Credit where it's due: I'm no Jonah Goldberg fan, but no one will get off a better witticism about President Trump than Goldberg did this morning on NPR. In a conversation with Rachel Martin about Trump's approach to the Robert Mueller investigation, Goldberg said this:
In terms of the actual interview, it is amazing to listen to Rudy Giuliani and [Trump's] other lawyers say, "You know, there's just no way I'd let my client sit down and be under oath about anything," because they act as if they're just-- like, he's an escaped monkey from a cocaine study and they can't control him no matter what, and so they just-- they don't want to have anything to do with it. I think that's a sort of a fascinating sort of admission.
I'd be delighted if the phrase "escaped monkey from a cocaine study" were hung around Trump's neck forever, or at least would trend on social media for a few hours. It's perfect.
And speaking of men who seem biochemically untethered, Axios has this absurd story today:
On election night 2016, shortly after Donald Trump's team realized he would win the presidency, Michael Cohen, at the Hilton Hotel on Manhattan's 6th Avenue with his daughter and friends, told a group of people about his own dreams for the future — to be mayor of New York.
"This is the beginning of a dynasty," Cohen told the group, according to a source who heard him.
Surprised by the remark, one of the people asked Trump's longtime personal attorney that if by "dynasty" he meant Ivanka or Don Junior was going to get the political bug next.
Cohen replied: "I've already got the bug."
Cohen then added: "Nobody's going to be able to fuck with us. I think I'm going to run for mayor."
Dude, your boss won only 19% of the vote in New York City. Plus you're a thug. You couldn't win a mayoral election if you were running against the Pizza Rat. What was happening to your gray matter when this plan occurred to you?
Trump and at least some of the men in his circle seem either wired on stimulants or in need of meds to quell a naturally occurring grandiosity. Which brings me to Michael Kruse's story about Trump's dealmaking style. In the story, published by Politico Magazine last week, Kruse tells us that Trump is a terrible dealmaker now, and has been for more than thirty years, but before that he seemed talented.
It wasn’t arms control summitry, but the conversion of New York’s decrepit Commodore Hotel to the shimmering Grand Hyatt at Grand Central Station was a triumph. It took years. The barely-30-year-old Trump had to convince agents of the bankrupt Penn Central railroad, lenders, brokers and city and state officials to buy into his plan, and he did it with salesmanship, verve, cunning and good timing....
Ditto with what he did next—Trump Tower. He saw an opportunity where others didn’t, and he jumped on it....
But this level of discipline and focus started to dissipate in the mid-‘80s....
As an owner of a team in the fledgling United States Football League, he overspent on players....
Down in Atlantic City, Trump’s first two casinos had opened in ’84 and ’85, respectively. Boxing was a big part of the show, but Trump left to his deputies lots of the negotiations for fights....
In 1988, he bought Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel for $407.5 million—almost $60 million more than even a high-end estimate of what the landmark was worth....
And on and on, into bankruptcy and then a second career as a licenser of his surname and a reality star -- although Kruse notes that Trump was a terrible dealmaker even when he had a hit show.
Trump made $50,000 an episode in the first season. In the second season? “He wanted a million dollars an episode,” Jeff Zucker, the current boss of CNN and former head of NBC, told the New Yorker’s David Remnick last year. And what did Zucker give him? “Sixty thousand dollars,” Zucker said.
“We ended up paying him what we wanted to pay him.”
For decades Trump has been really bad at making deals, yet he was good when he was young. What happened to him after that?
This is irresponsible speculation, but I wonder about reports that Trump was on a drug called diethylpropion, otherwise known as tenuate dospan, from 1982 to as late as 1990. The drug is a stimulant that was reportedly prescribed for a "metabolic disorder." I know Trump is a teetotaler and says he's never used recreational drugs, but Prince and Michael Jackson also publicly rejected drugs, and died from using prescription medications.
It's quite possible that since the early 1980s Trump has merely been high on hubris -- he'd made it big, so he regarded himself as bulletproof and he no longer believed he had to make an effort. Maybe that, or some clinical form of mania, explains his behavior ever since. He may be attracted to grandiose, hubristic aides as well. (Look at Rudy Giuliani.)
Whatever's going on, Trump World seems high on something, even if it's just the denizens' own brain chemicals.
crossposted from No More Mister Nice Guy