Don’t Be Lulled Into Thinking Trump II Will Just Be A Repeat Of Trump I

INSIDE: Robert Hur ... Ron Klain ... Kristi Noem
TOPSHOT - Former US President Donald Trump attends the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 299 mixed martial arts event at the Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida on March 9, 2024. (Photo by GIORGIO VIERA / AFP) (Photo ... TOPSHOT - Former US President Donald Trump attends the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 299 mixed martial arts event at the Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida on March 9, 2024. (Photo by GIORGIO VIERA / AFP) (Photo by GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

We Have More Than An Inkling Of What’s To Come

After many months of very explicit promises from Donald Trump about what a second term as president would look like, Morning Memo still encounters folks who think it will merely be a repeat of his first term. Been there, done that. If we survived it once, we can survive it again.

That is an enormous misjudgment. It misunderstands the nature of the threat. It is an error of degree in that it wildly underestimates what can happen. It’s a failure of imagination because it takes Trump I as a starting point and can’t foresee beyond it. But it’s ultimately a category error, putting Trump II in the wrong bucket.

While we see Trump I as buckling institutions and eroding norms that barely held on for four years until the threat passed, Trump himself sees those same institutions and norms as too strong; and unlike in his first term he is directly targeting any potential constraints of his power and his whims. In his first term he bumped into and often unknowingly bulldozed through guardrails; in his second term, guardrails and anyone who would impose them are the enemy.

Trump I exploited the grievances of older white Americans. Trump II will be all of Trump’s own personal grievances – for losing in 2020, for being indicted, for being humiliated by woman prosecutors, for being successfully sued multiple times, for any manner of personal slight and ego-wounding – coming home to roost in the Oval Office, with all the powers attendant to it.

Trump will see his re-election as a vindication of all of his prior grievances, a green light for all his plans and proposals, a ratification of his promise of retribution. He is putting it all out there for voters to accept or reject. If they accept it, he will be imbued with enormous powers both in his own mind and in fact.

Trump’s retribution will be mean. It will be ugly. It will be merciless. It will not just be performative in a pro wrestling way, like so much of Trump I was. Just in the past few days, we have witnessed Trump’s adoration for strong men, learned that he praised Hitler for doing “some good things,” and seen him promise to “free” the Jan. 6 defendants.

Trump is currently purging the RNC in the same way he’s promised to purge the federal government. We know Trump wants to place loyalists throughout the federal government, that he wants lawyers who will abide by his desires and not raise legal objections to his conduct, that he sees his first term as not aggressive or unconstrained enough, blocked by the Deep State, RINOs, and others with loyalties to anything other than himself.

Trump’s plans are no mystery, and they’re no secret. It’s time to wake up to the threat directly in front of us. It’s not going to be what you think it is. It will be much worse.

The Hur Hearing

The testimony of Special Counsel Robert Hur yesterday on the Hill was a hard-to-watch shitshow, but it’s important to remember that while for you and me the context for it is the Mar-a-Lago classified docs case against Donald Trump, from which the Biden probe indirectly grew, for House Republicans the context is their great white whale: a Biden impeachment.

There’s some tension for the House GOP in trying to bootstrap the Hur report into their quest for evidence of Biden committing some kind of graft with his son Hunter. But that is the context in which they seized on Hur as part of the impeachment push.

The upshot, however, is that the impeachment push in the House is darn near DOA:

  • Politico: As Biden impeachment stalls, House GOP turns to backup plans
  • Punchbowl: Will the Biden impeachment inquiry ever end?

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, kind of gave up the game in an interview with Punchbowl: “If [impeachment] is a messaging of his wrongdoing, then let’s be honest, and say that we’re impeaching him as a message,” Issa said. “I don’t think we’ve been able to convince the other side of the aisle that as [Richard] Nixon needed to go, this man needs to go.”

Ron Klain Was Locked Out Of His Office On Inauguration Day

In an interview with TPM’s Hunter Walker and Luppe B. Luppen, former Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain for the first time recounts showing up early at the White House on Inauguration Day 2021 at the invitation of outgoing Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows only to find no Meadows and the office suite locked.

Is Ken Buck Trying To Block Lauren Boebert?

The sudden resignation of Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), effective at the end of next week, may be an attempt to thwart Rep. Lauren Boebert’s run for his seat.

Here’s the deal:

  • Buck had already announced he wasn’t seeking re-election.
  • Boebert, in a tight race in her own district, decided to switch districts and run for Buck’s empty seat instead.
  • Buck’s immediate resignation forces a special election to be held in Colorado, now set for June, the same day as the already-scheduled GOP primary contest to serve a full term in the seat.
  • A local GOP committee will offer up a nominee for the special election, and given her carpetbagging Boebert is not likely to get the nod.

In the pungent words of AP reporter Nick Riccardi, this seems like a “baroque effort” by Buck to stymy Boebert.

2024 Ephemera

  • Clinched: Biden and Trump each sealed the deal Tuesday, winning enough delegates to secure their respective party nominations.
  • Orbán-Trump fallout: Hungary hauled in the U.S. ambassador for a dressing down after President Biden accused Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of wanting to run a “dictatorship” in the wake of his meeting over the weekend with Trump.
  • The GOP’s Abortion Conundrum: The WSJ got ahold of a briefing memo on abortion from the National Republican Congressional Committee and it neatly demonstrates what a colossal political problem Republicans have on their hands and their inability to deal with it.
  • Spoiler alert: RFK Jr. is floating future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, the one-time pro wrestler, as potential running mates. He has reportedly already decided on his choice and will announce it in the next two weeks.

Big Legal News

The policymaking body of the federal court system made a big move to try to rein in the blatant judge-shopping that has given Trump judges in far-flung small divisions massive power, TPM’s Kate Riga reports.

When Your Governor Is A Dental Influencer

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) is doing infomercial-style promos for a Texas dental practice … while serving as governor:

More On the Trump-Musk Relationship

Donald Trump made a bid last summer to get Elon Musk to buy Truth Social, the WaPo reports.

‘Wear The Right Fucking Colored Coats’

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