Patterico's Pontifications


Reminder: Donald Trump Is a Dangerous Demagogue

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:22 pm

Justice Scalia cast the deciding vote that said burning the flag is protected speech under the First Amendment.

But Donald Trump doesn’t give a rip about the First Amendment. And he is going to be President.

I know, I know. He pops off like this and everybody gets spun up, and you feel like an idiot.

Except — did I mention this part? — he is going to be the President. And this is, quite simply, insane talk.

Ken White lets him have it, with humor, here.

SHOCKER: Trump to Trade Perks for Cash Donations to Inaugural

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:00 pm

I hope readers appreciate the irony in the use of the term “shocker” in the headline. Sometimes these things don’t come across on the Internet.

The Center for Public Integrity reports:

Donald Trump’s inaugural committee is offering huge perks — prime tickets, luxurious lodging, access to the president-elect himself — in exchange for six- and seven-figure contributions from individual and corporate contributors.

Donors in the “$1,000,000+” category will receive four tickets to a “leadership luncheon” billed as an “exclusive inaugural event” for donors in that category and featuring “select Cabinet appointees and House and Senate leadership to honor our most generous inaugural supporters,” according to a brochure obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.

They’ll also get four tickets to a dinner with Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, and eight tickets to a “ladies luncheon” billed as “an opportunity to meet the ladies of the first families.” In addition, they’ll receive tickets to a series of other dinners and receptions featuring Trump, Pence and other officials, and eight “premier access” tickets to a black-tie inaugural ball attended by the president, vice president and their wives.

This is nothing new, of course. The piece notes that Obama, after banning corporate donations for his 2009 inaugural, gladly welcomed them for his 2013 version — just as Trump is welcoming them now, for his 2017 version. As a Public Citizen spokesman explains: “To throw a lot of money into a big party to welcome a new president, these corporations believe that is endearing them to the next administration.”

Here’s my favorite part of the report:

All the donor packages include “Priority Booking at Premier Inaugural Hotel(s),” allowing donors the chance to book prime hotel rooms (at their own expense, of course, and with a four-night minimum stay). . . . Not indicated on the brochure?

Whether one of those “Premier Inaugural Hotel(s)” might be the president-elect’s own newly opened Trump International Hotel, a luxury hotel located five blocks from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue and along the inaugural parade route.

You know it does, girlfriend!

Trading money for access has always been the way of Washington, and it always will be. If you voted for Barack Obama thinking he was going to change things, you were a chump sucker.

Sorry to say, the same applies to anyone who voted for Donald Trump for the same reason.

Status of swamp = Still Undrained.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Democrat Senator: I Regret Eliminating Filibuster for Executive Appointments

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:15 pm


Senator Chris Coons (D., Del.) said on CNN Tuesday that he regrets the rule change Senate Democrats made to the nomination process.

“The filibuster no longer acts as an emergency brake on the nomination,” Coons said.

The senator was questioned on the nomination process and the rule changes that senate Democrats had made in order to keep Republicans from derailing their selected nominees.

Coons admitted that Democrats had watered down the nomination process after Kate Bolduan mentioned that Republican’s could now take advantage of the simpler consent process.

“I do regret that. Frankly I think many of us will regret that in this congress because it would have been a terrific speed bump, potential emergency break, to have in our system to slow down the confirmation of extreme nominees,” Coons said.

I have considered the Senator’s argument and determined that I agree with Stephen Miller:

Romney: Trump May Be the Guy to Lead Us to That Better Future

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:14 pm

Mitt Romney is pivoting hard from his comments during the election in which he called Donald Trump an unstable bully whose hallmark is dishonesty. In remarks after his dinner with Trump tonight, Romney suggested that Trump’s civil speech after winning the election, coupled with his Cabinet picks thus far, give him hope that Trump is “the very man who can lead us to that better future”:

Sooner or later, every single person in the GOP will fall in line.

Except maybe Mike Lee and Justin Amash.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Mnuchin of Goldman Sachs Picked for Treasury Secretary

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:19 pm

I don’t know much about him, and I don’t have the same kind of antipathy for Goldman Sachs that the Trumpers do. One might wonder how the more reptile-brained of the Trumpers will receive the news that an ex-Goldman Sachs guy is going to head up the Treasury. People like this guy:

(H/t Allahpundit on teh Twitters.)

Eh. I figure they won’t care, because they’re blindly loyal to TRUMP!! and issues don’t really matter. Whining about Goldman Sachs was just a thinly veiled way to attack the Jews anyway, and if Mr. The Donald likes this guy, well, then, he must be One of the Good Ones.

UPDATE: Oh yeah. He also used to work for George Soros.

Is Trump Trying to Humiliate Romney, or Choose Him . . . or Both?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

The mystery in Donald Trump’s vetting of Mitt Romney for the position of Secretary of State has seemed to come down to one question: Is Trump trying to humiliate Romney, or does he actually want him as Secretary of State?

Maybe the answer is: both.

Does Trump actually want Romney? Maybe! He “looks the part” — plus, what better way is there for Trump to show Romney who is the alpha male? As for the “apology” Trump is supposedly demanding, Trump may be savvy enough to know that he doesn’t need to demand it. The first time Secretary of State Romney faces questioners from Big Media, they’ll ask him: Hey, didn’t you say “Dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark”? Didn’t you call him an unstable bully? And Romney will have to smile and squirm and kind of walk it back, a little.

So yeah, maybe Trump does want Romney after all.

But that doesn’t mean he’s not trying to humiliate him.

Part of my evidence for the theory that Trump was trying to embarrass Romney was my belief that Conway had permission to “go rogue.” As I said yesterday: “I don’t think Kellyanne Conway breathes without instructions.” As noted earlier this morning by Dan Spencer, the Trump campaign has confirmed that Conway asked permission before laying into Romney publicly. The New York Times has further details:

Mr. Trump, in a statement emailed Monday evening by his spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, said: “Kellyanne came to me and asked whether or not she could go public with her thoughts on the matter. I encouraged her to do so. Most importantly she fully acknowledged there is only one person that makes the decision. She has always been a tremendous asset and that will continue.”

But wait! Who really wrote that statement?

The NYT claims that Conway took the initiative and did not act on specific instructions from Trump to criticize Romney. She asked permission to express her concerns and he granted it . . . or so the Trump folks say. And that may be — but just because they make the claim, doesn’t mean it’s true. These people lie as easily as they breathe.

At a minimum, let’s just say that Trump . . . was not displeased to see one of his main critics trashed on “the shows.”

The Times claims that “little in Mr. Trump’s universe is simple.” Perhaps there is a more complex answer to the question: Does Trump really want Romney, or does he just want Romney to be humiliated? Maybe the answer is a little of both.

But maybe the answer is simple after all. Maybe, as with so many areas of public policy, the answer is that Trump has no idea what he wants.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]


As Petraeus Meets With Trump, Word Of A New Investigation Is Leaked

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:00 pm

Today David Petraeus met with Donald Trump regarding a possible Secretary of State position. After Trump focused heavily on Hillary Clinton’s irresponsible and (to most onlookers) criminal mishandling of classified information as Secretary of State, it’s more than a little bizarre that Trump would consider placing in the same position someone who was actually convicted of the crime for which Hillary Clinton was only investigated. Even if you think Petraeus is a smart guy who might do a good job — and I do — the comparison to Hillary Clinton is a tough mental hurdle to surmount.

And now, with word of a new investigation related to the Petraeus scandal breaking today, it’s getting tougher still:

The Defense Department is conducting a leaks investigation related to the sex scandal that led to the resignation of former CIA Director David Petraeus, The Associated Press confirmed Monday, the same day Petraeus was meeting with President-elect Donald Trump in New York.

Petraeus, who could be in line for a Cabinet nomination, arrived at Trump Tower in early afternoon. He walked in without taking any questions from reporters.

A U.S. official told the AP that investigators are trying to determine who leaked personal information about Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with Petraeus led to criminal charges against him and his resignation. The information concerned the status of her security clearance, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Disclosure of the Broadwell information without official permission would have been a violation of federal criminal law.

The latest twist in the case could complicate Petraeus’ prospects of obtaining a Cabinet position in the Trump administration, resurfacing details of the extramarital affair and FBI investigation that ended his career at the CIA and tarnished the reputation of the retired four-star general.

I find it bitterly amusing that the existence of the investigation into a possible leak was . . . leaked. This leak feels very pointed, somehow.

It also throws a new monkey wrench into the dramatic narrative arc of The Trump Transition Show, which (as I noted earlier today) is beginning to resemble a TV reality show.

Vice-President Pence tells us there are important announcements tomorrow! Will the Secretary of State position be one of them?? Or is this just a dramatic head fake??? There’s only one way to find out!!! Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion!!!! (Or not!!!!!)

UPDATE: I promise I wrote this post before I saw this post by Allahpundit, which also mocks the TV-style drama of the situation. Great minds think alike . . . and sometimes, so does mine.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Rampage In Ohio, Motive Still Unknown…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:22 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Horrible news:

An Ohio State University student was shot dead by police after he plowed into pedestrians with a car and then stabbed multiple people with a butcher’s knife at the OSU campus in Columbus this morning, officials said. The scene is now secure, officials said.

Eleven people were transported to local hospitals, officials said.

OSU said in a statement that the “injuries include stab wounds, injury by motor vehicle and other injuries that are being evaluated” and that “facts are still being verified.”

The suspect was identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an OSU student, officials said at a press conference this afternoon.

Artan was born in Somalia and living in the United States as a legal permanent resident.

As officials search for a motive, this report will hopefully provide them with a clue. Artan apparently posted on his Facebook page three minutes before the attack:

“I can’t take it anymore. America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that.”

The post also invokes the name Anwar Al-Awlaki, a radical American-born al-Qaeda cleric, describing him as a “hero.” Al-Awlaki was killed in 2011 but his propaganda has been linked to several domestic terrorist attacks in the years after his death.

“If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace,” the posting reads. “We will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims.”

And then there is this:

Ohio State’s student newspaper, The Lantern, ran an interview in August with a student named Abdul Razak Artan, who identified himself as a Muslim and a third-year logistics management student who had just transferred from Columbus State in the fall.

He said he was looking for a place to pray openly and worried about how he would be received.

“I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what media portrays me to be,” he told the newspaper. “If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen. But I don’t blame them. It’s the media that put that picture in their heads.”

From Rep. Adam Schiff (D), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee:

“While we are still awaiting more information from the investigation into the OSU attack, it bears the all of the hallmarks of a terror attack,” Schiff said. “The fight against ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terror organizations and their global incitement to radicalism, must be carried out on battlefields far away, and by confronting online propaganda here at home.”

However, we are cautioned not to jump to any conclusions: “What we don’t know: What the attacker’s motives were.” One guesses that would include the sort of on-the-surface assessment that Schiff made.

And for kicks, here’s a round-up of tweets from the We Demand More Gun Control crowd. With self-righteous gusto, they automatically assumed that a firearm was involved in the attack, and then immediately politicized the horrible event. The group really outdid themselves in looking more awful than usual, especially as the “weapon” used in today’s attack was an automobile, and a knife…


Trump To Meet With Romney, Corker Tomorrow

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:30 am

Donald Trump is meeting with Mitt Romney tomorrow. Oh, and Bob Corker, too.

Mr. Trump is expected to have three meetings on Monday and Tuesday as the secretary of state sweepstakes heats up — retired Gen. David H. Petraeus, Mr. Romney and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, according to two people briefed on the schedule.

Mr. Romney has been the preferred choice of Vice President-elect Mike Pence and some business leaders from whom Mr. Trump has heard. But contention over him possibly being chosen has led Mr. Trump’s aides to open the process to other options, such as Mr. Corker.

This is such a reality show. The New President meets with the Old Nemesis! Will all be forgiven? Or will Donald refuse to let bygones be bygones? It’s an all-new episode of Trump Transition! Tune in tomorrow at 8!!!

It’s certainly interesting to speculate about what’s going on here.

I lean towards the theory that Trump is doing all of this this to humiliate Romney. I don’t think Kellyanne Conway breathes without instructions — so when she goes on “the shows” and trashes Romney, I believe she is being paid to do so. I think Trump ginned up this controversy 1) as a way to entertain people; and 2) as a way to emphasize that he, and not Romney, is the Big Dog.

What’s that, you say? Isn’t being elected President revenge enough? For Trump, I doubt it. He strikes me as the kind of bully who likes to rub it in. I think Trump wanted a few days of his supporters trashing Romney on “the shows” as a way to salve his ego, and rebuke Romney for the harsh things he said about Trump during the campaign. The demand by Trump’s advisers that Romney apologize, under this view, was just part of the vindictive blowback.

“No apology, no secretareee!”

But my boundless cynicism about Trump leaves room for a different scenario, in which Trump does pick Romney.

Because I also think Trump looks at his cabinet picks as if he’s casting a TV show. Trump has told his aides that Romney “looks the part.” And a desire for a photogenic administration would explain the otherwise perplexing choice of Nikki Haley as the ambassador to the U.N.

Meanwhile, Romney is affecting a studied indifference:

In other words: “I don’t need this.”

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

P.S. David Petraeus? I thought it was a bad thing when a Secretary of State had a penchant for mishandling classified information! I guess that’s only true for the other side . . .

Time Is a Tickin’ Away…

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

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