Donald Trump, clever guy that he is, has come up with a new reality show. It's called "President for a Day" and the way it works is that, every so often, maybe once a month, Trump acts presidential, gives a speech in which an aide is not standing by with meds, and many in the media and politics hug themselves and roll around on the floor, praising the president for his very presidentialness and cheering the emergence of the man who has been there all along but no one in the media or the creepy "deep state" seemed to notice. Thank God, that's over.
Sean Spicer is the appropriate face of the new Trump administration. He is the White House press secretary, the spokesman and all of that, and he came into the briefing room on Saturday wearing the blank expression of Laurence Harvey after turning over the queen of diamonds in "The Manchurian Candidate." You've heard of a Molotov cocktail. Spicer was wearing a Molotov face.
Donald Trump is a one-man basket of deplorables. He is a braggart and a liar. He is a bully and a demagogue. He is an ignoramus and a deadbeat, a chiseler and either a sincere racist or an insincere one, and his love for himself is matched only by my loathing of him. He is about to be president of the United States. A constitutional coup may be in the offing.
This column is for Bernard Gibson, a good man from the state of Indiana. Late last month, National Public Radio went out to Vigo County there to explain why it flipped from voting for Barack Obama in 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016. Gibson was one of those interviewed and here is what he said: "These are real people here. These are not New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, you know. You know, these are real people that live every day from hand to hand, just have to work to make a living and everything else." Oh. There are some things you ought to know, Mr. Gibson.
Last week on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes," a guest mentioned the new unmentionable: Weimar. The guest was Bob Garfield, a liberal media critic, and he was discussing Donald Trump. Hayes was mildly disapproving of the reference. "I tend to stay away from Weimar comparisons for a variety of reasons," he said. That would make sense if only Trump himself did not constantly bring it to mind.
We finally have an Obama doctrine. It is the 223 words of the White House statement on the death of Fidel Castro. It is blank of moral judgment, empty of indignation, blind to injustice, dismissive of history and indifferent to injury. A dictator has died and Barack Obama sent him off with lazy weasel words: "History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him." History will also record Obama's failure to condemn.
Following the Oct. 4 vice presidential debate, Donald Trump's son Eric was asked how Mike Pence had done. He answered as a Corleone—maybe not the storied Michael because he was the youngest, and not Fredo since he was weak and destined to be fired in the manner of those times, but possibly Sonny since Eric looked CNN's Wolf Blitzer hard in the eye and said of Pence, "I really think he represented (BEG ITAL)the family(END ITAL) and I think he represented the party incredibly, incredibly well tonight." So spoke the Godfather's son.
Kellyanne Conway and I have a difference of opinion. She thinks that Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and other once-important Democrats ought to call off the anti-Trump demonstrations now tying up several square blocks of several cities because, as she said about Trump, "This man is our president." It took her a while, but Conway finally gets it right: Yes, that's what the kids are protesting.
Beyond the precedent that the Justice Department, particularly the FBI, bends over backward not to interfere in a presidential election, there is yet another precedent, this one established during the Monica Lewinsky investigation: A high official, under pressure from both Congress and the press, can lose his mind. The mind belonged to Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel, who back in the winter of 1997, signaled he had more than enough of Bill Clinton, sex that wasn't sex, a dress no longer suitable for a casual date, and other such matters and was quitting.