Trump’s whole life has been rage, rage, rage at even the smallest perceived slight

According to a report in Politico, many of Donald Trump’s problems are the direct result of his inability to get over the smallest of slights leading him to make poor decisions because he can’t see his way to let go of a grudge.

The report notes, “Whether in the privacy of his clubs or out on the campaign trail, the president can’t help but hold onto a grudge. Even as Trump heads into an election year with a record that he claims ranks him among the best presidents of all time, political grievances continue to drive everything from policy decisions to rally speeches to some of the biggest scandals of his presidency — including his impeachment.”

Case in point, Trump has been at war with a billionaire Florida businessman who ran for governor and used a clip of an altercation with Trump as part of a campaign ad.

“At his private club in West Palm Beach, Trump was smarting over a local political feud. After finishing a round of golf the weekend after Thanksgiving, a small group approached the president as he stepped off the 18th green: two of his biggest donors, and a Florida neighbor,” Politico reports. “The president shook everyone’s hands, but then coldly turned to his neighbor, a fellow billionaire who lives down the block from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. ‘Pretty nervy of you to come to this club,” Trump snapped.”

That neighbor is “Jeff Greene, a real estate tycoon from Palm Beach and Mar-a-Lago member who ran for Florida governor in the Democratic primary last year. Greene said he wasn’t surprised by the reception. A year earlier, he and the president had gotten into a shouting match at the golf club that he videotaped and then featured in political ads across the state,” Politico reports, adding that it didn’t end there.

“After the chilly exchange,” Greene told Politico, “Everyone parted ways and went to the club’s dining room for a bite. But the president didn’t let it go. Sitting at a separate table in the dining room overlooking the golf course, Trump twice yelled across the room at Greene according to his retelling.”

According to the report, Trump’s unfounded belief that elements in Ukraine were trying to help former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election led him into the Ukraine corruption quagmire that threatens to swallow his presidency.

“More than Biden, the president is in this pickle because of his belief that Ukraine meddled against him,” explained former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg. “His primordial instinct to exact revenge can sometimes — as in this case — completely backfire.”

According to Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer, this comes as no surprise.

“When people get in his way, he has no patience for it and it becomes a personal vendetta even when it shouldn’t and when it’s against his own self-interest,” he explained. “He’s ungoverned around that — he won’t take advice, he won’t look to getting more informed — he will simply do whatever he wants. “He’s used to getting away with that because he was insulated from his own mistakes his whole life. His family and his money helped protect him, and then he became a celebrity and he enjoyed the halo of protection that celebrity has, and now he is president he enjoys legal protections.”

As Politico notes, that hasn’t stopped some of his antagonists from trying to get back in Trump’s good graces — as long as they are willing to suck up to the president.

“The president has converted some of the targets of his political vitriol. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who Trump once labeled an ‘idiot,’ is now a staunch ally and golfing partner. Sen. Ted Cruz (R.- Texas), who faced nasty Trump barbs about his wife’s appearance and conspiratorial insinuations that his father was involved in John F. Kennedy’s assassination, now stands by him in Congress. And Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky), who Trump once called a ‘brat’ with a ‘badly functioning brain,’ has championed some of Trump’s more controversial military actions,” the report concludes.

You can read more here.

Trump’s finances are a mess — have always been a mess — and that makes him even more dangerous

Reporter David Fahrenthold is responsible for perhaps 80% of everything we know about Donald Trump’s ongoing business operations. In a start-of-year summary of where things stand, Fahrenthold and other Washington Post reporters wrote up a terse rundown of the state of the presidential grift-o-matic; they question, among other things, whether the Trump family purging their businesses of undocumented workers (only after being caught, of course) will raise labor costs and whether the hit Donald’s companies have been taking due to their association with, you know, him will compel Trump to sell off assets or take other, similarly drastic measures.

Donald Trump only months ago sincerely, truly ordered the next G7 Summit be held at one of his own golf resorts, for example, and had the White House defending that obviously crooked money grab before backing down again. He has gotten bolder in his attempts to funnel money into his properties, and his family has become less interested in keeping up pretenses of basic propriety, each year of his “term.”

It’s the news that Trump has begun to explore a possible half-billion dollar sale of his Washington D.C. hotel that stands out. The hotel has for three years been a hub of in-the-open petty bribery, with foreign and domestic political officials, corporate heads, and lobbying groups all booking time and rooms at the property in straightforward attempts to be seen and be noticed by the grifter in chief.

Some of the profits generated by foreign supplicants are allegedly donated away again by the hotel in an opaque and unprovable company promise to mitigate the brazen unconstitutionality of this profit-taking; all of the profits from domestic government, lobbyist, and industry groups goes to Trump and family. It has remained one of the easiest and most plausibly legal ways of buying presidential goodwill short of Mar-a-Lago membership itself, and has no doubt boosted the hotel’s otherwise-disappointing performance in ways that President Me finds especially pleasing and compelling.

Selling the hotel for a half-billion dollars in an election year, however, opens up an entirely new avenue of grift. To hell with the petty stuff; if the royals of Saudi Arabia want a half-billion dollars worth of personal favors from the United States president they can write a single check and be done with it. If the same Russian oligarchs willing to polish Sen. Mitch McConnell’s record with the home crowd, to the tune of $200 million in investment, want to refinance their most loyal American defender, a man who yet again finds himself in steep debt despite every past attempt to save his bacon, they can spend two and a half times that much and own an American president outright. It could be done via shell companies and offshore trickeries, or Trump’s winning bidder could announce they have bought the man on state TV.

The short version is that Trump’s properties here and abroad continue to not do well, the supplications of supporters are still not nearly enough to match the damage done as the rest of the nation cringes away from them, we continue to know almost nothing about the true nature of Trump’s finances but all investigation suggests he is again burdened by massive debts, and in the pressure cooker of impeachment, campaigning, and potential war the television pitchman with nuclear weapons is likely to become even more overt in squeezing whatever cash he can get from this nation, its wealthiest request-havers, and anyone else in the world needing a big government favor and willing to pay for one.

If you think the man can handle that sort of pressure without doing something astonishingly crooked and/or stupid, you haven’t been paying attention.

Don’t we all eat breakfast with people we don’t know? Trump says “I don’t know Parnas.” Photos say different.

Now that convicted felon Lev Parnas is singing like a canary and connecting Trump to stalking Ambassador Yovanovitch, Trump is declaring at every opportunity — “Parnas?  Parnas who?  Never heard of him.”

Let’s not even bring up the FACT that Parnas has worked for the Trump companies since he was 16 — let’s just look at some recent documents dumped by Parnas’ attorney.

File this under the category of “Documentary Evidence” …

Documents released Wednesday by the committee appear to confirm Parnas’ position. In a calendar entry from September, Parnas wrote, “Breakfast with President Trump in NYC,” the documents showed.

abcnews.go.com — Jan 16, 2019

File this under the category of “Yet more CYA Lies” …

Trump said Thursday he doesn’t know Parnas at all and dismissed the photos of him and Parnas together, saying he takes pictures with “thousands of people, including today, that I didn’t meet.”

I don’t know who this man is,” Trump said.

www.washingtonexaminer.com — Jan 16, 2019

So again the commonsense question:

Who has breakfast with “someone he doesn’t know”?

— — 

"In August of 2015, Parnas posted four photos and a video from a Trump campaign event at Doral, including this picture with Trump and his son."
parnas-trump-white-house.jpg
Looks like Parnas had Dinner with Trump too.
trumpjrwithfrumanandparnas.jpeg
191010154229-trump-giuliani-associates-file.jpg
Parnas:  Pence was in the Loop.

— —

Answer:

It looks like a LOT of Trump associates do.

Do take meeting with quote “someone they don’t know.”

And this just in, from the latest Document Dump:

TrumpAndParnas.JPG
Uh oh!   The Donald’s in for a surprise.  … He DOES know the man.
JuniorAndParnas.JPG
Junior too.
RudyAndParnas.JPG
Two peas in a Pod.

Whoopsie!

A handwritten note by Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas lists his tasks, starting with getting Ukraine's new president to announce an investigation into
Parnas’ “To Do List” — Bosses’ Orders.
CNN
Trump:  “I never met the guy.”

Trump calls US military leaders “dopes” and “babies”

There is no more sacred room for military officers than 2E924 of the Pentagon, a windowless and secure vault where the Joint Chiefs of Staff meet regularly to wrestle with classified matters. Its more common name is “the Tank.” The Tank resembles a small corporate boardroom, with a gleaming golden oak table, leather swivel armchairs and other mid-century stylings. Inside its walls, flag officers observe a reverence and decorum for the wrenching decisions that have been made there.

 

Hanging prominently on one of the walls is The Peacemakers, a painting that depicts an 1865 Civil War strategy session with President Abraham Lincoln and his three service chiefs — Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, and Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter. One hundred fifty-​­two years after Lincoln hatched plans to preserve the Union, President Trump’s advisers staged an intervention inside the Tank to try to preserve the world order.

By that point, six months into his administration, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had grown alarmed by gaping holes in Trump’s knowledge of history, especially the key alliances forged following World War II. Trump had dismissed allies as worthless, cozied up to authoritarian regimes in Russia and elsewhere, and advocated withdrawing troops from strategic outposts and active theaters alike.

Trump organized his unorthodox worldview under the simplistic banner of “America First,” but Mattis, Tillerson, and Cohn feared his proposals were rash, barely considered, and a danger to America’s superpower standing. They also felt that many of Trump’s impulsive ideas stemmed from his lack of familiarity with U.S. history and, even, where countries were located. To have a useful discussion with him, the trio agreed, they had to create a basic knowledge, a shared language.

So on July 20, 2017, Mattis invited Trump to the Tank for what he, Tillerson, and Cohn had carefully organized as a tailored tutorial. What happened inside the Tank that day crystallized the commander in chief’s berating, derisive and dismissive manner, foreshadowing decisions such as the one earlier this month that brought the United States to the brink of war with Iran. The Tank meeting was a turning point in Trump’s presidency. Rather than getting him to appreciate America’s traditional role and alliances, Trump began to tune out and eventually push away the experts who believed their duty was to protect the country by restraining his more dangerous impulses.

The episode has been documented numerous times, but subsequent reporting reveals a more complete picture of the moment and the chilling effect Trump’s comments and hostility had on the nation’s military and national security leadership.

 

Just before 10 a.m. on a scorching summer Thursday, Trump arrived at the Pentagon. He stepped out of his motorcade, walked along a corridor with portraits honoring former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, and stepped inside the Tank. The uniformed officers greeted their commander in chief. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. sat in the seat of honor midway down the table, because this was his room, and Trump sat at the head of the table facing a projection screen. Mattis and the newly confirmed deputy defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, sat to the president’s left, with Vice President Pence and Tillerson to his right. Down the table sat the leaders of the military branches, along with Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon was in the outer ring of chairs with other staff, taking his seat just behind Mattis and directly in Trump’s line of sight.

 

Mattis, Cohn, and Tillerson and their aides decided to use maps, graphics, and charts to tutor the president, figuring they would help keep him from getting bored. Mattis opened with a slide show punctuated by lots of dollar signs. Mattis devised a strategy to use terms the impatient president, schooled in real estate, would appreciate to impress upon him the value of U.S. investments abroad. He sought to explain why U.S. troops were deployed in so many regions and why America’s safety hinged on a complex web of trade deals, alliances, and bases across the globe.

An opening line flashed on the screen, setting the tone: “The post-war international rules-based order is the greatest gift of the greatest generation.” Mattis then gave a 20-minute briefing on the power of the NATO alliance to stabilize Europe and keep the United States safe. Bannon thought to himself, “Not good. Trump is not going to like that one bit.” The internationalist language Mattis was using was a trigger for Trump.

 

“Oh, baby, this is going to be f—ing wild,” Bannon thought. “If you stood up and threatened to shoot [Trump], he couldn’t say ‘postwar rules-based international order.’ It’s just not the way he thinks.”

 

For the next 90 minutes, Mattis, Tillerson, and Cohn took turns trying to emphasize their points, pointing to their charts and diagrams. They showed where U.S. personnel were positioned, at military bases, CIA stations, and embassies, and how U.S. deployments fended off the threats of terror cells, nuclear blasts, and destabilizing enemies in places including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, the Korea Peninsula, and Syria. Cohn spoke for about 20 minutes about the value of free trade with America’s allies, emphasizing how he saw each trade agreement working together as part of an overall structure to solidify U.S. economic and national security.

Trump appeared peeved by the schoolhouse vibe but also allergic to the dynamic of his advisers talking at him. His ricocheting attention span led him to repeatedly interrupt the lesson. He heard an adviser say a word or phrase and then seized on that to interject with his take. For instance, the word “base” prompted him to launch in to say how “crazy” and “stupid” it was to pay for bases in some countries.

 

Trump’s first complaint was to repeat what he had vented about to his national security adviser months earlier: South Korea should pay for a $10 billion missile defense system that the United States built for it. The system was designed to shoot down any short- and medium-range ballistic missiles from North Korea to protect South Korea and American troops stationed there. But Trump argued that the South Koreans should pay for it, proposing that the administration pull U.S. troops out of the region or bill the South Koreans for their protection.

 

“We should charge them rent,” Trump said of South Korea. “We should make them pay for our soldiers. We should make money off of everything.”

Trump proceeded to explain that NATO, too, was worthless. U.S. generals were letting the allied member countries get away with murder, he said, and they owed the United States a lot of money after not living up to their promise of paying their dues.

 

“They’re in arrears,” Trump said, reverting to the language of real estate. He lifted both his arms at his sides in frustration. Then he scolded top officials for the untold millions of dollars he believed they had let slip through their fingers by allowing allies to avoid their obligations.

 

“We are owed money you haven’t been collecting!” Trump told them. “You would totally go bankrupt if you had to run your own business.”

Bannon interjected. “Stop, stop, stop,” he said. “All you guys talk about all these great things, they’re all our partners, I want you to name me now one country and one company that’s going to have his back.”

 

Trump then repeated a threat he’d made countless times before. He wanted out of the Iran nuclear deal that President Obama had struck in 2015, which called for Iran to reduce its uranium stockpile and cut its nuclear program.

“It’s the worst deal in history!” Trump declared.

 

“Well, actually . . .,” Tillerson interjected.

“I don’t want to hear it,” Trump said, cutting off the secretary of state before he could explain some of the benefits of the agreement. “They’re cheating. They’re building. We’re getting out of it. I keep telling you, I keep giving you time, and you keep delaying me. I want out of it.”

 

Before they could debate the Iran deal, Trump erupted to revive another frequent complaint: the war in Afghanistan, which was now America’s longest war. He demanded an explanation for why the United States hadn’t won in Afghanistan yet, now 16 years after the nation began fighting there in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Trump unleashed his disdain, calling Afghanistan a “loser war.” That phrase hung in the air and disgusted not only the military leaders at the table but also the men and women in uniform sitting along the back wall behind their principals. They all were sworn to obey their commander in chief’s commands, and here he was calling the war they had been fighting a loser war.

“You’re all losers,” Trump said. “You don’t know how to win anymore.”

Trump questioned why the United States couldn’t get some oil as payment for the troops stationed in the Persian Gulf. “We spent $7 trillion; they’re ripping us off,” Trump boomed. “Where is the f—ing oil?”

 

Trump seemed to be speaking up for the voters who elected him, and several attendees thought they heard Bannon in Trump’s words. Bannon had been trying to persuade Trump to withdraw forces by telling him, “The American people are saying we can’t spend a trillion dollars a year on this. We just can’t. It’s going to bankrupt us.”

 

“And not just that, the deplorables don’t want their kids in the South China Sea at the 38th parallel or in Syria, in Afghanistan, in perpetuity,” Bannon would add, invoking Hillary Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” reference to Trump supporters.

Trump mused about removing General John Nicholson, the U.S. commander in charge of troops in Afghanistan. “I don’t think he knows how to win,” the president said, impugning Nicholson, who was not present at the meeting.

 

Dunford tried to come to Nicholson’s defense, but the mild-mannered general struggled to convey his points to the irascible president.

 

“Mr. President, that’s just not . . .,” Dunford started. “We’ve been under different orders.”

Dunford sought to explain that he hadn’t been charged with annihilating the enemy in Afghanistan but was instead following a strategy started by the Obama administration to gradually reduce the military presence in the country in hopes of training locals to maintain a stable government so that eventually the United States could pull out. Trump shot back in more plain language.

 

“I want to win,” he said. “We don’t win any wars anymore . . . We spend $7 trillion, everybody else got the oil and we’re not winning anymore.”

 

Trump by now was in one of his rages. He was so angry that he wasn’t taking many breaths. All morning, he had been coarse and cavalier, but the next several things he bellowed went beyond that description. They stunned nearly everyone in the room, and some vowed that they would never repeat them. Indeed, they have not been reported until now.

 

“I wouldn’t go to war with you people,” Trump told the assembled brass.

 

Addressing the room, the commander in chief barked, “You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”

And that, folks, is the President of the US (a draft dodger) speaking to the senior diplomatic and military leaders of this nation. 

 

Trump: Promises made, no promises kept

One of the main arguments that President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has been making in favor of giving him a second term is that he has been keeping his 2016 campaign promises. Trump, at a MAGA rally in Toledo, Ohio on January 9, nonsensically told the crowd, “I’ve completed more promises than I’ve made.”

But according to analysis from the Washington Post, Trump has actually been breaking his promises more often than he has kept them.

The Post’s Glenn Kessler notes that the publication debuted its Trump Promise Tracker in December 2016, and according to the most recent Promise Tracker update, Trump “has broken about 43% of 60 key promises and kept about 35%. He settled for a compromise on 12%.”

Kessler lists specific promises, noting which ones Trump has kept and which ones he hasn’t. The promises that Trump has kept range from U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to changing visa rules to “enhance penalties for overstaying.” But Kessler goes on to list a variety of broken promises — for example, the Mexican government hasn’t agreed to pay for a U.S./Mexico border wall, and the Affordable Care Act hasn’t been repealed.

“Trump’s promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act backfired spectacularly in his first year in office, and the backlash over repeal votes taken by Republicans helped Democrats retake control of the House in the midterm elections,” Kessler explains. “Trump had made other promises on health care, including letting states manage Medicaid funds and allowing for the purchase of health insurance across state lines, that also failed to be realized.”

Other broken promises, Kessler observes, range from a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to reducing the number of tax brackets in the U.S. from seven to three to ending the Common Core program.

Kessler also cites some “compromises” Trump has made. Trump, for example, promised to reduce corporate taxes from 35% to 15%, but the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 reduced the corporate tax rate to 21% — not 15%.

“That’s still a big cut,” Kessler acknowledges, “but less than what Trump had promised.”