I got an email about my post on Trump from an old friend Fred Block, a professor of sociology at UC Davis, and the author of pathbreaking books on the relationship between government and the economy. Here is what Fred wrote:
What a week. Who would imagine that Bannon would do the political equivalent of “suicide by cop” by calling Bob Kuttner? But I wanted to respond to your second childhood post about Trump.
Here’s one thing to consider as Steve Bannon leaves the White House. There’s hardly anyone in the close Trump orbit who hasn’t been tripped up in some way by the Russia investigation. There’s one big exception: Steve Bannon.
If you don’t have the twitter or breaking news wires spiked directly into your veins, for the last 10 or 20 minutes there have been a series of reports that Steve Bannon is out at the White House. First the news came from Drudge (who, whatever you think about him, is well-sourced on this front). The Times has now confirmed the story – but with a major caveat.
Every president has these industry councils like the ones we’ve been talking about in recent days. They range from meaningless to not terribly important. They’re mainly symbolic. With everything that’s happened in recent days, I don’t want to make it out like the decisions of a small number of CEOs is the biggest news. Still, we should recognize that it is entirely unprecedented to have a sitting president become so toxic that corporate America feels unable to publicly associate with him. That is totally, totally new territory.
Roy Moore–yes, THAT Roy Moore–has a plausible path to the U.S. Senate. Not a lock, but probably a lot more plausible than you realize. It’s going to be a barnburner in Alabama over the next six weeks, and Cam Joseph is on the case.
One of the many privileges I have as the proprietor of TPM is that can let my writing be driven, at least in part, by impulse. Sometimes it’s like a fever and I have to and do write constantly. Other times, I don’t feel I have anything particular to say. And while I feel some self-imposed pressure, I can, to a degree, wait. In the last six days, we’ve had the horrifying events in Charlottesville followed by a series of self-inflicted injuries by the President, driven by his own rages, damaged psyche, grievance and inner illness. In the last 36 hours, almost everything seems to be falling apart. And yet, despite the fact that these are all issues which have been central to my interests and concerns for years, I’ve found myself with little to say.
A Fox News talking head, Melissa Francis, breaks down in tears over everyone on the “unite the right” side of the Charlottesville march being ‘judged’.
When Donald Trump won the presidency last November, I believed that he would grow into the presidency. I attributed his incendiary views on Mexicans or his past promotion of birtherism to campaign theatrics. He was looking for applause (votes). When he became president, he would be humbled by his responsibility to govern the entire nation (rather than energizing the faithful) and his role as world leader. He would still press some of his policies on trade, immigration, taxes, and infrastructure, but would do so soberly and with a view toward winning majority support.
Several members of Trump’s bogus voter fraud commission will be very familiar to longtime TPM readers, but two in particular were major TPM characters during the heady days of Bush DOJ politicization, and on into the early years of the Obama administration, including one who was a driving force behind turning the New Black Panther incident in the 2008 election into a cause célèbre on the right. Tierney Sneed catches us up on what they’ve been up to since then, and what that bodes for where Trump’s new commission is headed. Don’t miss this.
Many of you will have seen this by now, but I didn’t get a chance to watch it in full until last night as we were waiting for Alabama returns to come in. If you missed it, it’s a segment Elle Reeve did for Vice on the horrible weekend in Charlottesville. It’s highly compelling TV and masterfully put together. Give a look:
For those who’ve recognized what should really be obvious, this is quite a paragraph in the Times’ account of today’s Trump press conference …
No word in the Trump lexicon is as tread-worn as “unprecedented.” But members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private. National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, who are Jewish, stood by uncomfortably as the president exacerbated a controversy that has once again engulfed a White House in disarray.