If Trump’s attempt to disassociate himself from lawyer Michael Cohen’s hush-money payment proves untenable — and who believes Cohen paid for this out of the goodness of his heart? — will the religious mop-up squad give him a second mulligan for lying? Maybe they should find out how many paid-off women are out there before offering more absolution.
.. The price one pays for defending Trump is self-humiliation, as one aide and ex-aide after another have learned.
.. After Mnuchin whined that Todd was focusing on the “wrong things” instead of the economy, Todd bore down:
TODD: You keep saying that’s what we should be focused on, then why can’t the president be focused on that, sir?
MNUCHIN: I think the president has been very focused on that.
TODD: Would you call last night’s speech a focused speech on that?
MNUCHIN: I wasn’t at the campaign rally, as you know. But again don’t take these campaign rallies and focus them on that’s what it is, okay.
TODD: So should we stop covering the campaign rallies? Do you think it’s a mistake then for us to cover them at all? That it doesn’t matter what he says? If it doesn’t matter what he says there. If we are to dismiss everything he says at a campaign rally as I think you’re trying to imply, then are you saying we should cover these things?
MNUCHIN: No, you’re putting words in my mouth. I wasn’t in any way saying you should dismiss that whatsoever. . . .
TODD: When he uses vulgarity to talk about individuals, what are they supposed to tell their kids?
MNUCHIN: Well again, I’ll be with my kids this morning, and I’ll be focused on them on what the president is doing to protect the United States, it’s citizens, and more importantly it’s economy.
TODD: So he’s not a moral– don’t worry about his values, don’t worry about him as a role model.
MNUCHIN: I never said that whatsoever. So I don’t know why you’re putting these words in what I’m trying to say. Okay. So again, I am very comfortable with what we’re doing, okay? And again I think you’re trying to take this out of perspective, and implying something I’m not saying.
TODD: Fair enough, what do you…what are you supposed to say when he’s using these vulgarities, to kids?
MNUCHIN: Again, I think you should be focused on what the policies are. He’s using these vulgarities in the context of a campaign rally and obviously there were a lot of funny moments on, on, on that rally.
TODD: Yeah, they were hilarious. Anyway, Secretary Mnuchin. I appreciate you coming on, again.
.. His record of normalizing Trump will define his tenure as secretary just as much as his role in passing a tax bill.
.. Evangelical leaders, Mnuchin, the hordes of GOP apologists, Trump’s current and former White House staff — all of them — have chosen to ignore, minimize or even defend Trump’s vulgarities, lies, racism, misogyny and anti-democratic antics. If they think they can escape accountability by peers and by history — not to mention by future employers — because, well, “because Gorsuch” or “because corporate tax cuts,” they may be surprised. Their ongoing buffoonish defense of Trump may turn out to be the most memorable thing they have done in public life.
He seems simply incapable of thinking institutionally, and instead he does something like the opposite: He confuses the relationship between the institution he serves and himself, expecting it to serve him. This means we often effectively don’t have a president, in the constitutional sense of the term.
.. “Amid global anxiety about President Trump’s approach to world affairs, U.S. officials had a message to a gathering of Europe’s foreign policy elite this weekend: Pay no attention to the man tweeting behind the curtain.”
.. senior administration officials and senior members of Congress are asking people with concerns about Trump to just ignore him and pay attention instead to what his administration is doing, which often has fairly little to do with what Trump says.