Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Must Read(s)

Our piece on how NOT NORMAL Trump's presser was today is excellent, and you should read it! But if you're going to read just one thing today, make it the speech this afternoon by the director of the Office of Government Ethics. It's well worth your time for a deeper understanding of the norms Trump is violating by refusing to divest, by failing to engage with the OGE and by not holding himself to the standards of his predecessors – or of his own appointees. Go read it!

Trump Dodged Key Russia Question; Ended Presser

There's such an avalanche of ... stuff coming out of this press conference, this may have been missed. When asked to state categorically that no one tied to his campaign was in contact with the Russian government during the campaign, Trump ignored the question.

Indeed, he ended the press conference after he ended his response to the question.

Read More →

Post-Austrian Economics?

Worthwhile quote from Trump.

"So there is a great spirit going on right now, a spirit that many people have told me they've never seen before, ever. We are going to create jobs, I said that I will be the greatest jobs producer that God ever created, and I mean that, I am going to work very hard on that. We need certain amounts of other things, including a little bit of luck, but I think we are going to do a real job, and I'm very proud of what we done and we haven't even gotten there yet."

Cult of Personality

The trappings of familial government, presidency-as-business model and cult of personality takes hold very quickly.

The Big Takeaway

The big takeaway here is that Trump is setting up a "trust" which will hold all his assets. But those assets will still remain part of the Trump Organization. The Trump Organization will be run by Don, Eric and a Trump Organization executive. There will also be an ethics advisor who is part of an executive committee. The Trump Organization will not make any new foreign "deals"; it will make domestic deals. The key issue here is that Trump is not divesting himself of any of his assets. And they will be managed by his family. Fundamentally, all the incentives to curry favor with Trump's companies still exist. Also, no new foreign 'deals' is a meaningless term.

At the end of the day, this amounts to Trump will keep his business; his adult sons will run it. That's the whole thing. Here is a key quote: "In sum, I and the president-elect's other advisors at Morgan Lewis have determined the approach we outlined today will avoid potential conflicts of interest or concerns regarding exploitation of the office of the presidency without imposing unnecessary and unreasonable losses on the president-elect and his family."

Trump Presser Blogging #2

11:36 PM: Trump says he has no loans, deals. Actually Russians have been major investors in recent building projects.

11:36 PM: Why is Trump still having business discussions with major developers in Dubai.

11:37 PM: Trump bragging that he can use the presidency to turbucharge his business if he wants to, but he won't. That is actually not true, especially as it relates to foreign business dealings.

11:40 PM: This is at least the second time Trump has said he just turned down an offer for a multi-billion business deal.

Trump Presser Blogging

11:15 PM: "A sad and pathetic attempt to get clicks."

11:24 PM: Trump got the military bands to show up at the inauguration. That's amazing.

11:31 PM: Trump now saying a lot of good things came out of the Russian hacking, even if hacking is a bummer.

11:32 PM: Trump: "If Putin likes Donald Trump I consider that an asset and not a liability."

11:34 PM: Presser just took an awkward turn.

What You Didn't See

For all the high octane and historic news we've seen over the last twelve hours, what may be the most significant news of the day barely made a ripple over the waves. That was a number produced by the Quinnipiac University polling organization: Donald Trump, ten days from becoming President, has an approval rating of 37%. Most presidents seldom get so low. Some never do. For a Days away from inauguration it's totally unprecedented. For some perspective, by Gallup's numbers, each of the last three presidents had approval ratings of at least 65% during their presidential transitions.

Read More →