideas in my life,” former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power tells Politico. “Though none as immortalized as that one.”
.. What Samantha Power regrets is allowing documentarians to record the election-night party she threw, in the words of Susan Glasser, “for all 37 female ambassadors to the U.N. as well as feminist icon Gloria Steinem and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to celebrate what they all expected to be Hillary Clinton’s inevitable victory.”
.. The cameras “immortalized” Power and company’s colossal self-regard and misjudgment, thus making the film, The Final Year, a fitting send-off for the Obama crew.
.. “As a host, I was kind of hoping it wouldn’t be quite the blowout it was anticipated to be, because I wanted to make sure that people had a chance to interact with Gloria Steinem,”
.. a rejection of military deterrence in favor of negotiation and accommodation with undemocratic great powers and their proxies
.. he supercilious reference to ISIS as the “JV team,”
.. the constant tweaking and trolling of conservatives and Republicans to make them batty, and all enacted with an omnipresent and choking air of moral and intellectual superiority and pride
.. So convinced is Power of the righteousness of her positions and stature and the inevitable course of History and Progress that Trump appears to her almost as an apparition, a figure from a different dimension, far removed from any universe in which she and her boss lived and acted.
.. The former president’s amanuensis, Ben Rhodes, the first deputy national security adviser in American history to hold an MFA in creative writing from NYU and the architect of the echo chamber that propagandized for the Iran deal
.. Here is a man famous for his arrogance and condescension not only toward ideological opponents but also toward the foreign policy establishment
.. “For Ben Rhodes not to be able to speak, you know something really unusual has happened,”
.. so enamored of themselves and of their mission, so ensconced in the protective Snuggie that their fan boys in the media provided them
Satire, commentary, analysis—throw it all out the window. What’s happening in Washington is beyond parody, beyond fiction. What will happen tomorrow, what will happen in the next hour? No one knows.
.. Trump doesn’t want stability, he wants motion. He isn’t interested in details or arguments, he’s energized by accomplishments, achievements, placards on the wall. He doesn’t have a cabinet, he has employees. And the primary job of those employees is to protect their boss.
.. Which is what Anthony Scaramucci understands. Like Trump, he’s a showman. Larger than life. He’s familiar with grand gestures. He’s not a D.C. guy.
.. So the man whom the voters brought in to disrupt Washington brought in Scaramucci to disrupt his own White House. Well, mission accomplished.
.. I have been reading past issues of National Review, including bound volumes from 1977-1981. I do not know whether Donald Trump fits the historian’s model of a “disjunctive” president like Jimmy Carter, but the two chief executives do share this in common: Both campaigned as outsiders, both brought fellow outsiders with them to Washington, and these coteries of trusted advisers did not mesh with the institutions and personalities and manners they found in the city. In both cases there was a culture clash, apparent from the beginning. It soon became apparent that Carter’s presidency was not only dysfunctional, but a failure.