Patterico's Pontifications


Porn Star: I Spanked Trump with a Forbes Magazine

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:30 pm

The best part about the dead trees version of Forbes, besides the fact that you can go straight to the article without having to read an inspirational quote on the way, is that you can whack a narcissistic sexagenarian on the rump with it. Susan Wright mentioned this earlier in passing, but come on. This deserves its own post. I’ll turn over the megaphone to Allahpundit, who says it better than I ever could:

The more salacious detail in this Mother Jones story, the one that will land on the cover of New York tabloids, is Daniels allegedly telling the same operative that she spanked Trump — with a copy of Forbes magazine. The thought of the populist alpha-male-in-chief being paddled submissively with the ruling class’s favorite publication by a buxom porn star is so irresistible, it almost doesn’t matter if it’s true or false. The image now exists, perfect in itself. There’s nothing to say about it that will improve upon it.

Oh, except this: Supposedly he was on the cover of the issue of Forbes that she used. *Kisses fingers*

If you’d told me in 2014 that the Wall Street Journal would credibly report that the next President of the United States had paid a porn star $130,000 not to tell the media about her affair with him, and the nation would collectively shrug and yawn . . . well, I’d be surprised, but a lot of things would have surprised me then. If you told me that there would be a story about that porn star spanking that married President on his rear with a magazine bearing his likeness on the cover — I just don’t know what to say. But this is where we are with this guy: it’s one outrageous thing after another, and nothing has changed anyone’s mind about him in almost two years and nothing’s going to.

But is that also true of Melania? How do you figure she is reacting to all this? Probably she’s fine. Kevin D. Williamson points out:

Melania Trump, asked whether she would have attached herself to Donald if he weren’t wealthy, scoffed at the question and frankly acknowledged the transactional nature of their relationship: “If I weren’t beautiful, do you think he’d be with me?” Trump, for his part, has been equally frank at times about the instrumental role Melania plays in his life: She’s a good advertisement for his brand. “When we walk into a restaurant, I watch grown men weep,” he said. It is worth keeping in mind that the Third Lady was an employee of Trump’s modeling agency before their marriage. Business is business.

If a woman is essentially paid to have sex with a man, however occasionally, I don’t think the woman is going to get too upset if someone else shoulders some of the burden for free. Or even for a payout of 130 grand, as long as plenty of spending money remains.

I know: people get very offended if I suggest that Melania is a gold digger. Well, I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold digger! But she ain’t messin’ with no broke Donald.

If some blond porn star with enormous fake boobs wants to grab the reins, I don’t think Melania’s going to object much, unless he makes her look like too much of a fool. And she’s taken the ride this far.

I think Trump himself is kind of digging the whole story, too. Except, that is, for the part where Stormy said he was bad at sex:

In our conversations, Daniels said she was holding back on the juiciest details, such as her ability to describe things about Trump that only someone who had seen him naked would know. She intimated that her view of his sexual skill was at odds with the remark attributed to Marla Maples.

That kind of remark might interfere with his ability to get more tail. And it might wound his delicate pride.

The whole thing is a circus. But hasn’t everything always been a circus with this man?

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Press Conference Held As Formal Charges Announced Against Parents Who Held 13 Siblings Captive (Update Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:19 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin just held a press conference updating the public about charges filed against David and Louise Turpin for the horrific torture and abuse of 13 children held captive in their Southern California home. The parents could reportedly face 94 years in prison if convicted on all charges. Hestrin noted that as this is an ongoing investigation, there could be more charges made. Two of the 13 siblings managed to escape through a window this weekend. Although one of the siblings got frightened and went back to the home, the other sibling, a 17 year old girl, managed to call for help on a deactivated cell phone.

Here is a brief summary of what unfolded :

In a discovery that has stunned both authorities and neighbors in a suburban Riverside County neighborhood, 13 brothers and sisters who appeared to have been held captive by their parents in a Perris house were found early Sunday, Jan. 14, after one of them escaped and called 911.

The 17-year-old showed deputies photographs that convinced them of her report that her 12 brothers and sisters between the ages of 2 and 29 were being held against their will, Fellows said.

The phone call led to deputies on Sunday finding three siblings chained and padlocked to furniture.

The victims appeared dirty and malnourished, authorities have said, and were so emaciated that deputies were shocked to discover that seven were 18 or older.

Some bullet points from today’s press conference:

*Children could shower only once a year.
*Children have never been taken to a dentist.
*Children were restricted to one meal per day.
*Children had no idea what pills or medicine were.
*Children did not know who the police were.
*Children were locked up as punishment if they washed their hands above the wrist because that was considered playing.
*Children weren’t released from their chains to go to the bathroom.
*Children were tied up with ropes until one of them was able to escape. Parents then began using chains and padlocks.
*Children’s punishment lasted weeks or months at a time. Punishment included beatings and/or strangulation.
*Children were not allowed to have toys. Numerous toys in their original packaging were found throughout the house.
*Some of the children have cognitive impairment and neuropathy.

The children are so severely malnourished that one of the sibling is actually a 29-year-old woman who weighs only 82 pounds. Hestrin also said a 12-year-old sibling weighs what an 7-year old would weigh. In a further example of the vicious cruelty of the parents, Hestrin said that David and Louise Turpin would buy apple pies, set them on the kitchen counter where the children could look but not be allowed to eat them. The parents also ate food in front of the hungry siblings while not allowing them to have any of it.

When asked by a reporter how the siblings felt about being taken out of the home, Hestrin said they were all “relieved”.

Further, the children were allowed to write in journals. Hestrin said that investigators have collected hundreds of them and anticipates that they will provide a more detailed look at what occurred in the home.

About the criminal charges the Turpins face – at this point in time:

Both were charged with *12 counts of torture, he said. David Turpin, he said, also was charged with a lewd act on a child by force or fear of duress.

Other charges include seven counts of violation of a dependent adult, six counts of child abuse or neglect and 12 counts of false imprisonment. Hestrin did not say whether both suspects face the last three sets of charges.

*The two-year old was reportedly being given enough to eat. Bail is set at $9 million each.

Note: If you are interested in providing financial help for the siblings, be aware that any GoFundMe campaigns set up for the children are not legitimate. However, GoFundMe spokeswoman Katherine Cichy has clarified GoFuneMe’s policy when this happens:

…GoFundMe campaigns are backed with a guarantee: Either funds go to the right place or customers get a refund.

“Our team is closely monitoring all campaigns related to this incident,” Cichy wrote in an email.

Cichy also said donations are collected by GoFundMe and held by the company – and are only released to the intended beneficiary.

If any questions arise, she said, the GoFundMe team will “hold the funds unless the beneficiary is verified to our satisfaction. This layer of protection ensures that funds go only into the right hands.”


CPS said it is receiving calls from around the world from people who want to help the siblings financially. Because the agency does not want the siblings to be taxed for the money they receive, they are setting up a fund for them to go through the Riverside County Regional Medical Center Foundation.

Clothing for the 13 siblings is needed. You can find items and sizes needed here.

Surely there is a special place in hell for such evil individuals. This is so horrific and heart-breaking, that it seems trite to simply say that prayers will be fervently made on behalf of the 13 siblings. But that’s all I’ve got. As they begin this leg of the journey surrounded by caring individuals, may physical, mental, and emotional healing be theirs. May their hearts be overwhelmed by love and kindness.

UPDATE: David and Louise Turpin appeared in court this afternoon:

The parents of 13 children and young adults have pleaded not guilty in a California court to numerous charges that they tortured and abused the siblings for years.

David and Louise Turpin were each ordered held on $12 million bail after entering their pleas Thursday and were scheduled to return to court on Feb. 23.


Hey Leftists: Stop Trying to Make Hillary Happen!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:30 am

My eye-rolling muscles got a workout recently when I read an article at the Federalist by Mollie Hemingway titled Treat ‘Mental Health’ Talk Against Trump Like The Coup Attempt It Is. (I’ll save you a click by summarizing the article for you: it’s a coup attempt because something something hey you remember that show “24” that nobody has watched in years OK that’s why.) But while talk of a “coup” seems to most normals like a hobby horse of the paranoid right, it’s worth remembering that Serious Legal Scholars are still spinning fantasies in Newsweek about vaulting the pantsuited witch into the Oval Office — not legitimately, in a duly held presidential election in 2020, but now:

Nearly a year after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a Harvard University professor says 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton could still become commander in chief.

Lawrence Lessig, the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, penned an essay for Medium in October outlining a series of hypothetical scenarios that could take place should the ongoing probe find that the Trump campaign actually conspired with Russia to influence the results of the election.

If Trump did conspire with Russia, the president “should resign, or, if he doesn’t, he should be impeached,” Lessig wrote in his essay. Vice President Mike Pence would also have to either resign or get impeached, which would make Speaker Paul Ryan the president of the United States, Lessig wrote at the time.

On Wednesday, Lessig told Newsweek this scenario was still a possibility.

The remarkable thing about this is not the idea, which is (as the article acknowledges) older than the election. It’s that Newsweek is still trying to garner clicks and eyeballs by reanimating this patent nonsense. Even Lessig seems embarrassed by it, saying that his description of how it could happen (chryon: it couldn’t) is “very different from saying I think it will happen, or should happen, or [that] the evidence is there for it to happen.” But the dream lives on, in the fever swamps of the left. And the hypocrisy is stunning indeed.

I know memories are short these days, but it was not that long ago that Election 2016 was around the corner and it became more and more “obvious” that Hillary Clinton was going to win. And do you remember how Serious Pundits Everywhere took Donald Trump to task for not pre-accepting the election results? In case you forgot, here’s a Reuters story from October 20, 2016 that appears on — the same site running the “Hillary could be president!” fantasy over a year after the election. What were our friends on the left telling us then about accepting election results?

Several prominent Republicans on Thursday denounced Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting the result of the presidential election, and some worried his stance might make it more difficult for his party to hold onto control of Congress. Trump’s refusal, which Democratic rival Hillary Clinton called “horrifying,” was the standout remark of their third and final debate on Wednesday night.

. . . .

Asked on Wednesday night by moderator Chris Wallace if he would commit to a peaceful transition of power, the businessman-turned-politician replied: “What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense. OK?” Trump’s statement, the most controversial in a debate that at times descended into insults by both candidates, made banner headlines across the country and raised questions about whether he was committed to a peaceful transition of power, a cornerstone of American democracy.

That “cornerstone” doesn’t seem so important when the Republican wins, though, does it?

How about that!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


Shock Article: California Bullet Train Over Budget

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

Let’s take a break from Donald Trump’s latest drama of the day and discuss a truly shocking development: the California bullet train is over budget.

Hahahahaha I couldn’t keep a straight face for even 10 seconds. Of course it’s over budget:

The estimated cost of building 119 miles of bullet train track in the Central Valley has jumped to $10.6 billion, an increase of $2.8 billion from the current budget and up from about $6 billion originally.

The new calculation takes into account a number of intractable problems encountered by the state rail agency. It raises profoundly difficult questions about how the state will complete what is considered the nation’s largest infrastructure project with the existing funding sources.

I have an answer. It can’t.

Look how easily I was able to answer a “profoundly difficult” question!

This train has always been a ridiculous idea. Projects like this are always over budget, and it’s destined to be a more dangerous, slower, and more cumbersome way to travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles at a price just slightly lower than that offered by the airlines.

What’s more, it’s taking place at the expense of public safety. Governor Jerry Brown has been trying to pay for this debacle by spending the last several years emptying our prisoners of, well, pretty much everybody — including violent criminals. Gun laws have been weakened. Parole has been increasingly granted and available to even the worst murderers.

Meanwhile, the People will be asked to fund larger and larger bond issues to keep this turkey afloat.

It’s a joke. It’s always been a joke. Now even the elites are starting to have to face that fact.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


Trump Given Clean Bill Of Health By Presidential Physician, Doesn’t Stop Know-It-All Journo From Impugning Physician’s Professionalism And Ability To Read A Scale Correctly

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:28 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I cannot believe this is even an issue but this is where we find ourselves.

President Trump was declared mentally and physically fit today by presidential physician Navy Rear Adm. Dr. Ronny Jackson after having undergone a complete physical examination. First, concerns about the president’s mental fitness to execute his job were answered:

[A]t Trump’s urging, Jackson selected and administered the Montreal Cognitive Assessment during the president’s physical exam last week at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The exam tests for cognitive disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease, that can occur in older patients. It asks people to identify animals, draw shapes and recall certain words. It is not a psychological evaluation.

Trump scored a 30 out of 30, Jackson said, a score he said should put to rest questions about Trump’s mental fitness.

“There’s no indication whatsoever that he has any cognitive issues,” Jackson said. “I’ve found no reason whatsoever to think the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought processes.”

Second, the president also got a clean bill of health for his physical fitness:

He said that Trump’s “overall health is excellent,” adding that the president had mostly normal results on several tests of his cholesterol and heart health.

“His cardiac performance during his physical exam was very good, he continues to enjoy the significant, long-term cardiac and overall health benefits that come from a lifetime of abstinence from tobacco and alcohol,” Jackson said.

“All data indicates the president is healthy and will remain so for the duration of his presidency,” he added.

Only his weight appears to be an issue. Weighing in at 239 lbs., the president is reportedly one pound away from being obese. Dr. Jackson would like him to drop 10-15 lbs. Of course this presented yet another an irresistible opportunity for a *professional* physician journalist to pounce:


Like this guy would ask Hillary Clinton the same question if she had become president, right??? Again, the report on the president’s health wasn’t made by just anybody. It was determined by Navy Rear Adm. Dr. Ronny Jackson who was named Physician to the President by President Obama. He joined the White House medical team in 2006 and has reportedly cared for three presidents.


Jackson grew up in west Texas and attended Texas A&M and the University of Texas Medical Branch. The Navy doctor, who specializes in emergency medicine, has served in Pearl Harbor, Panama City, Fla., and with a forward-deployed surgical platoon in Iraq.

So I’m pretty sure this guy knows how to weigh people correctly, as well as report his findings accurately.

I’m also pretty sure he knows how to handle himself before a less than receptive crowd:

The battle-test doctor wasn’t taking any chances as he stepped in front of the microphones on Tuesday. He reminded reporters that as chief White House physician, he sometimes provides medical care for reporters who get sick while covering the president.

“If something should happen to you over the next few months and you should fall ill at some point, most likely I will be the one called to come take care of you,” he said. “So when you ask your questions please keep that in mind.”

Before the press conference, President Trump made it clear that he had nothing to hide:

“He said, ‘I want you to get out there and I want you to talk to them and I want you to answer every single question they have,’ ” Jackson said.

How telling it is to sense there is a real disappointment about this sitting president receiving a clean bill of health. I don’t care who the president is, I wish good health on all. And if you’re outraged by this president’s leadership or lack thereof, then harness that energy and work very hard to elect someone else next election cycle. Until then, it looks like any 25th Amendment dreams have been shattered.

P.S. If you’re interested, you can read a thread here about whether Trump is really 6’2″ or 6’3″…


WaPo Runs “Insider” Account of “Sh*thole Countries” Meeting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

Because you just can’t get enough of that sweet sweet “sh*thole countries” story, the Washington Post is here for you with an “insider” account of that immigration meeting. It’s chock-full of anonymous sources “familiar with the meeting” so you know it will be totally accurate:

When President Trump spoke by phone with Sen. Richard J. Durbin around 10:15 a.m. last Thursday, he expressed pleasure with Durbin’s outline of a bipartisan immigration pact and praised the high-ranking Illinois Democrat’s efforts, according to White House officials and congressional aides.

The president then asked if Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), his onetime foe turned ally, was on board, which Durbin affirmed. Trump invited the lawmakers to visit with him at noon, the people familiar with the call said.

But when they arrived at the Oval Office, the two senators were surprised to find that Trump was far from ready to finalize the agreement. He was “fired up” and surrounded by hard-line conservatives such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who seemed confident that the president was now aligned with them, according to one person with knowledge of the meeting.

Trump told the group he wasn’t interested in the terms of the bipartisan deal that Durbin and Graham had been putting together. And as he shrugged off suggestions from Durbin and others, the president called nations from Africa “sh*thole countries,” denigrated Haiti and grew angry. The meeting was short, tense and often dominated by loud cross-talk and swearing, according to Republicans and Democrats familiar with the meeting.

Profanity bleeped for you delicate readers. The story repeats the Rich Lowry spin that Trump actually said “sh*thouse countries” and not “sh*thole countries” — providing the fig leaf for Senators Cotton and Perdue and DHS Secretary Nielsen to say that they didn’t remember hearing that exact precise particular precise exact precise phrase, but the president’s language was tough don’t you know.

Here’s a detail that Trump supporters will likely find too delightful to discount in its entirety:

Attendees who were alarmed by the racial undertones of Trump’s remarks were further disturbed when the topic of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) came up, these people said.

At one point, Durbin told the president that members of that caucus — an influential House group — would be more likely to agree to a deal if certain countries were included in the proposed protections, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Trump was curt and dismissive, saying he was not making immigration policy to cater to the CBC and did not particularly care about that bloc’s demands, according to people briefed on the meeting. “You’ve got to be joking,” one adviser said, describing Trump’s reaction.

LOL. You want the story to be true just so you can believe that.

On the whole, it’s Michael Wolff-style journalism on a newspaper scale, which means the reaction will be exactly the same as the reaction to Wolff’s book. Clowns to the left of me — meaning Leftists and Big Media (but I repeat myself) — will adopt the story in its entirety, saying that the story rings true, which it does. Jokers to the right — Trump supporters — will say the allegations of the story are all false because the sources are anonymous. (Settle down, Trump supporters. I’m not really saying you’re jokers. I’m just doing a song riff).

Here I am, stuck in the middle with you, noting that the story may well be true in all particulars or false in many. That’s the nature of stories based on anonymous sources.

As I always say, you don’t really need these somewhat questionable Trump “insider” stories, because it’s enough to look at what public Trump says. If you’re looking for a narrative that says he’s leaning towards Grahamnesty for DREAMers, and has to be pulled back from the brink by Congresscritters from the right, you don’t need this article. You need only watch the video of the meeting where he told DiFi that a clean DACA bill would be A-OK, only to have Kevin McCarthy yank him back a few steps rhetorically.

I guess what puzzles me about the story is the way it shows various lawmakers spending a ton of time and energy trying to get Trump on their side, as if the man were driven by policy. That makes sense for advisors, since they have zero actual political power. But Trump told lawmakers at the recent televised meeting that he’ll sign anything they pass:

And, Chuck, I will say, when this group comes back — hopefully with an agreement — this group and others from the Senate, from the House, comes back with an agreement, I’m signing it. I mean, I will be signing it. I’m not going to say, “Oh, gee, I want this or I want that.” I’ll be signing it, because I have a lot of confidence in the people in this room that you’re going to come up with something really good.

That’s Public Trump, not some caricature dreamed up by anonymous sources and leftist reporters. The quote is right there in the video.

So, GOP Senators, my advice to you is to stop talking to Trump about this stuff, except to the extent necessary to make him feel important. Go work out whatever you’re going to work out. Then, when it’s time to sign it, give Trump a fancy signing ceremony in front of lots of TV cameras and a big pen so he can sign his name really large. Nobody has ever signed their name so large, not even John Hancock, that I can tell you! And everything will work out just fine.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


The New York Times List of Donald Trump’s “Racist” Quotes Is Garbage

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:30 pm

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s efforts to bring black and white America together, the New York Times has chosen to stoke arguments over race by amassing a collection of allegedly racist quotes by Donald Trump. The piece is titled: Donald Trump’s Racism:The Definitive List. In many places, the alleged examples of racism are dishonest and absurd. Time and time again, truthful statements by Trump are deemed to be “racist.” It’s shoddy work, and the Times ought to be deeply ashamed.

Let’s pick apart some specific examples, so you can see just how shameless this list is. I’m going to start by debunking one of the allegations at some length, because the claim of racism makes me so angry that I want you to see, in detail, why it’s so dishonest and outrageous. The Times claims::

  • He uses the gang MS-13 to disparage all immigrants. Among many other statements, he has suggested that Obama’s protection of the Dreamers — otherwise law-abiding immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children — contributed to the spread of MS-13.

This is not “racist.” It’s 100% true. In June 2014, there was a crisis at the border, particularly at the Texas border, because of Barack Obama’s DACA policy. A Washington Times story reported that immigrants were surging across the border, including large numbers of children, because of immigration policy. TV stations in Guatemala were broadcasting the message: “Go to America with your child, you won’t be turned away.” The Obama administration’s reaction to this, according to Border Patrol memos at the time, was to allow members of MS-13 into the country:

Border Patrol officials struggling to keep up with the increasing number of minors illegally crossing the Mexican border are not turning away persons with known gang affiliations. Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley, explained that a Border Patrol agent he represents helped reunite a teenage gang member with his family in the United States. Cabrera notes the young member of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), a transnational criminal gang, had no criminal record in the U.S., but asks, “If he’s a confirmed gang member in his own country, why are we letting him in here?”

“I’ve heard people come in and say, ‘You’re going to let me go, just like you let my mother go, just like you let my sister go. You’re going to let me go as well, and the government’s going to take care of us,’” Cabrera says. “Until we start mandatory detentions, mandatory removals, I don’t think anything is going to change. As a matter of fact, I think it’s going to get worse.”

Art Del Cueto, president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 2544 in Tucson, says agents who recognize the gang-affiliated tattoos of minors crossing the border must treat them the same as anybody else. He says these people are afforded the same rights provided to anyone crossing the border.

The U.S. government at the time told a Texas federal judge that the cartels control the human smuggling process. So in fact, the cartels were using Obama’s policies to deliver young foot soldiers into the country. Many young males who came over the border after Obama announced the DACA policy admitted to being MS-13 members, and to having committed murders and other violent acts for the cartels.

But according to the New York Times, it’s “racist” for Donald Trump to point that out. Gotcha.

The New York Times also makes this claim of “racism” by Trump:

  • In 1989, on NBC, Trump said: “I think sometimes a black may think they don’t have an advantage or this and that. I’ve said on one occasion, even about myself, if I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black, because I really believe they do have an actual advantage.”

Again: this is not “racist.” It’s true. Affirmative action was in full swing in 1989 and remains so today. As someone with a high school senior daughter applying to college, it’s crystal clear to me that my daughter would have a large advantage over her current circumstances if she had the same grades, test scores, activities, awards, and so forth — and were also black. It would make her an absolute shoo-in at universities where she will likely be rejected. It’s not “racism” to note that well-educated blacks have a leg up on their peers in many ways.

Another example of a supposedly “racist” comment by Trump:

  • Trump frequently claimed that Obama did not work hard as president.

I’ll grant you that Trump’s criticism of Obama as someone who spent too much time playing golf seems comical today, as the Linksman in Chief never misses a chance to whack the little white ball around the course. But calling Trump’s criticism of Obama’s schedule “racism” reminds us that, according to Big Media, every criticism of Obama by everyone under the sun was racism. Give me a break. Every single president in modern history has been criticized by the opposition for the length and expense of their vacations, for the amount of time they spend golfing (if they golf), and so forth. Calling it “racism” when this completely normal criticism is applied to Obama is absurd.

Another allegation of “racism”:

  • Trump endorsed and campaigned for Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate who spoke positively about slavery and who called for an African-American Muslim member of Congress not to be seated because of his religion.

Trump endorsed the Republican, after initially supporting a different Republican in the primary. And while Roy Moore and Donald Trump have both said things designed to appeal to bigots, it’s not true that Roy Moore “spoke positively of slavery.” The most you can say is that Moore said to an audience member: “You asked me [inaudible] when was [America] ever great” and said in part: “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery…” Those may not be the words you’d like to hear coming out of your candidate’s mouth, but it is not speaking positively of slavery. Again, this accusation of racism on Trump’s part for simply supporting the Republican is a total dud.

Here’s more alleged racism from Trump:

  • In a November 2017 meeting with Navajo veterans of World War II, Trump mocked Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.”

Placing to one side the way that Trump always botches the joke (the actual joke is “Fauxcahontas”), this is not racism. If Warren were an actual Native American and Trump called her Pocahontas, it might be bigoted. But the screamingly obvious point that the Times omits here is that Warren’s claim of Native American ancestry is almost certainly false, and has consequently been the target of mockery for years.

There are plenty of examples where Trump has indeed seemingly made an appeal to bigots. Remember his refusal to denounce David Duke by pretending not to know who Duke was, when he had quit the Reform Party over Duke? Remember how he blamed it on a bad earpiece, even though he had actually said the words “David Duke”? Remember when he said a judge was prejudiced against him because, he said, the judge was “Mexican” (the judge was born in Indiana)? There are plenty more examples like this, which might not be “racism” per se but which indicate a desire to appeal to the bigoted members of society. Had the Times stuck with those examples, they would have been on more solid ground.

But no: they instead decided to classify as racism things that are unquestionably true, and to lie and distort and mislead in the process. It’s a disgusting display, and they should be ashamed — if they had the capacity for shame. Which they don’t.

As the saying goes, this is how you got Trump.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Lindsey Graham: My Memory Has Not “Evolved” on Whether Trump Said “Sh*tholes”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:45 am

Senator Lindsey Graham has weighed in on the sh*tholes controversy that has dominated Trumpworld during the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. Sen. Graham would not directly answer the question whether Trump used the term “sh*tholes” (or “sh*thole countries” or “sh*thouse countries) to describe certain African countries. But the implication is clear:

In his most extensive comments yet about Thursday’s explosive Oval Office meeting, the Seneca Republican again declined to confirm whether Trump specifically used the term “sh*thole” to describe the countries.

But, in what appeared to be a direct jab at Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, Graham said, “My memory hasn’t evolved. I know what was said and I know what I said.” Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston, said Friday that Graham told him media reports of what Trump said were “basically accurate.”

After initially saying they could not recall what the president said, Perdue of Georgia and Cotton of Arkansas said Sunday that Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who said he heard the “sh*thole countries” comment, was misrepresenting Trump’s remarks. They also contradicted Graham, who has not denied reports about Trump’s comment.

. . . .

When Trump made the incendiary remark, Graham spoke up, telling the president that “America is an idea, not a race.”

I have bleeped out the profanity in the quote. This is a family blog after all!

You don’t have to like Lindsey Graham or what he stands for. At least he’s consistent. His positions don’t evolve. They remain rock solid, through thick and thin.

Oh, right.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


SNL Takes On Fire And Fury

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:05 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Last night’s SNL cold open was pretty funny as it centered on Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury and Steve Bannon’s ejection from Trumpland:

When the veracity of the book is questioned by “Mika” and “Joe,” Armisen’s “Wolff” responds:

You read it, right? And you liked it? You had fun? What’s the problem. You got the gist, so shut up. Even the stuff that’s not true was true.

Who knows how much of the book is fact and how much is fiction, but some skepticism seems to be in order:

Twenty years ago, the now-defunct Brill’s Content took a hard look at Wolff’s book Burn Rate, a memoir of his time as a dot-com hustler, and charged that one of his characters was actually a composite of three people. Likewise, seven of Wolff’s main characters and six others who were either portrayed in or familiar with events in his book claimed he “invented or changed quotes,” and none remembered him taking notes on or taping their discussions…

Personally, I’ve enjoyed reading Wolff over the years. You can call him many things (see the preceding paragraph), but never dull. I do not know Wolff nor can I vouch for his credibility. Though I should add that a mutual acquaintance of ours, after spotting an anecdote he’d casually tossed off to Wolff turn up in Fire and Fury, reported this to me of Wolff’s seemingly slack methodology: “[He got it] from me, which I got from a woman on the beach in Florida, who heard it in a carpool line. Literally. I had no idea he was including it. That guy is a serious bullshit artist. Wow.”

With this, though, it’s good to bear in mind that Trump continually provides plenty of fodder for his critics as he continues to shoot himself in the foot on a regular basis, whether through outrageous lies, petty, self-serving attacks which end up foolishly distracting the public from any positive accomplishments, or his latest comments made about “shitholes”. And although you may defend him and attack his critics with silly accusations of TDS, I say let the adult, who holds the highest office in the land assume responsibility for the words that come out of his own undisciplined mouth. Because in this latest kerfuffle, Trump likely said precisely what he intended to say and has been accused of saying:


(Preemptive strike: It seems ridiculous to have to say this, but attempting to simply reduce this issue to be one of a president using profanity – which Erickson is not doing – is as dumb as trying to make the issue not be about a sitting president announcing his preference for a certain kind of people at the expense of another people. The president’s juvenile take on immigrants, race and class: White people from prosperous nations obviously make the best immigrants because prosperous and white. Poor black and brown people from third-world countries don’t make the best immigrants because poor and not white. Ergo, good citizens come only from rich, white nations, and bad citizens come only from poor, non-white nations. )


[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

The Two Real Problems with Donald Trump’s “Sh*tholes” Comment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:00 am

The Sunday shows have revived the controversy about President Donald J. Trump’s “sh*tholes” comment. So before we close the book on the comment, I thought it would be worth taking a step back and evaluating what the real problems with the comment were.

First, let’s talk about what the problems aren’t.

The issue is not that the President used the s-word in private. All presidents and most other humans curse in private.

The issue is not that there are indeed countries in the world that can be described as “sh*tholes.” Many people have tried to make this the issue, so that Trump can be defended as fearlessly speaking the truth about what other people won’t say. Look at the physical conditions of this country! Sh*thole! Look at the way that country is run! Sh*thole!

True enough. But not the point. You don’t get to demonstrate that sh*tholes exist, do a victory dance, and dust off your hands — because you have missed the point.

The point is that the fact that a country is a bad place to live does not mean its people are bad people. The fact that a country is a sh*thole does not mean that immigrants from that country will be sh*tty citizens.

Iran is a terrible country. Cuba is an awful country. The American citizens I have met who are immigrants from Iran or Cuba are some of the most solid Americans I know. They are passionate about the ideals of this country in a way that few native-born citizens are. They embody the spirit of American in a deeply significant way. Here’s Ilya Shapiro making a similar point about the USSR:

The rhetorical bomb there overstates the case to draw a parallel to a commonly used phrase, but the point is still clear: immigrants from every country on Earth add value to America, regardless of the country they come from. India is not a particularly clean or prosperous country. But India sends us STEM geniuses all the time. I could go on and on.

And the President’s comment sends a message to American citizens who immigrated from “sh*thole countries” in general, and African countries in particular, that they are not wanted. That is not presidential, and what’s more, it’s not right.

We can set different standards for the type of people we want to allow into our country. We can insist that they bring something to the table, rather than simply coming because they have relatives here. That’s fair. But we shouldn’t smear the entirety of the citizens of any country or set of countries in the process. That’s not “virtue signaling.” It’s simple common sense and decency.

The second problem with Trump’s sh*thole statement is what it reveals about the honesty of the people who attended the meeting. You don’t have to believe every word of what Sanctimonious Dick Durbin said to know that, if Donald Trump referred to any countries as “sh*tholes,” that would be an attention-grabbing moment that people would remember. Yet we see people who have an incentive to maintain a good relationship with Donald Trump coming out and saying that … they just don’t remember whether it was said. Watch this clip, for instance, of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen saying she doesn’t remember Trump saying that precise exact specific phrase:

WALLACE: You were in that meeting in Oval Office. Did the President say that ?

NIELSEN: I don’t recall him saying that exact phrase. I think he has been clear, and I would certainly say undoubtedly, the President will use, will continue to use strong language when it comes to this issue, because he feels very passionate about it.

. . . .

WALLACE: I can understand you either saying they were said or they were not said. It is pretty shocking language, and to say, “I don’t recall” seems implausible. If the President of the United States used the word blankhole, talking about countries in the Oval Office, or didn’t say it, I would know.

NIELSEN: I understand the question. It was an impassioned conversation. I don’t recall that specific phrase being used. That’s all I can say about that.

If it didn’t happen, she would say: “I was there. It didn’t happen. Nothing like that happened.”

She’s either lying, or using a Clintonian parsing of “that specific phrase” to try to mislead the citizens of the country she serves. And the same goes for Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, who also used the “We do not recall the President saying these comments specifically” gambit, combining a professed lack of memory with the weaselly “specifically” caveat.

Let’s state the problem starkly: These people are not being honest.

Look: I understand why they are lying or dissembling. If they admit the truth of what Trump said, Trump will fly into a rage. Nielsen would lose her job if she told the truth. Cotton and Perdue would find themselves personae non grata with Trump, who might run to Twitter and set his base against these Senators. The easy thing to do is to sacrifice what seems to them like just a small bit of their integrity — to find a way to wriggle out of the unpleasant situation without upsetting Dear Leader.

I can already hear Trump supporters telling me to get over it; politicians and political appointees lie, all the time. And that is absolutely true. Shall we abandon all political commentary then? Shall we cease pointing out lies, and rationalize our failure by arguing that everybody lies, so why bother noting it when it happens?

As you ponder that question, understand that the Trump supporter’s stance that he doesn’t care about lies is itself a lie. Tomorrow — hell, probably later today! — that very same Trump supporter will be whining about the lies allegedly told by one of Trump’s opponents, whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Michael Wolff or somebody in the #FAKENEWSMEDIA. Just hours later, lies will be important again. So spare me your “everybody lies” argument, because it is based on a political stance (“I’m too worldly to care about politicians’ lies!”) that is itself dishonest. All this argument is, is a partisan hack’s way of saying “don’t apply to me and to the politicians I like the same standards that I apply to others.” Sorry, guy, not happening.

These, to me, are the problems with Trump’s sh*tholes comment. I suppose there could be others. Happy Sunday!

UPDATE: Cotton and Perdue are now denying the comment more forcefully:

A Republican senator who attended a Thursday immigration meeting at the White House forcefully denied on Sunday that President Trump had used the phrase “shithole countries” in describing Haiti and African nations, saying a Democratic senator’s account of the session was “a gross misrepresentation.”

Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia, said on ABC’s “This Week” that Mr. Trump “did not use that word,” and accused Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, of distorting what the president had said at the meeting, which included more than a half-dozen lawmakers.

Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, joined Mr. Perdue later in the morning in questioning Mr. Durbin.

“I didn’t hear that word either,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And I was sitting no further away from Donald Trump than Dick Durbin was.”

I’d say it’s time to ask Lindsey Graham directly. I have not seen the segments, so I don’t know if the Senators were asked why their initial statement was so mealy-mouthed.

UPDATE x2: Rich Lowry says his sources tell him the word Trump said was “sh*thouse” and not “sh*thole.” Now run back to Perdue, Cotton, and Nielsen, and ask them if he said that. If they totally dodge the question, you’ll know why they got so cute about denying remembering that exact precise phrase. If Lowry is right, their comments are not honesty, but Clintonian nonsense. Non-partisans have been able to tell they were hiding something.

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